Student pilot hits snowbank on takeoff

This March 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Cessna 172.
Location: Big Rapids, Mich.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot was practicing solo takeoffs and landings. He was attempting to do a soft-field takeoff, which he had previously practiced with his instructor.

During the takeoff roll the student pulled the nose of the airplane up so high that he lost all forward visibility. The Cessna lifted off. The student did not realize that he had allowed the airplane to drift toward a snowbank on the edge of the runway until he lowered the nose to gain airspeed and saw the airplane veering to the left. The main wheels hit the snow bank. The airplane settled back to the ground, then bounced off another snowbank before coming to a stop.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during takeoff, which led to the impact with the snow banks.

For more information: NTSB.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070411X00397&key=1.

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