The February 7, 2008 Weekly Accident Update is now posted at <> .

C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved

FLYING LESSONS suggested by this week's report:

Lessons learned from Beech experience are universal. Consider them in
any make and model of airplane.

Feel free to forward this message for the purpose of pilot education.

This week's lesson:

Gear collapses (where the gear is down but for some reason does not
remain down on the ground) are the single most common cause of mishaps
in certified, retractable-gear piston airplanes, and result from one of
four causations:

1. Inadvertent retraction of the landing gear, initiated by the
2. Mechanical failure of some component of the landing gear,
usually due to corrosion or inadequate system maintenance;
3. Incomplete extension of the landing gear prior to touchdown, and
retraction on the ground as a result of landing-roll forces;
4. Excessive side-load on the landing gear system, exceeding the
gear's load-bearing capability.

Guard against the causes of gear collapse by:

1. Delaying any "clean up" actions until coming to a complete stop
at the end of your landing roll. This includes avoiding touch-and-go
landings except under very controlled circumstances, with a division of
labor between qualified pilots in the cockpit.
2. Inspecting, lubricating, maintaining and replacing as necessary
components of the landing gear system in accordance with factory
recommendations or more stringent intervals as suggested by aircraft
owners' groups or the requirements of excessively harsh operations
and/or environments.
3. Verifying "down and locked" indications by all means available,
including sound, control feel, performance effects and visual checks
when able in addition to cockpit gear indications, and accomplishing the
emergency gear extension procedure to complete gear extension after any
extension on less than full electrical system voltage and/or when the
sound and/or time of gear transit is abnormal.
4. Completely compensating for any crosswind or other factors that
might cause the airplane to touch down with drift or out of alignment
with your intended direction of rollout, and delaying turns off the
active runway until the airplane has slowed to a walking pace and can be
turned with no apparent side load on the landing gear.

For more on Landing Gear-Related Mishaps see these data
<> and this commentary
<> .

Questions? Comments? Send me a note at


Our discussion of radar altimeters continues: A reader, a retired
airline captain who owns and flies a piston twin, writes:

While I have a RA [radar altimeter], I only use it for an alert (backup)
to double check another source of altitude, and I have three other
[altitude information sources]. I'd be very careful using it for a 0/0
landing, although could be helpful if one were absolutely sure the plane
was over the runway.

Thanks, reader, for your valued input.


Writing about the same accident that prompted the radar altimeter
discussion, another reader brings up an excellent point. Note: I'm
forwarding this observation, with permission, while avoiding identifying
the pilot but still getting the training value available from
considering his experience:

Just read your detailed description of the [12/13/2007] Lancaster,
<> PA E55
flight into known icing in an aircraft not certified for flight into
known icing accident. My home base is about 20 miles west of the
accident site and I am familiar not only with the airport but the pilot.
What the FAA report does not mention that you may find interesting is
that the PIC and aircraft owner is.a former SR-71 pilot and very well
regarded instructor in our region. Proof that even some of the most
experienced have poor judgment from time to time. Nothing new to those
of us who have been flying for many years, but I thought I'd pass it on
to you anyhow.

Discussing an unrelated fatal mishap, yet another reader brings up the
topic of pilot judgment as the primary factor in flight safety:

We keep seeing this happening. We can concede that the pilots are fully
qualified in the airplane. If you gave a written test and asked about
the proper procedures, they would get 100%. They can fly the airplane
to ATP standards, but it is not lack of skill that gets them, but a lack
of judgment and self-discipline. JFK Jr. knew that he needed to leave
early to arrive before dark, but allowed himself to swayed. He knew

[Training] will keep our skills sharp, but I want to focus on discipline
and judgment. I have read your checklist book, and everything else that
I can to stay alive. One item that continues to come to mind is the
comparison between GA, Corporate and Air Carrier accident levels. Much
is made about the advantages of turbine equipment, an ILS approach to
every landing etc, but I suspect that much has to do with SOP's
[Standard Operating Procedures], a crewmember willing to remind the
other of the SOP, and a Pilot-Flying who briefs the takeoff, approach
and the other phases of flight. For the past couple of years I have been
verbally briefing myself for each takeoff, departure, approach and
landing. It keeps me focused.

When the word came out that the Comair RJ flight had attempted to depart
from the wrong runway at Lexington, I told my wife that it would be
determined that cockpit conversation was related to either the waitress
at breakfast, the stock market, or some other trivial subject. The main
thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, and not to major in
minor matters.

I believe that is the message that must be learned and imprinted in the
minds of all. The training mills must, somehow, focus on judgment and
discipline. How do we do that?

I have asked many pilots, when do you look at the takeoff performance
charts? When do you perform a weight and balance? When performing a
circling approach what is your flap configuration? At your chosen
airspeed at typical landing weights, what is the stall margin for a
thirty-degree bank? It seems to me that few, if any, have thought about
these matters.

Wise words, and questions we (especially those of us in the instruction
business) need to address. The current training focus on cockpit
technology as almost the sole topic of instruction, the infinitesimal
minutia of engine management, and vital yet pedantic topics like runway
incursion avoidance for those of us who never fly to major airports is
distracting students and instructors from concentrating on the truly
life-saving skills of judgment, decision-making and risk management. I
plan to address this in far greater detail elsewhere and in future
editions of FLYING LESSONS. For now, however, tell us how you learned
about risk management other than by scaring yourself in flight, and if
you are a teacher of flight how you present and debrief decision-making
scenarios with your students. Write me at

Thank you, readers, for adding to the discussion.


** A Duke's landing gear collapsed on rollout..

** A Duchess landed gear up..

There's also an update on the 1/27 F33A gear collapse on landing in
Sacramento, CA.

For more information, commentary and analysis see the Beech
<> Weekly Accident Update
link at <> .

Fly safe, and have fun!

Thomas P. Turner, ATP/CFII/MEI

M.S. Aviation Safety, Master CFI

Mastery Flight Training, Inc. <>

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Contact Mastery Flight
Training, <> Inc.

If someone has forwarded this message to you and you want to have FLYING
LESSONS sent directly to you each week, tell me
<> .

If you received this message directly (as opposed to through a digest or
chat room) and wish to be removed from the FLYING LESSONS list, tell me
<> .

C2008 Mastery Flight Training, Inc. All rights reserved.


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