Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

More Alerts For GA Pilots


No matter how extensively you test on the ground, the proof comes in the air


If your auto mechanic doesn't get something quite right when making a repair to your vehicle, chances are good that you'll survive. Even if you're zooming along the highway when you discover that a fix wasn't effective, you'll likely be able to pull over and come to a safe stop (unless it was the brakes that were supposed to be fixed). With airplanes, however, your options for remedial action are more limited when mechanical problems surface. Pilots are wise to add extra preparation to the mix when preparing for an aircraft's first flight after maintenance. More attention than usual may go into the preflight, run-up and selection of an after-takeoff emergency landing site. When the first flight after maintenance ends in an accident, the NTSB is called upon to investigate.

Cessna 210
A Cessna 210 slid off the runway during a landing with its main landing gear partially extended at Henderson Executive Airport, Henderson, Nev. The ATP-rated pilot was the only person on board and wasn't injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. It took off from Henderson and had been airborne for about 45 minutes. Visual conditions prevailed for the Part 91 flight.

The pilot told investigators that the post-maintenance test flight was to confirm that the landing gear retraction, extension system and flap activation system functioned properly. The hydraulic system had undergone maintenance.

After takeoff, the pilot retracted the landing gear. After the gear was fully up, he selected gear-down. The gear started to extend, but only made it part of the way down. He then tried to recycle the gear to the up position, but it remained down, and both main gears remained partially extended. The pilot then tried to pump the main gear down using the emergency extension hand pump. That didn't work, and the pilot also found that the flaps wouldn't extend. The pilot advised ground personnel of the problem, and the airport emergency equipment was deployed for a landing attempt.

The pilot touched down with the nose gear fully extended and both main gears in the partially extended position. The airplane eventually slid off the side of the runway and came to a stop on uneven terrain.

The airplane's owner originally brought it to the maintenance facility because of a hydraulic leak. During troubleshooting, it was determined that the hydraulic power pack wouldn't operate the flaps with the airplane's engine running, and the emergency extension gear handle had excessive pressure against it after the engine was shut down. The hydraulic leak itself was traced to the overflow vent line from the power pack.



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