ATL05CA062
ATL05CA062

On March 12, 2005, about 0758 central standard time, a Cessna 172P, N5456K, registered to and operated by Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity, collided with the runway and caught fire during landing at Redstone Army Airfield (AAF), Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with a visual flight rules plan filed but not activated. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The private pilot received minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed by post-crash fire. The flight departed Redstone AAF, Redstone, Alabama, about 0755.

The pilot stated he departed runway 17 and intended to fly the airplane to Fayetteville, Tennessee, but encountered "very turbulent wind" immediately after departure and decided to return for landing. The pilot stated the airplane was very difficult to control in all three axes, and "the airplane speed and the airplane itself were never stable." The pilot stated that, while on final approach just over the runway, he observed the airspeed around 60 knots and the stall warning was flickering. He stated he added power and last observed the airspeed going over 80 knots. The pilot stated he began reducing flaps for a go-around. He stated, "my left hand was pulling the yoke back and [my] right hand was giving it power and moving the flaps. Then the plane stalled, with the nose going down. I pulled back on the yoke as much as possible, but my pull had no effect." The airplane collided with the runway, and the pilot saw flames on the left side of the airplane. The pilot exited the airplane out the right-side door.

Two witnesses on the ramp observed the airplane on final approach and reported it appeared to have approximately 30 degrees of crab into the wind. One witness reported the airplane's nose pitched up, dropped suddenly, then about 30 feet above the ground, the airplane's nosed pitched up again, followed by an abrupt drop to the runway. The second witness reported the airplane appeared to struggle for final line-up on the runway, then it seemed to fall out of the sky.

Examination of the airplane revealed the nose gear was collapsed, the propeller tips were damaged, and the fuselage and left wing were consumed by fire. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunction with the airplane. A review of recorded weather data from Huntsville International Airport, Huntsville, Alabama, located 4.6 nautical miles west of the accident site, revealed at 0753 winds were reported from 230 degrees at 12 knots. A witness at the accident location reported the windsock direction varied from 200 degrees to 290 degrees.

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