At about 1730 Western Standard Time on 25 February 2013, a Cessna 337F (337), registered VH‑JUP (JUP), JUP departed Onslow Western Australia for a 30 minute charter flight to Exmouth with three passengers. The front seat passenger and the pilot conversed for most of the flight.
On about 5 NM final for runway 20, the pilot of JUP commenced pre-landing actions by extending the first stage of flap. The pilot later reported that this was where she normally lowered the landing gear, but could not recall why this step was missed.
About 1 NM from landing, the pilot conducted the final pre-landing checks. Again, the pilot could not recall why she had not checked that the undercarriage was down as part of the final pre-landing checks.
At 1800, the pilot commenced the flare about 3 ft above the runway and as the aircraft touched down on the bitumen, the pilot realised that the undercarriage had not been selected down.
The passengers and pilot exited the aircraft without injury. The fiberglass cargo pod fitted to the aircraft was damaged. The aircraft hull was undamaged; however, the rear propeller contacted the ground.
As a result of this occurrence, the pilot advised that from at least 5 NM final, she will ask the passengers not to speak to her, except to alert her to the presence of animals on the runway.
The sterile cockpit rule, where crew do not preform non-essential activities during critical phases of flight, including taxiing, takeoff and landing, assists in ensuring that critical information is not missed or misinterpreted.
By explaining the sterile cockpit rule in their pre-flight brief, pilots can give passengers an awareness of the importance of minimising discussions, questions, and conversation during critical phases of flight.