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Eclipse Jet lands gear-up

BoilerUP

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ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - Eclipse Aviation says pilot error caused one of its test jet airplanes to make a belly landing at Albuquerque's international airport. The Albuquerque-based company says there were no mechanical or electrical problems that caused the airplane to touch down Saturday with its landing gear retracted. Company president Vern Raburn says the airplane will fly again. Eclipse has five test jet airplanes. The company is developing the Eclipse 500 -- a twin-engine, six-seat airplane. Raburn has said the company wants to achieve Federal Aviation Administration certification next year. Eclipse plans to sell the airplanes for about $1.3 million each.


Every retractable gear airplane I've ever flown (ESPECIALLY the turbine ones) has a gear warning and/or configuration horn based upon the position of the power levers. I would imagine that even test aircraft have the same system. Is that correct?

But for the grace of God go I...but if a professional pilot lands with his gear up in this new VLJ I'd hate to see what happens once owner/operators start transitioning from their Barons and Mooneys...
 

Pugh

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You make a good point. Even if there wasn't a warning horn, what kind of professional test pilot forgets to put the gear down?
 

SkyBoy1981

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Wow, I hope that none of you ever make such a mistake in your career. I guess that most of you who are dogging this guy must have went to Riddle or some other pilot factory so you are immune to screwing up. Do you think the guys that have actually done it ever thought they would make such a simple mistake as forgetting the gear? :rolleyes:
 
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mynameisjim

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I prefer the message:

L/G Gear Not Downlocked

Always a helpful reminder when you forget to be a pilot, use SOP, or checklists. You know, when the crap hits the fan.

I'd guess that the test airplane doesn't have fully operational warning systems yet.
 

avbug

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I flew a King Air 200 for a time doing air ambulance work. I visited one rural airport frequently, and at night, always flew the VOR approach for terrain. One night, rough weather kept me busy, single pilot, on the approach. I always put the gear down at the VOR. I don't recall what was different this night, but I was surprised when I found myself with the runway in sight, and a gear warning. I dropped the gear and it was uneventful, but the honest truth is that despite a religous verbal reading on the checklists even when flying single pilot, I missed the gear. Would I have landed without it? I don't know. I usually check it five times before landing, out of habit. But I missed it up to that point.

Perhaps just as disturbing when I reviewed what had happened later, was the feeling that since I was past the VOR, the gear must be down...at least being that far into the approach, convention and too much familiarity told me the gear was naturally down because I always put it down at the VOR.

I don't at all believe in "there are those who have and those who will," though I've seen some VERY experienced pilots land gear up in a variety of equipment...but I also believe that nobody is "immune," that complacency is dangerous, and that no matter how great your certification and experience, every one of us stands the same chance of having a failure (pilot or aircraft) every single time. All the more reason to be vigiliant.
 

Swass

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Forgetting the gear in a test plane? You woulda thunk that Eclipse would have devised a computer model to test the belly durability of the plane instead of actually going through the exercise.

Ouch. At least now they know how much it's gonna cost to fix that particular mishap.
 

gkrangers

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SkyBoy1981 said:
have went to Riddle or some other pilot factory so you are immune to screwing up.
Yep, I'm perfect. I never make mistakes, never will, and I'm much better than you.
 

BoilerUP

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Reposted again from the original, with emphasis this time.

BoilerUP said:
But for the grace of God go I...but if a professional pilot lands with his gear up in this new VLJ I'd hate to see what happens once owner/operators start transitioning from their Barons and Mooneys...
 

SkyBoy1981

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gkrangers said:
Yep, I'm perfect. I never make mistakes, never will, and I'm much better than you.
Yeah, tell 'em that in your interview.
 

BLing

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SkyBoy1981 said:
Wow, I hope that none of you ever make such a mistake in your career. I guess that most of you who are dogging this guy must have went to Riddle or some other pilot factory so you are immune to screwing up. Do you think the guys that have actually done it ever thought they would make such a simple mistake as forgetting the gear? :rolleyes:

Sounds like sombody has a gear up landing on their record???
 

SkyBoy1981

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BLing said:
Sounds like sombody has a gear up landing on their record???
Nope, I have nothing on my record. I do, however, realize that I am human and capable of making even the most obvious of mistakes, and I'm not foolish enough to criticize those who have been less fortunate.
 
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Flyin Tony

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I know a guy that geared up his comanche. He got it fixed and took it home. After flying around for a few hours around the airport HE DID IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!
 

labbats

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I suggest some of you look up hubris in the dictionary.

Anyone can make a mistake.
 
T

TDTURBO

Flyin Tony said:
I know a guy that geared up his comanche. He got it fixed and took it home. After flying around for a few hours around the airport HE DID IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

Funny you mention that Tony, the same thing happened at my airport to a black dude in a 210. He just got it fixed and did it again the next day.:eek:
 

avbug

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I suggest some of you look up hubris in the dictionary.


Hubris (Hu bris) n.: 1. The circumcision of young males named Hugh. 2. Greek Goddess who was noted for her lack of restraint, patron saint of my ex-mother-in-law. 3. Those who have, and those who will.

Hubris Deplanum (Hu bris De Plan em) adv: The act of performing a circumcision on young males named Hugh while executing a gear up landing in a fixed wing aircraft, and then exiting quickly without causing further injury. See Malpractice.
 

JimG

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"Originally Posted by BoilerUP
But for the grace of God go I...but if a professional pilot lands with his gear up in this new VLJ I'd hate to see what happens once owner/operators start transitioning from their Barons and Mooneys..."


Never done it....yet.

I could see it happening under test flight conditions when there's alot going on. Doesn't excuse him, but it explains what happened.

And I know it's different when you're burning JetA, but flying fast/slippery piston airplanes, throwing the gear out is the best way to get slowed down into approach speeds without being heavy handed on the throttles and shock cooling the engine(s).

My old Bonanza had a gear speed of 125 kts, and a flap speed of 100.

I had to shift my thinking with the 340 with a flap speed 15 kts faster than the gear speed (160/145), but still....if you make a habit of being light on the throttles....throwing the gear out is about the only way to stabilize an approach speed.

Then, there's the GUMP check, that gets run thru 3x while in pattern, with one final look for the green lights when crossing the fence.
 
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