Windsock pole compromises go-around

This May 2008 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. Injuries: None. Location: Timber, Mont. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The student pilot, who had solo privileges and was returning to the airport after a short flight, observed the windsock and noted that the wind was directly down the runway at approximately 15 to 20 knots. The pilot said that as he entered the flare, he was slow and the left wing stalled, then dropped, and the left wing and main landing gear touched the runway. He applied power and the plane ended up approximately 90° to the runway and 8 feet above ground in a level attitude. The airplane was not over the runway surface, but rather in the infield. The left wing hit the windsock pole and sustained substantial damage. No mechanical anomalies were noted.

Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate airspeed during landing, which resulted in a stall.

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