Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N301FW accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 39.499166°N, 119.768056°W
Nearest city Reno, NV
39.529633°N, 119.813803°W
3.2 miles away
Tail number N301FW
Accident date 11 Mar 2017
Aircraft type Piper Aerostar 602P
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On March 11, 2017, about 1515 Pacific standard time, a Piper Aero Star 602P airplane, N301FW, landed with a retracted left main landing gear at the Reno/Tahoe International Airport (RNO), Reno, Nevada. The airline transport pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 for the personal cross-country flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Sandpoint Airport (SZT), Sandpoint, Idaho at 1100 and was destined for Minden-Tahoe Airport (MEV), Minden, Idaho.

The pilot reported that after departure from SZT the airplane performed normally in takeoff, climb and cruise flight; the gear up light illuminated after the gear retraction. As the flight approached MEV, the pilot entered a left traffic pattern for runway 30. He performed the landing checklist but only the nose landing gear (NLG) and the right main landing gear (MLG) indicator lights illuminated; the left MLG indicator light was not illuminated. The pilot initiated a climb and performed the procedures on the emergency gear extension checklist, however the left MLG indicator light did not illuminate. He contacted Reno Approach, declared an emergency and received permission to circle East of RNO to burn off fuel which is a part of the emergency gear up landing checklist. When fuel in the left wing tank was exhausted, he requested and received clearance to land on RWY 25. The airplane touched down with the left MLG retracted and the right MLG and the NLG extended. Before it came to a full stop, the airplane impacted two taxiway signs.

An airport operations supervisor, who communicated with the pilot over the radio as he attempted to land at MEV, reported that as the airplane flew over the runway, he observed only the NLG and the right MLG extended. The pilot announced that he would attempt to land on runway 30. The pilot executed two passes over the runway; both times it appeared to the supervisor that the left MLG was about 30o down from horizontal, and it appeared that the tire was sitting against the inside gear door.

The pilot reported to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the accident site, that the accident flight was the first flight after a recent owner assisted annual inspection. During the annual inspection a small amount of hydraulic fluid was found on the control valve located in the upper, forward part of the left landing wheel well. The valve was subsequently resealed with new "O" rings. The pilot stated he did not know if the landing gear was cycled subsequent to the valve maintenance. However, a review of maintenance records revealed that the last annual inspection, which was performed on March 6, 2017, included the landing gear swing.

The wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination. On March 27, 2017, the FAA inspector travelled to the wreckage location to assist in an examination and swing of the landing gear. The FAA inspector examined the airplane and noticed that the right MLG side brace was broken which would impede gear retraction. He decided to perform a partial swing of the landing gear to determine if the hydraulic system was operational. The gear pump circuit breaker was opened, and the gear handle was placed in the up position. The pump isolation switch was placed in the off position and the master switch was energized. The gear pump circuit breaker was reset, and the isolation switch was energized momentarily. The gear started to retract; however, immediately thereafter, the left side push-pull rod assembly that connects the gear door actuator to the landing gear and door control valve, failed due to what appeared to be previous damage. The push-pull rod failed in a compression load, crimped and eventually broke in half.

The FAA inspector found later that a mechanic had pictures of the left side rod that were taken prior to failure. The pictures showed postaccident damage of the push-pull rod.

The left main landing gear push-pull rod and the control valve were subsequently removed for additional examination. On June 21, 2017, the sequence valve was examined at Aerostar Aircraft Corporation, Hayden, Idaho. The valve was inspected, reassembled and tested in accordance with Aerostar Acceptance and/or Function Test Procedure. No malfunctions were noted with the valve. The push-pull rod was examined on July 13, 2017 at the National Transportation Safety Board material lab, Washington, D.C. The examined fracture surfaces were consistent with overload. Complete exam reports are appended to this accident in the public docket.

NTSB Probable Cause

The failure of the left main landing gear to fully extend for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination and testing did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.