Failure to lower landing gear contributes to crash

This April 2007 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.Aircraft: Piper Najavo.
Location: Walker, Minn.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot told investigators that as he entered a left downwind for the destination airport he lowered the landing gear and completed the before-landing checklist. All indications were that the landing gear was down. However, during the landing flare, he felt and heard metal grinding on the runway.

He determined that the landing gear was not down and immediately executed a go-around. During the go-around, the airplane started to roll to the right. The pilot was unable to avoid striking small trees during the climb out. He then noticed that the flaps were still down and raised them. He returned to the airport for another landing attempt.

As he lined up on final approach the landing gear was again showing down and locked. This time the gear was down and locked and he was able to land and taxi to the ramp.

During the post-accident inspection, the landing gear was observed in the down and locked position. Visual inspection of the landing gear did not reveal any anomalies.

Probable cause: The pilot’s inadvertent failure to lower the landing gear.

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