On September 19, 1998, at 1519 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172, N1729V, owned and operated by the Oxford Flying Club, was substantially damage after it departed the runway environment while landing at the Minute Man Airfield, Stow, Massachusetts. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured, and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was filed and the flight departed Waterbury-Oxford Airport, Oxford, Connecticut, about 1400.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to familiarize himself with the Minute Man Airfield and to assess transportation from the airport to the hotel for a future business meeting.

According to the pilot, he checked weather and then departed Oxford, Connecticut, for Stow. While approaching the airport, the pilot tried four times, but was unable to contact anyone on the Unicom frequency to obtain the winds and the preferred runway. He also checked for other aircraft in the traffic pattern, but received no response.

Unable to contact anyone by radio, the pilot tried to identify the winds by over flying the airport. This also was unsuccessful, so the pilot elected to make left traffic for Runway 3. The pilot stated that the first indication of trouble came when he flared the airplane and it started to float down the runway. The airplane bounced three times, and after the third bounce, he drove the airplane "hard" onto the runway and applied maximum braking. At that point he realized there was insufficient runway to stop, but elected not to execute a go-around because of limited runway remaining, and the fact the airport was set in a valley surrounded by trees. The airplane departed the departure end of the runway, sheared off the nose wheel and nosed over. After exiting the airplane the pilot estimated the winds to be from 210 degrees magnetic at 10 knots.

The pilot stated that he had not identified the windsock until after the accident. After the accident, he was informed by another pilot that the windsock was not visible while maintaining traffic pattern altitude, and that he needed to be 400 feet below the traffic pattern to see it.

The pilot added that the majority of his 25,000 hours of flight time was accumulated in transport category aircraft, and that he just recently started flying general aviation aircraft. He further stated he had about 5 hours in the Cessna 172, and about 20 hours in the PA-28-180.

On the NTSB form 6120.1/2, the pilot did not check airplane single engine land as a rating, and a review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) record's also revealed that the pilot didn't have a single land rating.

According to the operator's maintenance officer, the club was not aware the pilot did not possess a single engine land rating. The maintenance officer stated that when the pilot joined the flying club, everyone was so impressed with his flight experience, and the fact he was a retired airline pilot, no one asked. The maintenance officer added that the club did give the pilot a proficiency ride before allowing him to rent airplanes, and they had all of their members bring in their FAA Certificates and Medicals for verification after the accident.

The Safety Board made several attempts, without success, to contact the pilot once it was determined he did not poses a single engine land rating.

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