On 23 February 2013, a Cessna 210M, registered VH‑PBV (PBV), was returning to Broome Airport, Western Australia, from Lombadina with a pilot and four passengers on board. The weather on the day was windy and wet with thunderstorms and rain moving through the area, requiring the pilot of PBV to alter the aircraft’s flight plan and flight path.

The aircraft tracked to a position north of the airport, in order to land on runway 10. The pilot reported selecting the landing gear down as part of his landing checks, and a passenger later reported that he heard what he believed to be the landing gear being lowered.

The air traffic controller (controller) cleared PBV to land when the pilot reported turning base and advised the pilot of an 18 knot crosswind. Just prior to PBV crossing the runway threshold, the controller sighted the aircraft on short final and conducted a final scan of the runway to ensure it was still clear

Shortly before landing the pilot completed his final checks, but did not look out the window to visually check that the landing gear was down. However, he did observe a green light, indicating that the landing gear was down and locked. To compensate for the crosswind, the pilot operated the aircraft at a slightly higher throttle setting, until flaring to land. PBV then landed on the runway with the landing gear retracted and skidded about 300 to 350 m down the runway on the underbelly. The controller activated the airfield emergency response.

The pilot later reported that the landing gear warning horn had not activated.

Following the accident, an assessment conducted by an insurance assessor found that the pilot had failed to extend the landing gear prior to landing. The assessor noted that the micro switch that activated the landing gear warning horn was set for a throttle setting lower than that used by the pilot during the landing.

Bad weather and changed plans can distract attention away from a pilot’s primary function – to safely fly the aircraft. However, the failure of the gear warning horn to activate removed a defence against landing with the landing gear retracted.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin Issue 20