Landing gear mishap leads to crash

This June 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 Arrow.
Location: Rockport, Texas.
Injuries: None.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The 196-hour private pilot was attempting to land in a retractable gear airplane. According to the pilot, on touchdown the aircraft felt “squirrelly” and the propeller struck the pavement. The pilot pulled the nose up and the airplane ballooned, then touched down again and pull to the right. The propeller and right wing hit the pavement. The airplane slid to a stop.

The post-accident investigation discovered a one-foot square hole on the upper skin of the right wing with the support structure of the right landing gear protruding through the hole. The investigation determined that the landing gear was in the retracted position when the first propeller strike occurred, and that the landing gear fully extended when the pilot raised the nose. The right main landing gear strut was pushed through the top of the wing during the subsequent hard landing.

Probable cause: The improper landing flare, which resulted in a hard landing.

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