Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Landing Gear Not Configured: Volmer VJ-22 Sportsman, N59262; accident occurred June 27, 2020 in Erie, Michigan

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Belleville, Michigan

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Erie, MI
Accident Number: CEN20CA254
Date & Time: 06/27/2020, 1700 EDT
Aircraft: Volmer VJ22
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Landing gear not configured
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot reported he had departed from a paved runway in his amphibious airplane. After takeoff, he was momentarily distracted by communications with air traffic control and did not ensure the landing gear was retracted. After a short local flight, he prepared to make a water landing on a lake. However, he was unable to locate the water landing checklist in the airplane and completed the checklist from memory. During the process, he inadvertently "skipped over" verifying the landing gear was retracted. When the airplane touched down on the water, he was unable to prevent it from nosing over. Photographs of the airplane taken during recovery from the lake showed substantial damage to the fuselage and wings. The pilot reported no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that could have contributed to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to ensure that the amphibious airplane’s wheels were retracted before attempting a water landing, resulting in a nose over during touch down. Contributing to the accident was the lack of a checklist available to the pilot.


Aircraft Main landing gear - Incorrect use/operation
Personnel issues Use of equip/system - Pilot
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Personnel issues Use of checklist - Pilot

Factual Information

History of Flight

Landing Landing gear not configured (Defining event)
Landing-flare/touchdown Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 50, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No 
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/21/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 03/02/2019
Flight Time: 789 hours (Total, all aircraft), 102 hours (Total, this make and model), 703 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Volmer
Registration: N59262
Model/Series: VJ22 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane 
Year of Manufacture: 1975
Amateur Built: Yes 
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: F-2
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian; Hull
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/25/2020, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 1 Hours
Engines:1 Reciprocating 
Airframe Total Time: 274 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Not installed 
Engine Model/Series: O-290-D2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 135 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: TOL
Distance from Accident Site: 80 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1500 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 10°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 190°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 29.76 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Toledo, OH (TOL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Erie, MI (None)
Type of Clearance: None 
Departure Time:1635 EDT 
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 41.776389, -83.446944

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