Aviation occurrence briefs

Control issues involving a Kavanagh Balloons G-450, near Kooralbyn, Qld, on 22 August 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 22 August 2018 at 0730 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Kavanagh G-450 balloon was on final approach to land near Kooralbyn Queensland with a pilot and 23 passengers on board. Passing 2,500 ft, the wind was 17 kts with calm conditions on the surface. The pilot did not expect to experience windshear during approach nor was he aware that the envelope was subject to deformation in-flight. Passing 500 ft on approach, the balloon encountered windshear and the turning vent lines were singed by the burner flame as a result of descending with speed from altitude into calm conditions. This resulted in minor damage to the turning vent lines.

As a result of this incident, the operator has conducted training with the pilot and has contacted the manufacturer to look at replacing the turning vent lines with a more flame resistant material.

Safety message

The Australian Ballooning Federation's Pilot Training Manual Part 5 "Aerostatics and Airmanship" describes the responsibilities and duties of the pilot in relation to weather conditions in detail. The manual reminds balloon pilots that when conditions change suddenly and unexpectedly, even a slight vertical movement of air due to local turbulence effects will tend to carry a balloon with it, dramatically reducing vertical (and therefore directional) control. The manual notes that is therefore essential to have a sound knowledge of weather systems and their likely effects on a balloon, and to constantly monitor weather developments while flying.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.


General details
Date: 22 August 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0730 EST    
Location   (show map): 17 km East Kooralbyn    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 21 December 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Kavanagh Balloons  
Aircraft model G-450  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Balloon  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Destination near Kooralbyn, Queensland  
Last update 21 December 2018