Hand-propped airplane escapes

Aircraft: Piper Pacer. Injuries: None. Location: Hebron, Neb. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot reported that he could not start the engine using the electric starter, so he decided to attempt to hand-prop it.

He set the parking brake and initiated the procedure. The engine started. The parking brake did not hold and the airplane began to roll.

The pilot couldn’t get the door open to get into the cockpit to reduce the throttle setting and the airplane got away from him. The Piper hit a building.

Probable cause: The pilot did not properly secure the airplane prior to rotating the propeller by hand, resulting in inadvertent movement of the airplane and collision with a building.

NTSB Identification: CEN12CA173

This February 2012 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.


  1. Tom says

    The starter was broke and tired,
    Pilot applied parking brake (so he thought),
    Turned the prop and the engine fired,
    Brake failed now the building’s been bought.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *