This November 2008 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: Cessna 152. Injuries: 1 Fatal. Location: Atwater, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The accident involved two student pilots. The CFI of both students reported scheduling one of the student pilots for a solo cross-country the morning of the accident. Before the flight, the CFI met with the cross-country student to check weather and endorse his logbook. The CFI watched the student pilot walk to the ramp to preflight the airplane. The CFI then left the airport and the other student pilot got into the airplane.
The other student pilot had waited on the first floor of the air traffic control tower while the student pilot who had been signed off was dispatched in the airplane. When the flight instructor left the airport, the student pilot who had been waiting in the control tower joined the signed-off pilot for the cross-county flight. During the flight the students switched off as pilot in command. The students were aware that the FARs prohibit student pilots from carrying passengers.
At the completion of a cross-country flight, the two student pilots taxied the airplane toward the ramp. The non-signed-off student pilot in the right seat instructed the other student to taxi the airplane to the designated parking area, where he planned to exit the airplane. The students were concerned about being seen by flight school personnel. The student pilot in the left seat reported that when the other student exited the airplane, he ran toward the front of the airplane into the turning propeller.
Probable cause: The second student pilot’s failure to see and avoid the rotating propeller after exiting the airplane.
For more information: NTSB.gov