NTSB Identification: IAD02LA013.
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Accident occurred Thursday, November 15, 2001 in Leesburg, VA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 172S, registration: N346ME
Injuries: 1 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The airplane was loaded with fishing and camping gear, and 15 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline, in four, five-gallon fuel cans. The fuel cans and the gear were secured under a cargo net in the airplane 2 days prior to the accident. The pilot completed his preflight inspection with no anomalies noted, and checked the security of the cargo in the back of the airplane. There was no evidence of fuel spillage and no odor of fuel in the cabin. The pilot started the engine and taxied to the run-up area at the approach end of a runway, then applied the parking brake, and started the takeoff checklist. During the checklist, there was an "overwhelming fuel smell." The pilot shut down the engine with the mixture but left the master switch and the lights on. He looked for fuel on the floor of the cabin, but I couldn't see any. The pilot deplaned, and was about to close the door when the cabin exploded.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's improper stowage of hazardous material. Full narrative available
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