On April 19, 2001, at 0904 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172P, N97984, veered off runway 29 right and nosed over after encountering soft soil during a touch-and-go landing at Zamperini Field, Torrance, California. The airplane was operated by South Bay Aviation under 14 CFR Part 91, and was rented by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed during the local flight, which departed Torrance approximately 0830. No flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and there were no injuries to the pilot, who was the sole occupant of the airplane.

The pilot stated that on his third landing, the airplane touched down, rolled a short distance, and then veered sharply to the right. Corrective actions could not stop the airplane from leaving the runway onto a plowed dirt boundary where it nosed over.

According to the Torrance airport surface weather observation at 0855, the wind was calm.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Long Beach, California, Flight Standards District Office responded to the scene, interviewed the pilot, and examined the airplane. The owner of the flight school examined the airplane and the runway. No skid marks were found leading to the accident site. The tires were examined and no flat spots were observed. The brakes were inspected and operated with no defects observed.

The pilot received his private pilot certificate on April 4, 2001, and had approximately 78 hours total time when the accident occurred. The pilot had rented the Cessna 172 from the operator's flight school located on the Torrance airport. The pilot had received all of his primary training from this particular flight school, which consisted of 71 hours of flight time in Katana DA-20 airplanes. His private pilot flight evaluation, administered by an FAA designated pilot examiner, was also completed in a Katana DA-20. After obtaining his private pilot certificate, the pilot received 3.7 hours of flight instruction in the Cessna 172, and had logged an additional 2.4 hours of flight time prior to the accident.

A flight instructor from the same flight school flew with the pilot in another Cessna 172 the day after the accident. He stated that the pilot had a tendency to land very flat, with no flare. The instructor was experienced in both the Katana DA-20 and the Cessna 172. He stated that the landing characteristics of the Katana require little or no flare by the pilot. In contrast, the Cessna 172 requires a considerable amount of flare to achieve a proper touchdown attitude. The instructor stated that, in general, the differences between a Katana and a Cessna are "night and day."

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page