Nov. 15, Leesburg, Va. / Cessna Skyhawk


At 18:16 eastern time, a Cessna 172S was destroyed by an explosion and fire after the pilot shut down the engine on the taxiway at Leesburg Executive Airport. The pilot was seriously injured. The pilot said he was flying to a nearby airport to pick up a passenger and return. The aircraft had been loaded for a departure the next day to make a fishing trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The airplane was loaded with fishing gear, camping gear and 15 gallons of 100LL avgas in four, five-gallon cans. The fuel cans and the gear were secured under a cargo net in the airplane two days prior to the accident. The pilot said he taxied to the runup area and got an overwhelming fuel smell. He shut off the engine and exited the airplane. However, he left the master switch and lights on and the airplane cabin exploded.


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