NTSB Identification: SEA97LA144.
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Accident occurred Monday, June 16, 1997 in HILLSBORO, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/13/1998
Aircraft: Beech N35, registration: N1382Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that the top cabin door latch popped open on takeoff. He made a 180 degree turn to return to the airport for landing (the airport was one-way, with takeoffs to the south and landings to the north). The pilot stated he actuated the gear switch to the down position, but 'evidently did not get the safety latch [which, according to the pilot's operating handbook, must be moved aside to place the switch to the up position] released.' The pilot noticed that the gear was still up, while in his landing flare. The departure end of the 2,365-foot landing runway has uphill terrain and trees, and the pilot reported he did not think he would be able to accomplish a successful go-around. He reported that he therefore elected to land gear-up rather than attempt a go-around. The pilot reported that no mechanical failure or malfunction was involved.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

the pilot's failure to ensure the landing gear was down and locked for landing. The unlatched passenger door, the uphill (unidirectional) landing area, and trees off the departure end of the landing runway were related factors.

Full narrative available

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