Thursday, October 11, 2007
Lots and lots of videos contained there with news of the Balloon Fiesta and accidents occuring.
The 911 calls from members of the public reporting the incidents were interesting.
Also the footage of the balloon that was involved in the fatality.
Not the place to speculate but it looked like there was plenty of room to deflate it beyond where it was stuck in wires.
Perhaps the American tradition of adding the time from when the burner is first lit to there flying time will be called into question and real flight time experience ie from when the balloon lifts from the ground to when it touches down, what everyone else does, will come into play.
Using my poor mathes, an American pilot that claims 2000 hours will actually have flown in the order of 1700 and a bit hours.
The bottom line is that avoidable sad accidents have occured yet again at Albuquerque.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Is it just me, and I am going to flamed for this, is Albuquerque the most dangerous balloon festival in the world??
Why on earth did this guy have a six month pregnant woman on board!!
Check the guy at the end of the clip putting his hand through the floor, and at the beginning all the debris flying out as the tank falls. Sounds like the poor lady fell out of the resulting hole.
No doubt more will be forthcoming but it certainly explains why the final landing was not being piloted at all.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Take a look at the final touch down, here..
California woman dies in balloon accident in New Mexico
By TIM KORTE
The Associated Press
A California woman fell at least 70 feet to her death Monday and three other women were hospitalized, two with broken legs, after a hot air balloon they were aboard snagged a utility line during the city's annual balloon fiesta.
The woman who died and the other three women were from Oceanside, Calif., north of San Diego.
"Our balloon community is a close-knit family and a time like this is difficult for all of us," said Gary Bennett, president of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
The balloon named "Heavenly Ride" became caught on a utility line at 7:45 a.m. The pilot threw down a tether to a pickup truck on the ground in an apparent attempt to reel the balloon down and free it, a state police spokesman said.
But the tether broke and the balloon bounced back up, causing its gondola to tip. The woman fell more than 70 feet.
"It probably was a lot higher than that," state police Sgt. Kevin Bruno said. "That's just an estimate."
Paramedics tried to revive the woman, Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60, in a dirt field where she fell. She was pronounced dead a short time later at University of New Mexico Hospital.
Bill Birkley of Albuquerque was driving to visit a client when he saw the balloon flying low and fast, then getting snagged in the utility line "like a fish hook."
He stopped his vehicle and was standing about 100 feet from the trapped balloon when he saw Phillips fall.
"She was screaming and flailing her arms," Birkley said. "It was the most helpless feeling in the world. There she was, coming down through the air, and there wasn't a thing you could do for her."
The balloon, meanwhile, came free and drifted across a road near Interstate 25. It crash-landed, inflicting injuries on the other passengers and a pilot. Bruno said two women had broken legs and another had minor bumps and bruises.
The three were admitted to University Hospital, he said. The pilot sustained minor scratches and was treated at the scene.
The women booked the flight through Rainbow Ryders, a concessionaire contracted to provide flights from the fiesta's launch field.
A company official, Scott Appleman, said pilot Tom Reyes had 30 years' experience and more than 1,900 flying hours.
Authorities were careful not to assign immediate blame on winds, saying an investigation was continuing. Yet hot air balloons, which don't have engines like an airplane or helicopter, are entirely subject to the wind.
"Wind is part of the unknown. Weather is part of the unknown, relative to hot air ballooning, all the time," Appleman said.
The crash site is about three miles south of the launch field, where flights were halted later in the morning after winds exceeded the maximum allowed 10 knots.
Organizers said the crash had no relation to the decision to halt flights. Meteorologists monitor weather conditions each day and information is presented to pilots, who otherwise can decide if they'll launch.
"If the wind gets to a certain level, 10 knots, then we'll stop operations," fiesta executive director Paul Smith said.
At the launch field, balloonists expressed condolences for the victim's family.
"It puts a bit of a cloud over the fiesta," said pilot Chris Hinde of Rugby, England, flying in Albuquerque for the 10th year. "People always ask if we should keep going. We made the decision not to fly today after we heard the news."
