NTSB Identification: FTW02LA188.
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Accident occurred Friday, June 21, 2002 in Midland, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/25/2003
Aircraft: Cessna 182Q, registration: N5327N
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, arriving at her destination, flew around the airport several times to get her bearings. With the runway lights dim, she tried increasing the intensity with the pilot controlled lighting, but was unsuccessful. FAA control tower personnel reported there was no pilot controlled lighting installed at the airport. The pilot also stated the lights on the interstate highway, which borders the airport, were confusing to her. She attempted to land on runway 10, but due to the wind rocking the wings, she aborted the landing. The pilot subsequently landed on runway 16R "with a hard bounce" and taxied to parking. The airplane was then towed and secured in a hangar, at which time damage to the airplane was observed. An inspection of the airplane by an airframe and powerplant mechanic revealed the firewall had been deformed where the nose trunnion attaches to the firewall. An initial on-site examination by an FAA inspector revealed the aircraft had sustained substantial damage during the hard landing. A second FAA inspector who examined the aircraft concluded the damaging force was in an aft and upward direction consistent with a hard nose wheel landing, and not consistent with any sort of side load that could have been applied by improper ground handling. A private firm, commissioned by the pilot to access the damage, concluded the damage was the result of sudden and dramatic side loads on the nose gear during ground movement operations, and not damaged due to an in-flight hard landing.

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

The pilot's hard landing as a result of her improper landing flare. Factors were the prevailing dark night conditions and the student pilot's lack of total experience in night operations.

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