This March 2008 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.
Aircraft: Piper Cherokee Injuries: None. Location: Chandler, Ariz. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The instructor and student were practicing a simulated engine-out landing. The intention was to execute a go-around during the last part of the final approach. The operator’s procedures called for initiation of a go-around no lower than 300 feet above ground level, however, the CFI did not call for the go-around until the plane was about 100 feet AGL. At the instructor’s command the student initiated the go-around procedure by pushing the throttle all the way in. The engine momentarily coughed, and the airplane continued to sink. Just as the engine accelerated to full power, the plane hit the ground in a flat attitude.
The post- accident investigation did not find any mechanical issues with the engine that would have kept it from correctly responding to a full-throttle power application.
Probable cause: The student pilot’s delay in initiating the go-around, and the flight instructor’s inadequate supervision of the flight and delayed remedial action. The momentary failure of the engine to respond and the failure of both the student and the instructor to adhere to the operator’s procedures were factors.
For more information: NTSB.gov