NTSB Identification: SEA04LA081.
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Monday, May 10, 2004 in Battle Ground, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/01/2004
Aircraft: Cessna 172P, registration: N54477
Injuries: 2 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 dual student, who holds a private pilot certificate for helicopters, was working towards a fixed-wing add-on to his certificate. As per the lesson profile, the student planned a dual cross country flight, but while en route, the instructor told the student to divert to another field. After arrival at the field, they over-flew the runway and determined that there was a direct crosswind at what they estimated was about 10 knots. The student then entered a left pattern for a full-stop landing on the damp turf runway. During his first two approaches, the student allowed the aircraft to get too high on final, and in both instances a go-around was initiated. On the third approach the aircraft remained on the proper final approach path until it was approximately 50 feet above the ground. At that point the aircraft encountered a wind gust, and it ballooned upward to an extent that the pilot was not able to descend to a position where he felt comfortable initiating the landing flare until the aircraft was almost halfway down the 2,600 foot runway. Then the aircraft "floated for awhile in ground effect" before touching down approximately two-thirds of the way down the runway. During this sequence of events, the student did not attempt to initiate a go-around on his own, and the instructor did not direct him to do one. After the aircraft touched down, the student applied the wheel brakes while holding the yoke full back for aerodynamic braking. Then the instructor came on the controls and assisted with the braking effort. Ultimately the pilots were unable to get the aircraft stopped before it went off the end of the runway, down a steep embankment, and into a ditch. Upon impacting the ditch, the nose wheel folded back and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The investigation did not find any evidence of problems with the aircraft's flight control or wheel braking systems.

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

The student pilot's misjudgment of distance and his failure to do a go-around. Also causal was the instructor's inadequate supervision of the flight. Factors include gusty crosswinds, the dual student's failure to adequately compensate for those winds, a wet runway surface, and a ditch off the departure end of the runway.

Full narrative available

Index for May2004 | Index of months