On July 26, 1996, at 2230 central daylight time (cdt), a Cessna 172M, N1620V, operated by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when on climb from a go-around, the airplane departed controlled flight and impacted in an oak tree grove near Backus, Minnesota. Visual Meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file. The pilot and the passenger on board reported minor injuries. The flight originated at Minneapolis, Minnesota, at 2130 cdt.

In his written statement, the pilot said that he was above the glide path on final approach and did not feel comfortable with the situation. The pilot decided to execute a go around. He advanced the throttle to full power and moved the flap switch up two notches from 40 degrees of flaps to 20 degrees of flaps. "Everything seemed to be going fine when the next thing I saw was the tree tops." The pilot "instinctively pulled back on the yoke" to clear the trees. "The airplane dipped to the left," struck the trees and fell to the ground.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who examined the wreckage at the site, found the airplane resting on its left side amongst oak trees at an 80-degree angle. The left wing had separated from the airplane. The right wing was bent up and aft. Both left and right fuel tanks were broken open. The smell of fuel was prevalent. The cowling and forward fuselage were bent up and to the right. The nose gear had separated from the firewall. The firewall was buckled. The aft fuselage and tail section showed numerous bends and skin wrinkles. The left main landing gear was broken off. The right main landing gear was undamaged. The engine remained attached to its mounts. Both propeller blades were bent and showed chordwise scratching. Flight control continuity was established. No anomalies were found with the engine, engine controls or other airplane systems.

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