NTSB Identification: ERA11CA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, April 22, 2011 in Westfield, MA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/03/2011
Aircraft: PIPER J3C-65, registration: N10674
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 pilot stated that he was hand-propping the airplane, as it was not equipped with an electric starter. A passenger, who had flown with him twice since the previous fall, was sitting in the front seat. The pilot instructed the passenger to hold the heel brakes with her toes, and initially verified her ability to do so by pushing on the propeller hub. He then returned to the cockpit area and explained the application of full-aft elevator stick to prevent propeller airflow from raising the tail, and the use of the throttle, which he opened 1/8 to 1/4 inch for the start. The pilot also explained the use of the magnetos, had the passenger turn the magneto switch through the "Both" and "Off" positions twice, and advised her that if anything went wrong, to switch the magnetos off. After priming the engine, the pilot confirmed that the brakes were set by attempting to push the airplane from the propeller hub, then confirmed elevator movement when the control stick was fully aft. The pilot threw the propeller and on the third attempt the engine caught. As the pilot walked around the wing tip to get into the airplane, the airplane began rolling. He called out for the passenger to turn off the magnetos; however, the airplane rolled into a parked airplane. The pilot did not note any mechanical anomalies with the airplane, nor did he indicate the use of any other airplane securing devices such as chocks or a tail tie-down.

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

The pilot's sole reliance on the passenger for securing the airplane during the engine start and the passenger's inability to maintain braking after the engine started.

Full narrative available

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