NTSB Identification: ANC06CA138.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 24, 2006 in Palmer, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 172, registration: N7939B
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The private certificated pilot was departing from a remote area that was about 900 feet long on a Title 14, CFR Part 91, local area personal flight. The pilot reported that he previously had trouble with the airplane's charging system. When he attempted to start the airplane for takeoff, the battery was dead. He placed the magneto switch on the left magneto to facilitate starting, and hand-propped the engine. He then began the takeoff roll, which was longer than he expected. In order to miss trees at the end of the departure area, the pilot applied left rudder to maneuver past the trees, but the right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator collided with high brush. The airplane became airborne, and the pilot continued to his destination, about 8 miles away. Upon landing, the pilot discovered substantial damage to the stabilizer and elevator. The pilot reported that he also discovered that the magneto switch was still on the left magneto position, and that he did not select the "both" magneto position prior to the takeoff, thereby reducing available engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to follow the checklist to ensure the proper positioning of the magneto switch during the takeoff roll, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power, and a subsequent collision with high vegetation during the takeoff run. A factor contributing to the accident was the pilot's improper positioning of the magneto switch on the left magneto position.

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