Sunday, August 26, 2018

Piper Aerostar 602P, N301FW: Accident occurred March 11, 2017 at Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Washoe County, Nevada

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Reno, NV
Accident Number: WPR17LA076
Date & Time: 03/11/2017, 1515 PST
Registration: N301FW
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Business 

On March 11, 2017, about 1515 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aero Star 602P airplane, N301FW, landed with a retracted left main landing gear at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno, Nevada. The airline transport pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 for the personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Sandpoint Airport (SZT), Sandpoint, Idaho at 1100 and was destined for Minden-Tahoe Airport (MEV), Minden, Idaho.

The pilot reported that after departure from SZT the airplane performed normally in takeoff, climb and cruise flight; the gear up light illuminated after the gear retraction. As the flight approached MEV, the pilot entered a left traffic pattern for runway 30. He performed the landing checklist but only the nose landing gear (NLG) and the right main landing gear (MLG) indicator lights illuminated; the left MLG indicator light was not illuminated. The pilot initiated a climb and performed the procedures on the emergency gear extension checklist, however the left MLG indicator light did not illuminate. He contacted Reno Approach, declared an emergency and received permission to circle East of RNO to burn off fuel which is a part of the emergency gear up landing checklist. When fuel in the left wing tank was exhausted, he requested and received clearance to land on RWY 25. The airplane touched down with the left MLG retracted and the right MLG and the NLG extended. Before it came to a full stop, the airplane impacted two taxiway signs.

An airport operations supervisor, who communicated with the pilot over the radio as he attempted to land at MEV, reported that as the airplane flew over the runway, he observed only the NLG and the right MLG extended. The pilot announced that he would attempt to land on runway 30. The pilot executed two passes over the runway; both times it appeared to the supervisor that the left MLG was about 30o down from horizontal, and it appeared that the tire was sitting against the inside gear door.

The pilot reported to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the accident site, that the accident flight was the first flight after a recent owner assisted annual inspection. During the annual inspection a small amount of hydraulic fluid was found on the control valve located in the upper, forward part of the left landing wheel well. The valve was subsequently resealed with new "O" rings. The pilot stated he did not know if the landing gear was cycled subsequent to the valve maintenance. However, a review of maintenance records revealed that the last annual inspection, which was performed on March 6, 2017, included the landing gear swing.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. On March 27, 2017, the FAA inspector travelled to the wreckage location to assist in an examination and swing of the landing gear. The FAA inspector examined the airplane and noticed that the right MLG side brace was broken which would impede gear retraction. He decided to perform a partial swing of the landing gear to determine if the hydraulic system was operational. The gear pump circuit breaker was opened, and the gear handle was placed in the up position. The pump isolation switch was placed in the off position and the master switch was energized. The gear pump circuit breaker was reset, and the isolation switch was energized momentarily. The gear started to retract; however, immediately thereafter, the left side push-pull rod assembly that connects the gear door actuator to the landing gear and door control valve, failed due to what appeared to be previous damage. The push-pull rod failed in a compression load, crimped and eventually broke in half.

The FAA inspector found later that a mechanic had pictures of the left side rod that were taken prior to failure. The pictures showed postaccident damage of the push-pull rod.

The left main landing gear push-pull rod and the control valve were subsequently removed for additional examination. On June 21, 2017, the sequence valve was examined at Aerostar Aircraft Corporation, Hayden, Idaho. The valve was inspected, reassembled and tested in accordance with Aerostar Acceptance and/or Function Test Procedure. No malfunctions were noted with the valve. The push-pull rod was examined on July 13, 2017 at the National Transportation Safety Board material lab, Washington, D.C. The examined fracture surfaces were consistent with overload. Complete exam reports are appended to this accident in the public docket.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 55, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present:
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/05/2015
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/15/2016
Flight Time:  2663 hours (Total, all aircraft), 111 hours (Total, this make and model), 2663 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: N301FW
Model/Series: AEROSTAR 602P 602P
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 62P08838165018
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/06/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6315 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3959 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AA1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 350 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KRNO, 4400 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1555 PST
Direction from Accident Site: 189°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 15000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 25000 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 260°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.16 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: SANDPOINT, ID (SZT)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: MINDEN, NV (MEV)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1100 PST
Type of Airspace: Class C 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 4414 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used:25 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6102 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire:None 
Ground Injuries:N/A 
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries:1 None   
Latitude, Longitude:39.499167, -119.768056 (est)

NTSB Identification: WPR17LA076
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, March 11, 2017 in Reno, NV
Aircraft: PIPER AEROSTAR 602P, registration: N301FW
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. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 11, 2017, about 1515 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aero Star, N301FW, landed with a retracted left main landing gear at Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno, Nevada. The pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, which operated on an instrument rules flight plan. The flight originated from Sandpoint Airport (SZT), Sandpoint, Idaho at 1100 with an intended destination of Minden-Tahoe Airport (MEV), Minden, Nevada.

The pilot reported that, during landing checks at MEV, the left main landing gear did not extend. However, the nose and the right main landing gear extended. The pilot elected to divert to RNO to land. Upon touchdown, the left main landing gear was still retracted. The airplane slid down the runway which resulted in a substantial damage to the left wing.

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