LAX96LA165
LAX96LA165

On April 11, 1996, at 0915 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna T210N, N9820Y, operated by Northern Air, was substantially damaged during a wheels up landing at the Paradise Skypark, Paradise, California. Neither the commercial pilot nor the three passengers were injured during the on-demand air taxi flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a VFR flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Arcata, California, at 0815.

According to the pilot, when on approach to Paradise he decreased the airplane's rate of descent because one of the passengers indicated that she was experiencing an ear problem. The final approach path was flown using flaps, partial engine power, and a "shallow descent" rate of about 300 feet per minute.

The pilot further reported that he observed the left landing gear extend and he also heard the "thump" of the gear locking while on the downwind leg. The pilot did not report that he confirmed the landing gear was in the down and locked position by reference to illumination of the gear down position light.

The pilot indicated that the airplane touched down just beyond the runway numbers and it felt like the airplane had low tire pressure. Upon reducing engine power, he heard the sound of the gear warning horn.

Recovery personnel reported to the National Transportation Safety Board that upon arrival at the accident site the nose gear was found in the down position, and it appeared to have been in that extended position at touchdown. Upon turning on the master electrical switch, the landing gear warning horn sounded. The left main landing gear was observed in a partially extended position.

The operator reported to the Federal Aviation Administration coordinator (FAA) that recovery personnel raised the airplane and used the airplane's manual gear extension system to place the gear into the down and locked position. No malfunctions with the manual gear extension system were found.

On May 14, 1996, the operator's maintenance director verbally reported to the Safety Board that he holds an airframe and powerplant mechanics certificate and he examined the accident airplane. In summary, the mechanic stated that evidence was observed that was consistent with the nose gear having been extended at the time of touchdown. However, neither of the main gear appeared to have been in the down position. Both main landing gear appeared to have been in trail at the time of touchdown. The emergency landing gear activation system and the normal activation system, with its respective gear position lights and horn, were found functional and operated normally during the postaccident tests. Furthermore, during the subsequent landing gear retraction tests, no evidence of any mechanical defects or malfunctions were discovered.

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