Incidents

The following incidents are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board and are published here as an educational and awareness tool. They are intended to help pilots learn from the misfortune of others.

1. Mooney M20E
On July 29, 2000, approximately 1000 mountain daylight time, a Mooney M20E was substantially damaged following a gear up landing at XYZ airport. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard the airplane, was not injured. The airplane was being operated by the pilot under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight which originated approximately 1 hour before the accident. No flight plan had been filed.

The pilot said that while performing a full stop landing, she simply forgot to put the landing gear down.

2. Cessna 210L
The pilot was vectored onto a long final approach to runway 30. About 3 miles from the runway, he slowed the airplane to 140 knots (Vgo), then slowed further to the flap operating speed (Vfo). He was going through the final prelanding checklist when a 'bright' annunciator light on the GPS (global positioning system) display panel illuminated. The pilot said he was distracted by this light and was trying to turn it off. The pilot wrote, 'With this distraction, I failed to check for the gear down green light and landed with the gear up. The gear horn came on as I flared, but it was too late.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: the pilot's failure to extend the landing gear. A related factor was his attention being diverted.

3. Cessna T210R
The pilot aborted a landing after the airplane skipped sideways after touchdown during a crosswind landing. He was instructed by the tower to execute a left downwind and was later cleared to land on runway 30 again. The pilot was advised by the tower that he had traffic ahead and behind him. The airplane landed gear up. The pilot stated that his attention was diverted to the traffic ahead and behind him, and he was also apprehensive about the crosswind landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: the pilot's failure to extend the landing gear. Factors were his failure to follow the checklist and his diverted attention due to other traffic.

4. Cessna T210M
The pilot was taking the commercial pilot practical test for airplanes, single engine, land, and had advanced to the takeoff and landing phase of the test. He lowered the landing gear and extended the flaps. He thought the GEAR DOWN green light had illuminated and he announced, 'gear down and locked' (the sun came through the rear window and the glare illuminated the landing gear indicator lights). As the airplane approached the runway threshold, the pilot retarded the throttle. The gear warning horn did not sound. The airplane landed wheels up. The landing gear warning horn then began sounding. The landing gear selector was in the DOWN position, the nose gear doors were open, and the nose gear was partially extended. The main landing gear doors were partially open, but the main landing gear was not extended.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot-in-command's failure to confirm, the landing gear was down and locked. Factors were the check pilot's failure to confirm the landing gear was down and locked, and the sun glare.

5. Beech B55 Baron
The pilot reported that he slowed the airplane and performed a 'GUMPS' check on base. He wrote that he 'thought the wheels were down at this point.' He said he performed another 'GUMPS' check on final. He 'flared normally and went to idle...touched down, and after 2 seconds the nose dropped, and [the airplane] began to slide.' He reported that he heard the landing gear warning horn during the flare, but thought it was the stall warning horn. He reported that when he returned to the airplane five minutes after the accident, he observed the landing gear control handle in an intermediate position between the center and bottom detent. The landing gear system functioned normally during an operational check.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to properly extend the landing gear. A factor was his failure to follow checklist procedures.

6. Cessna 182RG
The pilot stated that he intended to fly one circuit around the landing pattern to warm the engine oil in preparation for an annual inspection of his Cessna 182RG, and forgot to extend the landing gear before landing. The main landing gear bulkheads were minimally ground down during the slide on the concrete runway. Postcrash check of the landing gear warning system revealed the electrical warning module was inoperative.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to complete the before landing checklist and extend the landing gear, resulting in a gear up landing. A factor in the accident is the failure of the landing gear warning circuit to activate the cockpit warning horn.

7. Piper PA-28R-201
The flight instructor reported that she was sitting in the left seat observing the student, who was also a commercial rated pilot, flying from the right seat. The instructor reported that the student put the flaps down to 10 degrees on downwind and she was 'surprised.' He then put the gear down. She asked him why he had lowered the flaps prior to the gear. He responded that he had been taught to wait until descent to lower the gear. Turning final, she checked the flap handle, checked the gear lights, and noticed that the red warning light was off. She reported that she heard the gear warning horn during the landing flare and the next thing she remembered was 'stopping and staring at the bent prop. The student reported that he had performed a 'mental GUMPS check' and was 'distracted.' Examination of the airplane revealed no evidence of preimpact malfunction.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The flight instructor's inadequate supervision and the dual student's failure to extend the landing gear. Factors were the distraction of the flight instructor and the student's failure to use checklist procedures.

8. Beechcraft 58 Baron
The Beech 58 landed wheels-up on runway 16 at XYZ Municipal Airport. In a written statement, the pilot reported, '...XYZ gave me a straight in approach for runway 16 and to notify the tower 2 miles out. I flew to the left to line up with 16 and began a slow decent to traffic pattern altitude. About 3-1/2 miles out the tower cleared me to land. I began my pre landing checklist however I became distracted by what I thought was the collision avoidance equipment but in reality was my gear warning horn. There were a couple of aircraft showing up about a mile and a half away and I was looking for them and never completed the checklist and my normal prelanding GUMPS check. The aircraft landed gear up in the center of the runway and slid for a short distance. It stopped half off the left side of runway 16 however no lights were hit.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The landing gear extension not performed by the pilot. A contributing factor was the checklist not followed by the pilot.

9. Beechcraft A36TC
The pilot elected to remain in the traffic pattern to conduct a series of touch-and-go landings. On the third landing attempt, the controller informed the pilot that he would call the pilot's base turn due to other departing traffic. According to the pilot, after clearance was given to land on runway 21R, 'I turned final, put the flaps full down and forgot to put the gear down.' The pilot stated that he did not hear the aural gear warning horn sound. The pilot also stated that he had recently installed a portable GPS receiver that is mounted to the aircraft's control column. According to the pilot, 'It blocks out the area where the green lights show for the gear down.'

