MIA95LA235
MIA95LA235

On September 26, 1995, about 1348 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-161, N607FT, registered to Florida Institute of Technology, ran off the runway and collided with runway signs when directional control was lost during landing at Melbourne Regional Airport, Melbourne, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft received substantial damage and the student-rated pilot was not injured. The flight originated moments before the accident.

The student pilot stated that he and his instructor performed three touch-and-go landings on runway 27R at Melbourne. They were then switched to runway 9L due to a wind shift. They performed one touch-and-go landing and one full stop landing on runway 9L. His instructor got out of the airplane and he departed on his first solo flight.

He performed one solo touch-and-go landing uneventfully. On the second landing the aircraft porpoised as he flared to land and a right crosswind pushed the aircraft to the left. He initiated a go-around; however, the aircraft touched down on the runway and went off the left side of the runway. He closed the throttle and applied enough rudder to go straight but not to go to the right and get back on the runway. As he approached a runway sign he swerved to the right and struck the sign with the left inboard wing causing the left main landing gear to separate. The aircraft then struck another runway sign and came to rest in a ditch.

The winds were reported to be from 130 degrees at 13 knots, 2 minutes after the accident. Florida Institute of Technology guidelines to instructors concerning crosswind landings state that "all personnel must be trained to recognize their own limits which are a function of both total time and recency of experience. Limits of both you and the student may be lower than indicated maximums." The guidelines state solo students can not takeoff or land with a maximum crosswind component of more than 10 knots.

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