NTSB Identification: CEN09CA002
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 03, 2008 in Alton, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/03/2008
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N5172J
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The student pilot and flight instructor had conducted four takeoffs and landings during a dual instructional flight prior to the accident flight. The flight instructor stated that the landings "went really well" and he elected to endorse the student pilot for solo flight. The student pilot subsequently took off on his initial solo flight and flew a normal traffic pattern. He noted that the airplane was established at 70 knots on final approach for runway 29 (8,098 feet by 150 feet, dry asphalt). The airplane touched down on centerline; however, after landing it began to drift to the left and he was unable to maintain directional control. The airplane subsequently departed the runway pavement and struck a runway sign before coming to rest. A post accident inspection revealed that the firewall had been damaged. The pilot reported that there were no failures or malfunctions associated with the airplane prior to the accident. Winds were from 270 degrees at 10 knots at the time of the accident, according to the pilot.

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

The student pilot's failure to maintain directional control during landing. A contributing factor was the presence of the sign struck during the runway excursion.

Full narrative available

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