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N3042M accident description

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Crash location 41.908889°N, 70.728611°W
Nearest city Plymouth, MA
41.883437°N, 70.632811°W
5.2 miles away
Tail number N3042M
Accident date 03 Jul 2001
Aircraft type Piper PA-12
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On July 3, 2001, about 1730 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-12, N3042M, was substantially damaged during an unmanned taxi after engine start at the Plymouth Municipal Airport, (PYM), Plymouth, Massachusetts. The certificated commercial pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for the Lawrence Municipal Airport (LWM), Lawrence, Massachusetts. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he attempted to start the airplane; however, the starter would not engage. He then exited the airplane and rotated the propeller. During the third rotation, the engine started and the un-chocked airplane began to roll forward.

The airplane struck a parked, unoccupied aircraft before the pilot was able to shut down the engine.

Examination of the airplane's magnetos, P-leads, and ignition switch by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not revealed any abnormalities. It was noted that the starter switch operated correctly; however, the starter motor gear would not thrust forward to engage the engine ring gear.

During a subsequent telephone interview, the pilot stated that he did not intend to start the airplane when he rotated the propeller, and in retrospect, he felt rushed and "probably forgot" to turn the magnetos to the "off" position, prior to exiting the airplane.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to ensure the magnetos were off prior to rotating the propeller, which resulted in an unintentional engine start and subsequent unmanned taxi.

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