On November 13, 2001, at 1510 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-18-150, N5762A, registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with a tree and terrain following a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff from Anderson Field, Brewster, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured.

The pilot reported during a telephone interview that this was the first flight after the aircraft had been completely restored. The start, taxi and takeoff were normal. The pilot reported that during the climb at about 150 feet above ground level, the engine suddenly quit without warning. The pilot attempted to return to the airport, but was unable, and therefore chose to land on Highway 97 that parallels the runway. The pilot stated that the highway was initially clear of traffic until a truck came over a rise. The pilot maneuvered the aircraft to the side of the highway, and just prior to touchdown, the left wing struck a tree which spun the aircraft to the left. The main landing gear collapsed and the right wing contacted the surface.

The pilot later reported to a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector from the Spokane, Washington, Flight Standards District Office that when the aircraft came to rest, he immediately exited the aircraft in case of fire. When it was determined safe, the pilot returned to the aircraft to secure the cockpit. During this time, the pilot found that the magneto switches were off. The pilot reported that he did not recall turning the switches off prior to exiting the aircraft. The unguarded toggle switches are located on the left lower side wall. In the Recommendation section of the attached Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report Form 6120.1/2, of how this accident could have been prevented, the pilot stated, "magneto toggle switches relocated to overhead or inst. panel..."

After the aircraft was moved back to the airport, the engine was started and run for several minutes with no evidence of a mechanical failure or malfunction noted.

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