This September 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: Cessna 172. Injuries: 1 Minor. Location: Park Rapids, Minn. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was attempting to land at night in VFR conditions. He performed a go-around on the first attempt. On the second attempt, he landed about mid-field and performed a touch-and-go landing. He initiated the takeoff using 10° of flaps. The pilot reported that when he reached about 100 feet above ground level, he retracted the flaps. He felt that the airspeed was a little low so he pushed the nose over. He stated that he did not think he was in a descent, but the airplane hit the ground about 100 feet from the end of the runway. The nose gear collapsed and both wings were damaged as the airplane bounced and skidded to a stop.
The examination of the accident site revealed eight ground scars in the grass which were consistent with propeller strikes. The propeller blades exhibited leading edge nicks and gouges, chord-wise scratching, and blade twist.
The pilot reported that he had 112 hours of flight time with 112 hours in make and model. He had flown 9 hours at night, which included two hours of night experience when he was pilot-in-command.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain a proper climb rate during a night takeoff.
For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN09LA579