This February 2009 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 Cherokee. Injuries: None. Location: Lincoln, Calif. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The pilot departed for a local night flight. The plane’s door popped open. He turned to downwind and attempted to close the door. While on downwind, the airport’s pilot-activated runway lights turned off. The pilot, who had to reactivate the runway lights, forget to extend the landing gear. The airplane skidded to a stop and caught fire.
Probable cause: The failure to extend the landing gear for landing. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s diverted attention due to an open door and the runway lights turning off.
For more information: NTSB.gov