On September 17, 2002, about 1539 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 152, N5100B, landed hard on runway 27L at Gillespie Field, El Cajon, California. The airplane's nose gear assembly collapsed and the firewall buckled. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the student pilot was not injured during the solo instructional flight. The pilot was operating the rented airplane from Anglo American Aviation, Inc., El Cajon, under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a visual flight rules flight plan had been filed. The local area flight originated from El Cajon at 1445.

The pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that the accident occurred while he was attempting to land at the conclusion of his practice flight. The pilot indicated that he initiated the final approach and extended the wing flaps to the 30-degrees position. No mechanical problems were experienced with the airplane. The pilot further reported that while landing he "flared too high," and then the airplane's nose dropped. The airplane contacted the runway and bounced several times before coming to rest.

The pilot's total flight time (experience) was 56.9 hours. His total pilot-in-command flight time was 3 hours.

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