Part 3 in my ongoing series what would you do?

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
You're just coming back from a trip in a light retract single. As you turn on a wide left base you start to throw the gear down. Almost instantly you notice something is wrong, the pump doesn't seem to be working, and you only get a green indication from the mains.

Well, you cycle the gear twice, and monkey with the checklist, try yawing to get the nose wheel into the wind and get it locked down, but after about 20 minutes of screwing around, you still can't get the light to come on, and there's a gear unsafe horn when you pull the power back.

The question is this. You're empty, no pax, part 91. Do you climb up, stop the prop and glide in to minimize damage, or do you just make a normal landing and hope the nose wheel doesn't fold.

(I pose thisone because I saw someone do this just three or four days ago)

-pat
 

Seggy

Well-Known Member
As a wise man once said (NJA Captain), once the airplane quits you, the insurance company owns it.

With that said, I don't give a flying flip about the engine. I will make it to the runway under power and then hope the nose wheel does not collapse.
 

Hckey2477

Well-Known Member
I personally wouldn't glide in. It's never 100% that you're going to make the runway in a power off situation. (bad judgement, windshear etc.) I would probably keep trying high "g" pull ups until i am near min. fuel and possibly a tower flyby (if a towered airport). after that i would go in for the landing and wish for the best.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
You're just coming back from a trip in a light retract single. As you turn on a wide left base you start to throw the gear down. Almost instantly you notice something is wrong, the pump doesn't seem to be working, and you only get a green indication from the mains.

Well, you cycle the gear twice, and monkey with the checklist, try yawing to get the nose wheel into the wind and get it locked down, but after about 20 minutes of screwing around, you still can't get the light to come on, and there's a gear unsafe horn when you pull the power back.

The question is this. You're empty, no pax, part 91. Do you climb up, stop the prop and glide in to minimize damage, or do you just make a normal landing and hope the nose wheel doesn't fold.

(I pose thisone because I saw someone do this just three or four days ago)

-pat
1. I do not wait till base to put the gear down
2. Go around and get some altitude
3. Run the emergency extension checklist including:
check the breaker
check the lights
Normalize the pressure in the system while yawing the plane back and forth to get the wind side loading on those gear.
Or pump the extension handle depending on model

If that does not fix it I shut everything down and make a dead soft field landing and be prepared for it to fold.

I have only had to do it once so far.
 

dc3flyer

Well-Known Member
No way I would dead stick it in. Fly until almost all the fuel is gone, if for no other reason than to give yourself time to breath and ensure you have done everything you can think of to make sure it is down (or not). Then fly a normal approach to landing trying to hold the nose off as long as possible. If you can, try to pull the mixture once the mains are on the ground to try and minimize damage to the engine.

I would also NOT try to put it in a "soft field". (I think bdhill was just trying to say he would perform a soft field landing, not actually saying he would land in a soft field.) If you landed in grass and the nose did collapse, there could be a lot more damage to the plane or you (possible flipping due to an abrupt stop) where as on asphault the prop will bend and you will continue sliding.

Edit: And after landing (even if it is successful with no gear collapse) I would have the plane towed to the FBO. DO NOT taxi in because you still don't know if the gear is locked or not.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
No way I would dead stick it in. Fly until almost all the fuel is gone, if for no other reason than to give yourself time to breath and ensure you have done everything you can think of to make sure it is down (or not). Then fly a normal approach to landing trying to hold the nose off as long as possible. If you can, try to pull the mixture once the mains are on the ground to try and minimize damage to the engine.

I would also NOT try to put it in a "soft field". (I think bdhill was just trying to say he would perform a soft field landing, not actually saying he would land in a soft field.) If you landed in grass and the nose did collapse, there could be a lot more damage to the plane or you (possible flipping due to an abrupt stop) where as on asphault the prop will bend and you will continue sliding.
Correct, soft on the wheels, not a soft field. I think it depends on the airplane for killing the engine. I saw the wreckage of a 172RG that gear upped running the engine and the torque caused the wing to strike and he flat spinned off the runway doing a lot more damage.
 

c172captain

Well-Known Member
1. I do not wait till base to put the gear down
2. Go around and get some altitude
3. Run the emergency extension checklist including:
check the breaker
check the lights
Normalize the pressure in the system while yawing the plane back and forth to get the wind side loading on those gear.
Or pump the extension handle depending on model

If that does not fix it I shut everything down and make a dead soft field landing and be prepared for it to fold.

