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20th of February 2020, Blog #587

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

After completion of the required training for Single-Pilot operation the pilot of a Cessna 510 Citation Mustang was to receive a check-ride from a pilot examiner for his single-pilot type rating in a turbine airplane.

The aircraft shortly after coming to a stop and FFF being applied, the reason for the upper engine cowling being removed is unknown (©NTSB)

The aircraft took off from Daytona Beach International Airport (Florida, USA) on an IFR flight plan, with the pilot and examiner onboard. Several maneuvres, (simulated) emergencies and landings were completed successfully. The following procedure requested by the examiner was a no-flap landing. The Before Landing Checklist was completed, with the intentional omission of selecting the flaps, and confident that the landing gear was selected down. ATC was contacted and landing clearance was obtained for runway 07L at Daytona Beach International Airport, a 10500 feet / 150 feet runway.

Heat/fire damage to the left-hand wing to body fairing (©NTSB)

The weather was good in the Daytona area on this day in aviation history;

  • Visual Conditions prevailed

  • Clouds broken at 2100 ft agl (above ground level)

  • Winds were light and variable

  • Temperature 24ºC

  • Dewpoint 20ºC

  • Altimeter setting 30.06 inHg (1018 hPa)

The approach was flown and the aircraft was flared for a normal touchdown, although at a higher speed than normal. The pilot heard an abnormal "thumb", initially believing a tire had blown. He then saw that the landing gear handle was in the up position and remarked that the landing gear warning horn did not sound because he had performed a no-flaps landing. The examiner confirmed that the landing gear handle was in the "up" position.

The aircraft shortly after being sprayed by AFFF (© Anon) The aircraft was inspected by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector who examined the airplane and reported that the landing gear handle was in the "up" position. As part of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigation, the pilot was interviewed and he stated that there were no pre-accident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The fuselage sustained substantial damage.

Detail of the structural damage to the lower fuselage (© NTSB)

After the aircraft was recovered from the runway the landing gear was selected down, and the landing gear lowered and locked down into the down and locked position without issue. The damage to the aircraft was assessed and determined to be so extensive that the aircraft was written off as damaged beyond repair. On the 25th of August 2020, the NTSB published their Aviation Accident Final Report, in their report (which served as the source for this blog) they concluded that the probable cause for this accident was;

"The pilot's failure to lower the landing gear before landing. Contributing to the accident was the examiner's failure to check that the landing gear was extended."

The NTSB report can be accessed by clicking on the .pdf file below;

Cessna Citation Mustang Gear Up Landing 20-Feb-20
Download PDF • 113KB

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