On April 12, 2002, at 1600 central daylight time, a Cessna 172R single-engine airplane, N61LU, was substantially damaged when it collided with a bird while on a VFR approach at the East Texas Regional Airport (GGG), near Longview, Texas. The airplane was registered to and operated by the LeTourneau University of Longview. The instrument rated private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight. The local flight originated from GGG, at 1500.

The pilot reported in the Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that while the airplane was established on a left base for runway 17, he observed a large bird approximately 100 yards ahead of the airplane. After the bird flew above the airplane the pilot lost visual contact with the bird. Subsequently, the bird struck the right wing of the airplane. The 150-hour pilot was able to continue the approach and landed the airplane without further incident.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector, who traveled to the accident site, revealed that the leading edge of the right wing was crushed and several structural ribs were damaged. The main spar for the right wing was also damaged.

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