Hot Air Balloon Safety statistics?
March 11, 2010 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Hot air balloon ride: I'm wondering if anyone has a good link to a comparison of accident or fatality statistics for hot air balloon travel compared with other modes of transportation. . . . something reassuring? Going with: in Napa valley on Sunday. Girlfriend is tough, but somewhat afraid of heights!
posted by prettyboyfloyd to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) aviation division maintains a list of all reported incidents and accidents for civil aviation. You can query the database at Set the Category drop-down to "balloon," and search. Looks like 8 fatalities in the past five years, which isn't bad odds given the number of balloon flights. Most of the summaries suggest that the incidents were caused by pilots failing to take sufficient action to avoid power lines or other obstacles.
posted by Alterscape at 8:31 PM on March 11, 2010

Don't let her collect the Deaths in Early Aviation cards.
posted by Sallyfur at 9:26 PM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am very afraid of heights, but I actually really enjoyed riding in a balloon. I think it was because it felt very stable--I didn't feel in any danger of falling out whatsoever. It's very smooth and so quiet (except when they fire the burner thing).
posted by exceptinsects at 12:05 AM on March 12, 2010

About a fourth of the incidents at the NTSB site Alterscape mentions happened in the Albuquerque metro area, so a spurious statistical analysis tells us since you won't be flying here you should be perfectly safe.

On a more serious note, some think that pilots flying in an unfamiliar area are more likely to get into trouble. Presumably you will be flying with a pilot who is experienced with flying Napa.

I remember hearing about the balloon that hit the powerline when I was at my office that day.

posted by yohko at 1:50 AM on March 12, 2010

The Albuquerque citation does not surprise me at all. It hosts the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which brings in about 750 balloons for daily launches over 2 weeks in October.
posted by onhazier at 8:29 AM on March 12, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! Good to know insects. Hopefully she'll be alright. (Me too!)
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 2:05 PM on March 12, 2010

don't know if this will help at all, but the first 5 minutes are definitely the scariest (for someone afraid of heights). it's sort of like getting on a horse - you're overwhelmed at the height, but then you adjust, and then you forget about being afraid.

have fun!
posted by gursky at 2:34 PM on March 12, 2010

« Older Need more jazz like this sample   |   I Need to Train a Snake to Fetch... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.