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03.2001

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BALLOON LIFE
MAGAZINE

EDITOR

Volume 16, Number 3
03.2001

Editor-In-Chief, Publisher
Tom Hamilton
Contributing Editors
Ron Behrmann, George Denniston,
Greg Livadas, Mike Rose,
Alan Sanderson, Peter Stekel
Columnists
Don Piccard, Stephen Blucher
Staff Photographer
Ron Behrmann

Contributors
Brian Beazly, Bill Bird
Joseph Bore, Scott Caplan
Rolla Hinkle

How to co ntact us:
2336 47th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116
Fax: 206-935-3326
e-mail: tom@balloonlife.com
Internet: http://balloonlife.com/
Phone: 206-935-3649

Editor

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Landings
Anoldsawsays,“Take offsare optional,landingsare mandatory.” Decadesof
NationalTransportationSafetyBoardandinsurancecompanyreportsshow thatap-
proximately77percentofallballooningaccidents/incidentsoccurduringwhatis
described as the “approach to and landing phase” of the balloon flight. Why is it that we
continue toseethe greatestnumber ofballoonaccident/incidentsinjuriesduringthe
landing phase?
There are many contributingfactors, including: pilot experience, technique, high
winds,low levelwindshears andlandingsite selection. Again, the reportsshowthat
more thanhalf of alllandingaccidentsoccur onapproachtoandduringthe landing.
Almost half of these (45%) were “hard landings” and more than half of thehard landings
(55%) occurred in high winds. Of course, that means almost half of these hardlanding
accidents occur when winds are generallynot a factor.
In this month’s Special Report, articles provide tips on the approach to landings and
the effect that wind can have during this phase of balloon operation. A review of piloting
skills and technicalaspects.
Bypassing technique for the moment, there are other contributing factors that also
needto be considered; namelythe physiological andpsychological status of the pilot.
The psychologicalfactorsare related to aeronauticaldecisionmaking and personality
types. Muchhasbeenwrittenaboutthe fivepersonalitytypesapilotmightexhibit:
macho;anti-authority;resignation;impulsivity;andinvulnerability.Anyofthese
attitudes couldleadto a hazardous situation.
Onatypicalflightthe body,andmind,gothroughperiodsofhighactivityand
enthusiasm to tranquillity. Physiological factors are constantly changing, and may also
be influenced byfactors unrelated to ballooning.
The attentive pilot will be on the guard for warning signs that something is wrong,
or changing, with these psychological and physiological factors. It is important to keep
themindengagedwiththetask at hand. One simple methodtomakeeverylandinga
challenge.Seehowaccurate,howsoft,etc.,alandingcanbeandfollowalanding
checklist. Keep a high level of concentration to the task at hand both during the approach
and the landing.
Springtimeis often a higher accident rateperiod. By practicing your flying skills and
keepingyourmindalerttochangingconditions,betheyweather,psychologicalor
physiological, youcan avoidbecominganaccidentstatistic.

Return to Checklist March 2001


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