The pilot of the twin-engine Beech 95-B55 was landing in gusty wind conditions at the airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, and thought he had extended the landing gear.
As he began to flare, he felt a bump and attributed it to the wind.
He then pitched the nose of the airplane up and quickly put his hand on the landing gear lever to confirm that the landing gear was down.
The airplane began to roll to the right, so he returned his hand to the throttles to reduce power on the right engine.
The plane hit the ground on the left wing and nose. The belly then hit the ground and the airplane slid upright before coming to a stop, resulting in substantial damage to the left wing and fuselage.
Airport surveillance video captured the airplane as it began to flare over the runway with the landing gear retracted. The airplane then pitched up and the landing gear was observed extending while the plane was just a few feet above the runway. The left-wing then dropped and hit the ground, followed by the nose and fuselage.
The pilot said, “By all accounts, I did not lower the landing gear.”
However, he did not recall extending the gear after the airplane pitched up during the flare. He said he may have partially extended the gear on downwind because he never confirmed that the “green” gear-down lights were illuminated.
The pilot said he normally announces the pre-landing checklist out loud but did not do it on this flight.
Due to the gusty wind conditions, he landed with partial flaps, higher airspeed, and power setting. As a result, this configuration did not trigger the landing gear warning horn.
Probable Cause: The pilot’s failure to maintain control of the airplane during the landing and his failure to confirm that the landing gear was extended before landing.
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This December 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.