October 3, 2008, Alton, Ill. Cessna 172


The student pilot and flight instructor had conducted four takeoffs and landings during a dual instructional flight prior to the accident flight. The flight instructor stated that the landings “went really well” and he elected to endorse the student pilot for solo flight. The student pilot subsequently took off on his initial solo flight and flew a normal traffic pattern.

After flying a normal pattern, the airplane touched down on the centerline. However, it began to drift to the left and the student pilot was unable to maintain directional control. The airplane subsequently departed the runway pavement and struck a runway sign before coming to rest. A post-accident inspection revealed the firewall had been damaged. The pilot reported there were no failures or malfunctions associated with the airplane prior to the accident.


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