Poor maintenance leads to gear collapse

This June 2010 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: Champion 7ECA. Injuries: None. Location: Thomasville, Ga. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: As the airplane touched down, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid down the runway on its belly.

The post-accident examination revealed that a bolt on the right main landing gear was missing. It was determined that the bolt, which holds the oleo shock absorber unit in the housing, was incorrectly installed above and through the assembly, resulting in the bolt coming out of the housing, which in turn led to the cylinder and spring overextending out of its housing. There was no evidence of fatigue, stress, or corrosion on the failed component.

A review of the airframe logbook indicated that the last annual inspection was conducted about 45 days and 3.8 flight hours prior to the accident. The airplane’s parts manual stated that after performing maintenance of the oleo, the mechanics should be certain that the bolt passes through the retainer at the top end of the oleo. The manual further warned that if this is not done, the oleo will fall out when the airplane takes off.

Probable cause: The improper reinstallation of the airplane’s oleo piston assembly during an annual inspection, resulting in the collapse of the right main landing gear during touchdown.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: ERA10LA351



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