On September 16, 1996, about 1115 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N737GJ, was substantially damaged when it collided with the ground during a go-around at the Brookhaven Airport, Shirley, New York. The student pilot, sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that departed Farmingdale, New York. No flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

During a telephone interview with the student pilot (SP) stated that he planned to practice landings at Brookhaven. When he radioed his intentions, runway 33 was given as the active runway. During the landings, he compensated for a left cross wind with the wing-low method. On the fifth landing, a gust of wind raised the left wing, and the airplane drifted off the right side of the runway. The SP performed a go-around, during which, he retracted the flaps from 20 to 0 degrees continuously. The SP stated that as soon as he retracted the flaps, the airplane sank, and the right wing contacted the ground. He also stated that he should not have retracted the flaps continuously. The SP could not recall whether he was taught to raise the flaps in increments or continuously when conducting a go-around.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Inspector, runway 6-24 at Brookhaven was closed. The winds at Brookhaven were reported to be from 230 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts to 15 knots. Examination of the wreckage by the FAA Inspector did not disclose evidence of malfunctions with the airplane, nor did the pilot report any.

The SP had a total flight time of 73 hours, of which 21 were solo.

According to the Cessna 172 Pilot's Operating Handbook, for a go-around, it stated:

BALKED LANDING 1. Throttle -- FULL OPEN. 2. Carburetor Heat -- COLD. 3. Wing Flaps -- 20 degrees (immediately). 4. Climb Speed -- 55KIAS. 5. Wing Flaps -- 10 degrees (after reaching a safe altitude and 60KIAS).

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