On July 31, 1997, at 0925 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28-180 airplane, N32185, registered to and operated by a private owner, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power during a simulated engine failure near Abernathy, Texas. The flight instructor and private pilot receiving instruction were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight. A flight plan was not filed for the local flight that originated from Lubbock, Texas, at 0823.

Both pilots reported on the enclosed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Reports (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) that the flight departed Lubbock International Airport and proceeded to a training area 35 nautical miles northeast of the airport at an altitude of 6,500 feet msl for the purpose of a VFR biennial flight review for the private pilot. After completing slow flight maneuvers, stalls, and steep turns, the flight proceeded to the Abernathy Airport where a simulated emergency power off landing from an altitude of 6,500 feet msl over the airport to Runway 17 was accomplished. The pilot used the emergency checklist and applied carburetor heat. The flight then took off and remained in the traffic pattern for two short field landings. During the first short field landing the private pilot "misjudged the wind and executed a go-around. The second short field landing attempt was successful and a touch and go was accomplished. Carburetor heat was not used in those two approaches, and engine power was normal in all respects."

During the ensuing takeoff, at an altitude of about 300 feet agl, the flight instructor closed the throttle to idle simulating a loss of engine power. The private pilot "applied full power at an altitude of approximately 200 feet agl, and recovery was successful." The instructor again closed the throttle to idle when the aircraft was approximately 500 feet agl, and the pilot attempted full power recovery at an altitude of about 200 feet agl. "However, this time the engine did not develop power." The pilot initiated a forced landing to a dirt road; however, the aircraft "lost too much altitude." During the landing, the airplane's right wing struck "an iron pipe" used for irrigation that was located in the cotton field next to the road. The aircraft came to rest upright in the cotton field. According to the flight instructor, carburetor heat was not used during the simulated loss of engine power maneuvers.

The temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit with a dew point of 66 at the time of the accident. According to the carburetor icing probability chart, this places the airplane in the serious carburetor icing range at glide power. A copy of the chart is enclosed with the report.

Examination of the aircraft by the FAA inspector revealed that the right wing was separated outboard of the fuel cell. The left wing was damaged, the fuselage was twisted, and the landing gear were sheared off.

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