One woman was killed during the 1998 event when a balloon plowed into two sets of power lines before plummeting about 30 feet to the ground at Kirtland Air Force Base on Albuquerque's south side.
During the 1993 fiesta, two men were killed when their balloon hit power lines, severing the gondola, which plunged about 90 feet to the ground. Two other men died during the 1990 fiesta when their balloon crashed into power lines and burst into flames.
Four people died and five were injured during the 1982 fiesta when propane tanks on a large balloon exploded.
Balloonists, however, say such fatalities are rare and that their sport is not particularly dangerous.
"It's no riskier than driving a car," said pilot Anthony Haynes of Houston. "It's a sad thing when it happens. But when you see a car accident, you don't stop driving."
The fiesta, meanwhile, remained on schedule and a telephone recording at Rainbow Ryders said all flights would take off Tuesday as planned.
"All we can do is be safe in our planning and execution as best we know how," Bennett said.
On the Net:
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta: http://www.balloonfiesta.com
Associated Press Writer Melanie Dabovich contributed to this report.
Published: Monday, October 8, 2007 16:17 PDT
Monday, October 08, 2007
Woman killed in balloon crash in Albuquerque 12:20 PM CT
12:35 PM CDT on Monday, October 8, 2007Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A woman participating in the city's annual balloon festival fell from the tipped basket of a hot air balloon Monday, and plunged 60 to 70 feet to her death, state police said.
State police spokesman Andrew Tingwall identified the victim, one of five people aboard the balloon's gondola, as Rosemary Wooley Phillips, 60, of California. He did not have a hometown.
The balloon became stuck on a fiberoptic line about 9 a.m. Dallas time, and the pilot, Tom Reyes, 57, of Sandia Park threw a tether to a pickup truck on the ground to reel the balloon down and free it, Tingwall said.
However, the tether broke and the balloon flew back up, causing its gondola to tip and the woman to fall out, Tingwall said.
Emergency medical technicians tried to revive her in a dirt field where she fell, but were unsuccessful, he said.
The balloon, meanwhile, flew across a road near Interstate 25 and crash landed, he said.
The balloon, flying in the 36th annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, also carried Sheryl Diaz, 60; Susan Simpson, 57; and Doris Currier, 52, all of California.
Tingwall had no information about any injuries to the others aboard.
The crash site is about three miles from the launch field for the nine-day ballooning fiesta, which takes place every October and draws hundreds of balloons. The fiesta features mass ascensions of balloons, events for special shapes balloons and competitions for pilots.
There have been fatalities in previous years.
One woman was killed during the 1998 fiesta when a balloon plowed into two sets of power lines before plummeting about 30 feet to the ground at Kirtland Air Force Base on Albuquerque's south side.
During the 1993 fiesta, two men were killed when their balloon hit power lines, severing the gondola, which plunged about 90 feet to the ground.
Two other men died during the 1990 fiesta when their balloon crashed into power lines and burst into flames.
Four people died and five were injured during the 1982 fiesta when propane tanks on a large balloon exploded.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A hot air balloon pilot tried to free his craft after it became stuck Monday, but the balloon’s basket tipped, throwing out a female passenger who fell as much as 70 feet and died, police said.
The balloon got stuck on a fiberoptic line running above a power line about 8 a.m. during an annual balloon festival. The pilot threw down a tether to a pickup truck on the ground to reel the balloon down and free it, state police spokesman Andrew Tingwall said.
The tether broke, and the balloon flew back up, causing its gondola to tip and the woman to fall about 60 to 70 feet to the ground, Tingwall said.
Paramedics tried to revive the woman in a dirt field where she fell, but were unsuccessful, he said. The balloon, meanwhile, flew across a road near Interstate 25 and crash landed, Tingwall said.
The unidentified woman who died was one of four passengers. Tingwall did not know the conditions of the other three passengers or the pilot.
The crash site is about three miles from the launch site for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, a nine-day event that began Saturday and features mass ascensions of balloons, events for special shaped balloons and competitions for pilots.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
October 4, 2007 By Steve Friess
LAS VEGAS, Oct. 3 — The Air Force destroyed all records from unsuccessful searches for aircraft missing before 1989, which is likely to make it much harder for Nevada investigators to determine the victims of three wrecks found in the recent search for the aviator Steve Fossett.
