FAA Accident Report

An eyewitness statement

AIRCRAFT: CESSNA 172

PILOT: 30 YRS OLD, CFI, IR

FATALITIES: None

DAMAGE: Substantial

DATE OF ACCIDENT: July 10 2004

Pilot came to airport at 9 AM 10 Jul 2004.

Line attendant reports padlock on pilot's hangar door was so rusted he had to break it off with a 10# ball-peen hammer. Also had to inflate all 3 tires and scrape pigeon droppings off wind- screen. After several attempts to drain fuel strainers--pilot finally got what looked like fuel out of the wings sumps. Couldn't get the oil dipstick out of the engine but said it was okay last time he looked.

Engine started okay -- ran rough for about 1/2 minute. Then died. Then battery would not turn prop. Used battery cart and although starter was smoking real good, it finally started and the prop wash blew the smoke away.

Line attendant offered to fuel airplane up but pilot said he was late for an appointment at a nearby airport. Said it wasn't far. Taxied about 1/2 way out to active runway and the engine stopped. Pushed it back to the fuel pumps and bought 3 gallons for the left wing tank. Started it again. This time, he was almost out to the runway when it quit again. Put a little rock under nose wheel; hand propped it; and was seen still trying to climb in the airplane as it went across the runway. Finally got in it; blew out the right tire trying to stop before the cement plant.

When he taxied back in to have the tire changed, he also had the line attendant hit the right wing with 3 gallons of gas. Witness, who saw the take- off, said the aircraft lined up and took off to the north. Takeoff looked fairly normal -- nose came up about 300 ft down the runway. At midfield nose came down. Engine coughed twice -- then cut power and applied the brakes which made both doors fly open and a big fat brown book fell out on the runway and released probably a million little white pages with diagrams on them. Looked like sort of a snow storm.

After several real loud runups at the end, he turned her around and took off in the other direction going south into the wind. Only this time he horsed her off at the end and pulled her up real steep like one of them jet fighter planes -- to about 300 ft -- then the engine quit!

Did a sort of a slow turn back toward the airport -- kinda like that Art School guy -- and about 30 ft off the McDonald's cafe she started roaring again. He did sort of a high speed pass down the runway; put the flaps down to full and that sucker went up like he was going to do an Immelman! The engine quit again and he turned right and the line attendant thought he was coming right through the front window of the F.B.O.; but he pulled her up -- went through the TV antenna and the little rooster with the NSE & W things -- over the building then bounced the main wheels off the roof of 3 different cars in the lot -- a Porsche, a Mercedes and Dr. Brown's new BMW.

When he bounced off the BMW the engine roared to life and he got her flying. Came around toward the runway and set her down -- once on the overrun, once on the runway and once in the grass beside the runway. He taxied into the ramp -- shut her down -- and ordered 3 more gallons of gas. Said it was for safety's sake.

Then he asked where the phone booth was as he had to call his student and tell him he was going to be a little bit late.

 

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