On May 8, 2004, at 1430 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28RT-201, N81898, piloted by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage when it impacted a runway construction barricade during a simulated forced landing to runway 20 (4,401 feet by 100 feet, dry asphalt) at the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport (DKB), DeKalb, Illinois. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The instructional flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his certified flight instructor (CFI) were not injured. The flight originated from DuPage Airport (DPA), West Chicago, Illinois, at 1320 and was practicing takeoff and landings at DKB at the time of the accident.

The runway 20 threshold had been relocated 600 feet towards the departure end because of an on-going runway construction project. Runway 2/20 was being extended and new pavement had been laid at the time of the accident. Both the first 600 feet of the existing runway surface and the new pavement were marked with yellow painted chevrons, indicating those portions of pavement were closed for landing, takeoff, and taxing. The relocated threshold line was positioned 600 feet from the original threshold and new runway identification numbers were painted at approximately the C2 taxiway intersection. The existing runway pavement was approximately five-inches higher than the new paved extension. There were four construction barricades positioned at the intersection of the existing and new pavement sections.

According to the pilot's written statement, during the simulated forced landing he felt the airplane "was not going to make a landing on the existing runway and would probably touchdown on a section of the new part of the runway." The pilot stated he increased the engine power in order to arrest the descent, but the airplane touched-down on the new pavement. The pilot reported the airplane bounced or became airborne enough to land a second time on the existing pavement. The pilot stated he reconfigured the airplane for takeoff during the landing roll. The pilot reported he then took off and flew back to DPA. The pilot noticed the airplane was damaged during a post-flight inspection at DPA.

According to the CFI's written statement, while en route to DKB his student monitored the DKB automated surface observing system (ASOS) and noted "runway 20 had a 600 foot displaced threshold." The CFI stated once they had entered the traffic pattern he noticed, "white arrows hand painted on the new section of runway was being added, indicating a displaced threshold." The CFI also reported there were two sets of runway identification numbers; one set at the original threshold position and the other just prior to the C2 taxiway intersection. The CFI told the student to perform a short-field landing, with a simulated 50-foot obstacle positioned at the "end of the existing pavement." The CFI stated the student landed and stopped the airplane prior to the first cross taxiway (C2), which was used to exit the runway. The CFI stated he then repositioned the airplane onto the runway and the student performed a soft-field takeoff starting at the C2 intersection. According to the CFI, the next approach was a simulated forced landing and engine power was reduced "abeam the end of the existing pavement." The CFI reported that during the approach it became evident that the airplane "was obviously not going to make the runway" and he instructed the student to perform a go-around. The CFI stated the next approach was also a simulated forced landing. The CFI reported, "On this approach it appeared that the aircraft would touchdown at or slightly beyond where the existing pavement began." The CFI also reported, "On very short approach [the student] increased the aircraft pitch attitude further and then applied a substantial amount of power although I noted that the aircraft continued to descend until we touched down with a fairly loud bang that I felt was consistent with a hard landing." The CFI stated that he did not notice any construction barricades positioned at the end of runway 20.

The DKB airport manager reported that a runway construction barricade, originally positioned at the intersection of the existing pavement and new pavement sections, was damaged on the day of the accident. The broken portions of the barricade were distributed in a way consistent with an airplane hitting the barricade on landing approach.

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