NTSB Identification: WPR11LA487
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 17, 2011 in Fortuna, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/20/2012
Aircraft: PIPER J3C-65, registration: N3453K
Injuries: 1 Serious,2 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.

The individual attempting to start the engine by turning the propeller (hand prop) reported that, during the first attempt to start the engine, verbal callouts were used. He further reported that the pilot then told him to pull the propeller through three times. The individual said that he then motioned, without a verbal callout to the pilot, that he would pull the propeller through per the pilot's request. The pilot reported that the individual hand-propping the engine pulled the propeller through a second time before he could secure the airplane by turning off the magnetos. As the individual rotated the propeller and reached to grab the other propeller blade, the engine unexpectedly started, which resulted in the propeller striking the individual in the right arm, causing a fracture.

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

The unexpected engine start during hand propping, which resulted in a serious injury. Contributing to the accident was the lack of communication between the pilot and the individual hand propping the engine.

Full narrative available

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