I have only had to do it once so far.
How did the landing go? did you make it out alright (obviously still alive, but any physical damage?
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
How did the landing go? did you make it out alright (obviously still alive, but any physical damage?
It was actually on my CFI checkride, we had a battery discharge and no electricity to run the pump and no way of knowing if the gear were actually down (Piper arrow low wing). The examiner took the controls before the landing so I did not get to do it, but he did a soft field landing and everything held up. Sort of anticlimactic, but good story to tell my students.
 

WacoFan

Bigly
I do not see how turning an Airplane Single-Engine Land into a glider is really going to solve your gear problem. I know you are trying to save the engine, but don't create an additional emergency trying to solve another one. If you are over the threshold, and know you will not need to go around (float, etc), then cut the mixture if you want. You will still get a prop-strike and the engine will still need to be torn down. As Seggy said - the insurance company and the bank are the owners of the airplane...do you know any insurance agents or bankers that you would possibly risk your life for by making things more difficult than they actually are?
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
How did the landing go? did you make it out alright (obviously still alive, but any physical damage?
Yeah, the guy who did it dead sticked it in, it was pretty impressive actually, dead sticked it in and greased it on, then called the mechanic and verrified it was down and locked, fired it up, and drove it to the hangar.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
Did you pass? :D
I got a letter of discontinuance for Mx issues, had to wait almost a week, go up and finish the power on stall where the electricity quit, then com back and do a short field landing. I think it was a total of .5 including about 10 minutes of waiting for tower to let us leave.

Pass yes, just not that day.
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
I do not see how turning an Airplane Single-Engine Land into a glider is really going to solve your gear problem. I know you are trying to save the engine, but don't create an additional emergency trying to solve another one. If you are over the threshold, and know you will not need to go around (float, etc), then cut the mixture if you want. You will still get a prop-strike and the engine will still need to be torn down. As Seggy said - the insurance company and the bank are the owners of the airplane...do you know any insurance agents or bankers that you would possibly risk your life for by making things more difficult than they actually are?
When I said kill the engine I was referring to being right over the numbers, that would just be stupid to kill it any sooner than that.

To me the point is not saving the engine, but reducing the chances of a fire if things go to ####, as well as maintaining control of the aircraft.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
As we learned in the military:

"Maintain aircraft control, analyze the situation and take the proper action, land as soon as conditions permit".

To maintain aircraft control, break out of the pattern and find a safe place to hold so you can troubleshoot and run the necessary checklists. Do a tower flyby and ask them to tell you what they see. The lighter you are, the better, so burn fuel down to the minimum acceptable level. I agree with performing a "soft field" landing, but to do that properly you'll need "power on", so that contradicts the "dead stick" option. Put it down as slow as possible with minimum rate of descent.

Here's another option as food for thought. It probably wouldn't work in this specific case since you've had an electrical problem, but assuming a case where you had good radios and you've tried everything you can and beat yourself over the head with the POH, there's something in the military we call a "conference skyhook". It's basically a phone patch where you can get some more experienced evaluators on the line and even subject-matter experts and engineers. In the case of a GA airplane, maybe you can work out a phone patch with the Chief Instructor at the FBO or possibly get someone from the aircraft manufacturer on the line, etc. May as well put as many eyes on the problem as possible when there's really no hurry to land--it's good CRM, especially when you're in a single pilot environment. Maybe in the couple of hours it takes to burn fuel out of the tanks, multiple people can put their heads together and come up with a possible solution before you're forced to crash land. Fuel = Time, so I'd hate to end up collapsing a gear unless I knew I had tried everything possible to remedy the problem.
 

dc3flyer

Well-Known Member
Fuel = Time, so I'd hate to end up collapsing a gear unless I knew I had tried everything possible to remedy the problem.

I heard a guy on approach the other day in a Bonanza declare an emergency and go in to land with no wheels. When the controller asked him how much fuel on board, he said 60 gallons a side.... What is that, 5 or 6 hours easy in a Bonanza???? No way I would be entering the pattern with that much time left on a good airplane.
 

SlantG

Well-Known Member
First off, if it's a hydraulic system, don't recycle a bunch of times, it is only going to pump overboard the fluid you need for running the emergency procedure. If it is mechanical, you want as much gear as possible down to absorb the impact, you don't want it to fail on the up-stroke with three unlocked when the down-stroke had two locked.

