Friday, February 24, 2006

Accidents of the Week

This week, we review two separate gear-up accidents. In one, the pilot spent so much time troubleshooting that he appears to have run out of fuel, necessitating his making an emergency, gear-upl, off-airport landing. Note that he had trouble with the gear retracting on takeoff, diverted, landed without incident, had an A&P examine the gear, and then continued on after the A&P could not discern any mechanical issues. It will be interesting to see what NTSB determines as the probable cause of this accident.

The other gear-up occured after the pilot performed an ILS in actual IFR conditions and went missed, and circled the airport until making a wheels-up landing.

Fortunately, neither of the pilots were seriously injured.

NTSB Identification: LAX06LA114
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, February 13, 2006 in Rancho Murieta, CA
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-260, registration: N9212P
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On February 13, 2006, at 1901 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24-260, N9212P, landed short of runway 22 at Rancho Murieta Airport (RIU), Rancho Murieta, California. The pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country personal flight, which originated from the City of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS), Colorado Springs, Colorado, at an undetermined time, and no flight plan had been filed. The pilot made an unplanned diversion to Blake Field Airport (1V9), Delta, Colorado. The flight then departed 1V9, and was destined for Rancho Murieta. A flight plan had not been filed for the cross-country flight.

According to the pilot, he left COS earlier in the day for the flight to Rancho Murieta. After takeoff, he was unable to retract the airplane's landing gear. He diverted to 1V9 to have the landing gear inspected. A mechanic at Blake airport placed the airplane on jacks, and inspected and functionally checked the landing gear. No mechanical anomalies were noted. The pilot refueled the airplane and continued his flight to Rancho Murieta. The airplane carried 5.5 hours of fuel. He stated that the flight took approximately 4 hours and that he encountered a headwind during the flight. When he arrived at Rancho Murieta it was still light outside; he lowered the landing gear handle and did not receive a down and locked indication inside the cockpit. He reported that another airplane in the airport environment, as well as rescue people on the ground, were aiding him with visual confirmation of the landing gear condition and suggestions on how to get the landing gear down. The pilot reported that he tried to manually lower the landing gear, but it did not fully extend.

The pilot flew around the airport for about 1.5 hours and knew the airplane was getting low on fuel. He stated that it was also dark at this time. The pilot believed that he would not make it to another local area airport (Mather), and decided to make a precautionary landing due to the low fuel state. The airplane landed short of the runway. The main landing gear collapsed, and the nose landing gear was sheared off the landing gear strut.

According to first responders, after it got dark they found the electrical box for the airport lighting. However, they were not able to turn the lights on prior to the accident.

NTSB Identification: DEN06LA041
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 17, 2006 in Greeley, CO
Aircraft: Piper PA-30, registration: N7743Y
Injuries: 1 Minor.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On February 17, 2006, approximately 1410 mountain standard time, a Piper PA-30, N7743Y, piloted by an airline transport pilot, sustained substantial damage during a wheels up landing at the Greeley-Weld County Airport (GXY), Greeley, Colorado. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal cross-country flight from Sioux City, Iowa, to GXY was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91. The pilot, the sole person on board the airplane, sustained minor injuries.

The pilot was cleared for the ILS approach to runway 34 (10,000 feet by 100 feet, dy asphalt) and instructed to contact Greeley UNICOM. The pilot performed a missed approach, contacted Denver Approach Control and informed them that he went missed approach for a "no gear indication." The airplane subsequently circled over the airport in an attempt to get the landing gear to come down. Finally, the pilot performed a wheels up landing on runway 34. During the landing, the airplane's right wing struck a runway sign.

The pilot reported that the airplane made a strange sound during flight. After that, the gear would not extend.

The airplane sustained skin scrapes to the nose gear doors and the bottom fuselage. Both propellers' blades were curled and showed chordwise scratches. The right outboard wing bottom skin showed a triangular-shaped tear, located approximately 3 feet outboard of the right engine nacelle. The tear was approximately 1-foot long, chordwise, and 4-5 inches wide. It began just below the leading edge and ran aft. Several stringers were broken and bent aft in the area of the tear. Flight control continuity was confirmed.

A witness that recovered the airplane following the accident reported that the airframe was covered with ice that measured approximately 3/4 inch thick.

At 1355, the weather at GXY was reported as ceilings 400 broken, 5,500 broken, 7,500 overcast, 1-1/2 mile visibility, temperature 1 degree Fahrenheit (F), dew point -2 degrees F, winds 040 at 16 knots, and altimeter 30.32 inches.

1 comment:

Big Country said...

Good choice for this week. I had read these, and they are good lessons learned. I fly in San Diego, and the Rancho Murieta, along with several incidents lately (midair at KSEE, runway overrun at Palomar) have generated a lot of GA-related publicity (not necessarily positive).