LAX07CA170
LAX07CA170

On May 12, 2007, about 1030 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N5023A, veered off the runway after landing and collided with a ditch at Carson City Airport, Carson, Nevada. National Pilots Academy operated he airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The student pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The local area flight departed Carson about 1015. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan had not been filed.

In a written report, the assistant chief instructor for the operator stated that the student had just been signed off for his first solo flight. He had received 15 hours of total dual instructional flight time. The student made a normal takeoff and landing. After another takeoff and flight around the pattern, the airplane landed, veered hard to the left off of the runway, and encountered a ditch. The front landing gear collapsed, and the firewall buckled. The leading edge of the left wing exhibited crush damage in the area from the last outboard rib to the tip. The upper surfaces of the left wing skin and flap exhibited compression deformation in the area joining the fuselage.

In a letter to the NTSB dated 12 August 2008, the student pilot said that he was not the person who completed the NTSB Form 6120.1/2 (Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report), but rather that individuals at the operator filled out the report and he signed it. He noted in his letter that the report did not reflect his claim made to the operator at the time of the accident that there was "a failure in the right rudder" that was responsible for the loss of directional control. He wrote that after the airplane began veering to the left he "pushed [his] right foot on the rudder [but] the plane failed to respond [and] veered to the left and crashed into a ditch that was a few feet from the runway."

The student also noted in his letter that the airplane had experienced "right rudder problems at least 5 days prior to the accident". He reported that on 8 May 2007 he was on a training flight with his instructor and they had to execute an emergency landing due to the right rudder not responding in flight. He also claimed that earlier in that same week another student and instructor experienced problems with the right rudder, and that due to these two events, the operator's maintenance department checked the airplane's control system to resolve the discrepancy. In his submission, the pilot provided a copy of a page from the maintenance records dated 10 May 2007. The maintenance records entry states: "Checked rudder system and cable tensions per Cessna service manual no defects noted. Removed all floor panels and no obstructions noted."

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