WPR11CA008
WPR11CA008

According to the student pilot, he planned to practice solo takeoffs and landings at the airplane's base airport. He reported that he made the initial takeoff on runway 34, and completed a right-hand circuit of the traffic pattern. On final approach, he increased the flap setting to 30 degrees. After main gear touchdown, the airplane began to drift to the left. The pilot reported that he attempted to correct the drift with rudder input, but there was "no effect," prior and subsequent to nose gear touchdown. The pilot determined that the brakes were functional, but he chose not to use them to assist with directional control, due to his concern about causing "the airplane to cartwheel." About 2,000 feet beyond the landing threshold, the airplane exited the left side of the runway, and struck a runway sign. The pilot was uninjured, but the airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot also reported that at the time of the accident, the winds were from 350 degrees at 3 knots. The automated weather observation taken about 18 minutes after the accident included winds from 340 degrees at 6 knots. The pilot stated that the preflight inspection, takeoff, and traffic pattern were normal, and he had no reason to believe the airplane malfunctioned. Post-accident examination of the airplane did not reveal any pre-accident mechanical anomalies, and a Federal Aviation Administration inspector stated that the rudder, nose wheel steering, and brake systems appeared to be functional. The pilot reported 44 total hours of flight experience in all aircraft. Approximately 17 hours had been accumulated in the make and model airplane involved in the accident. One hour was logged as pilot-in-command.

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