On October 18, 2001, at 0705 eastern daylight time, a line technician was seriously injured while attempting to hand-prop a Cessna 172N, N4834G, at Hanover County Municipal Airport (OFP), Ashland, Virginia. The airplane was not damaged, and the pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file for the aerial observation flight, conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, during the engine start attempt, the starter would not engage. The line technician tried using a battery cart, but again the starter would not engage. The technician then hit the starter in an attempt to free the solenoid. When that didn't work, the pilot suggested hand-propping the airplane. The technician stated that he was familiar with the procedure, and the two went through the steps of the process. The technician called for the brakes to be held, throttle cracked, and magnetos on "both".

From the pilot's perspective, when the technician attempted the start, he appeared to wrap both hands around the propeller, then pulled it downward using his full body weight. The engine started, and the technician appeared to lose his balance and fell into the propeller arc. "The propeller clipped him in the back, picked up speed, struck him in the right forearm and tore through his right leg."

According to the technician, the engine started running as soon as he touched the propeller. The technician didn't slip, but he "wasn't quite ready for the propeller to turn over." The technician also stated that he had been extremely careful during the start attempt, and if he hadn't been, the propeller "would've taken my head off."

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