World View Explosion Speaks For It’s Self

World View balloon explosion

From Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, January 12, 2018, setting BOS agenda item:

From County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry to Board of Supervisors, February 8, 2018:

I have visited the World View headquarters at least twice since the accident and can confirm that the reports of superficial damage are accurate and that repairs are either underway or have been completed and financed with insurance proceeds. Upon completion of the independent investigation, the accident review board will submit details of its findings and recommendations to World View to ensure no such incident can or will occur in the future.

This report will be made available to Pima County for our information and comment. World View staff and personnel have always demonstrated a significant commitment to safety and professionalism, in particularly how they have handled this incident. We very much appreciate having an innovative aerospace company such as World View call Tucson home.

Immediately after the balloon ruptured, Facilities and Risk Management staff inspected the facilities and documented the damage that is primarily superficial. All damage will be fully repaired at no cost to Pima County. In fact, World View and Pima County received the first check for property damage repair from the insurance carrier for $200,000.

Raytheon Airport Site :

The Raytheon Airport Site facilities sustained minor damage and disruptions in business operations as a result of the incident. Additionally, Raytheon continues to be concerned about the World View “Test Planning” process and the safety reviews/oversight of those test plans for activities on the “Launch Pad.”

Interior non-bearing wall failure with marks on column showing amount of movement experienced. (Photo by Schneider Structural Engineers)

From Pima County Facilities Management:

From Schneider Structural Engineers, January 3, 2018:

On December 22, 2017, Ron Schneider, PE, a representative of Schneider Structural Engineers, visited the referenced building to review damage caused by an explosion. We were informed that the explosion occurred when a balloon that was being tested accidentally had its gas ignited and created a blast force. You asked us to determine if any structural damage was caused due to the blast force. We observed the following:

  • Store front glass system damaged along with broken glass pane.
  • Bracing rod anchors displaced. See photos 1 and 5.
  • Interior wall girts bent. See photos 4, 6 – 9.
  • Walls panels buckled at the tower. Translucent wall panels at tower overstressed and
  • damaged.
  • Roof panels damaged between and at roof supports due to uplift. See photos 10 – 13.
  • Light gage interior non-bearing walls overstressed and damaged. See photos 2 and 3.
  • We also noted damage to the garage doors on the north side which we were told were blown
  • inward.

 From Swaim Associates Ltd., January 3, 2018:

This review includes an inspection of the building after an explosion on the launch pad occurred when a balloons gas ignited.


  • Cracked drywall around door frames in frame walls
  • Storefront clips loose
  • Lateral shift in glass on east wall of mezzanine
  • Fire sprinkler escutcheons loose
  • Drywall separation at all columns
  • All walls on east and south wall of mezzanine bowed and cracked
  • Fire alarm system needs to be checked
  • Reposition all security cameras and perform systems check
  • Re-commission crane


  • Cracked drywall at east and west corners of window 4
  • Cracked concrete at column grid 3A around shear cables
  • Cracking all along grid 10
  • Flush bolt on door 220A bent, door twisted
  • Window 5 (all) gaskets popped out / lateral shifted glass
  • Walls along Grid D bowed

Women’s – 206

  • Fire sprinkler escutcheons loose
  • Cracking at top of column
  • Seam exposed in ceiling
  • Light fixtures pushed out

Men’s – 207

  • Fire sprinkler escutcheon loose
  • Light fixtures pushed out


  • Cracking at southwest seam

Mission control – 203

  • Cracked drywall at all corners of window 8
  • Cracked drywall at top of window 14
  • Mullion clip fell off on east side of window 12
  • Cracked drywall around conduits at east wall
  • Cracked drywall around beam 8
  • Cracked drywall around east side of window 9

Break out – 217

  • Ceiling grid fell

Phone – 222 & 221

  • Ceiling tile shifted
  • South wall shifted ½”

Phone – 208, 209, 210

  • Ceiling tile shifted

Break Area – 102

  • Door 101 twisted
  • Window 15 top mullion bent / twisted
  • Cracked drywall on east wall
  • Door 104 top mullion twisted
  • Cracked drywall at grid B penetrations through wall east of door

Wellness – 103

  • Day light at northeast corner
  • Separation of wall from both columns

Thermotron Room – 104

  • Check Thermotron pipes
  • Fiberglass panels detached
  • Drywall at bottom of beam at grid 7 separated

Avionic Room – 109

  • Cracked drywall at corners of door 109A
  • Cracked drywall at southeast corner
  • Water below humidifier
  • Scrim detached in ceiling
  • Floor base buckled

Server Room – 106

  • Cracked drywall at east side
  • Cracked drywall at top of grid 9/a9


  • All roll up doors damaged
  • Door 115 security does not work / will not lock
  • Scrim near doors ripped
  • Door 116A does not latch
  • Metal panels west of door 116A bent
  • Closure strip west of door 116 detached
  • Panel on both sides of door 116B bent
  • Panel corners at all columns bent in
  • Door 117 bent
  • East duct sock disconnected
  • Door 124A cover bent
  • Door 127 cracked at door frame
  • Humidification PVC pipe broken at grid 17
  • Thermostats pushed off walls.
  • Conduit brackets broken all along wall

Restrooms – 125 & 126

  • Cracked drywall at northeast corner
  • Fire sprinkler escutcheons detached

Avionics – 108

  • Cracked drywall all along east wall
  • Cracks around conduit pipes
  • Scrim at southwest detached

Balloon Bay -129

  • North wall bent and detached at top
  • Water damage at insulation from sprinkler
  • Water splatter on walls from sprinkler
  • WIFI access point popped off wall
  • Panels west of door 124 bent
  • Weather stripping on door 129 removed
  • Scrim detached at ceiling
  • Doors 111, 111B, 111C, 111A cracked at frame corners


  • Mission Control soffit detached
  • Thermotron escutcheons under Mission Control detached
  • Translucent panels on tower detached and bent
  • Metal panels on tower bent
  • East bay at grid 26 Styrofoam loose and removed from roof

Electrical Room – 105

  • Circuit breaker loose on wall

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