On August 1, 1997, approximately 1650 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N80987, was substantially damaged during an aborted landing at the Ona Airpark, Milton, West Virginia. The certificated student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the solo cross country flight that departed the Cincinnati Municipal-Lunken Field Airport, Cincinnati, Ohio. No flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

During a telephone interview, the student pilot stated this was his first approach to a runway less than 100 feet wide. Runway 7 at Ona Airpark was 40 feet wide. In the landing flare, the airplane began to drift to the left side of the runway. The student pilot was unable to make adequate correction for the drift because the control yoke was blocked by a knee board that held navigation materials. As the aircraft continued to drift farther to the left, full power was applied to initiate a go-around. During the climb out, the student pilot used his right hand to raise the flaps to 20 degrees and became pre-occupied that he could not use full right yoke. The student pilot then glanced out the windshield and saw a windsock, mounted on a 30-35 foot high telephone pole, in front of the airplane. The student pilot pulled back on the yoke to avoid the telephone pole then "...bled off all of the airspeed and stalled the aircraft."

A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector, who interviewed the student pilot after the accident, stated that the airplane drifted off to the left side of the runway while landing, striking a runway light with the left main gear. The student pilot initiated a go-around, pitched the airplane to a very high angle of attack and continued to drift further to the left. As the student pilot started to retract the flaps, the airplane stalled, impacting the ground nose first. The airplane came to rest upright and a post crash fire was extinguished by airport personnel.

A witness to the accident stated that he saw the airplane bounce several times then drift off to the left side of the runway, striking several runway lights as it started to head for a 20 foot high telephone pole that had a wind sock attached to it. The witness then heard the engine being "fire walled" and the airplane pitched straight up, stall, and impact the ground.

A review of the student pilot's logbook revealed 28 hours of total flight experience; all in a Cessna 172. Attempts to have the pilot complete and return the required National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report form 6120.1/2 were unsuccessful. The pilot reported there were no mechanical deficiencies with the airplane.

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