The pilot of the AX8 105 hot air balloon reported “a gust of wind created a false lift effect on the balloon” during takeoff near Intercourse, Pennsylvania.
Heat application to increase lift was insufficient to avoid colliding with a building.
During the collision the hot air balloon sustained substantial damage to 44 of the 384 balloon panels, while three people sustained minor injuries.
The pilot reported no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures with the hot air balloon prior to flight that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilot’s selection of unsuitable terrain/location for takeoff in gusting wind conditions, resulting in a collision with a building, and substantial damage to the hot air balloon.
NTSB Identification: GAA15CA075
This April 2015 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.