Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Good example of why not to comment...

Well, I have not added a comment about the accident because, I was not there, don't know the systems involved or the weather.

However Mark Roberson was probably rung by his local station and asked for comment, you have to be very careful when asked such things, rather say nothing at all then let journos add extra to your comments.


A hot air balloon caught fire Friday near the U.S. border in British Columbia.

A hot air balloon burst into flames before taking off on Friday, but the fire caused the basket to break loose and start floating, which forced the passengers to jump for their lives.

Both passengers, a mother and daughter, died in the accident.

Mark Roberson is the operator of Orlando Balloon Rides, the largest ballooning operation on the eastern seaboard.

As a long-time hot air balloon pilot, Roberson said one of the keys to the safety of hot air ballooning is its simplicity.

"The systems are so simple, you have the fuel tank, the burner and a hose leading up to the burner. Those are all the moving parts," Roberson said.

He said the most important moving part is the hot air balloon pilot.

After reviewing tape of the Canada accident, Roberson, who also serves as a pilot trainer for the FAA, said an improperly disconnected propane hose may have started the fire.

"The equipment doesn't malfunction. It has to have the human error," Roberson said.

Canadian authorities have not yet concluded what caused the tragedy.

Roberson said that he and other pilots will study results of the investigation to make sure it doesn't happen elsewhere.

He calls this type of tragedy extremely rare.

"In all reality, the reason they're such news items is they rarely ever happen," Roberson said.

Experts said there hasn’t been a fatal balloon accident in the Orlando area in more than 20 years

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