NTSB Identification: WPR12LA076
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, January 06, 2012 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: PIPER PA28, registration: N4175V
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 planned to conduct a solo cross-country flight with intermediate stops at two other airports before returning to the flight school base airport. The taxi, takeoff, flight, and touchdown of the first leg were normal. However, during the landing roll, the airplane pulled right, but the pilot was able to keep the airplane on the runway. The pilot stopped the airplane but did not shut down the engine or exit the airplane. Instead, he leaned out the door of the low-wing airplane to check for anomalies. He did not report seeing anything unusual; however, the wing would have blocked his view of the landing gear. He then taxied the airplane, departed, and did not experience any anomalies or difficulties with the airplane during that departure and flight. However, the student was concerned about the event at the first destination, so he opted not to land at the second planned destination, and, instead, he circled a few times and then headed toward the base airport. Although the flight school encouraged students to solicit assistance in the event of off-site problems and the pilot could have contacted the school via radio, he did not do so nor did he explain why he did not do so. The landing at the base airport was normal until the nose gear touched down, and the airplane subsequently veered right and departed the runway. The airplane struck a runway distance sign and a berm, which substantially damaged the nose and right main landing gear. Postaccident examination of the airplane did not reveal any preexisting mechanical malfunctions or failures with the landing gear that would have precluded normal operation, but impact damage to the landing gear precluded a determination of the braking and steering systems’ preaccident condition and functionality. Review of maintenance records indicated that the airplane had operated normally in the several months since its most recent landing gear and steering system maintenance. Subsequent to the accident, the flight school provided students with mobile phones to improve their ability to contact the flight school in the event of off-site problems or difficulties.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s inability to maintain directional control during the landing roll for reasons that could not be determined because impact damage precluded determination of the preaccident functionality of the braking and steering systems.
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