Student pilot stalls during landing attempt

The solo student pilot reported that, during landing at the airport in Clemson, S.C., as the nosewheel touched the runway, he felt a “strong vibration” and the airplane veered left.

He tried to correct by pulling back on the yoke, but the Cessna 172 became airborne and continued left. The airplane hit a ramp area to the left of the runway.

Examination of video surveillance revealed that the airplane landed and shortly after veered to the left. The airplane then became airborne, aerodynamically stalled, the left wing dropped and impacted the ramp.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The student sustained minor injuries.

The manager reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The automated weather observation station located on the airport reported that, about 36 minutes before the accident, the wind was variable at 3 knots. The same automated station reported that, about 24 minutes after the accident, the wind was variable at 5 knots. The pilot was landing on Runway 25.

Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during the landing roll and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack when it inadvertently became airborne, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

NTSB Identification: 99216

SAFE CFI Commentary

Asking ourselves questions – reflecting after action – is one of the most powerful learning tools – even when our flight is successful. This “after action de-brief” prevents embedding potentially harmful habits that may bite us later. SAFE‘s Master CFIs review these NTSB Accident Reports published in General Aviation News to provide questions and suggestions for improvement.

A go-around should be automatic for every student if problems develop during landing. As CFIs, we can create a bad example when we “save” landings (instead of going around). This student had completed X-C so maybe complacency and/or lack of recent landing practice could have contributed?

This April 2019 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

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