The flight instructor was conducting the 16-year-old student pilot’s first instructional flight. After completing several takeoffs and landings at the airport in Ray, Michigan, they “taxied around the airport multiple times,” during which they experienced “light to sometimes moderate” rain.
At the conclusion of the lesson, the rain became heavy enough that visibility was reduced, and the instructor decided to taxi the Flight Design CTLS into its open hangar to avoid getting wet.
As they approached the hangar, the instructor noted a set of wheel chocks on the ground, and with the engine still running, he instructed the student to exit the airplane, walk around the propeller arc, and move the chocks so that he “could taxi the airplane nose-first into the hangar…then turn it around once inside and shut down.”
He stated that he repeated the instructions to ensure that the student understood.
The student subsequently got out of the airplane and walked forward into the spinning propeller, resulting in serious injury.
Probable Cause: The flight instructor’s improper decision to direct the student pilot to exit the airplane with the engine running, which resulted in serious injury when the student walked into the propeller arc.
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This June 2021 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.