The pilot of the Mooney M20K, which has retractable landing gear, reported that, while on downwind to land at the airport in Minden, Nevada, he did a partial checklist and did not verify the landing gear position.
While on final approach, about 20 feet above ground level, he heard over the radio that his gear was not down.
He immediately extended the landing gear, applied full power, and applied back pressure on the control yoke.
With the airplane still in the landing configuration, he believed that the airplane stalled and subsequently landed hard, separating the nose gear. The airplane veered off the runway and hit a runway sign before it came to rest upright.
The left wing was substantially damaged.
The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to complete a before landing checklist, which resulted in his delayed extension of the landing gear, and his subsequent exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.
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This February 2020 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.
Tom Curran says
I agree that just going around w/gear up would’ve been the more prudent decision.
It would be interesting to know why his hatch just blew on downwind & he ended up only accomplishing a partial “MP”checklist. I’d think the more behind you get, the more you revert back to what you know best—in a retractable w/constant speed prop, that would be doing GUMP checks…multiple times….
Interesting self-diagnosis in the Operator/Owner Safety Recommendations…I’d probably spend more time just focused on emergencies & get the instrument approaches later.
Glad he wasn’t hurt. Kudus to Mooney for making stout little beasts.
And kudos to the pilot who tried to help him. Another reason for everyone to use good radio discipline at non-towered airports.
Greg L KAMIENSKI says
I call a “GUMP” CHECK on final.
Gas fullest tank
scott k patterson says
Pretty apparent, as it seems with most incidents lately, too much aircraft. Gear down, trim as necessary, throttle as necessary. Not a whole lot to remember without a checklist.
Perhaps a new regime of a checklist to remind you to use a checklist if you aren’t cognizant of what makes an airplane fly…or land as the case may be.
Warren Webb Jr says
That’s why it is recommended the pilot keep his/her hand on the throttle so power is immediately available.
I like to use multiple points/reminders to verify gear – checklist, gear motor sound, thump, gear indicator on floor (Mooney), mirror/visual check high wing, loss of airspeed, no gear up flying below pattern altitude, easy to control speed on descent, verbal call-out on final and check light(s) and indicator.
Someone at our airport landed gear-up a couple of years ago in a Lance he had owned for years. The distraction – haze and difficulty making visual contact with the runway. Hopefully using multiple steps would greatly help in avoiding this from happening.
Jim Macklin ATP/CFII says
A landing checklist is normally done on downwind or the final approach fix ( IFR )
A verification AR 200 feet of 3 green is my practice.
Seems like a go around would have been a better choice.