The pilot shut down the Piper PA-24’s engine to reposition the plane prior to finishing the run-up. Upon attempting to restart the engine, the airplane’s battery charge was low and the engine would not start.
He set the parking brake and hand propped the engine. The engine started and the airplane began to move without the pilot on board.
The airplane hit the perimeter fence at the airport in Homestead, Florida, which resulted in substantial damage to both wings.
According to the pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable cause: The pilots decision to hand prop the airplane’s engine without securing the airplane, resulting a runaway airplane and collision with a fence.
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA162
This March 2016 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.