On October 20, 2004, at 1600 eastern daylight time, N37CJ, a Cessna 172SP, registered to and operated by Eagle Aviation, Inc., collided with an airport sign after veering left off of runway 5 during an attempted landing at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, West Columbia, South Carolina. The solo instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The student pilot was not injured and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated at Columbia Metropolitan Airport, West Columbia, South Carolina, on October 20, 2004, at 1550.

According to the student pilot, this was his first solo flight, but he and his flight instructor had flown in the traffic pattern together prior to the accident flight. The student pilot stated that after the dual flight, he and his instructor discussed the procedures for the solo flight once more, and his instructor endorsed his pilot logbook and student pilot certificate for the solo flight. He stated that his instructor exited the airplane, he contacted ground control, taxied the airplane to runway 5, and was given clearance to take-off. He stated the first traffic pattern was routine and the first full-stop landing was smooth. He stated he was cleared for take-off on runway 5 a second time, and the second traffic pattern and approach were "normal" and stabilized. The student pilot stated that during the touchdown, the airplane then "abruptly bounced" on the runway. He stated that he then increased engine power in an attempt to control the descent, but his efforts failed and the airplane bounced on the runway and became more difficult to control. The certified flight instructor of the student pilot, who was watching the flight from the ramp, stated that the on the second landing, the airplane "appeared to touch down hard and begin porpoise effect." The student pilot stated that the airplane then veered left of the runway centerline and departed the runway surface into a grassy area. He stated that he continued to apply right rudder and brakes, but was unable to avoid colliding with a runway sign. When the airplane came to a complete stop, the student pilot shut off the mixture control and fuel supply, retracted the flaps, radioed the tower, shut down the ignition and master switches, and waited for assistance.

Post accident examination of the wreckage revealed that the lower portion of the firewall was buckled, and the nose landing gear was displaced. The student pilot reported no mechanical anomalies with the airplane.

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