Jump to Content
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 1.61MB]

What happened

On 11 September 2016, the pilot of a Cessna 172RG, registered VH-MKG (MKG), was observed moving the aircraft out of a hangar at Parafield Airport. The aircraft was positioned on the apron in front of this hangar. The pilot then hand swung the propeller to start the engine, with no one at the aircraft controls. Following the hand start, the uncontrolled aircraft taxied a short distance before colliding with a parked Piper PA-32 Saratoga. Although not struck directly by the propeller, the pilot was fatally injured either by being struck by the aircraft or in the subsequent fall as the aircraft taxied away. The pilot's dog was unsecured in the aircraft.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the battery installed in MKG had insufficient charge to start the engine, and that the pilot started the engine by hand swinging the propeller. The aircraft was not adequately secured during the hand start, resulting in fatal injuries to the pilot and damage to another aircraft when it taxied without pilot control.

Safety message

Hand swinging an aircraft propeller is recognised across the aviation industry as a hazardous procedure. Although hand swinging is permitted under the civil aviation regulations, it should only be undertaken when no other alternatives exist to start the aircraft engine and all necessary precautions have been taken to mitigate the hazards.

Additionally, unrestrained animals in the aircraft cabin have the potential to adversely affect safety during aircraft operations.

Final position of VH-MKG against the Saratoga


Final position of VH-MKG against the Saratoga

Source: ATSB

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 1.61MB]

The occurrence

Safety analysis


Sources and submissions


To download, click the link, then right-click and select Save As.

Copyright in material obtained from other agencies, private individuals or organisations, belongs to those agencies, individuals or organisations and should be credited accordingly.

General details
Date: 11 September 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 16:06 CST  
Location   (show map):Parafield Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: South Australia Occurrence type: Aircraft preparation 
Release date: 24 February 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 172RG 
Aircraft registration: VH-MKG 
Serial number: 172RG0795 
Type of operation: General Aviation-Unknown 
Sector: Piston 
Departure point:Parafield, SA
Share this page Provide feedback on this investigation
Last update 18 April 2017