On May 29, 1997, at 2050 central daylight time a Cessna 152, N66980, piloted by a student pilot on his first solo flight was substantially damaged when the airplane went off the left side of runway 26R (3,800'x75' asphalt) and flipped over at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport, Chesterfield, Missouri. The student pilot was uninjured in the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions, and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight.

The student pilot submitted a written reported to the investigator in charge (IIC) on NTSB Form 6120.1/2. The student pilot reported that he and his instructor went out away from the airport and practiced stalls and turns before returning to the airport. After returning to the airport the pilot reported that with his instructor in the airplane he executed two touch and go landings. After the second landing the student pilot reported that the instructor was dropped off on the taxiway, and he taxied out for his first solo flight. The pilot executed a takeoff and reported that because of another airplane cutting in front of him he needed to execute a 360 degree turn before landing. The pilot reported that the airplane touched down at 55 knots, and that full flaps were used for the landing. The flaps down stall speed for this model aircraft is listed at 43 knots.

The pilot reported that after the airplane touched down it was left of centerline so he corrected with right rudder and retracted the wing flaps. After returning close to the centerline of the runway the pilot reported that he selected the carburetor heat to the off position and applied full throttle. The pilot reported that he "overcompensated" with the right rudder input, which was followed by an overcompensation with left rudder. Following the overcompensation to the left the airplane went off the left side of the runway into soft terrain with standing water and flipped over on its back. No mechanical malfunctions were reported by the pilot of the airplane.

The airplane's wing tips were damaged. The right wing spar was buckled with a crack in the spar cap.

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