On December 18, 1997, approximately 1030 mountain standard time, a Cessna 177, N2988X, in the process of re-registration, and being flown by a student pilot, was substantially damaged, during a hard landing at Thompson Falls, Montana. The student pilot was uninjured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was the student's first supervised solo, was to have been operated under 14CFR91, and originated from the Thompson Falls airport approximately 1025.

The student pilot reported that he corrected for a momentary left crosswind (gust) and then the aircraft "dropped to the ground touching all three wheels simultaneously." He reported that "the plane bumped up in the air with a slight nose down attitude" and that the "plane stopped after the fifth jump." He further reported that after the first excursion the "(yoke froze)" and that a "(go around was not possible)." He did not explain why he felt he could not execute a go-around maneuver and reported that there was no mechanical malfunction with the aircraft.

The instructor pilot, who interviewed the student pilot and examined the marks on the runway as well as the aircraft damage, reported that the aircraft porpoised approximately five times during which the propeller impacted the runway.

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