NTSB Identification: MIA06CA139.
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Accident occurred Sunday, September 17, 2006 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/26/2007
Aircraft: Piper PA-23-250, registration: N428RM
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that after takeoff, the landing gear remained extended based on sluggish airplane performance and also lack of indicator lights after attempting to retract the gear using the normal procedures. He attempted to cycle the landing gear and also attempted to extend the landing gear using the emergency hand pump and also by the emergency CO2 blow-down bottle; the results of both were unsuccessful. He further reported hydraulic fluid on the cockpit floor after using the emergency hand pump but postaccident examination of the airplane by the FAA revealed no hydraulic fluid leakage in the cockpit. The pilot was advised by air traffic control that the landing gear appeared retracted but the landing gear doors were open. The flight proceeded to another airport where the airplane was landed with the landing gear retracted. Postaccident examination of the airplane by the FAA revealed a loose B-nut of a flexible hydraulic hose at the nose landing gear actuator; the hydraulic reservoir of the power pack was empty. The hose was tightened, the reservoir was serviced, and the landing gear was cycled 3 times using the emergency hand pump. Misadjustment of the down lock switches for each main landing gear was noted though all gears were down and locked over center during gear extension. The pilot advised the FAA that before the accident, no work was performed to the landing gear, though records indicate the pilot purchased the flexible hydraulic hose that was found to have a loose B-nut. Additionally, in May 2006, and again in August 2006, the pilot requested from 2 separate individuals to check the landing gear. The pilot (not a certificated airframe mechanic), asked the one individual in May 2006 to assist him with a "Main Landing Gear retraction problem he couldn't solve." The pilot provided to the NTSB the name of the mechanic who removed and replaced the flexible hydraulic hose at the nose landing gear actuator which was found to have the loose B-nut. The mechanic (that the pilot stated had replaced the hydraulic hose) reported that he did not perform any work to the landing gear system. The maintenance records did not reflect, and no determination was made as to who removed and replaced the flexible hydraulic hose that was found to have the loose B-nut.

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

The inadequate installation of a flexible hydraulic hose at the nose landing gear actuator by an unknown person resulting in the total loss of hydraulic fluid, the inability of the pilot to extend the landing gear, and subsequent wheels-up landing.

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