Sunday, February 28, 2021

Landing Gear Not Configured: Aero Commander 500-B, N516DT; accident occurred March 27, 2020 at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (KOPF), Miami-Dade County, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Kansas City, Missouri

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Opalocka, FL
Accident Number: ERA20CA148
Date & Time: 03/27/2020, 0015 EDT
Registration: N516DT
Aircraft: Aero Commander 500
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled


The pilot reported that, during the descent to final, he began the GUMPS checklist. As he turned on the fuel tanks, he picked up interference on the radios. After fixing the radio situation, he continued the checklist. During the landing flare, he noticed that the "runway sight picture" seemed lower than normal. As he noticed this, he looked at the landing gear indicator, and the landing gear warning horn simultaneously sounded, so he initiated a go-around. While climbing to traffic pattern altitude, he noticed that he had failed to extend the landing gear. He added that he had not heard or felt the airplane contact the runway before the go-around. The pilot subsequently landed without incident and noted no damage during a cursory postflight inspection. He then departed and landed at another airport. Subsequently, he performed a more thorough postflight inspection of the airplane, during which he noticed that the marker beacon antenna was shaved off and that the lower fuselage of the airplane had sustained substantial damage consistent with ground contact.

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 due to distraction and his delayed go-around, which allowed the airplane to get too low and contact the runway with the landing gear retracted.


Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Aircraft Configuration - Not attained/maintained

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing-aborted after touchdown Landing gear not configured (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Abnormal runway contact

Pilot Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 53, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:Lap Only 
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/31/2020
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/07/2020
Flight Time:  2156 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1093 hours (Total, this make and model), 1980 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 210 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 36 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aero Commander
Registration: N516DT
Model/Series: 500 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 1574
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/18/2020, AAIP
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 25876 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO540-E145
Registered Owner: Central Airlines Inc
Rated Power: 290 hp
Operator: Central Airlines Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: OPF, 10 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1153 EDT
Direction from Accident Site:95° 
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts:3 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:None / None 
Wind Direction: 140°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Tampa, FL (VDF)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: Miami, FL (OPF)
Type of Clearance:IFR 
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 8 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6800 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: 25.907222, -80.283056 (est)


  1. Forest Gump says Life is like a box of choclates.

  2. Landed gear up, scraped the belly, took off and came around and landed with gear down. THEN, took off again and flew to another airport and landed again. Then noticed the damage. Good drugs.

  3. Classic case of a distraction causing one to lose place in the checklist procedure. Airlines learned about this issue long ago from crashes causing major procedural changes in the cockpit.

    There is no way he didn't feel that. He was trying to do a CYA and fly it off the ground which he did. His only face saving grace, in the short term anyway, was that it is a high wing aircraft. He would not have gotten away with it in a Beech, Cessna, or Piper twin. To me it appears he didn't want to be embarrassed at that airport and that's why he left for another.

    If he caused runway damage I hope that airport sends him the bill. Very selfish and dangerous decision. No telling what tire cutting and jet engine intake FOD he left on the ground as well to get kicked up.

  4. He even mentioned how many beers remained in the 6 pack from Saturday. Since the pilot thing isn’t really working out, he should enroll in bartending school.