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The damage to the rod end was consistent with failure during the retraction of the landing gear after takeoff at Gove. Disconnection of the left main gear from its push-pull tube meant that the gearbox was unable to extend or retract that gear. It also meant that the emergency gear extension was ineffective. Fatigue cracking within the rod eye section was the principal factor behind the separation of the push-pull tube and the subsequent failure of the landing gear to operate correctly.

The investigation was unable to determine why the rod end failed. It is possible that an increase in transmitted loads resulting from excessive system friction, system rigging problems or the failure of interrelated components could have contributed to the initiation of the rod end cracking.

The pilot was confronted with the high workload of maintaining control during night circuits and trouble shooting a landing gear malfunction. The night conditions meant that people on the ground were of limited help, at least initially, in determining the status of the landing gear. Landing the aircraft with the gear retracted allowed for some directional control during the landing slide and probably limited damage to the aircraft.

The release of the emergency exit on final approach had the potential to inflict serious damage to the tailplane with possible control problems resulting.

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