The pilot reported that he was on a return flight back to his home airport. He turned on the Cessna 182’s cabin lights and they seemed a bit dim.
He decided to stop at the airport in Robstown, Texas, and troubleshoot the lighting issue and refuel, so he would have full fuel tanks for the night flight.
He parked the airplane in front of the fuel pump and refueled both wing tanks, before pushing the airplane back. He added that he planned on checking to see if the battery would charge before continuing the flight.
The propeller turned slow and the engine did not start, so he elected to hand prop the airplane.
He said he set the throttle, mixture, and parking brake, and after several attempts the engine started. He added that the engine appeared to be at idle, and then the rpms increased. The airplane moved forward and hit the fuel station’s credit card machine before he could enter and stop the airplane.
An examination of the airplane noted substantial damage to the airframe’s belly/bottom firewall area. Additionally, there was minor damage to the airplane’s cowling, propeller, and nosewheel pant. There was also damage to the fuel pump’s credit card machine and a set of steps.
An inspection of the airplane by an FAA inspector found that the throttle’s friction lock was working, however a check of the airplane’s parking brake found that even after application of the brake, the airplane would move and the brakes did not function as intended. The specific problem with the brakes were not identified.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to set the friction lock on the throttle before hand propping the engine, which allowed the airplane to move forward and hit a credit card machine. Contributing to the accident was the malfunction of the parking brake for reasons that could not be determined.
This December 2019 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.