On September 4, 1998, approximately 1830 central daylight time, a Cessna 401 twin engine airplane, N3239Q, owned and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it skidded off the runway during takeoff from Lancaster Municipal Airport, Lancaster, Texas. All 3 occupants, the commercial pilot and 2 passengers, were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight.

In a telephone interview, the pilot stated that he was in the local landing pattern doing touch and go landings. He stated that the accident occurred during the third touch and go. After touchdown, he added power for takeoff and intended to "raise" the "flap" lever. He stated that he "actually" raised the landing gear lever. Subsequently, the right main landing gear collapsed and the aircraft skidded off the paved runway onto grass.

An FAA inspector reported that he found both sides of the aft cabin bulkhead buckled during post accident examination.

The pilot added that he had been previously flying a Beech Bonanza, and that the landing gear lever on the Cessna 401 is located where the flap lever is on the Bonanza. He had a total of 697 hours of flight time, 676 of which were flown in the Bonanza, and a total of 16 hours in the Cessna 401. In the last 90 days prior to the accident, he had a total of 2 hours of flight time, which were flown in the Bonanza.

The pilot suggested in the Safety Recommendation Section of NTSB Form 6120.1/2 that the locations of landing gear and flap levers should be standardized in all aircraft.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page