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Approaching a reporting point on his cross-country flight the pilot became aware of the failure of a radio navigation aid. Shortly afterwards the pilot was unable to establish radio contact to make his position report. Suspecting an electrical failure but unable to detect the cause the pilot elected to divert to the departure aerodrome. The pilot stated that he turned off all electrically powered services except the VHF radio and was finally able to relay a report through another aircraft. On arrival at Mt Gambier he made a radio call in the circuit but assumed that the radio was " dead " at that point. Gear was selected DOWN on the downwind leg and the pilot felt that it had extended but reported that he had no gear position indication from the cockpit indicator lights. He then briefly activated the emergency gear extension knob. The pilot continued the circuit for a flapless approach and decided to try and touch the gear on the runway to check if it was extended. A witness on the ground reported seeing the gear extend on the downwind leg and the continuous operation of the aircraft anti-collision beacon. However when the aircraft was on final approach the witness saw that the main gear was only partly extended and the nosegear was still in the UP position. His radio calls of warning were not received by the pilot. After a smooth leveloff for landing the pilot reported feeling the right mainwheel touch down so he reduced power. Almost immediately the gear collapsed and the pilot was unable to go around from that situation. Subsequent investigation revealed that the source of the electrical failure was a slipping alternator drive belt caused by a worn bracket. The pilot had not flown that type of aircraft for over three months. He was apparently unaware that in order to operate the emergency landing gear system the appropriate knob has to be depressed for about 30 seconds. CAO requires the pilot-in-command the owner and/or operator of the aircraft to fulfil certain criteria before a proposed flight is undertaken. Evidently none of the parties fulfilled their responsibilities in this regard on this occasion.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 24KB]
General details
Date: 01 April 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1215  
Location:Mt Gambier Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: South Australia Occurrence type: Miscellaneous - Other 
Release date: 10 May 1990 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-32 
Aircraft registration: VH-DAH 
Serial number: 32R-7680498 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Minor 
Departure point:Mt Gambier SA
Departure time:N/K
Destination:Naracoorte SA
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