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The pilot reported that he had obtained a weather briefing from the Bureau of Meteorology at Cairns, prior to the flight. This information including early morning observations from Mareeba Airport. After selecting a launch site to the south-east of Mareeba, Winds in the area were again assessed using a weather balloon. The departure and flight were uneventful until north-east of Mareeba, when the pilot became aware that the surface wind was a southerly, gusting between 10 and 15 kts. During the approach to land, at about 90 ft above ground level, the balloon was effected by a wind rotor near some trees. The rotor distorted the canopy and caused it to lose heat. As a result a high descent rate developed. The pilot estimated that about 50 ft of height was lost before he was able to arrest the descent using the burner. During the latter part of the descent, the basket and lower flying wires struck the branches of a tree, causing damage to lower panels of the canopy. A fast landing then ensued. After landing, the canopy was further damage when it became entangled in a barbed wire fence. The pilot reported that a rain shower was experienced some minutes after the landing. He believed that the unusual localised wind during this accident was due to the approaching rain.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 16KB]
General details
Date: 11 March 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 7:00 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 27 May 1997 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Kavanagh Balloons 
Aircraft model: E-260 
Aircraft registration: VH-ADC 
Sector: Balloon 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Mareeba QLD
Destination:Mareeba QLD
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Last update 28 October 2014