Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Abnormal Runway Contact: Cessna 172R Skyhawk, N722SA; accident occurred July 09, 2020 at Auburn/Lewiston Municipal Airport (KLEW), Androscoggin County, Maine

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

L-A Pilots Club LLC

Location: Auburn, Maine
Accident Number: ERA20CA250
Date & Time: July 9, 2020, 13:00 Local 
Registration: N722SA
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Abnormal runway contact
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The solo student pilot reported that, during the landing flare, the airplane floated, and she believed that she intuitively released back pressure to get the airplane to land. Subsequently, the nose landing gear impacted the runway first and collapsed, which resulted in substantial damage to the fuselage and firewall. The student pilot reported there were no preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The student pilot's improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing on the nosegear and nosegear collapse.


Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact (Defining event)
Landing Landing gear collapse

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student 
Age: 70, Female
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: September 28, 2018
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 148.6 hours (Total, all aircraft), 148.6 hours (Total, this make and model), 8.1 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 13.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 7.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N722SA
Model/Series: 172 R 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1997 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 17280026
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: February 18, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5555.8 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed 
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-L2A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LEW,287 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 12:56 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No
Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Auburn, ME (LEW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Auburn, ME (LEW) 
Type of Clearance: Traffic advisory; VFR flight following
Departure Time: 12:11 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Auburn/Lewiston Muni LEW 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 287 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04 IFR
Approach: None 
Runway Length/Width: 5001 ft / 100 ft VFR
Approach/Landing: Full stop;Traffic pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 44.04861,-70.283607(est)


  1. I would say that wasn't abby normals best landing

  2. 140 hours dual and 8 hours solo. This suggests that his progression during training was very slow. this appears to be a case of a person who may not be disposed to becoming a safe pilot, and perhaps shouldn't have been allowed in the air by himself.

  3. Who's going to state the obvious issue here?

  4. This is becoming more and more regular on KR: accidents/incidents with 50 TO 100+ hour student solo pilots who still can't get the hang of it and it ends bad. At some point the plug has to be pulled and the student has to have his/her Class III medical student license - invalidated for being behind the controls in any capacity. This is just way too common these days.