Aviation Safety Letter 3/2003

Basket Launch Safety

(This article was originally published in Aviation Safety Ultralight and Balloon, Issue 2/95)

Balloon launch

During the excitement of the launch, it is always possible to get feet caught up in the lower lift points on the basket. For the balloon to takeoff with a foot stuck in such an opening, a trapezoidal lock occurs where the unwitting person cannot get the foot out without help and may be carried aloft head down. This happened at a local festival, but fast thinking on the part of those in the basket saved the day. The unfortunate helper was pulled into the basket, the right thing to do under the circumstances, and of course went for a balloon ride in the departing balloon. It is safer to plan an ascent rather than be forced aloft through careless placement of feet.

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