August 2007 Issue

From Bad To Worse

How to turn a “routine” gear-up landing into a destroyed airplane and two fatalities.

The old saying about gear-up landings—"There are those who have and those who will"—applies to all of us flying retractables. Perhaps a fatalistic outlook, it’s also an admonition to perform those pre-landing checklists at least once each flight. Beyond that, the saying also admits few, if any, have died or were even seriously injured in a gear-up landing. Depending on the circumstances of such misfortune, the airplane might be only minimally damaged. While few of us fly DC-3s, that airplane and others like it are quite capable of landing without the gear extended, likely damaging only the props. Check the engines, hang new props, jack the airplane and it’s good to go.

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