On 1 February 2015, at about 0800 Western Standard Time, a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-SMP (SMP), departed from Kununurra Airport, Western Australia, for a scenic flight over King George falls with the pilot and five passengers on board.

The pilot returned to Kununurra after about 2 hours. During the approach, the pilot selected the landing gear selector to the down position. However, the green landing gear down indicator light did not illuminate. In addition, the landing gear pump continued to operate until the landing gear pump circuit breaker popped. The pilot observed that the right and left main landing gear appeared to be in the down and locked position. However, the pilot was unable to observe the nose landing gear.

The pilot conducted a missed approach and held at about 1,500 ft above the ground level, to investigate the reason for the malfunction. After consulting with the operator, the pilot conducted a low-level pass over the runway.

During the low-level pass, the operator observed the landing gear and reported to the pilot that the landing gear appeared to be in the down position. The pilot returned SMP for a landing on runway 12 and briefed the passengers for the landing.

At about 1020, SMP landed, with the main landing gear wheels touching down first. When the nose of the aircraft sank on to the runway, the nose wheel collapsed, the propeller struck the runway, and the aircraft came to a stop. The pilot and passengers then exited the aircraft through the two front doors.

The pilot and five passengers were uninjured and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

This accident highlights the importance of comprehensive, periodic maintenance inspections and the role manufactures continuing airworthiness instructions in maintaining ageing aircraft.

The adequate maintenance of ageing aircraft requires the participation and ongoing cooperation of aircraft manufacturers, regulatory authorities, owners, operators, and maintainers.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 44

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