This December 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: Beech Baron. Injuries: None. Location: Lexington, Ky. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The pilot was practicing instrument approaches. He performed a missed approach, retracting the landing gear. Although the indications in the cockpit showed the landing gear was retracted, the air traffic controller advised the pilot that the nose landing gear appeared to be in the extended position.
The pilot then selected the nose landing gear to the extended position and noted the corresponding gear extended cockpit indication. During a subsequent landing, the nose landing gear collapsed and the airplane slid to a stop on the runway.
Examination of the airplane revealed that the right side of the nose landing gear aft drag brace had separated. Metallurgical examination revealed that the origin point of the fracture was consistent with over-stress, and the fracture extended from the origin point over a significant period of time. The airplane had accumulated over 10,000 hours of flight time, and the initiation of the over-stress event was most likely the result of a previous hard landing or landings. Review of the maintenance manual revealed that the nose gear was an “on condition” inspection item; however, the fracture was in an area that would not be easily visible or detected by a mechanic during an inspection.
Probable cause: The over-stress failure of the nose landing gear aft drag brace.
For more information: NTSB.gov; NTSB Identification: ERA10IA095