NTSB Identification: DFW07LA056.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 26, 2006 in Tulsa, OK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2007
Aircraft: Cessna 172S, registration: N159RA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A private pilot, who had been denied authorization by the operator to rent the airplane for a night flight, gained access to the ignition key for the single-engine airplane, and proceeded to attempt the unauthorized flight. The airplane collided with a hangar and a parked airplane while taxiing for departure. A post impact fire ensued. The pilot exited the airplane's side window unassisted and fled the accident site. Before the accident, the pilot had informed the flight school dispatcher that a flight instructor was en route to the airport to provide him with a biannual flight review. The pilot was authorized to perform a preflight inspection of the airplane while waiting for the instructor to arrive. The pilot mentioned that he wanted to start the airplane's engine to make sure it was operational. The dispatcher informed the pilot that he needed to wait until the flight instructor arrived. Unbeknown to the dispatcher, the pilot had taken the airplane's ignition key from the office. A short time later the dispatcher heard an airplane engine start followed by a "crash sound and then a loud boom or explosion." The flight instructor, with whom the pilot had reportedly talked to on the night of the accident, reported that he had not received any calls from the pilot on the evening of the accident. The day after the accident it was discovered that ignition switches in two rental airplanes parked near the accident airplane had been tampered with. The ignition switch had been pulled loose from one airplane and the other airplane's ignition switch had been removed. Reportedly the pilot committed suicide approximately two weeks later.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain clearance from a hangar and parked airplane during the unauthorized use of an airplane.

Full narrative available

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