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N50107 accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.949722°N, 94.347500°W
Nearest city Little Falls, MN
45.946632°N, 94.295277°W
2.5 miles away
Tail number N50107
Accident date 30 Sep 2002
Aircraft type Taylorcraft DCO-65
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 30, 2002, at 1745 central daylight time, a Taylorcraft DCO-65, N50107, received substantial damage when it took off and became airborne without the pilot aboard. The airplane then impacted trees at Little Falls/Morrison County Airport, Charles A. Lindbergh Field (LXL), Little Falls, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot received minor injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident and was en route to St. Cloud Regional Airport (STC), St. Cloud, Minnesota.

The pilot stated that the flight departed from Park Rapids, Minnesota en route to Lake Elmo, Minnesota. An en route fuel stop was made at LXL, but according to the pilot, the airport was unattended, and the credit card machine would not accept his card. He realized that he would have to go to STC to obtain fuel so as to have one fuel stop between Park Rapids and Lake Elmo. The airplane was not equipped with an electrical starting system. During hand starting of the airplane, the parking brake reportedly "let go." The pilot then tripped and fell while attempting to reach into the airplane to grab the throttle. The airplane continued without the pilot, hitting a shed with its left wing before coming to rest in an area of pine trees at the airport.

Federal Aviation Administration publication, Preventing Accidents During Aircraft Ground Operations (FAA-P-8740-20), presents suggestions to aid in increasing the safety factor while hand starting airplanes. The publication states the following:

"No one should attempt to start an aircraft engine without a qualified person at the cockpit controls. The person turning the propeller should be properly trained in the technique of hand cranking. If you have in mind to try hand propping by yourself - DON'T. If you must hand prop - get qualified help to position the engine controls and switches during the starting procedure. If hand propping can be avoided - DO."

"Unsupervised 'hand propping' of an airplane should not be attempted by inexperienced persons. Regardless of the experience level, it should never be attempted by anyone without adhering to adequate safety measures. Uninformed or inexperienced persons or nonpilot passengers should never handle the throttle, brakes, or switches during starting procedures. The airplane should be securely chocked or tied down, and great care should be exercised in setting the throttle. It may be well to turn the fuel selector valve to the 'off' position after properly priming the engine and prior to actually attempting the hand start. After it starts, the engine will usually run long enough with the fuel 'off' to permit walking around the propeller and turning the fuel selector to the 'on' position."

NTSB Probable Cause

The inadequate starting procedure by the pilot.

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