Sunday, July 04, 2021

Hard Landing: Cessna 172S Skyhawk, N173ME; accident occurred July 05, 2020 at Prattville Airport (1A9), Autauga County, Alabama

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; Birmingham, Alabama

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Box Aviation Inc

Location: Prattville, Alabama
Accident Number: ERA20CA263
Date & Time: July 5, 2020, 12:00 Local
Registration: N173ME
Aircraft: Cessna 172 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Hard landing 
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Instructional


The solo student pilot had not flown recently and reported that he planned to complete a refresher flight. During the first landing of the flight, on the final approach, the airplane's glide path was "too high and too steep," and he flared the airplane too late. The airplane then landed nosewheel first and bounced twice. The pilot aborted the landing, landed again, then returned to his home airport. Postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the fuselage was substantially damaged. The student pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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 failure improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing.


Aircraft Descent/approach/glide path - Not specified
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Student/instructed pilot
Aircraft Landing flare - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Hard landing (Defining event)

Student pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 56, Male
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: January 28, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 18.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 18.5 hours (Total, this make and model), 3 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5.9 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3.7 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N173ME
Model/Series: 172 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility 
Serial Number: 172S8455
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: May 20, 2020 100 hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 101 Hrs 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9681.1 Hrs at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO360 L2A
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 1A9,225 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 11:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 110°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3000 ft AGL
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 23°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Montgomery, AL (MGM) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Prattville, AL (1A9) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 11:00 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Prattville - Grouby Field 1A9 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 224 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5400 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go around; 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: 32.43861,-86.517776(est)


  1. Wow. It seems like the next flier had scheduled his check ride. That pre flight must of been a bit crazy.

  2. People in aviation never cease to amaze me. That is why I left the instructor and maintenance side after all these years.

  3. How did this guy get signed off for solo? I blame the instructor more than him. Clearly he was not yet capable of consistency on a stabilized approach. At 15.5 hours he needed a LOT more training before going solo (assuming the mere 3 hours of PIC time for 18.5 hours total time is all solo time).

  4. You either get it or you don’t after 15 hours.
    This student dosent get it. Try another hobby please.

  5. Here is a picture of the guy that caused structural damage to the airplane and left it for the next pilot to get killed in.