Hand-propped airplane escapes pilot

Aircraft: Piper Turbo Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Meadview, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that he had shut down the engine on a remote dirt airport to inspect the tires before takeoff. When he attempted to restart the engine, he determined that the battery was insufficiently charged, so he decided to attempt to start the engine by hand propping it.

He set the throttle, brake, and turned the magnetos to “on.” He successfully started the engine. The airplane began to move forward. He ran to the cockpit but was not fast enough to gain entry and control of the airplane before it hit a berm and went over a cliff.

Problem cause: The pilot’s failure to properly secure the airplane while manually starting the engine with the propeller, resulting in inadvertent movement of the airplane and collision with the ground.

NTSB Identification: WPR11CA107

This January 2011 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.

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