FTW99LA264
FTW99LA264

On September 21, 1999, at 2030 central daylight time, a Cessna 152 airplane, N5093Q, was substantially damaged during a hard landing at the La Porte Municipal Airport (T41), near La Porte, Texas. The solo student pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Harvey & Rihn Aviation, Inc., of La Porte, Texas. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 cross country flight for which a VFR flight plan was filed. The instructional flight originated from the Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), near Victoria, Texas, approximately 1900.

The operator reported that the student pilot was scheduled for a day VFR two-leg solo cross country flight from the La Porte Municipal Airport, near La Porte, Texas. The operator reported that during the first leg of the flight, the student pilot was temporarily disoriented, and ended up flying 30 minutes beyond his intended destination of Palacios, Texas. The pilot was able to locate the airport at Victoria, Texas, where he landed and topped off the airplane with fuel. The unscheduled landing in Victoria delayed the pilot's scheduled itinerary by at least one hour.

The flight departed Victoria, proceeded as planned to the Galveston VOR (GLS), intercepted a radial, and continued to La Porte. Dark night conditions prevailed by the time the pilot overflew the La Porte airport to determine wind direction and active runway. He entered the traffic pattern on the downwind leg for runway 30. The pilot reported that he was high on his first approach, and executed a go-around. On his second approach, the pilot extended the flaps to 30 degrees. The pilot reported that the airplane was "again high and fast." The airplane touched down long on the 4,165 foot long runway. The airplane bounced, porpoised, and landed hard on the nose landing gear, which collapsed.

Examination of the airplane by the operator and the FAA inspector confirmed that the nose landing gear collapsed, the right wing spar was damaged, the left door post was wrinkled, and the engine firewall sustained structural damage. The propeller separated from the engine crankshaft and was found to the left and behind the resting place of the airplane.

The student pilot had accumulated 2.6 hours of night flight with his flight instructor, but he had not been cleared for night solo flights. According to data provided by the U.S. Naval Observatory, official sunset occurred at 1920, and the end of civil twilight occurred at 1944.

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