LAX97LA244
LAX97LA244

On July 11, 1997, at 1700 hours Pacific daylight time, a Smith Aerostar 601, N7435S, landed gear-up after aborting a go-around attempt at the Boulder City, Nevada, Municipal Airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage and neither the private pilot nor his five passengers were injured. The aircraft was owned and operated by the private pilot and was concluding a personal cross-country flight from French Valley, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.

An Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector from the Las Vegas, Nevada, Flight Standards District Office conducted an on-scene investigation. According to the inspector's report, the pilot did not receive any airport related weather information from either the airport UNICOM operator or from other pilots in the area.

The FAA inspector reported that the pilot believed he had a 10-knot tailwind when he initiated his landing attempt. The pilot told the inspector that he elected to land on runway 33 despite the fact that he had a tailwind because runway 33 was uphill. According to the inspector, at some point during the landing approach, the pilot said that he realized that he was not going to be able to successfully land the aircraft. He then elected to go-around and retracted his landing gear and applied full power. During the moments after the go-around attempt was initiated, the pilot said that the airframe began to buffet and he elected to set the aircraft back on the runway rather than stall the aircraft.

In his written Pilot/Operator report, the pilot stated that "at about 50 feet agl I believe we experienced windshear which caused an accelerated rate of descent . ..at this time I decided to execute a go around [and] retracted gear [and] flaps. . .it was clear to me at this point that the aircraft was not going to obtain flying speed so I decided to put the aircraft down on the remaining runway." Additionally, the pilot reported that he felt "this accident may have been prevented if UNICOM had given the favored runway in use. . .we requested UNICOM to give us this information twice."

The aircraft received substantial damage to both engines and propellers, the left wing, the fuselage, and internal structural members of the airframe during the gear-up accident sequence.

The FAA inspector also talked with several witnesses who were present at the airport when the accident occurred. The airport UNICOM operator reported that her first contact with the aircraft was after the accident when the pilot called her by radio to ask for a radio check. Additionally, several people interviewed by the FAA inspector reported that the winds were blowing between 30 and 40 mph from a southerly direction when the accident occurred. One party described the windsock as standing straight out. The official aviation weather observation taken at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport (16 miles north of the accident site) was reporting winds from 190 degrees at 21 knots, with higher gusts to 28 knots.

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