NTSB Identification: LAX06LA114.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 13, 2006 in Rancho Murieta, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-260, registration: N9212P
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 airplane landed short of the approach end of the runway following a landing gear extension malfunction and the nose and main landing gear were sheared off. The pilot departed on a cross-country flight and he was unable to retract the airplane's landing gear, and diverted to another airport to have a mechanic inspect the landing gear. The mechanic placed the airplane on jacks, inspected, and functionally checked the landing gear. No mechanical anomalies were noted, and the mechanic returned the airplane to service. The pilot refueled the airplane to its capacity of 5.5 hours of flight time, and continued the flight to his destination airport. Approximately 4 hours later he arrived at the destination airport and noted it was still light outside. He placed the landing gear handle in the down position, but did not receive a down and locked indication inside the cockpit. He then tried unsuccessfully to manually lower the landing gear several times, but it did not fully extend. The pilot flew around the airport for an additional 1.5 hours trying to extend the landing gear. At that point, he realized the airplane was in a low fuel state and it was dark outside. He did not feel that he could safely make it a nearby airport and decided to make a precautionary landing. Neither the pilot nor fire department personnel waiting on the ground could get the airport runway lights turned on. The airplane landed short of the runway. The Safety Board investigator-in-charge, and a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector examined the landing gear system. With the use of an ohmmeter and the airplane's wiring diagram, they were able to determine that the nose landing gear limit switch had an intermittent fault in the normally closed circuit position. According to the airplane's manufacturer, an intermittent fault in the nose landing gear limit switch would cause the landing gear motor to fail to complete either the landing gear UP or DOWN cycle.

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

an electrical fault in the nose gear limit switch circuit, which lead to an intermittent failure of the landing gear extension system. Also causal was the pilot's failure to fully complete the emergency gear extension procedure. A factor in the accident was the inoperative runway edge lights.

Full narrative available

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