On July 31, 2001, about 1647 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N734SP, registered to Paradise Aviation, Inc., collapsed the nose landing gear and nosed over while attempting a landing on a road near Cojimar, Cuba, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage and the student pilot received minor injuries. The flight originated from Marathon, Florida, the same day, about 1530.

The student pilot's flight instructor stated the student began flying at Paradise Aviation, Inc. on July 24, 2001. The student stated he had about 25 hours of flight instruction at that time. They completed four flight lessons prior to the day of the accident. On the day of the accident, they flew their fifth flight lesson together, in which the student made three takeoffs and landings. The instructor endorsed the student for solo flight at the end of this lesson, and the student proceeded to take off on his first solo flight. The instructor stated the takeoff on runway 7 at Marathon Airport was normal. The student entered a left traffic pattern for a return landing on runway 7. The instructor then heard the student report on the radio that he could not fly the airplane, that his hands were cold, and that he did not know what was wrong. The instructor tried to make radio contact with the student, but the student did not respond. Witnesses observed the airplane fly the traffic pattern to runway 7, and while on final approach, at about 200 feet, the airplane was observed to turn to the right to a southwesterly heading, and disappear from sight.

The instructor stated he then made contact with controllers at the FAA, Miami Air Route Air Traffic Control Center. Controllers told the instructor that they observed an airplane displaying transponder code 1200 about 24 miles southwest of Marathon, heading southwest. The airplane continued southwest, and controllers instructed a U.S. Navy aircraft to make visual and radio contact with the airplane and pilot. The Navy airplane made visual contact with the airplane but did not make radio contact. The flight continued into Cuban airspace, and while attempting a landing on a road near Cojimar, Cuba, the nosewheel of the airplane contacted a hole and collapsed. The airplane then nosed over and came to rest inverted.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Cuba. Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Ministerio Del Transporte Area Aeronautica
Calle 23-No. 64 Vedado
Ciudad de La Habana 4, Cuba

This report is for informational purposes only.

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