NTSB Identification: DEN04LA075.
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Accident occurred Wednesday, April 28, 2004 in Rifle, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/28/2004
Aircraft: Beech 95-C55, registration: N282JL
Injuries: 2 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.

According to the pilot, while en route to his home base, he experienced an electrical system malfunction. Due to the wind gust conditions at his home base, he elected to divert to a second airport. While on approach to the second airport, the airplane's electrical system became more erratic, which included the illumination of all warning lights on the digital exhaust gas temperature (EGT) gauge and the indication of "extreme" engine temperatures of over 1,650 degrees. Shortly thereafter, the electrical system failed. He immediately attempted to lower the flaps and landing gear, but the flaps only partially lowered. The pilot hand cranked the landing gear half way down, but because of the severe turbulence, asked his passenger to assist him while he flew the airplane. When the passenger finished, the pilot verified that the landing gear crank had "quit turning." The pilot stated that, due to the "extreme danger" of a possible engine fire, he elected not to attempt a fly-by to verify that the landing gear was extended. When he attempted to land on runway 26, he felt both propellers strike the runway. When he "cut" the power to both engines, the airplane settled onto the runway, and slid approximately 1,000 feet before coming to a stop on the grass just off the right side of the runway. The pilot realized that the passenger had inadvertently raised the landing gear, resulting in an unintentional gear-retracted landing. Later, it was determined that several fractured propeller pieces had impacted the fuselage resulting in substantial damage to several fuselage bulkheads. An examination of the airplane's electrical system, which included a 2-hour ferry flight, showed no anomalies.

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

the pilot's failure to verify the manual extension of the landing gear resulting in an inadvertent wheels up landing. Contributing factors include the electrical systems failure for undetermined reasons, the pilot's diverted attention and the pilot's improper in-flight planning and decision making.

Full narrative available

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