This March 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 Comanche.
Location: Des Moines, Iowa.
Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was making an approach to landing and attempted to lower the landing gear. He heard a metallic clacking sound when he activated the landing gear lever, but the gear would not go down. He tried to lower the gear through the emergency procedures as outline in the airplane’s POH.
After several unsuccessful attempts to get the gear down, the pilot elected to divert to another airport to perform an emergency landing. Upon reaching the alternate airport, he performed a fly-by and ground personnel confirmed that the landing gear was not fully extended. He performed a wheels-up landing.
The post-accident examination determined that there was damage to the nose landing gear steering stops, the nose landing gear down lock mechanism, and the nose landing gear wheel well sidewall. The damage was consistent with exceeding the steering limits of the nose landing gear during ground handling.
Probable cause: The nose landing gear becoming jammed in a partially extended position during flight as a result of damage to the nose landing gear by ground personnel.
For more information: NTSB.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20070402X00353&key=1.