On December 27, 1998, at 1100 central standard time (cst), a Cessna 152, N5527L, operated by a commercial pilot, sustained substantial damage when on short final for landing, the airplane struck the runway. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. There was no flight plan on file. The instructor pilot and dual student on board the airplane reported no injuries. The local flight originated at Urbana, Illinois, at 1055 cst.

In his written statement, the instructor pilot said that the student pilot was on final approach to runway 18 at Frasca Field, Urbana, Illinois, for landing. The airplane "was stabilized at 65 knots descending through 20 to 50 feet agl (above ground level) with a 20 knot headwind" when the student pilot suddenly pushed the control yoke full forward. The instructor reacted by pulling the yoke back to raise the nose of the airplane, and adding power. "The airplane was too close to the ground to recover, and we made contact in a slight nose up attitude with a fast descent rate."

The student pilot said that as they turned on to base leg for the traffic pattern, he judged that they were at an altitude higher than he wanted to be. The student pilot initiated a slip to lose altitude. On final approach, the student pilot said that felt the airplane's airspeed was slow. He said that from his glider training, he instinctively put the nose of the airplane down to pick up airspeed. The student realized then that they were in a high rate of descent. The instructor pilot intervened. The airplane impacted the ground in a flat attitude.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane at Frasca Field. The airplane's rear bulkhead and tailcone were bent upward. The bottom empennage skin was crushed upward. The left and right horizontal stabilizers were bent downward at the roots. The bottom of the rudder was crushed upward. The left elevator was bent upward. The two main landing gear struts were bent outward and up. The nose gear was bent forward. The lower cowling was crushed upward and aft. The lower engine mounts were bent downward. The outboard 4 inches of both propeller blade tips were bent aft approximately 15 degrees.

The left rear cabin window was broken. Flight control continuity was confirmed. The engine, engine controls, and other airplane systems revealed no anomalies.

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