Gear-Up ‘Gotchas

A number of gear-up landings reported to ASRS by pilots of experimental aircraft involve a mechanical or electrical problem, coupled with the pilot?s failure to use a before-landing checklist:

Landed with nosewheel retracted. Minor damage to aircraft. Nosewheel up/warning for throttle to idle was disabled due to electrical wiring problems. New aircraft (15 hours since completion) and new [experimental aircraft] pilot. [I have now] established specific procedure to lower nosewheel prior to turning base leg pattern.

The pilot of an experimental turbojet trainer describes how a demo flight with a prospective buyer (the Pilot Flying in the incident below) became a real drag:

…On the final approach, the Pilot Flying [PF] was distracted due to potential conflicting traffic on long final. As a result, an unusual pattern was flown. As PIC, I directed the PF to perform the tasks of power management, spoiler deployment, flaps and landing gear extension, in a much more rapid sequence than normal. A close-in, high final approach was flown with the engine unspooled, at flight idle. During the flare, I recognized a lower attitude than normal and looked at the landing gear indicator to confirm wheel position. I instinctively knew that the wheels were not down but wasted approximately 2-3 seconds seeking confirmation from the gear indicator system. As the flare continued, antennae and flaps began dragging on the runway, further decelerating the aircraft. A late attempt at full power was made, but the engine response was not sufficient to go around…

A contributing factor was that the Pilot Flying was very unfamiliar with this airplane. Further contributing is that this aircraft has no aural/visual landing gear warning system linked to throttle or flaps. Human performance considerations: Poor perception by the PIC of the PF’s ability. Poor judgment of the PIC in not terminating an unusual approach.