Aviation occurrence briefs

Landing gear failure involving British Aerospace Jetstream 32, Williamtown Airport, NSW, on 31 October 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 31 October 2018 at 1300 Western Standard Time, the crew of a Jetstream Series 3200 aircraft was conducting a revenue passenger transport flight between Williamtown, New South Wales and Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The crew comprised of a captain and a first officer. The captain was pilot flying (PF) and the first officer was pilot not flying (PNF).

Just after take-off from Williamtown, the landing gear was selected up. The nose wheel landing gear light remained green to indicate that it had not retracted. The two main landing gear did retract, but were slower than usual. The flight crew also heard unusual sounds as the landing gear attempted to retract.

The PF decided to conduct a return to Williamtown airport. The PF took over the radios from the PNF, and requested an amended 3,000 ft level off and to remain on the tower frequency, while the PNF conducted the after take-off checklist. The PF instructed the PNF to open the aircraft Quick Reference Handbook and find the checklist for gear locked down. During this time, the PF communicated with air traffic control, to request a circuit for a return to land at Williamtown.

On approach, the PNF selected gear down. The system did not respond to this selection, and the main gear did not extend. The PF instructed the PNF to check the circuit breaker (CB) for the gear, however the PNF could not reach the CB. The PF reset the CB, after which the main gear extended.

The crew then landed the aircraft without incident.

Engineering inspection

Following the incident, inspection of the landing gear revealed that a solenoid on the landing gear selector valve failed when the landing gear was selected up.

Safety message

This incident highlights the value of effective cockpit resource management in response to unexpected events. The PF effectively delegated multiple tasks to the PNF, which enabled the PF to focus on flying the aircraft and communicating with ATC. The PF effectively used the resources available to him in order to gather more information about the problems with the aircraft, by instructing the PNF to consult the Quick Reference Handbook. CASA outlines the importance of using available cockpit resources, and provides practical steps for doing so, in their Human Factors for Pilots booklet on Teamwork.

This incident also highlights the importance of effective pilot decision making to ensuring safe flight. The PF’s decision to return to Williamtown, soon after he had identified that the landing gear was not performing as expected, reduced the risk of the situation deteriorating. Flight crew are encouraged to identify the hazards and risks they encounter during flight, and to make control decisions to minimise those risks where possible. The FAA provides decision-making guidance to pilots in their Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) training package.


General details
Date: 31 October 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1300 EDT    
Location   (show map): Williamtown Airport    
State: New South Wales    
Release Date: 29 April 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer British Aerospace PLC  
Aircraft model Jetstream Series 3200  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Williamtown, NSW  
Destination Canberra, ACT  
Last update 29 April 2019