A07C0151 - Regulation of Passenger-Carrying Balloons - Balloon Emergency Fuel Shut-Off

Hard Landing – Fuel Leak and Fire
Sundance Balloons International
FireFly 12B (Hot Air Balloon) C-FNVM
Winnipeg, Manitoba, 15 nm NE
11 August 2007

Link to TSB Rec Report A08-01-02 (http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/medias-media/fiches-facts/A07C0151/recs_a0801_cannon.asp )

Link to TSB final report A07C0151 (http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/2007/a07c0151/a07c0151.asp )

Synopsis

The Sundance Balloons International FireFly 12B hot air balloon (registration C-FNVM, serial number F12B-004) was attempting to land in a field adjacent to Birds Hill Provincial Park near the northern outskirts of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The balloon was operated by Sundance Balloons International under a Special Flight Operations Certificate issued by Transport Canada. One pilot and 11 passengers were on board, all in the balloon’s basket. The flight was a local sightseeing flight originating in the southeast of Winnipeg and terminating in the northeast of Winnipeg.

The flight had been extended beyond Winnipeg as the pilot searched for a suitable landing area in strong winds. The balloon touched down and skipped several times. The basket was dragged on its side for about 700 feet and tipped over far enough for the burners to strike the ground as the balloon came to a stop. A propane fuel leak occurred and an intense uncontrolled fire ensued as the passengers were beginning to exit from under the partially-inverted basket. All occupants escaped; however, the pilot and two passengers suffered serious injuries in the intense fire. Four other passengers suffered minor injuries, some with burns. Two of the propane tanks and a fire extinguisher canister exploded, and the basket of the balloon was destroyed by fire. The accident occurred at about 0908 central daylight time.

Recommendations

Transportation Safety Board of Canada Recommendation A08-01

“The Department of Transport ensure that passenger-carrying commercial balloon operations provide a level of safety equivalent to that established for other aircraft of equal passenger carrying capacity."

Transport Canada Response to Recommendation A08-01

Transport Canada is conducting a risk assessment of commercial passenger-carrying balloon operations. This study will also address the special flight operations certificate process and commercial passenger-carrying balloon operation oversight. Once the review is complete, should regulatory changes be required, Notice of Proposed Amendments will be developed and submitted to the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council for consultation.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada Recommendation A08-02

“The Department of Transport ensure that balloons carrying fare-paying passengers have an emergency fuel shut-off."

Transport Canada Response to Recommendation A08-02

Transport Canada will conduct a risk assessment of the issues raised by this recommendation. This study will also determine whether regulatory or non-regulatory solutions would be appropriate to address these issues. Once the review is complete, should regulatory changes be required, Notice of Proposed Amendments will be developed and submitted to the Canadian Aviation Regulation Advisory Council for consultation.

Date modified: