Aviation safety investigations & reports

Mid-air collision between hot air balloons registered VH-FSR and VH-OOP near Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory on 18 July 2022

Investigation number:
AO-2022-037
Status: Active
Investigation in progress

Summary

The ATSB has commenced an investigation into a mid-air collision between two hot air balloons 6 km south-east of Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory on 18 July 2022.

The balloons involved were Kavanagh Balloons E-260, registered VH-FSR (FSR), and Kavanagh Balloons B-400, registered VH-OOP (OOP). The pilot of FSR started descending to a lower altitude where OOP was operating. The pilot of OOP observed the descending FSR and attempted, unsuccessfully, to establish radio contact with its pilot. Subsequently, the balloon envelopes contacted each other before the pilot of FSR operated its burners and climbed clear of OOP. There were no reported injuries or damage to the balloons.

As part of the investigation, ATSB investigators will examine weather data, operator procedures, and interview the pilots and relevant witnesses.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.

However, should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 18 July 2022   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0705 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Alice Springs   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Air-ground-air  
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 1st Quarter 2023    

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Kavanagh Balloons  
Aircraft model E-260  
Aircraft registration VH-FSR  
Serial number E260-403  
Type of operation Ballooning  
Sector Balloon  
Damage to aircraft Nil  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Kavanagh Balloons  
Aircraft model B-400  
Aircraft registration VH-OOP  
Type of operation Ballooning  
Sector Balloon  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 29 July 2022