Gear-up landing for Cessna

Aircraft: Cessna T210. Injuries: None. Location: Pueblo, Colo. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot heard an unusual sound as he retracted the landing gear after takeoff and the amber gear warning light was illuminated.

He referenced the emergency procedures and made two unsuccessful attempts to manually extend the gear. After engaging the autopilot, the pilot then checked the hydraulic reservoir in the cockpit and found it was empty.

At the advice of an air traffic controller, the pilot added a quart of engine oil in the hydraulic reservoir and attempted another manual gear extension, but was still unable to extend the gear.

He made a low pass by the control tower and a controller informed him that no landing gear were visible. He then attempted to make a gear up landing, however, according to airport personnel, the Cessna’s nose gear was down and the main landing gear retracted.

The airplane skidded on its belly and the left horizontal stabilizer was damaged.

According to a representative of the repair facility that fixed the airplane, an o-ring in the nose gear actuator piston had failed. In addition, a seal in the emergency extension system had also failed. Once the failed o-ring and seal were replaced, the landing gear functioned normally.

Probable cause: Failure of the landing gear to fully extend due to a failed o-ring in the nose gear actuator piston and a broken seal in the emergency landing gear extension system.

NTSB Identification: CEN11LA357

This May 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.


  1. Fritz Katz says

    At the “too good to last” school where I was 141 examiner, commercial students were required to check hyd fluid levels in reservoir and look for leaks before each flight…which was a royal pain in the ass on some singles.

    ALSO there are the reports of pilots beginning with Nicholas Morohovich in 1953 but since then mostly 172RG Gutless Cutlass in this situation disassembling all seat and pants belts into a long lasso…snagging the drooping gear and pulling it forward until locked. Definitely NOT worth the risk of “man overboard”.

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