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It had been pointed out to the pilot, by another pilot on a previous flight, that the undercarriage retraction cycle was slow and he resolved to have this checked on the approaching 100 hourly inspection. The purpose of this flight was to position the aircraft for this inspection. After a normal flight from Adelaide the pilot selected undercarriage "Down" on a practice ILS approach to Essendon and noticed that cockpit indications for the port undercarriage continued to show "Up". He advised the Tower of the problem and on a subsequent pass over the Tower, ground observers confirmed that the port wheel was still retracted. Since he had plenty of fuel on board, the pilot spent about an hour attempting to lower the undercarriage, using the normal and emergency lowering methods. All systems operated normally, except for the port gear, which remained retracted. Acting upon instructions from engineers on the ground, the passenger removed a panel from the hydraulic system and tapped the port gear jack with the rubber end of a crash axe, but to no avail. The pilot decided to make a wheels up landing on the grass parallel to runway 08, and outside the northern boundary of the flight strip. Although the aircraft landed smoothly the under side of the fuselage was considerably damaged. Subsequent examination of the port undercarriage jack showed that the piston 'O' ring was badly chipped, but the reason for this could not be established. A fragment from the chipped 'O' ring had blocked the orifice of the jack brake valve, preventing operation'of the jack to lower the port gear. The unit containing the defective 'O' ring was required to be overhauled at periods not in excess of 4 years, but examination of the aircraft servicing records showed that it had not been overhauled since 14.2.1967.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 158KB]
General details
Date: 02 March 1971 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1644 EST  
Location:Essendon Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Wheels up landing 
Release date: 22 November 1972 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piaggio Aero 
Aircraft model: P.166 
Aircraft registration: VH-MMP 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Adelaide
Departure time:1226
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Last update 13 May 2014