NTSB Identification: WPR10LA219
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, April 28, 2010 in Phoenix, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/07/2011
Aircraft: Rogers Rutan Defiant 40, registration: N23TR
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 while on base leg he initiated a landing check and lowered the nose landing gear. Following initial touchdown and immediately upon placing weight on the nose gear, the nose of the airplane settled to the ground and the nose gear handle quickly popped out of the down position. During a postaccident examination of the airplane, a Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness inspector reported that the nose gear may not have been "positively" down and locked as witnessed by the alignment/witness marks. The inspector stated that when placing the gear handle down, but not “hard,” the gear indication could appear to be down and locked, but the gear could actually not be in the down and locked position. The inspector added that during the examination the gear system was operated several times. Each time if the gear handle was not placed down “firmly and hard” the alignment marks were not indicating a “SAFE” condition. The pilot further added that the mechanical alignment arrows are down by the right ankle of the pilot. In this location, an arrow misalignment is extremely difficult to perceive and the nose gear could easily be placed in "transition" vice down and locked. The pilot reported that he has since redesigned the nose gear down-and-locked indicator to be more easily viewed.

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

The failure of the pilot to ensure that the landing gear extension handle was firmly placed in the down position prior to landing.

Full narrative available

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