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Event Type: Accident Highest Injury: None Mid Air: N Missing: N
City: WEST PALM BEACH State: FL Country: US
ACFT TOOK OFF FROM RY27R AND CONTACTED DEPARTURE TO REQUEST A RETURN FOR
LANDING DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE PILOT WAS UNABLE TO RETRACT THE LANDING
GEAR, ON LANDING, THE RIGHT MAIN LANDING GEAR COLLAPSED, AND THE ACFT
SUSTAINED SUBSTANTIAL DAMAGE, WEST PALM BEACH, FL.
Accident occurred Thursday, February 14, 2002 at West Palm Beach, FL
Aircraft:Gulfstream Aerospace G-V, registration: N777TY
Injuries: 2 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 14, 2002 about 0700 eastern standard time, a Gulfstream Aerospace G-V, N777TY, operated by BB Five Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight landed hard at West Palm Beach International Airport, West Palm Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an IFR flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airline transport rated-pilot and co-pilot reported no injuries. The flight was originating at the time en route to Teterboro, New Jersey.
According to the FAA the airplane had departed runway 27R. The pilot made radio contact with departure control and requested to return for landing because he was unable to retract the landing gear. The flight landed on runway 27R and according to witnesses the airplane landed hard, bounced high, shearing the right main landing gear aft and up through the wing.
Guys, there is something else going on here. Landing the jet with the gear pins in is no different than landing it with them out. The Captain would not have had full fuel on board for a trip to TEB. West Palm to Teterboro would take about 7,000 lbs of fuel. Max fuel on the G-V is 41,300 lbs; about the most you can land with is 25,000 lbs if you want to tanker fuel. An overweight landing in the G-V is no big deal either. Max landing weight is 75,300 lbs, but I have landed it at 90,000 lbs. There is a g-meter on board and as long as you don't register more than 1.6 g's you don't have a problem. Once you get the 93'6" wing on the G-V into ground effect it is difficult to generate more than about a 300-400 foot per minute rate of descent. It does not take great pilot skills not to land hard.
About the only scenario I can think of that makes sense with the information presented is that there was a problem with the weight on wheels switch and the jet didn't make it into the air mode. In that configuration, if the ground spoilers were armed, when the auto-throttles came back to idle at 50' on approach, the airplane would have made all the conditions for ground spoiler deployment. That would generate a nasty rate of descent.
"Much better pilots than I have accidentaly landed with the gear up."
Translation: I am fully capable of commiting a dumb mistake and I'm not talented enough to ever forget that piloting an airplane is an exercise in extreme diligence. As the airplanes I'm privileged to fly get faster and bigger the more true this becomes.
I wasn't there so I don't know what happened. I do know this. It could happen to me. Hopefully, I'll learn from whatever mistakes were made by another less fortunate crew, if there were indeed any mistakes made at all.
Is there a checklist or other procedure for the situation you have theorized? (Malfunctioning WOW switch or "nutcracker" in Gulfstream jargon). Surely there must be provisions for something as overtly dangerous as this. Just curious...
Nicely stated. It can happen to any of us in the risk management, (flying), business. I too will be reading the final report when it is published.
Humility and eternal vigilance won't keep you completely safe however, they sure improve your odds.
I think GVflyer is on to something with the possibility of ground spoiler deployment on short final. I heard that Gulfstream just came out with a maint. memo concerning the nutcracker and how it could be stuck in the ground mode while in the air. If the nutcracker was, then all of the conditions would be met for spoiler deployment as power levers(auto throttles) hit the hard stops.
Yes, there is an exhaustive procedure for nutcracker malfunctions in both the Quick Reference Handbook and the Flight Manual. More importantly, if you have a problem in a Gulfstream, technical assistance from the manufacturer is only a phone call away 24 hours a day worldwide. Enter a hold someplace, pick up the SATCOM, call Gulfstream, tell them the fuel you have remaining in hours and minutes, and they'll get Flight Ops, Tech Ops and the engineers that designed the system together if necessary for your conference call. The days of having to go it alone on your own are behind us.
It will be VERY interesting to see the final report on what actually happend.
The WOW system defaults to the "Air" mode at 150 AGL based on the RA (using the FWC), so unless there were multiple failures or they didn't get higher than 150 AGL, the WOW would have been in the Air Mode and the ground spoilers wouldn't have deployed until touchdown if they were armed. Also, a simple WOW failure would have been detected and displayed on the CAS and the pilot would have been able to raise the gear by pushing the Lock Release and raising the gear.
GVFlyer is exactly right about the ground affect of the beautiful wing. Landing hard in this jet is an art form. The fuel issue is also correct -- about the most they would have had on board is around 30K, plus or minus 1K. That would make an GV weigh around 80K, still 10K less than max and only 5K above max landing... something tells me the whole story will be a good lesson on CRM and checklist discipline. I like the gear pin theory.
Why were they in such a big hurry to get back on the ground? Did they have oxygen generators in the luggage compartment? If their only problem was not being able to raise the gear, they had at least 5 hours of fuel on board --with the gear down... Hurry, hurry, hurry...
My guess is that the aircraft is innocent. This sounds like a case of bad maintenance procedures compounded by poor pilot practices. That is to say, someone left WOW lockouts on the aircraft following maintenance which the pilots didn't catch on preflight and then AFM procedures weren't followed in flight.
My standard brief to the other pilot is, "Don't let me screw-up, Don't hurt me, Don't get me fired."
It is my understanding that the aircraft had been on jacks in the hangar to investigate a gear problem that the crew had reported on a previous flight. During maintenance, the techs defeated the nutcracker switches to make the aircraft think it was on the ground for their troubleshooting. After the maintenance was completed, the aircraft was removed from the jacks but they forgot to remove the nutcracker lockout.
The gear would not retract after they took off because the nutcrackers thought they were still on the ground. On short final, the crew closed the throttles. Since the nutcrackers thought the aircraft was on the ground (with the throttles closed and nutcracker defeated) the ground spoilers deployed. The aircraft sank like a brick and struck the ground with an excessive vertical descent rate.