Volume 30, Issue 2 (April 1985)
Investigation of Hot Air Balloon Fatalities
The rising popularity of the sport of hot air ballooning has been accompanied by several recent incidents, both in this country and other parts of the world, where mechanical defects and the improper operation of balloons have resulted in several fatalities. A study was conducted to identify the location and frequency of hot air ballooning accidents. Furthermore, the study attempted to identify those accidents that were the result of improper handling on the part of the balloon operators and those that were related to specific defects in the construction of the balloon. This paper presents a background of the sport of hot air ballooning, together with an analysis of the construction of a typical hot air balloon, pointing out the specific areas where defects may occur that could result in a potential fatal balloon crash. Specific attention is given to the two recent balloon crashes that occurred in Albuquerque, NM, hot air balloon capital of the world, and that resulted in multiple fatalities.