This February 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 152. Injuries: None. Location: Arlington, Texas. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot was on a long solo cross country flight. He aborted the landing at his destination because the winds were too strong. During his return to the departure airport he did a go-around on his first landing attempt because surface winds were gusting to 37 knots. On the second landing attempt a gust of wind pushed him down to the runway. The airplane then bounced and landed hard on the nose gear, causing structural damage to the nose gear and the firewall.
A review of the student pilot’s logbook shows the flight instructor had cleared the student pilot for the solo long cross country flight even though the student pilot’s logbook endorsement showed a maximum surface wind limitation of 20 knots.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s improper landing flare, resulting in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident were the gusty surface winds and the student pilot’s inadequate preflight planning.
For more information: NTSB.gov