NYC99LA027
NYC99LA027

On November 25, 1998, about 0550 Eastern Standard Time, a certificated private pilot was fatally injured while hand-propping a Beech C35 Bonanza, N244L. The airplane was not damaged during the accident, which occurred at London-Corbin Airport - MaGee Field (LOZ), London, Kentucky. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.

A witness, a certified weather observer, said he stopped his car to talk to the pilot about 0540. The pilot stated that he needed to go to Birmingham, Alabama, but was having trouble getting his airplane started. He said that he left the airplane outside during the night, but should have left it in the hangar where it would have been warmer. The pilot did not appear to be in a hurry.

The witness left the scene, entered the weather office, and logged-on to his computer at 0548. Shortly thereafter, he heard an engine start, then quit. He then heard it crank a few more times. He looked out the door and saw the pilot get out of his airplane. The witness got up and began to walk toward the airplane, when he saw the pilot start to hand-prop it. The engine fired, and the propeller spun, hitting the pilot before stopping. The witness shouted to the pilot, but there was no response.

The first police officer on the scene reported that there had been heavy rains the previous evening, and that the surface area where the accident took place was still moist.

The airplane was being started in a refueling area, and the parking brake was set. There was a pair of chocks, connected by a rope, in the vicinity of the nose wheel. One chock was resting up against, and behind the nose wheel. The other chock was off to the side of the nose wheel. There was nothing in front of either the nose wheel or the main wheels.

The throttle was out about 1 inch, the propeller control knob was almost full in, the mixture control knob was full in, and the magnetos were on "both."

The pilot and airplane logbooks were not obtained. The pilot reported 5,000 total flight hours on his latest application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class Medical Certificate, which was issued October 30, 1997. The pilot had been seen hand-propping the airplane on other occasions.

Weather at the time of the accident was: wind calm, 10 miles visibility, temperature 1 degree Celsius, dewpoint -1 degree Celsius, altimeter 30.10. The accident occurred during the hours of darkness.

An autopsy, with toxicological testing, was performed on the pilot by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Office of the Associate Chief Medical Examiner, Frankfort, Kentucky. No alcohol or drugs were found.

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