On December 29, 2000, about 1315 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 172M, N73404, was substantially damaged during an aborted takeoff from Farmville Regional Airport, Farmville, Virginia. The certificated student pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the solo cross-country training flight. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot reported that this was the final leg of a solo cross-country flight. At the time of departure, the winds were calm. He back taxied the airplane to use the full length of Runway 03, which was 4,400 feet long. He lined the airplane up on the centerline, released the brakes, and added power. The airplane accelerated on the runway and started to drift left. He reported that he was unable to control the left drift and retarded the throttle while the airplane was still on the runway. The airplane continued left into a grassy area, and struck a concrete abutment.

According to an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there was an intersecting taxiway located about 1,600 feet from the start of Runway 3. The tire prints where the airplane departed the runway occurred just past the intersection, and on the opposite side of the taxiway entrance to the runway. The initial angle of the marks to the runway was about 20 to 30 degrees, and the angle reduced until the marks were about parallel with the runway, when the airplane struck the cement abutment located about 25 feet to side of the runway. The nose landing gear collapsed rearward, and separated from the airplane. The nose wheel also punctured the fuselage skin used to support the two wing attach struts. The length of the tire marks in the grass was about 65 feet, and no skid marks were visible. The runway was crowned and the terrain off the left side of the runway sloped away from the runway

In a written statement, the FAA inspector reported that no discrepancies were found with the nosewheel steering and the brakes on the main wheels.

Winds were reported to be from 030 degrees at 4 knots, and the density altitude was computed as 1,172 feet below sea level.

The airplane was estimated to weigh about 2,000 pounds at takeoff. According to the takeoff charts in the Cessna 172M Owners Manual, the airplane would required a ground roll of 630 feet at sea level with an ambient temperature of 59 F (15 C) at a weight of 2,000 pounds.

The pilot reported his total flight experience as 42 hours, all in make and model, including 8 hours solo.

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