Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Friendliest aviation Ccmmunity on the web
  • Modern site for PC's, Phones, Tablets - no 3rd party apps required
  • Ask questions, help others, promote aviation
  • Share the passion for aviation
  • Invite everyone to Flightinfo.com and let's have fun

Go around after contacting pavement with gear up?

Welcome to Flightinfo.com

  • Register now and join the discussion
  • Modern secure site, no 3rd party apps required
  • Invite your friends
  • Share the passion of aviation
  • Friendliest aviation community on the web


Freight Dawgs Rule
Dec 17, 2003
"WEST GOSHEN - David Nelson, a member of the board of directors at the airport, said he could see Webster making the approach to land but noticed the Saratoga's landing gear was not down.
Jay Zook, the airport's assistant manager, dove for the radio to tell Webster his gear was not down and to go around, Nelson said.
"But he was too low, the prop hit the runway," Nelson said. "You could see 50 hash marks on the runway from where the propeller hit."

NTSB said:
NTSB Identification: IAD05FA125
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, August 22, 2005 in West Chester, PA
Aircraft: Piper PA-32R-301, registration: N9285R
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors.

On August 22, 2005, about 1030 eastern daylight time, N9285R, a Piper PA-32R-301, was destroyed during impact with trees and terrain, and subsequent postcrash fire, following an aborted landing at Brandywine Airport (N99), West Chester, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, which departed North Central State Airport (SFZ), Pawtucket, Rhode Island, about 0815.

Several persons near Brandywine Airport observed the airplane during the approach, attempted landing, and aborted landing.

One witness, who was working in his shop on the north side of the airport, heard the pilot report via radio when he entered the airport area. The witness subsequently heard the pilot report his position on the downwind, base, and final legs of the traffic pattern. The witness next saw the airplane about 100 yards from the threshold of runway 27, with the flaps fully extended and the landing gear retracted. He then warned the pilot, via radio, that the airplane's landing gear was not extended.

As the witness ran toward the runway, he saw the airplane's flaps drag on the runway pavement. Shortly thereafter, he heard the engine power increase. The nose of the airplane pitched down, and the propeller contacted the runway. The airplane climbed, banked left, and struck trees located about 500 feet before the departure end of the runway.

The witness then followed the path of the airplane in his vehicle. He briefly lost sight of the airplane, and when he next saw it, he observed the engine and propeller "shaking." The airplane then disappeared from his view behind trees.

The witness stated that all of the pilot's radio transmissions were "normal," and stated specifically that the pilot did not make any distress calls, nor did he request any assistance.

Another witness, who was in his hangar on the south side of the airport, stated that he heard an unusual sound and looked up to see the airplane in a steep bank turn, at an altitude of "less than double [the] height of trees." The airplane's landing gear was extended, its speed slowed, and its pitch angle increased. He heard the engine "maintaining the sound of full power," while the airplane turned to the east. The airplane continued to slow, and the pitch angle continued to increase, as the wings leveled. The airplane then descend out of his view. Moments later he heard the sounds of impact.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at 39 degrees, 59 minutes north latitude, 75 degrees, 34 minutes west longitude.

The airplane came to rest in a wooded area, adjacent to a reservoir, about 1/2 mile south of the airport. The initial impact point was a large tree, about 50 feet above the terrain elevation. The wreckage path was about 150 feet long, and oriented in a direction of 180 degrees magnetic. The main wreckage came to rest oriented on a 130-degree heading.
Good friend of mine was an accident investigator for 25 years

what is the first thing a pilot does after a gear up landing - pushes the gear lever and the gear tries to extend

in my plane, the mains are fixed and the nose gear is retractable. on the retract nose gear, i installed an auto extend black box. at 90 knots - it extends. it is also self testing, turn on the master switch and it extends on the ground, course i don't have to worry about a prop strike - its a pusher

I spend an evening every three or four months reading accident reports like this, scares me. On every one i try to design into my plane or, more likely, my brain - how not to have it happen to me

Read the reports - it is good to be aware, it may save you.
Well, I know it's cliche, but no good deed goes unpunished. If he hadn't mentioned that the gear wasn't down, perhaps all that would have been damaged was an ego, airframe, engine and propeller.

But it's also also just as likely that the pilot would have heard the scrappng sounds and initiated a go-around anyway.

I wonder how long of a runway it was. If the engine was shaking as described, he should have just put it down immediately, rather than trying to climb out.

Doesn't anyone do a GUMPS check anymore. The owner of a retract should make sure that horn works real well if you're renting it out or you're the personal owner.
And when Piper first introduced the PA32R series airplanes, they were equipped with landing gear auto extenders. They worked just fine and lowered the hull insurance to boot. Wish some lawyer wouldn't have talked Piper from removing them. Saved a lot of ego's and repair bills.
There was an accident a lot like this one a long while back at HFD (Hartford CT). A twin turboprop (Metro I think) forgot the gear and tried to go around after the props hit the runway. I'm not sure if one prop was more damaged than the other, but the plane did something of a Vmc roll and hit the Connecticut River inverted.

Sounds like history repeating itself unfortunately.
It's happened several times- someone makes propeller contact with the runway, goes around, and crashes off field because the damaged propeller comes apart or doesn't produce enough thrust.

Repairing a gear-up landing is expensive for sure, but it's the preferred option to risking your life to save the paint on the belly.
Once you hear the prop tips hitting the runway, just accept your mistake, close the throttles, and go to the nearest bar for a pint or three! It's only money- your life is worth more than that.
This happened at my old flight school. An instructor and a student in a BE-76. They drug the step and bent the prop tips as they went around. Came back around and landed with no issues...other than some bruised ego's and a talk with the CP. It was pretty expensive.
DustMaker said:
in my plane, the mains are fixed and the nose gear is retractable.
A buddy of mine has a German factory built two seater with a retractible nose gear. He landed it gear up. I think it has a johnson bar set up.
Although in some instances a go-around can be successfully accomplished with some bent tips, perhaps it should be taught during complex training to ALWAYS land gear up once the props strike than to go-around. I know that this was never addressed during my training.

Students/renters need to be informed of the potential perils that await them on the go-around with a prop strike. Many know that it is going to be expensive to tear down the engine and repair the airframe, prop and so forth, so it seems like a very economically sensible decision. It's also very instinctual to keep the plane flying if you've scraped the plane. Most are taken by surprise and just push those levers forward.

Latest resources