This December 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 150. Injuries: 2 Serious. Location: Palenstine, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot and a 6-year-old passenger boarded the airplane for a local flight. After a failed attempt to start the engine, the pilot told investigators that he recalled securing the master switch and the magnetos prior to exiting the cockpit to rotate the propeller by hand.
As he turned the propeller to limber the oil, the airplane’s engine inadvertently started. As the airplane moved forward, it hit the pilot causing serious injuries. The airplane, with the passenger still on-board, went across the airport before hitting trees. The passenger was seriously injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. A firefighter who responded to the accident reported turning off the magneto and fuel switches.
Probable cause: The failure of the pilot to ensure security of the cockpit switches before rotating the propeller.
For more information: NTSB.gov