TMC AVIATION LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N128RM
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA St. Louis FSDO-62
Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms
Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
NTSB Identification: GAA16CA386
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 18, 2016 in Chesterfield, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/05/2016
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N128RM
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The student pilot reported that on the second landing during her first solo flight, the airplane porpoised. On the second bounce the nose wheel impacted first, which resulted in substantial damage to the firewall. The student pilot reported that she taxied the airplane to the tie down area without further incident.
According to the student pilot there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation.
The Federal Aviation Administration has published the Airplane Flying Handbook FAA-H-8083-3A (2004). This handbook discusses porpoising and states in part:
In a bounced landing that is improperly recovered, the airplane comes in nose first setting off a series of motions that imitate the jumps and dives of a porpoise—hence the name. The problem is improper airplane attitude at touchdown, sometimes caused by inattention, not knowing where the ground is, mistrimming or forcing the airplane onto the runway.
Ground effect decreases elevator control effectiveness and increases the effort required to raise the nose. Not enough elevator or stabilator trim can result in a nose low contact with the runway and a porpoise develops.
Porpoising can also be caused by improper airspeed control. Usually, if an approach is too fast, the airplane floats and the pilot tries to force it on the runway when the airplane still wants to fly. A gust of wind, a bump in the runway, or even a slight tug on the control wheel will send the air plane aloft again.
The corrective action for a porpoise is the same as for a bounce and similarly depends on its severity. When it is very slight and there is no extreme change in the airplane's pitch attitude, a follow-up landing may be executed by applying sufficient power to cushion the subsequent touchdown, and smoothly adjusting the pitch to the proper touchdown attitude.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The student pilot's improper pitch control during the landing flare, which resulted in a porpoise and substantial damage to the firewall.