Accident to the Kubicek - BB26E registered F-HEMA on 12/01/2020 at Davézieux (Ardèche)

Investigation progression Closed
Progress: 100%

Note: The following information is principally based on the pilot’s statement. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.

This is a courtesy translation by the BEA of the Report on the Safety Investigation.
As accurate as the translation may be, the original text in French is the work of reference.


1 - History of the flight

The pilot, accompanied by three passengers, took off from a field in Quintenas[1] (Ardèche) at about 10:15. After a flight time of two hours, the balloon was near the village of Davézieux. Given the balloon’s flight path, the pilot aborted the flight to avoid flying over the neighbouring town of Annonay. He chose a field between two residential areas.

About ten metres above the ground, the wind pushed the balloon closer to a power line located on the edge of the field. When the basket landed in the field, the pilot noticed that the power line was very close. He disembarked the three passengers and activated the valve to deflate the envelope and lay it out on the ground. During this operation, the wind pushed the envelope towards the power line. On contact with the power line, electrical arcing occurred, causing multiple burns to the envelope. Nevertheless, the pilot managed to lay out the envelope on the ground without further damage.

2 - Additional information

The pilot reported that the weather conditions at take-off and during the flight were as follows: CAVOK, on the ground, light winds of 1 to 3 kt from the south.

To plan the flight, the pilot had consulted the Météo-France website and he had the 09 UTC SIGWX and 09 UTC WINTEM charts as well as a wind meteogram[2] for January 12 between Quintenas and Annonay.

He stated that during the landing, close to the ground, the wind direction changed, causing the balloon to travel towards the edge of the field. He also indicated that in the absence of ground support he was unable to grasp the outer rope early enough to free the envelope from the power line.

The pilot held a free balloon pilot licence with a hot air rating obtained in September 2014. He had logged 183 flight hours in 147 ascents, including six in the last three months as pilot-in-command.


[1] Situated around ten kilometres south of Annonay.

[2]Graphical presentation of one or more meteorological variables with respect to time, for a given place.