On June 1, 2011, about 2140 Alaska daylight time, an Eclipse EA-500 Airplane, N168TT, sustained substantial damage during a go-around at the Nome Airport, Nome, Alaska. The commercial pilot and the sole passenger were not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was in effect. The flight originated from the Ugolny Airport (UHMA), Anadyr, Russia. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a written statement to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot said that he was flying a visual approach to runway 10. He noticed that his airspeed was exceptionally high, but he elected to continue the approach. On short final to the runway, he realized that he was not going to be able to land, and decided to go-around. During the go-around procedure, the airplane’s fuselage contacted the runway. The pilot was able to continue flying the airplane, and realized that he had not extended the landing gear during the approach. He then lowered the landing gear, and landed the airplane uneventfully. He said that the only damage to the airplane he noticed was a broken antenna and some missing paint on the belly skid pad.
The pilot was told that there were no U.S. Customs officers in Nome at the time, and that he would need to fly to Anchorage to clear customs. He said that he was very fatigued, and decided that he would fly to Anchorage the next morning.
On June 2, the pilot decided to make a test flight before proceeding to Anchorage. During the takeoff roll, the airplane encountered a vibration that the pilot said felt “like a violent nose wheel shimmy.” He aborted the takeoff and elected to have the airplane inspected by a mechanic. Upon inspection, a mechanic discovered that the center wing carry-through structure was cracked when the belly skid pad deflected upward into a stringer that the structure was attached to.
The pilot initially reported no mechanical anomalies with the airplane prior to the accident, but later stated that the airplane flaps were inoperative during the accident flight. The pilot stated in an email that there was an indication of a flap failure, and that he had landed in Japan and Korea without the flaps. The IIC verified that the inboard flap actuator had over-traveled during retraction, and the flaps were stuck in the retracted position. According to the Eclipse Airplane Flight Manual (AFM), Section 3: “Emergency Procedures - Flaps”; a “FLAPS FAIL” caution message displayed by the Crew Alert System on the ground requires an action of “DO NOT FLY.”
The airplane is equipped with a Diagnostic Storage Unit (DSU), which is capable of recording select airplane and flight parameters. Data from the DSU was downloaded after the accident flight and sent to the NSTB Vehicle Recorders Division for examination. The downloaded DSU data for the accident flight contained parameters regarding the airplane's airspeed, altitude, pitch, heading, flap handle position, landing gear handle position, landing gear position, and engine thrust lever angle. The data retrieved from the DSU showed that, during the accident approach, the airplane's flap handle was in the up position, the airspeed during the approach never dropped below 140 knots, and the landing gear and landing gear handle remained in the up position. This data corroborates the pilot's account of the events.
According to the Eclipse AFM, Section 7: “Landing Gear Warning,” a visual “CONFIG GEAR” warning, and aural “Landing Gear” warning sounds if any of the gear is not down and locked under three conditions:
1. Flaps extended to LDG setting and altitude below 12,500 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL).
2. Airspeed less than 120 knots, both throttles less than 30 percent, and altitude less than 12,500 feet MSL.
3. Airspeed between 120 and 140 knots, either throttle less than 30 percent, and altitude below 12,500 feet MSL.
The airplane was also equipped with a Honeywell KGP-560 Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). However, this model EGPWS does not provide aural warnings for flap or landing gear configuration.
Under the conditions reported by the pilot, and supported by the DSU data, the airplane would not have generated a landing gear warning during the accident approach and landing.