LAX07CA201
LAX07CA201

On July 2, 2007, about 1500 mountain daylight time, a Cessna 172K, N84888, impacted a dirt berm during an aborted takeoff from a dry lake bed, about 16 nautical miles north of Newcastle, Utah. The airplane was operated by Sphere One Aviation, Inc., Cedar City, Utah. The airplane was substantially damaged, and the student pilot was not injured during the solo instructional flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and it originated from Cedar City, about 1415.

The student pilot reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he was in the final stages of preparing to take the flight examination to obtain a private pilot certificate. He had a total of 58.1 hours of flight time. The student stated he only needed a few more hours of solo flight time, and then he would meet the minimum solo flying experience requirements. The student further reported that he was aware of the gusty wind condition when he departed Cedar City, his home base airport. He flew to a practice area that he was familiar with, having landed there, both with and without his certified flight instructor.

After coming to a stop on the dry lake bed, the student attempted to take off. The lake bed is at least 300 feet wide and 4,000 feet long. According to the student, he intended to make a soft field takeoff in a westerly direction. As he pulled the yoke aft toward his lap to keep the nose up, the airplane lifted off the ground and entered ground effect. At that time, a gust of wind was encountered. The wind was from 200 degrees at 10 knots, with gusts to 15 knots. The wind unexpectedly turned the airplane almost perpendicular to the airplane's flight path.

The student stated to the Safety Board investigator that he feared stalling, so he decreased the airplane's pitch attitude and tried to increase air speed. At this time the airplane was over a field of sparsely spaced small dirt mounds and bushes. The pilot further reported he then decided to abort the takeoff. He put the airplane back down onto the ground, and while attempting to dodge the mounds and bushes he applied the brakes. During rollout, the landing gear impacted a dirt mound, the airplane's wings hit the ground, and the emergency locator beacon activated.

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