On August 24, 2002, about 1120 Alaska daylight time, a Piper PA-31-350 airplane, N3535F, sustained substantial damage during an inadvertent wheels-up landing on a gravel runway at the Nuiqsut Airport, Nuiqsut, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) scheduled passenger flight under Title 14, CFR Part 135, when the accident occurred. The airplane was being operated by Cape Smythe Air Service, Inc., of Barrow, Alaska, as Flight 182. The airline transport pilot and the two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and company VFR flight following procedures were in effect. The flight originated at Barrow, about 1016.

During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), on August 27, the pilot said the flight had been plagued by changes, interruptions, and distractions. He said in the landing pattern he had to alter course due to birds. As a result of the distractions, he said he missed putting the landing gear down, and landed with the landing gear in the retracted position. The pilot said the aural landing gear warning horn did not activate when the throttle settings were reduced.

In a written statement to the NTSB, the pilot reported he did not hear the landing gear warning horn until the airplane was on the ground.

The airplane sustained substantial skin and stringer damage to the fuselage.

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