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear. Factors include a blocked view of the landing gear light indicating system.

10. Piper PA-24-180
The pilot reported he entered the traffic pattern to land, and though he had a printed checklist on his lap, he did not use it. Instead he relied on his mental checklist for landing. Wearing a headset, the airplane was landed with the landing gear retracted. Postaccident testing of the landing gear extension system revealed no evidence of failure or malfunction. The landing gear 'up' light illuminated with the airplane on the runway and the master switch turned on. Also, the landing gear warning horn was heard by an FAA certificated airframe and powerplant mechanic who entered the airplane while it was on the runway, with the master switch on and the throttle at a low power position. Postaccident testing of the gear warning system in the presence of an FAA inspector revealed that the horn did not operate when the throttle was at a low power setting, the landing gear selector handle was in the 'up' position, and the master switch was turned on.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The failure of the pilot to use the printed checklist which resulted in the gear-up landing. A factor associated with the accident was the intermittent failure of the gear warning horn.

11. Beechcraft E55
A witness to the accident observed the airplane land gear up. The pilot stated that he was making a full stop landing and failed to extend the landing gear.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear, which resulted in a wheels up landing.

12. Piper PA-24
The airplane landed gear up and the pilot reported, 'I believe I saw a green light for the gear and continued the landing as per usual'. Replay of the tower tapes revealed that immediately after the gear up landing, N12134X transmitted, 'I just did a gear up'. Inspection of the landing gear extension/retraction system by an FAA certified mechanic revealed no abnormalities except a popped circuit breaker for the gear motor. The circuit breaker was reset and the system operated satisfactorily at the proper cycle speed for several cycles.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to verify that the retractable landing gear were down and locked for landing.

13. Beechcraft V-35B
The pilot reported that he had been cleared by the tower for closed traffic. After reporting downwind abeam the tower he prepared the aircraft for landing, and said he firmly believed that he had completed the GUMP check. He turned base to final, set up his approach speed, and landed gear up. The pilot stated in an interview that he forgot to lower the gear. The aircraft was inspected and no pre-existing anomalies were noted.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to ensure that the landing gear was lowered before touchdown.

14. Beechcraft A36 Bonanza
The commercial pilot was landing with a 25 knot, gusting, crosswind. He told the NTSB investigator-in-charge that due to turbulence he had slowed the airplane and extended 20 degrees of flaps while in cruise flight. His normal habit was to extend the landing gear to slow the airplane prior to flap extension. He stated that he forgot to extend the landing gear, heard the 'gear up' warning horn too late to go-around, and landed with the wheels retracted.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear prior to landing. Factors associated with this accident were the pilot's interference with his normal habit pattern, turbulence, and the crosswind condition during landing.

15. Beech 35 Bonanza
The pilot reported that the top cabin door latch popped open on takeoff. He made a 180 degree turn to return to the airport for landing (the airport was one-way, with takeoffs to the south and landings to the north). The pilot stated he actuated the gear switch to the down position, but 'evidently did not get the safety latch [which, according to the pilot's operating handbook, must be moved aside to place the switch to the up position] released.' The pilot noticed that the gear was still up, while in his landing flare. The departure end of the 2,365-foot landing runway has uphill terrain and trees, and the pilot reported he did not think he would be able to accomplish a successful go-around. He reported that he therefore elected to land gear-up rather than attempt a go-around. The pilot reported that no mechanical failure or malfunction was involved.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to ensure the landing gear was down and locked for landing. The unlatched passenger door, the uphill (unidirectional) landing area, and trees off the departure end of the landing runway were related factors.

16. Mooney M20F
The pilot reported that he had been cleared by the tower for closed traffic. After reporting downwind abeam the tower he prepared the aircraft for landing, and said he firmly believed that he had completed the GUMP check. He turned base to final, set up his approach speed, and landed gear up. The pilot stated in an interview that he forgot to lower the gear. The aircraft was inspected and no pre-existing anomalies were noted.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to ensure that the landing gear was lowered before touchdown.

17. Piper PA-31-350
The pilot reported he was in the airport traffic pattern preparing for a full stop landing. While accomplishing his prelanding check list, his attention was diverted by a departing airplane. When he reduced engine power just prior to touchdown, he heard the gear warning horn sound, but was unable to react in time to prevent a wheels up landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident was: The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear. A factor associated with the accident was the pilot's diverted attention while in the landing pattern.

18. Cessna T210N
The pilot extended the landing gear three to four miles before landing. The landing gear�s warning horn sounded during the landing flare. The pilot said that it was too late to initiate a go-around, so he continued the landing. The landing gear collapsed. Post-accident tests revealed that the hydraulic pump circuit breaker popped when the landing gear was extended and that left the gear in the trailing unlocked position.

19. Beechcraft 58 Baron
A Beech 58 made a wheels up landing at XYZ airport. The pilot was not injured. According to his written statement, he "reached for the gear handle but, for some reason I must have not selected gear down." The pilot said that he did not notice that the gear was not down until the airplane settled on its belly. No pre-accident mechanical problems .

20. Piper PA-23-250
The pilot was following another airplane on final approach for landing. He said that he was anticipating an go-around, but when the airplane cleared the runway, he decided to land. With his attention diverted by his sudden decision to land, he forgot to extend the landing gear.

Probable cause: The pilot's diverted attention and his failure to extend the landing gear.

21. Mooney M20 M
A M20M made a wheels up landing at XYZ airport. The pilot was not injured. According to his written statement, he "reached for the gear handle, but for some reason, I must have not selected the gear down." The pilot said he did not notice the gear was not down until the airplane settled onto its belly. No pre-accident mechanical problems were found.