Regardless of system, I'm not waiting 'til base to extend the gear the first time. I'll know there's a problem before mid-field, sometimes before entering the pattern. Do the go-around/missed, get out to the practice area, get things trimmed up and flying hands off in a slow cruise, then haul out the checklist. Is the passenger's bag under the assist bar? Did the light bulb burn out? Does the mirror show things down (you DO have a mirror, don't you)? Run the checklist, slowly, retrimming as needed. Possibly do a bit of yawing, depending on who's aboard. If it is a 210, I just might empty the contents of my water bottle, milkshake, or, for really savvy owners, the emergency bottle of 5606 into the reservoir, "any fluid will work". If I'm fully loaded on fuel, I just got four or more hours of free flying time, or a four hour increase in pay time.

I'm going to let the airport know to have the equipment rolled, bad luck or a tiny mistake on my part in the landing could have us doing a cartwheel entry into a fireball, so I'd like to them to be there. If nothing else, it'll be a pleasant distraction from their ten hour checkers marathon, especially if the landing is the desired boring event. Besides, you gotta give the news helicopters time to launch and get their live feeds set up so you can be the 'breaking news' on CNN. :panic:

Coming back, the insurance company owns the plane, so I'm (or the owner) is only out the deductible, and most likely he'd appreciate the freshly-overhauled engine and prop result, especially if he's still alive to enjoy them, so I'm leaving power on. If some idiot trying for a close-up, animal, or whatever requires a go-around at the last second, I'll have the power to do so.

I'm not going to bother with tower fly-bys as them telling me "it looks down" isn't going to change my plan one bit. I'm not going to have someone risk their life by flying close-by in a helicopter to take a closer look (mid-air, two fatalities). Nor am I going to make YouTube with some dude standing on a flat bed trying to yank the gear down (FAA violation for 'careless and reckless operation'). I'm going to pass on keeping the autopilot on while I exit the plane to attempt an in-flight repair. I don't know if the grass between the runways is clear of rocks, berms, ditches, and other obstacles, so I'm going for the pavement. I'm not going to bother with foam as the studies have shown it only makes the surface slick and what I want is drag to slow me down.

After the initial failure, I'm going to treat the landing as if the gear could collapse at any second, despite any indications telling me they're down and locked. The warning went off for some reason, assume the worst. We're not going to turn off the runway and impose a side-load that could cause a Bonanza or Piper main to fail. The nosewheels are so fickle, hitting the embedded lights could cause them to go down, especially in Cessnas. I'm probably not going to use the brakes, same reason, I'm in a house of cards and one wrong move causes it to topple, so I'm going to roll-out on the longest runway available within reason then shut down. No reason to close down LAX when VNY has a perfectly suitable runway for a single, if it's a ten-seat bizjet sorry LAX, I'll be closing one. Depending on how busy I am during the landing/crashing sequence, I may initiate the shut-down on initial impact.

When that prop stops and most of the pieces have stopped moving, all of us are getting out, on the runway. When I get out, my certificates get out. When that last passenger gets out, the flight has terminated. If a gust of wind or a line guy then collapses the landing gear, it is a ground incident:
The NTSB doesn't get involved. :)
It's not a non-motion accident for the insurance companies. . . :D
that will probably be on the FBO's insurance as the gear failed on the line guy. :eek:
The FAA is left with a pilot that had a problem, declared an emergency, and got down safely. :bandit:
The news media goes away disappointed. There's no story in "the pilot did what he was trained to do." :nana2:

I might still get to meet the FAA, the airport manager, the local ARFF guys, possibly even a tower controller or two. I will most likely file a NASA ASRS report, not because I fear a violation, but perhaps my story might cause someone else to think about their plan for such a failure. And if the FAA "had to do something" about the event, well, I have the sanction waiver so I could still keep flying.

BTW, when you bail on a runway, the maintenance shop that hasn't been fixing the problem will get their act together and fix the problem. They know the Feds get real interested the second time you close down a runway due to the same landing gear problem. :banghead:
 

WacoFan

Bigly
When I said kill the engine I was referring to being right over the numbers, that would just be stupid to kill it any sooner than that.

To me the point is not saving the engine, but reducing the chances of a fire if things go to ####, as well as maintaining control of the aircraft.
Roger - thanks. sounds like we are of similiar mind.
 

trafficinsight

Well-Known Member
I'm not going to bother with tower fly-bys as them telling me "it looks down" isn't going to change my plan one bit.
What if they tell you "It's definitely up." or "It's halfway down and jammed on the gear door?"
 
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