Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wheels-up landing involving a Cessna 210, VH-JGA, at Cairns Airport, QLD on 11 November 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 11 November 2014, at about 1130 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-JGA (JGA), departed from Cairns Airport, Queensland, for a scenic flight over Green Island and Arlington Reef with the pilot and four passengers on board. 

After about half an hour of local flying, the pilot returned JGA to Cairns Airport. During the approach, at about 1,000 ft above ground level, the pilot selected the landing gear down, however, the green landing gear down indicator light did not illuminate. The pilot advised the Cairns Tower air traffic controller that JGA would conduct a missed approach and requested a clearance to hold over the sea to determine the reason for the malfunction.

While holding over the sea, in the vicinity of Cairns Airport, at about 1,000 ft, the pilot conducted a landing gear emergency extension, but the left main landing gear still did not lock in the down position. The pilot contacted the operator and maintenance organisation via a mobile phone and conducted extensive trouble shooting, but was unable to get the left main landing gear to lock in the down position.

The pilot of JGA conducted two practice approaches to assess the aircraft configuration and landing area before beginning the approach for a wheels-up landing. The pilot extended the flaps to help slow the aircraft and, after turning onto a long final, briefed the passengers for the landing and instructed them to take up the brace position. Just prior to touchdown, the pilot turned off the master switch and moved the engine mixture control to the cut-off position. At about 1416, the aircraft landed on the fuselage underside on the grass area abeam runway 33 and came to a stop. The pilot and four passengers were uninjured and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

This accident highlights the importance of comprehensive, periodic maintenance inspections and the role of supplemental inspections in maintaining ageing aircraft.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 41


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General details
Date: 11 November 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1416 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Cairns Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Landing gear/indication  
Release date: 10 June 2015   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210N  
Aircraft registration VH-JGA  
Serial number 21064222  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 14 November 2018