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Summary

Summary

A Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-31 Navajo, registered VH-DEQ, was on a private VFR flight when it made a wheels-up landing on Runway 14 at Birdsville, Qld. The two occupants were unharmed, but the aircraft was substantially damaged. The pilot flying was gaining experience on the aircraft under the supervision of a Grade 1 flight instructor as part of a class endorsement on the aircraft.

The pilot flying reported that on late downwind he moved the gear selector to the DOWN position. Both pilots believed the landing gear was down and locked but could not recall whether the three green Down-Locked lights had illuminated. The landing gear selector was still in the DOWN position after the landing.

The Pilot's Operating Handbook explained that the gear selector moved from the DOWN to a neutral position when the landing gear extension cycle was complete. It stated that the gear lights were the primary means of confirming the landing gear status.
A post-accident examination of the landing gear system by an engineer did not find any defect.

The investigation found that although the pilot flying may not have operated the aircraft's landing gear selector correctly, contributing to the wheels-up landing, neither he nor the instructor had effectively ensured that the landing gear was down and locked.

 
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