On November 27, 1998, at 1201 central standard time, a Cessna 172P, N52502, piloted by a private pilot, received substantial damage, on collision with a Cessna 172M, N80357, during touchdown on runway 23 (6,500 feet by 150 feet, dry asphalt) at Brainerd-Crow Wing County Regional Airport (BRD), Brainerd, Minnesota. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Both aircraft were operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. N52502 was operating as a personal flight which was not on a flight plan. N80357 was operating as a student solo cross country flight which was on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan. The pilot and passenger of N52502 sustained minor injuries. The student pilot of N80357 sustained minor injuries. N52502's flight originated at Baraboo Wisconsin Dells Airport, near Baraboo, Wisconsin, at 0900, and was en route to Willmar, Minnesota.

The pilot of N52502 reported that he was sightseeing over a lake located north of BRD when he decided to land at BRD. The pilot stated that he had made a call on BRD's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) of 122.7 and did not hear any other traffic in the area. He then selected the automated surface observing system (ASOS) frequency, obtained the BRD weather and then reselected the BRD CTAF. The pilot stated that he did not see any other traffic while making his straight-in approach to runway 23 and only recalls exiting the airplane after the collision. The pilot stated that there were propeller marks on the top side of N80357.

In a written statement, the pilot of N80357 reported the following: "I left Leaders Airport (8Y6) at approximately 11:15 am on Friday, 27 November 1998. I had filed three flight plans and got weather briefings as well as NOTAM's prior to departure. Shortly after takeoff I called Princeton and activated my first plan (from 8Y6 to BRD) at about 11:17. I was doing a solo cross country direct to Brainerd Crow Wing Airport (BRD). The flight to BRD was uneventful. When I was approximately 10 miles from BRD; Mesaba Airlines called for traffic over the CTAF of 122.7. There were several responses to Mesaba including a Cessna that was 10 miles SE, myself 10 miles S, and two planes in the pattern at BRD. The only NOTAM for BRD on 27 Nov. was that the winds reported on AWOS were unreliable. I did not tune in AWOS as I approached as I knew winds were unreliable, a traffic pattern was established, and Runway 23 was the active runway. I established visual contact with the Cessna that was 10 miles SE as we got closer to BRD. Additionally, I located all of the traffic reporting on BRD CTAF 122.7. At four miles I reported that I would be entering the downwind leg at a 45 for Runway 23. The weather was clear (VFR) and sunny ... . I entered the pattern at 2,000 feet MSL. Mesaba had landed and cleared after a 4 mile straight in approach, one plane was on final for 23, one had just taken off on 23, and the Cessna from the SE reported on 122.7 that he was downwind for 23. I reported being downwind, having visual on the other Cessna, and would be landing after he did. I reported each leg (downwind, base, final) on the CTAF 122.7. I started base approximately 3/4 to one mile from the end of Runway 23. As I approached and turned to final I looked for other traffic, reported final on 122.7, made sure the Cessna ahead of me had cleared the runway before I would be touching down and did a visual check of my glide path with the VASI [Visual Approach Slope Indicator] lights. All appeared to be normal at this time. There was no transmission by other traffic that would lead me to believe anyone was on base or a long straight final. As I touched down I heard what appeared to be the sound of metal dragging on the runway. A split second later the airplane rose on the right hand side and started a left rotation. The left wing struck the runway and rotated the plane so that the nose was pointing down toward the runway from the starting attitude."

A witness stated that he saw N52502 overtake and land on top of N80357, which had completed its touchdown on runway 23.

Inspection of both aircraft, by a mechanic, revealed that the communication radios of N52502 were set to a frequency 135.8 MHz and 122.9 MHz. The mechanic also found the pilot's shoulder harness in N52502 stowed. Both communication radios of N80357 were found set to a frequency of 122.7 MHz.

The CTAF for BRD was 122.7 MHz.

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