This June 2009 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: Piper Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Elberton, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student pilot was at the end of a solo cross-country flight. The approach to landing was normal, but during the touchdown, the airplane’s nose pitched up. The student pilot pulled back on the yoke. The plane ballooned, then came down again and hit hard. The airplane began to bounce. After a third and more pronounced bounce, the nose gear collapsed and the plane slid to a stop on the left side of the runway.
When the pilot was asked how the accident could have been prevented, he stated that he should have aborted the landing after the first bounce.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s improper recovery from a bounced landing.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB identification: ERA09CA318.