Investigation number
AO-2022-037
Occurrence date
Location
6 km southeast of Alice Springs Airport
State
Northern Territory
Report status
Pending
Investigation level
Short
Investigation type
Occurrence Investigation
Investigation phase
Final report: Approval
Investigation status
Active
Aviation occurrence type
Air-ground-air
Occurrence category
Serious Incident
Anticipated completion

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.

Aircraft Details
Model
E-260
Serial number
E260-403
Sector
Balloon
Registration
VH-FSR
Operation type
Part 131 Balloons and hot air airships
Damage
Nil
Manufacturer
Kavanagh Balloons
Aircraft Operator
RED CENTRE BALLOONING PTY LTD
Aircraft Details
Model
B-400
Serial number
B400-344
Sector
Balloon
Registration
VH-OOP
Operation type
Part 131 Balloons and hot air airships
Damage
Nil
Manufacturer
Kavanagh Balloons
Aircraft Operator
RED CENTRE BALLOONING PTY LTD