LAX05LA073
LAX05LA073

On January 18, 2005, approximately 2330 mountain standard time, the pilot of a Cessna 172SP airplane, N2157H, walked into the airplane's rotating propeller as it stood on a taxiway with the engine running at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ), Casa Grande, Arizona. The airplane was not damaged; however, the pilot, who was the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to Desert Angels Aircraft Leasing, LLC, Phoenix, Arizona, and was operated by Angel Air, Chandler, Arizona, under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed. The flight was originating at the time, and was destined for Stellar Airpark (P19), Chandler.

According to Casa Grande Police Department personnel, the pilot flew to Casa Grande with another pilot earlier in the evening. The other pilot picked up a Mooney with the intent on flying it to Stellar ahead of the Cessna. After taking off from Casa Grande, the Mooney pilot attempted to contact the Cessna pilot over the common traffic advisory frequency, but could not establish communications. The Mooney pilot flew around Casa Grande attempting to contact the Cessna pilot. He then flew to Stellar believing that the Cessna pilot had already departed. When the Mooney pilot arrived at Stellar, there was no sign of the Cessna pilot, so he flew back to Casa Grande to see if the Cessna pilot was still in the area. After a number of flights back and forth between Stellar and Casa Grande, the Mooney pilot elected to land and refuel at Stellar before initiating another search. At 0300 on the 19th, the pilot's wife became concerned and contacted friends to start a search effort. A friend of the pilot's wife and the Mooney pilot met at Stellar, and elected to drive to Casa Grande after initiating search efforts with flight service station personnel.

Upon arriving at Casa Grande, at 0450, they found N2157H idling on the taxiway with the pilot lying on the ground on the left side of the airplane, and a flashlight lying on the ground to the right of the pilot. The airplane's engine was running at idle and its propeller was rotating. The parking brake was set, and the taxi and the landing light switches were in the ON position. The taxi light was dimly lit and the landing light was not illuminated. The battery was dead.

The airplane was towed to the ramp area where it was examined by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. According to the FAA inspectors, they noted that the nose wheel fairing panel, located on top of the nose fairing, but below the scissor link, was not inserted inside the fairing and impact marks (similar in shape as the bottom scissor link) were noted on the top of the fairing panel.

According to the Mooney pilot, there were no anomalies noted during the flight to Casa Grande, nor did the Cessna pilot report any anomalies to him. According to the operator, the airplane underwent its last annual/100-hour inspection on the 17th of January, 1.3 hours prior to the accident.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot woke up on the morning of the accident approximately 0700, and left for work at 0800. The pilot worked in the medical management field. The pilot's wife called and spoke with the pilot at work a couple of times throughout the day, and lastly around 1900. During the last conversation, the pilot informed her that he and his boss (the pilot of the Mooney) would probably not get to the airport until 2100 or 2130.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot accumulated 78.5 total flight hours, of which 4.6 hours were accumulated at night.

The Pinal County Medical Examiner's (ME) Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot. According to the autopsy report, there were no pre-existing medical conditions that would have prevented the pilot from performing his duties as pilot-in-command. Toxicological tests performed under the request of the ME for drugs and alcohol were all negative.

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