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.
On 31 October 2020, at 0605 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the pilot of a Kavanagh Balloons B425-581 balloon was preparing for launch near Maitland, New South Wales, with 20 passengers on board. The balloon was to operate in company with another seven passenger-carrying charter balloons and was the second to launch.
The pilot inadvertently released the launch restraint with sufficient heat being applied to the envelope only to become airborne (due to false lift) but not to climb. The balloon then travelled approximately 100 m downwind at 50 ft above the ground before coming into contact with the trees (Figure 1). This resulted in damage to seventeen panels of the balloon envelope. The pilot and passengers were uninjured.
Source: Operator, annotated by ATSB
The Australian Ballooning Federation’s Pilot Training Manual Part 5 Aerostatics and Airmanship describes the effects of false lift and the importance of ensuring the flight path is clear of obstacles during launch.
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.
|Date:||05 November 2020||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Location:||6 km south-south-west of Maitland|
|State:||New South Wales|
|Release Date:||30 November 2020||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Kavanagh Balloons|
|Type of operation||Ballooning|
|Damage to aircraft||Substantial|
|Departure point||Bishops Bridge, New South Wales|
|Destination||Sweetwater, New South Wales|