Cat. 3 investigation report: report concerning an occurrence with limited consequences, based on one or more statements not independently validated by the BEA.
This is a courtesy translation by the BEA of the Final Report on the Safety Investigation published in November 2021. As accurate as the translation may be, the original text in French is the work of reference.
Note: The following information is principally based on statements made by the pilot and the instructor. This information has not been independently validated by the BEA.
1 - HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT
The pilot, accompanied by an instructor, took off from Muret-Lherm aerodrome for a proficiency check flight.
During a stall exercise in landing configuration, the green landing gear lock indicator light did not illuminate. At the end of the exercise, the pilot retracted and extended the landing gear twice. The light remained off. The pilot made a low pass in front of the aerodrome tower so that the controller could tell him if the landing gear was extended. The controller could not confirm that the landing gear was locked, so the pilot carried out the emergency landing gear extension procedure, turning the crank until it was locked. The light remained off.
The pilot carried out an approach for runway 12 at Muret-Lherm aerodrome, adopting a speed of between 70 and 75 kt. He tried to land as lightly as possible. During the landing run, the right then left main landing gear retracted. The aeroplane ran off the runway. The nose gear then retracted as well. The aeroplane came to rest in the grass at about 20 m from the runway.
2 - ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The weather conditions were as follows: wind from 110° at 16 kt with light to moderate gusts, visibility greater than 10 km, no cloud below 5,000 ft.
The 62-year-old pilot, co-owner of the aeroplane, held a commercial pilot licence CPL(A) issued by the State of registry and an airline transport pilot licence ATPL(A) issued by EASA. He had logged over 14,000 flight hours. These included around 20 hours in this aeroplane and 25 hours in the previous three months, none in this aeroplane. He was also a test pilot until 20 August 2021.
The 47-year-old instructor held a commercial pilot licence CPL(A) issued by the State of registry, with an instructor rating and a commercial pilot licence CPL(A) issued by EASA. He had logged about 3,100 flight hours, of which 200 hours were on type and one hour in the previous three months on type.
The pilot indicated that the aural warning is mechanically connected to the nose gear. The warning did not sound as only the main landing gears were not locked.
Following the accident, the pilot who had flown the aeroplane on the previous flight indicated that the landing gear had not retracted correctly during the initial climb. He therefore extended it again before retracting it without any problem. He then carried out two or three landing gear extensions/retractions to check that it operated correctly. As everything seemed to be OK, he did not note anything about it in the aeroplane’s logbook.
The pilot indicated that the aeroplane had undergone numerous operations during the 2020/2021 period and he did not rule out the possibility that an object could have become jammed in the landing gear mechanism. Inspections and checks of the landing gear operation on the ground had not revealed anything abnormal.