Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Landing Gear Not Configured: Piper PA-31-350 Chieftain, N88TG; accident occurred April 18, 2020 at Buckland Airport (PABL), Alaska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Fairbanks, Alaska 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


ocation: Buckland, Alaska
Accident Number: ANC20CA044
Date & Time: April 18, 2020
Registration: N88TG
Aircraft: Piper PA31 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


According to the pilot, due to weather in the local area, he chose to conduct a straight-in landing approach rather than overfly the runway. After slowing the airspeed, he selected 15° of flaps, moved the landing gear down, and then selected full flaps. After landing, he realized that the landing gear were not extended, so he checked the landing gear handle and saw that it was in the neutral position and that no landing gear indicator lights were illuminated. The pilot reported that, when he moved the landing gear handle, he must have failed to place it in the full-down position; he added that he was distracted by standing water on the runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. The pilot stated there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation and added that the accident might have been prevented if he had followed the Before Landing
checklist and not allowed the distractions and deviation from routine to alter his normal procedures.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to extend the landing gear before landing due to distraction by the condition of the runway and his failure to use the Before Landing checklist. 


Personnel issues Forgotten action/omission - Pilot
Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Personnel issues Attention - Pilot
Personnel issues Use of checklist - Pilot
Aircraft Gear extension and retract sys - Not used/operated

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Other weather encounter
Landing-flare/touchdown Landing gear not configured (Defining event)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline transport; Commercial; Private
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea; Multi-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 2 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: July 26, 2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 24946 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12330 hours (Total, this make and model), 24627 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 196 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 101 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Piper 
Registration: N88TG
Model/Series: PA31 350
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1984 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 31-8452020
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle 
Date/Type of Last Inspection: March 30, 2020 Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 7368 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 6793.1 Hrs as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: TIO-540 J2BD
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 350 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: 
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 22:29 Local 
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 2100 ft AGL 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 110° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / 3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fairbanks, AK 
Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Destination: Buckland, AK (AK75)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Candle 2 AK75 
Runway Surface Type: Gravel
Airport Elevation: 15 ft msl 
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 20 IFR 
Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3880 ft / 90 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Straight-in

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 65.907775,-161.926391(est)

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