Distracted pilot forgets about the landing gear

General Aviation News has reprinted a November 2008 accident report from the USA’s National Transportation Safety Board that is well worth reading by pilots everywhere. The incident involved a Beech Bonanza in Port Townsend, Washington and resulted in substantial damage after the pilot forgot to put down the landing gear. Here is what reportedly happened:

The pilot decided to make a straight-in VFR approach to the non-controlled airport. There was traffic departing from the airport during the Bonanza’s approach. The pilot said he became distracted while discussing that traffic with his passenger and did not use the pre-landing checklist. As a result, he failed to lower the gear prior to landing.

The cause of the accident was ruled to be the failure to lower the landing gear but indirectly the accident was caused by the pilot being distracted and his failure to use a checklist.

In the comments section, Frank Szachta Sr. noted that the cause of many such accidents seems to be pilots being distractions. Hence, he wrote:

In retract gear birds, it is necessary to think of Gear Down three times in each approach and landing pattern. Once early in checklist, on Final, and again as runway is in sight. Look for imaginary sign on runway edge, “Gear Down & Locked”.

Meanwhile, commenter Tom Hartley simply noted:

….is “GUMP”: gas, undercarriage, mixture, & props? or is it: Gear down, Undercarriage down, Make sure it’s down, & Put it down right now!

Definitely advice worth remembering!



3 Responses to Distracted pilot forgets about the landing gear

  1. Frank Van Haste November 6, 2010 at 13:23 #

    Landing gear-up in a retractable gear aircraft is usually expensive and embarrassing. But…landing with the gear DOWN in an amphibious float-plane is catastrophic and often fatal. So…can we learn anything from the float-plane drivers? Do they have different error avoidance techniques that we could adapt and adopt?

    Or is it just that their attention is concentrated by contemplation of the consequences?

  2. Michael Mayes November 8, 2010 at 15:28 #

    Tom Hartley's response kind of reminds me of an Aviatrix's blog that was taken down a couple of years ago, but which I read tons. It was a large motivator to start training as soon as I could.

    I archived it and here is what she said about BCGUMPS:

  3. Hani November 10, 2010 at 12:15 #

    Reminds me of the old adage, "there are two types of RG pilots, those who land gear up, and those who will".

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