On September 26, 2000, approximately 0950 Pacific daylight time, an Aeronca 11BC, N3954E, registered to and operated by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during an on ground collision with safety barricades surrounding the fuel pumps at the Auburn Municipal airport, Auburn, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions existed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14CFR91, and was destined for Crest Airpark, Washington.

The pilot reported (see NTSB Form 6120.1/2 attached) that after arriving at Auburn Municipal airport from a local flight, she taxied to the Chevron fueling area, shut the aircraft down and refueled. Following the refueling, she pushed the aircraft backwards towards a Chevron sign near the fuel pumps and proceeded to secure the airplane in preparation for hand-propping the engine for start. She tied a length of rope around the base of the signpost and then secured the opposite end to the aircraft's tail tie-down hook.

Having secured the aircraft, she then "pulled the throttle off and turned the key on" and made three unsuccessful attempts to start the aircraft's engine by hand propping. She then returned to the cockpit, "cracked" the throttle slightly, and returned to the front of the aircraft. Once hand propped, the engine started immediately. The pilot further reported, "I began walking back to the cockpit but saw that the airplane was idling too fast and moving forward. It continued to go forward, breaking the tail hook rope." The aircraft then veered left impacting the metal barricades protecting the fuel pumps. Both wing struts were bent and the main landing gear were torn off the aircraft.

A follow-up interview was telephonically conducted with the pilot. She reported that the aircraft was equipped with wheel brakes but no parking brake and that the aircraft, having no electric starter system, required hand-propping to start the engine. She also stated that she carried chocks with her in the aircraft, but they were not used during the accident scenario. The tail tie-down hook on the aircraft had a release mechanism actuated from the cockpit which would allow the pilot, once aboard, to release the rope at the tie-down hook end.

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