This October 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: Alton, Illinois. Aircraft damage: Minor.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot and flight instructor were practicing takeoffs and landings in preparation for the student’s first solo flight. The flight instructor stated that the first four takeoffs and landings went well, and he elected to endorse the student pilot for solo flight. The winds were from 270° at 10 knots. The student pilot took off on runway 29, which measured 8,098 by 150 feet, and flew a normal traffic pattern. The approach was normal. The student stated that he was on final approach at 70 knots. The airplane touched down on centerline then began to drift to the left. The student pilot was unable to regain directional control before the airplane went off the runway and hit a runway sign.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s failure to maintain directional control during landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov