Solo attempt at hand-propping Luscombe ends in cornfield

This April 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.Aircraft: Luscombe 8A.
Location: Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to start the airplane by hand-propping the engine. He told investigators that he chocked the main landing gear wheels. There was no one at the controls of the aircraft.

Upon engine startup, the engine rpm increased rapidly. Before the pilot could get to the cockpit to reduce the throttle, the airplane lurched over the chocks and continued into a cornfield.

The pilot chased after the airplane but did not catch it before it encountered uneven terrain and nosed over. He reported the accident could have been prevented if he had secured the tailwheel with a tie-down for engine start.

Probable cause: The pilot intentionally leaving the airplane unoccupied during the engine start.

For more information: ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070508X00528&key=1.

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