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NTSB to Hold Investigative Hearing on Lockhart, TX Balloon Accident

The NTSB will be discussing the circumstances of the accident and safety issues regarding commercial balloon operations.
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Home » Aviation Articles » News » NTSB to Hold Investigative Hearing on Lockhart, TX Balloon Accident

The hearing on the Lockhart, TX balloon accident will be open to the public.

On Friday, December 8, 2016, the NTSB will be holding an investigative hearing regarding the Lockart, TX Hot Air Balloon accident earlier this year.

More Details on the Lockhart, TX Balloon Accident

On July 30, 2016, at 7:42 AM CST, a Kubicek BB85Z model hot air balloon, operated by Heart of Texas Balloons, hit electrical transmission lines and crashed into a pasture near Lockhart, TX. The pilot and all 15 passengers on board the balloon were killed by the impact and ensuing fire, and the balloon was destroyed. According to witness and weather observation information, there were low clouds and fog in the general area at the time of the accident.

The flight was a commercial sightseeing tour flight and was operated under the provisions of 14 CFR part 91.

More Details on the Investigative Hearing

The focus of the investigative hearing will be discussing both the circumstances of the flight and accident and the safety issues regarding commercial balloon tour operation. As part of the discussion, the NTSB will be covering the following areas:

  • Commercial operations of large passenger carrying balloons.
  • Training and decision making for balloon pilots.
  • The different weather factors relevant to the accident.
  • FAA regulation and oversight when it comes to commercial balloons.
  • The best practices for tour operators.
  • Medical factors and certification requirements that are relevant to the accident.

Parties to the hearing will include the FAA, the Balloon Federation of America, and Kubicek Balloons.

Order of Proceedings for the Hearing

  • Opening Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry
  • Introduction of the Board of Inquiry and Technical Panel
  • Introduction of the Parties to the Hearing
  • Introduction of Exhibits by Hearing Officer
  • Overview of the incident and the investigation by Investigator-In-Charge
  • Calling of Witnesses by Hearing Officer
  • Closing Statement by the Chairman of the Board of Inquiry

The hearing will be held on December 9, 2016, at 9 AM EST, and will be open to the public. For those interested in attending the hearing in person, it will be held in the NTSB’s Board Room and Conference Center located at 429 L’Enfant Plaza E., S.W., Washington, DC, 20024. A live webcast of the hearing will also be available on the NTSB website shortly before the meeting starts, and an archive of the webcast will be available within a few days after the hearing, for a three month period.

Featured Image: Guy Dickinson, CC2, NOTE: this is not an image of the balloon involved in the accident.

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