NTSB Identification: SEA98LA043.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, March 11, 1998 in DUBOIS, ID
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/10/2000
Aircraft: Piper PA-38-112, registration: N2438L
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot had reviewed the intended route of flight, including the Dubois airport, previous to departing Rexburg on his cross country solo. After landing first at Pocatello, and then Arco, he proceeded to Dubois where he found the airport and its single runway (16/34) snow covered. The Airport/Facility Directory effective at the time of the accident advised the reader that 'no winter maintenance' was available and the informational diagram of the Dubois airport (which was Xeroxed on the back side of the student's flight planner log for the accident trip) advised that the 'airport is closed from November to April because of snow.' The student 'decided to do a fly-by (as a missed landing) about 20'-15' above the runway' and reported that when he 'got to the transition point (he) applied full power and pulled the yoke back. Almost instantly, as the plane rotated, (he) felt drag as a wheel caught in the snow.' As the aircraft decelerated, rolling through the snow, the nose gear collapsed.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The student pilot's misjudgment of altitude/clearance and overloading of the nose gear. A contributing factor was the snow-covered turf runway.

Full narrative available

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