Aircraft: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Johnson Valley, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: An acquaintance of the pilot expressed an interest in learning to fly his newly purchased airplane. The pilot agreed to provide a demonstration flight.
The acquaintance had no prior flight experience.
On the morning of the planned flight, the pilot discovered that the airplane’s battery was dead and decided to start the engine by hand-propping. The pilot instructed the passenger, who was seated in the left seat, how to operate the brakes and throttle.
The pilot was able to start the engine by hand, then the airplane began to move forward. The pilot was unable to board the airplane, and the passenger was unable to control or stop the airplane or shut down the engine.
Witnesses said that the engine rpm increased and the airplane accelerated as it crossed a runway and crashed into ground-mounted solar panel array.
Probable cause: The pilot did not properly secure the airplane prior to rotating the propeller by hand, resulting in inadvertent movement of the airplane.
NTSB Identification: WPR12CA153
This April 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.