On 11 November 2014, the pilot of a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-MCE (MCE), conducted a charter flight from Numbulwar to Gove, Northern Territory with five passengers on board. During the cruise, about 60 NM from Gove, the ammeter gauge indicated a discharge. The pilot switched off all electrics and checked the circuit breakers, none of which had popped. About 5 minutes after completing the checks, the pilot selected the alternator master switch back to ON and the gauge indicated a positive charge.

About 10-15 NM from Gove, the ammeter again indicated a discharge. The pilot switched all electrics off including the aircraft avionics. When at about 4 NM from Gove and 1,500 ft, the pilot selected the landing gear lever to the extended position. He heard the landing gear motor activate, so assumed the gear had fully extended. As the pilot reduced the engine power, the engine ran roughly and backfired. The pilot observed the oil pressure gauge reading zero and the cylinder head temperature (CHT) decreasing. The pilot observed that the flaps had not extended, but due to the distraction of the engine malfunction, did not look outside to confirm visually whether the landing gear was extended. The pilot carried out the engine trouble checks, and as the engine problem ruled out the option to go around, committed to landing the aircraft.

The aircraft landed just beyond the threshold and on the centreline of runway 31 with the wheels retracted. When the pilot realised the wheels were retracted, he immediately selected the fuel to OFF. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and the pilot and passengers were uninjured.

A crimped electrical cable was found to have caused the alternator to stop charging the battery. The engine had not been inspected before the completion of the ATSB report and the cause of the engine issues were unknown.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 40