NTSB Identification: CHI07LA056.
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Accident occurred Thursday, December 28, 2006 in Belleville, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/28/2008
Aircraft: Piper PA-24-260B, registration: N9284P
Injuries: 3 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 after takeoff he selected landing gear-up, but the corresponding position light did not illuminate. He checked the landing gear motor circuit breaker and found it tripped. The pilot was unable to get the landing gear to fully extend or retract during subsequent attempts. The destination airport control tower verified that the landing gear was not fully extended during a fly-by after the pilot had attempted an emergency landing gear extension. The pilot decided to retract the landing gear as much as possible and perform a wheels-up landing in a grass area adjacent to a runway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to a fuselage bulkhead during landing. Inspection of the airplane showed that the right main landing gear was partially extended with its wheel and lower strut assembly rotated in the wheelwell. The bolt that attached the upper and lower portions of the torque link assembly was sheared in half. The lower torque link was jammed against the wheelwell structure, which restricted the movement of the entire landing gear assembly. The bolt fracture features were consistent with shear overstress, as a result of torsion during the action of the torque link assembly. The bolt fracture face did not contain any evidence of fatigue cracking. The separated bolt sections were seized within the upper and lower torque links, as a result of surface corrosion.

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

The failure of the torque link bolt which resulted in the right main landing gear strut scissors separating and becoming jammed in the wheel well. Contributing to the accident was the seized torque link bolt due to surface corrosion.

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