The student pilot was on a solo navigation exercise from Stapleford to Earls Colne. As the flight progressed, radio communications became progressively more difficult and, on attempting to contact Earls Colne, it appeared that the radio had failed. The pilot orbited in the Earls Colne overhead and attempted to resolve the situation by switch selections without success, before selecting the radio failure code on the transponder. She waited ten minutes for this squawk to be observed and for ATC to communicate her presence to Earls Colne by telephone, before joining the circuit to land.
The first approach to Runway 24 was slightly high and fast and resulted in a go-around. On the second approach, a gust of wind caused the aircraft to roll to the right close to the ground. This precipitated a loss of control, and the aircraft impacted hard on the nose landing gear, which collapsed. Airfield staff, observing the windsock, estimated the wind was from 190° at 12 kt.
Although the aircraft was fitted with two communications radios, they were of different design, and the pilot had not been shown how to use the second one; she was unaware it was a communication radio.