September 8, 2014, Selkirk, N.Y. Cessna 172K Skyhawk


The airplane was substantially damaged when it impacted a parked railroad freight car, then terrain, shortly after takeoff. The flight instructor and the sport pilot (under instruction for her private pilot certificate) were fatally injured. Visual conditions prevailed.

A witness heard a “normal” engine run-up and the takeoff. Shortly thereafter, the witness heard the engine “shut off [and] a second later it started back up.” After another second, the witness heard a loud crash. The airplane came to rest in a train yard, next to a line of rail cars. The fuel selector was found in the “Both” position; however, one of the first responders reported moving it but couldn’t recall in which direction. Both wing fuel tanks contained fuel that was blue in color and absent of water or debris. The engine did not exhibit any mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.


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