On April 12, 2005, about 1530 mountain standard time, a Cessna 172S, N520ER, settled firmly back onto the runway following liftoff at Gallup, New Mexico. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The solo cross-country instructional flight departed Gallup about 1530, en route to Prescott, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed.

In the pilot's written statement, she stated that she rotated at 55 knots during a normal takeoff. The airplane rose off the runway slightly, but struggled to gain airspeed and altitude. The pilot allowed the nose to lower for airspeed, and the tires touched firmly back on the runway. The contact happened in a flat attitude with the nose gear touching first, but she thought that the contact was not more so than a hard landing. The pilot allowed the airspeed to increase, and proceeded with a normal takeoff. The engine indications were normal and control surfaces responded normally for the remainder of the flight.

Maintenance personnel examined the airplane, and discovered structural damage to the firewall and airframe bulkheads.

The pilot stated that the airplane and engine had no mechanical failures or malfunctions during the flight.

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