The pilot reported that, en route on an instrument flight rules flight plan in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), the Piper PA-28R began accumulating ice. He requested a “precautionary diversion” to the nearest airport to land.
He exited IMC at 1,642′ above ground level and circled over the diversion airport in Kewanee, Illinois, for landing.
He kept the flaps and landing gear retracted “to not adversely affect lift” and forgot to extend the landing gear before landing.
However, when the airplane was over the runway threshold he reduced power, which caused the auto-extend function of the landing gear system to attempt to extend the landing gear.
During the landing roll, the right main and nose landing gear collapsed. The airplane gradually slid off the runway to the right, sustaining substantial damage to the right wing.
In the Procedures section of the Piper Arrow II Pilot’s Operating Manual, it states in part: Some aircraft are equipped with an airspeed-power sensing system (backup gear extender) which extends the landing gear under low airspeed-power conditions even though the pilot may not have selected gear down. For normal operation, the pilot should extend and retract the gear with the gear selector switch located on the instrument panel, just as he would if the backup gear extender system were not installed.
The manual also states: The red gear warning light on the instrument panel and the horn operate simultaneously when: On aircraft equipped with the backup gear extender, when the system has lowered the landing gear and the gear selector switch is not in the down position and the throttle is not full open.
Probable cause: The pilot’s failure to extend the landing gear during the approach to land.
NTSB Identification: GAA17CA109
This December 2016 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.