Friday, April 10, 2009

Three In The Green Or Else!

It is absolutely shocking to read the FAA daily accident lists and see how many are due to " landed gear up". Out of a list of ten accidents two to three are gear related. Not all are called "landed gear up" but rather gear failure or landing gear collapsed ( another of the same). If you dont believe me go to the FAA accident site for April 6, 2009, and count the number of gear related accidents. (5)

Now fortunately these are seldom fatal, but they sure can ruin your day and dig deep into your pocketbook. And oh how embarrassing. The only time I ever came close to a gear up was when I was taking a check ride in a light twin. The instructor in the right seat waited until I was about to touch down, and finally said in his terse manner, "aren't you going to put the gear down"? Well a go around is better than a hole in the ground.

So what can be done to avoid this expensive mistake? Well, very simply have a check list of your own that includes at least: checking the GEAR DOWN three times. Flying VFR in the pattern, on downwind drop the gear as you turn base leg. Audibly say GEAR DOWN as you check for the gear down lights. I used to enjoy saying "Three In the Green" as if a military pilot. Then again as you turn final check for the lights and say "GEAR DOWN".
And one final time just before touching down, check for the lights and say "GEAR DOWN".
On an INSTRUMENT approach you can still do the gear check three times. One at the start of the final segment such as at the outer marker, then at minimums, and finally at the flare.

If you do this religiously you will not appear on the FAA website as another "landed gear up".

Happy Safe Landings!

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