Nose gear fails on Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna 310. Injuries: None. Location: Sanford, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: A flight instructor and private pilot were performing touch-and-go landings. While retracting the landing gear, they heard a loud bang.

The gear-up light illuminated, indicating that all three landing gears were retracted and the gear doors were closed. The instructor concluded that the noise came from the landing gear doors closing into each other.

The flight continued, and two more landings were planned. The landing gear appeared to operate normally during the first landing, which was a touch-and-go. However, upon extending the gear for the last landing, the gear-down light failed to illuminate.

After checking the gear down indicating system, a visual check with the tower controllers confirmed that all three wheels were in the down position. During touchdown, the nose gear collapsed.

The post-accident examination revealed that the nose landing gear strut reservoir lacked air pressure and the fluid level was very low. This under-serviced condition caused binding in the nose gear fork assembly and failure of a nose gear push rod, which prevented the nose gear from extending to the full down and locked position. There were no signs of fluid leakage around the nose landing gear strut trunnion. A review of the maintenance logbooks did not reveal any prior discrepancies with the nose landing gear assembly.

Probable cause: The failure of the nose landing gear due to inadequate servicing of the nose gear strut reservoir.

NTSB Identification: ERA11LA221

This April 2011 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.


    • Jim says

      My impression of “inadequate servicing” means the owner did not bring it to me (the A&P) for the necessary service work needed to maintain the reliability of the system. Inadequate maintenance is more attibutable to the owner/operator than the mechanic.

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