On July 23, 2004, about 1745 Pacific daylight time, a Beech 95-B55, N88CS, landed with its landing gear retracted at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, Minden, Nevada. The airplane was substantially damaged during the landing and subsequent ground fire. The private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. GFA Aircraft Sales, Minden, operated the airplane. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local area personal flight. The flight was performed under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and it originated from Minden about 1735. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot verbally reported to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator that he had performed the last annual inspection on the airplane, and thereafter, he had replaced both engines' propellers. The accident occurred during the first landing on the first flight following the propeller installations. The pilot stated that he was preparing the airplane for export.
In the pilot's completed "Aircraft Accident Report," he reported that after takeoff, while on the crosswind leg, he detected "a slight smell of electrical burning" in the cockpit. The odor increased on the downwind leg, and he "expedited" the base leg and "selected landing gear down." On final approach no landing gear warning horn was heard, and the green gear down light illuminated. During the landing flare the stall warning horn sounded, and the propeller blades contacted the runway.
A Minden airport employee inspected the runway. He reported to the Safety Board investigator that he observed propeller score marks in the runway's surface near the 1,500-foot runway distance marker. The airplane came to rest near the 2,500-foot runway distance marker. All of the airplane's wheels appeared stowed in the gear wells.
The pilot subsequently completed a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) "Malfunction or Defect Report." In the report, the pilot indicated that the airplane examination disclosed that the ignition vibrator had started a fire in the pilot's lower panel. A gear up landing resulted from the electrical burn, which had incapacitated the gear warning horn.
According to the FAA coordinator, between July 26 and 28, 2004, the airplane was examined. The examination revealed damage to both propeller assembles and abrasive damage to the underside of the airplane. The airplane's interior was found fire damaged in the instrument panel and pilot's floor area. The airplane was placed on jacks and the landing gear was tested. The landing gear was completely cycled three times with positive indications of the gear being up and then in the down position. This was noted by the gear up and down indicator lights, and also by the gear mechanical indicator. The starter vibrator was discolored and charred, indicating a possible overheated condition. Application of electrical power to the airplane showed that the starter vibrator immediately started to spark. After removal of electrical power from the starter vibrator the rest of the airplane systems that were tested operated normally.
The FAA coordinator opined to the Safety Board investigator that during the accident flight the pilot had likely become distracted. The pilot had indicated that he had been concentrating on his newly performed propeller installation and engine/propeller synchronization, when he noticed an unusual odor in the airplane.