On April 25, 1997, at 1342 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N63754, operated by Squadron 2, San Jose, California, experienced a loss of control following a bounced landing on runway 29 at the San Jose International Airport. The airplane was destroyed in the subsequent ground collision sequence and the student pilot was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local area solo instructional flight began from San Jose at 1320. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness, who was approximately 500 yards from the accident site, reported that he observed the airplane touch down hard on the centerline of the runway, and then climb 75 feet during the initiation of a go-around. The witness stated that the airplane's angle of attack increased, and the airplane appeared to stall. Thereafter, the airplane banked "sharply" left and descended until impacting the ground.
Several air traffic controllers reported observing the accident. One controller opined that the airplane appeared "very unstable during landing." The airplane bounced on the runway, a climb was initiated and then the airplane recontacted the ground, rolled about 20 feet in the grass, climbed again, and crashed in a left wing low attitude. A second controller reported seeing the airplane in a steep left bank with its wing "perpendicular to the ground." The airplane descended, cartwheeled on its left wing, and came to rest in a nose down attitude in an open field northwest of the control tower.
The student pilot's certified flight instructor (CFI) verbally reported that he also witnessed the accident flight. According to the CFI, the accident occurred during his student's first supervised solo flight. The student's first two attempted landings terminated in go-arounds. During the next two approaches the student performed touch-and-go's, and the fifth approach terminated with another go-around. The accident occurred during the next attempted landing.
The CFI further reported that the airplane's final approach looked normal and 30 degrees of flaps were used. The landing flare appeared normal. The student initiated a go-around and the airplane gained 50 feet, whereupon the flaps were partially retracted. The airplane entered a 45-to 60-degree left bank, descended, and impacted the ground.
The CFI stated that he subsequently spoke with his student. The student reported to him that he recognized that he should not have retracted the wing flaps while initiating the go-around. No claim of mechanical malfunction was asserted by the student.