Aircraft: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Newport News, Va. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot thought that he positioned his feet on the toe brake pedals during engine start. After starting, the engine accelerated to a higher rpm than expected, and the airplane began to roll forward. The pilot pressed down with his feet, but the airplane continued to roll.
After reducing the throttle to idle, he attempted to steer the airplane with the rudder pedals, but they would not move. As the airplane neared a hangar, he shut down the engine with the fuel mixture control and turned the magneto switch off. The airplane hit the hangar.
The post-accident examination revealed no anomalies with the rudder pedal or toe brake systems.
In a post-accident statement, the pilot offered that, rather than placing his feet on the brake pedals, he inadvertently pressed on the torque tube assembly, which is part of the airframe structure located above the toe brake pedals.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to properly monitor the flight controls during engine start.
NTSB Identification: ERA13CA091
This December 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.