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.