Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-LFSM, 23 April 2005

Piper PA-38-112 Tomahawk, G-LFSM


History of flight: The student pilot completed four good landings with her instructor and she had demonstrated all the correct emergency actions. Her instructor considered the student pilot ready for her first solo and the wind conditions were suitable, so he vacated the aircraft and sent the student on her first solo circuit to land. During the landing flare the student reduced engine power to idle but did not apply rearward pressure on the yoke to flare the aircraft. It touched down hard, the nose landing gear oleo was heavily compressed and the propeller tips touched the runway. After the landing rollout, the student had great difficulty in taxiing to the apron. Engineering investigation: The nose landing gear oleo had lost gas pressure and oil was leaking from the leg; the leg had also separated from the main steering yoke. The engine was removed for a shock load inspection and the airframe was subjected to a full, heavy landing inspection. Safety action: The student pilot was to be given further training with the Chief Flying Instructor until ready for more solo circuit flying.

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