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N2007B accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 42.116667°N, 85.516667°W
Nearest city Vicksburg, MI
42.120046°N, 85.532775°W
0.9 miles away
Tail number N2007B
Accident date 20 Mar 2017
Aircraft type Luscombe 8F
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On March 20, 2017, about 1644 central daylight time, the pilot of a Luscombe 8F, N2007B, was struck by the airplane's propeller as he attempted an engine start at Thrall Lake Airport (7MI3), Vicksburg, Michigan. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane did not sustain damage. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that was originating when the accident occurred, and no flight plan was filed.

According to the local police report, on the afternoon of the day of the accident, the pilot's wife called a friend of the pilot to inquire about the whereabouts of her husband. After attempting to contact the missing pilot, the friend drove to the airport where he observed the pilot lying on the grass under the nose of the airplane with a fatal head injury. The friend reported the accident to the police about 1844.

The airport owner responded to the airport at the request of the police; he thought the pilot was attempting to start the airplane by hand propping it when he was injured. The magneto switch was in the "Both" position; the throttle was at idle; the primer was in the unlocked position; and the fuel tank selector "was in the 'ON' position." Additionally, the owner stated that it appeared that the pilot was intending to fly the airplane given that the airplane was refueled, and the left tire was chocked as the pilot always did when preparing for a flight. According to the airport owner, the accident occurred after his employees left the airport about 1600.

The owner of the airplane stated that the pilot had been flying the airplane for about 15 years. He believed that the pilot "had extensive knowledge of the use and precautionary measures needed" to hand prop the engine, which was the normal starting procedure for the airplane. According to the owner, there were no known malfunctions or failures with the propeller, airframe, or engine that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airplane Flying Handbook states that hand propping an airplane "is a critical procedure never [to] be attempted alone. And propping should only be attempted when two properly trained people, both familiar and experienced with the airplane and hand propping techniques, are available to perform the procedure." The handbook describes the recommended procedure and communication/commands to be used when hand propping.

The Department of Pathology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, performed an autopsy of the pilot and determined that the cause of death was craniocerebral injuries. The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology results were negative for ethanol and drugs.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadvertent contact with the propeller while hand propping the engine, which resulted in a fatal injury.

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