On 20 October 2013, the pilot of a Beech 95 B55 aircraft, registered VH TLP, was conducting a local private flight from St. Helens aerodrome, Tasmania.

The pilot commenced the take-off on runway 26 and, as the aircraft became airborne at about 50-60 ft above ground level (AGL), the pilot reported hearing a bang and the door opened. The pilot continued the climb to 1,000 ft AGL in preparation to return for landing. The pilot could not recall retracting the landing gear after take-off.

When on the downwind leg of the circuit, the pilot attempted to close the door, but was unable to reach it. On turning base, the pilot selected 10 degrees of flap. On final, he selected full flap and reduced the throttle setting to idle for landing.

As the aircraft touched down, the pilot realised that the landing gear was still retracted. The aircraft slid along the runway and came to rest about 600 m from the runway end.

This accident highlights the impact distractions can have on aircraft operations.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 25