Aviation occurrence briefs

Wheels-up landing, Cessna 210N The Berkeley River Lodge (ALA), Western Australia, on 28 June 2021

Number:
AB-2021-018
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Brief

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 28 June 2021, at about 0805 local time, the pilot of a Cessna 210N aircraft was conducting a charter flight from Kununurra to Berkeley River Lodge aeroplane landing area (ALA), Western Australia, with four passengers on board.

On arrival at Berkeley River Lodge, the pilot joined the downwind leg of the circuit for runway 11. The landing gear had been extended about 2 NM prior to entering the circuit. The pilot conducted a circuit and actioned the pre-landing checklist. Approaching the threshold of the runway, the pilot elected to conduct a go-around due to windshear and gusting crosswinds.

During the subsequent initial climb, the pilot retracted the landing gear and continued to fly the circuit for a second approach. The pilot reported that, during the second circuit, they were concentrating on the gusty wind conditions and omitted to refer to the pre-landing checklist. On final approach, the pilot thought that the gear was already down from the previous circuit and as a result, the aircraft landed with the wheels up. The pilot reported hearing activation of the landing gear warning horn during the flare, however, mistakenly believed it to be the stall warning horn.

The aircraft sustained minor damage to the propeller and underside of the fuselage.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of managing distraction. During times of high workload, distraction can often lead to human error and simple tasks such as selecting the landing gear could be unintentionally omitted. In addition, due to this a pilot may not distinguish the difference between the sound of the stall and landing gear horns. Pilots should be mindful of completing all normal pre-landing checks even during an abnormal situation.

Wheels-up landings are not uncommon. Table 1 shows the number of wheels-up landings reported to the ATSB each year since 2012. The Flight Safety Australia article, Those who won’t: avoiding gear-up landings includes additional information to assist pilots in avoiding these incidents.

Table 1: Wheels-up landings per year

Year

Number of wheels-up landings

2012

17

2013

13

2014

21

2015

10

2016

14

2017

10

2018

13

2019

10

2020

11

2021

8 (at 26 September)

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 28 June 2021   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0805 WST    
Location   (show map): 66 NM east of Kalumburu Aerodrome    
State: Western Australia    
Release Date: 08 October 2021   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210N  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Kununurra Aerodrome  
Destination The Berkeley River Lodge WA  
Last update 08 October 2021