On July 23, 1995, at 1423 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N7141J, exited the departure end of runway 24 and nosed over at McClennan-Palomar Airport, Carlsbad, California. The pilot was completing a visual flight rules personal flight. The airplane, registered to and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at El Monte Airport, El Monte, California, about 1310 hours.

The pilot said in the aircraft accident report form that he initially called the tower when he was over the powerplant, about 4 miles west-southwest of the airport. The controller gave the pilot some instructions, however, he did not hear them clearly and continued to the downwind leg and reported his position. He did not hear any reply.

The pilot then executed a 360-degree turn and again contacted the tower; the local controller told him that he did not have the airplane in sight. The pilot made another 360-degree turn. During the turn, the controller instructed the pilot to remain at 1,500 feet (mean sea level) and asked if he had the runway in sight. The pilot said he did, and at this time the airplane was about 1,000 feet from the threshold. The controller cleared the pilot to land.

The pilot reduced the power and began the landing approach. He said that the airplane was past midfield when it touched down. He said that he was unable to stop the airplane and knew that he could not go-around. The airplane exited the departure end of the runway. When the airplane entered the rough/uneven dirt, the nose gear collapsed and the airplane nosed over onto its back.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators reviewed the Palomar Airport recorded communications media between the pilot and the local controller. The communications media revealed that the local controller was handling many airplanes and that the pilot reported over the powerplant. After giving another airplane instructions, the local controller provided landing instructions to the pilot. The controller then instructed the pilot to press the identification mode of the transponder. The pilot said that the mode was inoperative. The local controller did not have radar or visual contact with N7141J and instructed the pilot to report on the downwind leg.

Later the pilot became disoriented and could not find the airport. Another airplane spotted the accident airplane east of the airport and informed the local controller. The local controller observed the airplane and made positive visual identification with it. The local controller helped the pilot with verbal instructions to the airport. The pilot said that he had the airport in sight and the local controller cleared the pilot to land. The pilot made a left turn toward the runway, but again became disoriented. The local controller gave the pilot verbal instructions and guided him through a missed approach procedure and reentry into the traffic pattern. The pilot followed the instructions. While on the downwind leg, the local controller asked the pilot if he had the runway in sight, and if so, was he able to land. The pilot said he had the runway in sight and that he could land. The local controller cleared the pilot to land.

There were no further communications between the pilot and the local controller.

One ground witness said that he heard and recorded the communications between the pilot and the local controller. He said that the pilot sounded confused during his communications with the local controller. He said that the airplane was high on final approach and then made an "S" turn. He said that the airplane entered "ground effect" when it was abeam the tower. The flaps were retracted and the airplane was flying between 70 and 80 knots. The airplane landed between 400 and 500 feet from the end of the runway. The airplane made a left turn and then ran off the end of the runway.

The three controllers in the tower said that the airplane touched down west of the second taxiway intersection of the runway at a high speed. Two of the controllers said the flaps were retracted; the other controller said that the pilot lowered about 10 degrees of flaps before touching down. During the landing roll, the airplane exited the right side of the departure end of the runway and went down the embankment.

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