On November 12, 2010, about 1515 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172R, N531HF, piloted by a student pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following an in-flight loss of engine power near Farmersburg, Indiana. The purpose of the flight was to conduct a private pilot practical test. The pilot and designated pilot examiner on-board were not injured. The airplane was registered to the Terre Haute International Airport Authority and operated by Terre Haute Air Center. The local flight was being conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight departed Terre Haute International Airport – Hulman Field (HUF), Terre Haute, Indiana, at 1430.

The flight test progressed normally, and had included steep turn and stall demonstrations prior to the loss of engine power. The pilot examiner reported that he initiated a simulated engine failure beginning about 2,500 feet above ground level (agl) by reducing the throttle to idle. About 700 feet agl, the examiner attempted to terminate the maneuver by applying full throttle; however, the engine only produced a short burst of partial power. The engine subsequently lost power completely. The flight crew's efforts to restore engine power were not successful. The examiner subsequently executed a forced landing to a soybean field. The airplane nosed over during the landing rollout and came to rest inverted.

A postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with the loss of engine power. The fuel injector servo and fuel flow divider were sent to the manufacturer for bench testing under the direct supervision of the NTSB. No anomalies which would have contributed to a loss of engine power were observed.

The airframe manufacturer had previously issued a service bulletin (SB01-11-02, dated March 5, 2001) in response to issues related to rough engine operation due to improper fuel flow settings, and to difficulties in restarting an engine in-flight. The Federal Aviation Administration in turn issued airworthiness directive (AD 2001-06-17, effective date April 20, 2001) to require inspection and adjustment, if necessary, of the engine idle speed and fuel control mixture setting. The AD also required operators to incorporate revisions to the Pilot's Operating Handbook and Pilot's Checklists that modified procedures to ensure the engine was idling correctly prior to flight. According to the airframe manufacturer, the inspection and adjustment requirements of the AD were incorporated into the maintenance manual in June 2001.

The operator reported that the most recent inspection was completed in September 2010. The engine idle speed was checked and adjusted at that time in accordance with the maintenance manual provisions.

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