The planes were found in the Sierra Nevada region in the four-week search for Mr. Fossett, which was officially suspended on Tuesday without locating him or the single-engine plane in which he vanished on Sept. 3.
During the hunt through 20,000 square miles of rugged terrain in northern Nevada, searchers spotted three crashed planes that had never been noticed. Now that the Fossett search is over, the Civil Air Patrol and the Nevada Division of Emergency Management plan to return to those sites to investigate.
One resource that had been expected to help in the inquiry was “suspended mission files,” kept at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Fla. Those files are the paper trails of all failed searches for missing aircraft by the Civil Air Patrol, a volunteer Air Force auxiliary group, or any other Air Force resources.
But in 1994, the Air Force instituted a regulation requiring the destruction of records of noncombat missions after seven years. At that time, officials say, personnel at Tyndall destroyed suspended mission file records up to 1989.
Michael Strickler, a spokesman for the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, said, “In theory, we’re not supposed to have any records from anything past October 2000. Why we didn’t do that? I guess we just didn’t get around to it.”
Mr. Strickler said he did not know the reason for the regulation, which did not require Congressional approval. Calls to the Air Force division responsible for such regulations were not returned.
It is believed that the wreckages discovered in the Fossett search date back further than 1989, said a spokeswoman for the Civil Air Patrol Nevada Wing, Maj. Cynthia S. Ryan.
Major Ryan said she was stunned that the files were destroyed. The hope had been that, even if Mr. Fossett was not found, an exhaustive search would at least resolve other mysteries.
“That’s a little disheartening,” Major Ryan said. “They can transfer this stuff to microfilm. So what’s the problem? They’re keeping better track of your tax records.”
William C. Ogle of Gainesville, Fla., was among those disappointed about the destruction of the records. Mr. Ogle’s father, Charles Ogle, disappeared in 1964 after flying out of Oakland, Calif., for Reno in a single-engine plane.
“It sounds sort of dumb,” said Mr. Ogle, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida. “I don’t understand why they’d even do that. It sounds like some colonel or something probably got upset that there was too many files taking up too much space and said get rid of them.”
It is unlikely that the files were that voluminous. Of hundreds of search missions in the last decade, 18 ended without locating the target aircraft, according to Brig. Gen. Amy S. Courter, the air patrol’s acting national commander.
A spokesman for the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, Gary Derks, said he was less bothered by the destruction of the files because he was not convinced that they would resolve questions about the newly found wrecks.
At one point in the search for Mr. Fossett, officials thought that they had found as many as eight new wrecks. But Mr. Derks said some were spotted more than once, and others had been logged by the National Transportation Safety Board.
Initial surveying of the remaining three wrecks did not find human remains, Mr. Derks said.
“I suspect that in these cases the aircraft was located, the pilot was removed, and aircraft was left there,” Mr. Derks said. “Animals don’t eat shoes and pants. There would be something there to say a person was there.”
The Fossett search files will probably not be destroyed even if he is not found, because an Air Force regulation requires that cases “which have wide media coverage” or missions “having historical research interest” be sent to the National Archives after five years.
Mr. Fossett, 63, set more than 110 aviation records, including becoming the first person to complete a solo uninterrupted flight around the world in a hot-air balloon, and making the longest nonstop flight in aviation history.
He vanished while taking what was to be a short morning jaunt around the region surrounding a ranch 90 miles southeast of Reno owned by William Barron Hilton, the hotel magnate.
Mr. Fossett has yet to be declared presumed dead.
The Fossett and Hilton families continue to send out private search planes. Patrick H. Arbor, a close friend of Mr. Fossett and the former chairman of the Chicago Board of Trade, said, “It looks pretty hopeless,” but pointed to the extraordinary survival skills of Mr. Fossett, who is president of the National Eagle Scouts Association.
“If anyone on this earth could be out there crawling around surviving,” Mr. Arbor said, “it would be Steve.”