Balloon crash damage and injuries: an analysis of 86 accidents, 2000 - 2004

A.J. de Voogt*, R.R.A. van Doorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: General aviation accounts for the majority of aviation crashes and casualties in the United States. The role of ballooning in these statistics is not regularly studied. Since 2001, the National Transportation and Safety Board has made its accident reports more readily available, which presents opportunities for further study. Objective:This study analyzes and compares a 5-yr period of accident reports and includes an analysis of injuries and balloon damage in hot-air and gas balloon accidents. Methods: Balloon crash 2-page briefs and 5-page accident reports published by the National Transportation and Safety Board for the 5-yr time period 2000-2004 were examined. Data collected in the investigation of these crashes were analyzed and compared with the epidemiological data collected in earlier research. Results: In 86 crashes during a 5-yr period, there were 4 fatalities and 75 people were seriously injured. Only one accident was reported involving a student pilot. Broken ankles and legs have been the most commonly recorded serious injury, but could not be linked to the severity of damage to the balloon. Conclusions: The absence of student pilot accidents may be explained by possible stricter supervision. Balloon basket and envelopes appear of sufficient quality to withstand crashes, but improving the protection of passengers during hard landings should help to decrease the number of serious injuries in ballooning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-558
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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