The student pilot reported that following an uneventful flight in the Cessna 177RG, as he entered the airport traffic pattern in Richland, Wash., on the downwind leg, he was notified by another pilot that there was an airplane operating within the traffic pattern with no radio.
The student pilot established visual contact with one airplane, however he did not establish visual contact with the airplane operating without a radio until reaching the mid-field point on downwind.
He said that throughout the approach to landing, he maintained visual contact with the airplane until it would not be a factor. He then landed the plane with the landing gear in the retracted position, which resulted in structural damage to the fuselage.
He noted that his attention was diverted between maintaining airspeed and a stable approach to the runway, while maintaining visual contact with the airplane that was not in radio contact.
He added that he failed to do his before landing checklist as he normally does at the mid-field point on downwind and each turn in the traffic pattern.
The NTSB determined the probable cause of this accident as the pilot’s failure to extend the landing gear prior to landing. Contributing to the accident was his diverted attention and not using a checklist.
NTSB Identification: WPR14CA092
This December 2013 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.