A Handful of Bad Luck
The NTSB has released its final report on a 20 May 2023 accident in which a North American-Buehn T-6G, registration N42JM (file photo), operating in the vicinity of Ankeny, Iowa was substantially damaged when its retractable undercarriage malfunctioned.
The pilot of the accident-aircraft set forth that while on the downwind leg to an approach to Runway 36 at Iowa’s Ankeny municipal Airport (IKV) he’d completed the before-landing checklist and confirmed via the cockpit landing-gear position indicator lights that the aircraft’s landing-gear was extended. Additionally, the pilot observed the landing-gear locking pins were engaged.
On final approach, the pilot intended to move the T-6G’s flap control lever to the full-down position; however, his hand came to rest on the landing-gear control lever, which he inadvertently moved from the down to the up position.
The pilot did not perform a visual gear-down check on short final.
The airplane touched down with its main landing gear retracted, impacted the runway, and came to a stop thereupon. The pilot and his one passenger disembarked the airplane and moved away from such.
An ensuing post-accident fire substantially damaged the aircraft’s fuselage and left wing.
The pilot reported no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation of the aircraft.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the described accident to be the pilot’s inadvertent manipulation of the T-6G’s landing-gear control lever and subsequent retraction of the aircraft’s landing-gear.
The 46-year-old pilot of the accident aircraft held Airline Transport Pilot Certification in single- and multi-engine land aircraft. Moreover, he held a Class III Medical Certificate without limitations or waivers. The pilot estimated his total flight-time at 1,950 hours, of which 1,892 hours were Pilot In Command time. The individual had logged a total of 13 hours in the T-6G.
Both pilot and passenger survived the accident without injury.