Long-EZ N218EZ: Incident Report
Scenario: I was the pilot in command of Long-EZ N218EZ at Scottsdale Municipal Airport when it crashed into a Cessna 152 after hand propping the engine. The situation occurred as follows: I had just fueled up for a local flight and was preparing the aircraft for engine start. I placed the wheel chock under the port tire and set the magnetos for ignition. I set the throttle position incorrectly although I did not realize this until it was too late. I then hand propped the engine and she started on the first pull but the RPMs were too high and the Long-EZ jumped the chock. ran around the port wing but then my last failsafe malfunctioned. The rubber stopper under the nose, which was made out of a hockey puck, sheared off and the Long-EZ raced away toward the active runway. A previous gear up landing prompted the installment of a stainless steel plate under the nose in the event that a gear up landing occur again. The steel plate offered little friction to the asphalt and she accelerated away from me (I am slow of mind not of foot). I was only able to get alongside the wing at full sprint and the plane was still accelerating toward the active runway. I decided to try to alter the plane's course and at my last chance grabbed the port winglet and pulled myself up off the ground. Off balance, the Long-EZ did veer away from the runway but rny troubles were just beginning. Now a less than willing passenger on the wing of a pilotless plane going approximately 25inph, I helplessly watched as the Long settled on a course directly at a parked Cessna 152. 1 had no choice but to release and watch the planes collide.
Damage: The Cessna suffered a collapsed wing and sustained propeller, nose gear, and engine cowl damage. The Long lost the canard and punctured the port wing strake on the Cessna's propeller.
Recommendations: This situation arose primarily because the throttle was set at too high a power sitting thus initiating the runaway condition. Second, the rubber stopper was rode out of the wrong material (hockey pucks are designed to slide) and it was not secured to the fuselage properly. For those who hand prop their planes, I would recommend installing a parking brake and/or some remote cutoff switch for the engine. A simple procedural solution would be to set the fuel valve to off so that if the plane runs away, it won't get too far. Always be certain of your throttle setting.
by Michael Best