Scary flight today

BlueStreak

New Member
I just thought I would share a little experience I had today. I went flying in the Arrow this afternoon with my instructor to fine tune my commercial maneuvers. After finishing our maneuvers we decided to go back and work on the shorts and softs. I entered downwind and lowered the gear. I looked down and noticed that we were only indicating that our mains were down, no nosewheel light at all. We decided to recycle the gear to see if that would help. Still the same indication. We then exited the pattern and climbed to a higher altitude. I flew while my instructor swapped the bulbs with each other and checked the circuit breakers. Still the same indication. We decided to try the emergency gear extension (a drop down system on the Arrow). That still didn't help.

We contacted unicom and had some guys go out on the ramp while we did a fly-by the see what they noticed. They replied that it appeared all gear where down and locked. We climbed back out to the south and decided to go through all of our troubleshooting one more time, since we had plenty of fuel and plenty of time. We didn't want to rush and end up doing something stupid. We went through all of our steps again and he flew while I went through the POH do make sure there was nothing that was missed. Our gear transition light would not go out, which made us worry about the position of the nosewheel. We went back in for another pass, and the people on the ground said that everything still looked ok. We flew out a ways and talked about what we were going to do. We decided that we weren't going to declare an emergency. We would attempt a landing, ready to go around if necessary.
Everything, except for the gear, looked great for landing so we entered the pattern. My instructor was flying the airplane so I opened the door and was standing by to shut the fuel off if necessary. We touched down perfectly on the mains and held the nose off as long as possible. The nose came down and the gear held. We both breathed a huge sigh of relief and thanked God everything worked out ok. I'm not a religious person but it's funny how religious you get when things start to go wrong


Looking back on it now, I think we handled the in-flight troubleshooting very well. We used all the resources available to us and had great CRM in the cockpit. The only thing I could reconsider would be whether or not we should of declared an emergency. Perhaps we should've in this case, but we both felt that it wasn't necessary. I guess it's just one of those things that you won't know if you need to until you're in the situation. I am just glad that everything worked out for the best and that I can just look back at this as a learning experience. Kudos to my instructor for handling the situation with great ease.

For all of you out there that haven't experienced any emergencies or possible emergencies, be sure to review your procedures often and think about how you would handle the situation if it arose. You just never know.
Thanks for letting me vent!
 

MrSkyKingRon

New Member
Whew! Talk about tense to the last second. Not knowing if the nose gear would fold on you till you ran out of lift and it touched down. Good job troubleshooting and thinking clear and playing it safe. That's one flight you'll both remember.

Have fun...
 

bluelake

Well-Known Member
your great post reflects something I tell all of the folks I check out in our FBO's Cessna 182 RG... and that is that a gear problem is NOT really an emergency that has to be acted on with haste. You and your CFI's patience with the situation is commendable.. leaving the pattern and climbing, etc..

.. glad it all worked out.

Please finish this post with what the mechanics tell ya?
 

FL270

New Member
Terrific job by the both of you ... in addition to staying calm and handling the situation well, sounds like an excellent case of CRM as well ... both in the airplane and in involving folks on the ground. Only thing I might have added is that, once the mains touched, I probably would have pulled the mixture to shut down the engine ... would improve the chances of the engine not being damaged if the nose collapsed.

Again, great job by the both of you! Will be interested to hear what the shop says went wrong.

FL270
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
I hope the light came on before you taxiied clear of the runway!

If you had a gear unsafe indication, knowingly taxiied clear and it collapsed you would be charged with an accident and a violation. Happened to a friend of mine in a Cherokee 400 at Bartow Airport back in the early 90's.

On the other hand if it was just a bulb you could probably prove that you had good inidcations of safe gear.
 

darrenf

resident denizen
[ QUOTE ]
If you had a gear unsafe indication, knowingly taxiied clear and it collapsed you would be charged with an accident and a violation.


[/ QUOTE ]

So they should have tied up the runway until an A&E could get out there with some Piper parts and fix it before taxing off?? Why??
 

BlueStreak

New Member
Thanks to all. I'll be sure to let you know what the mechanics tell me. Needless to say, we won't be flying tomorrow
 

aloft

New Member
Glad to hear you handled the situation so well and emerged unscathed, but I disagree thoroughly with your assessment that declaring an emergency was unnecessary. You clearly had a safety-of-flight issue that you never had complete resolution for. What if the nosegear hadn't held and for whatever reason the plane ended up in a twisted ball of aluminum on the runway? I'll bet you'd wish you'd had emergency crews on hand for immediate assistance.

Seriously, if you're running emergency checklists, you've already declared the situation an emergency to yourself and your crew/passengers; there's no rational reason not to include ATC in that loop.
 

cime_sp

Well-Known Member
First let me say congrats on handling the situation. Good job. I mean in no way to try and criticize here, but just to pose a couple of things to think about....hindsight always being 20/20 of course


1. Perhaps you should have declared an emergency for 2 reasons...

a) If the nose gear did collapse, who knows what the plane would have done when the prop contacted the runway. Having the equipment waiting would greatly reduce respponse time in the case of fire, ground loop, rollover, etc...

b) Declaring an emergency would free you up legally and not leave you open to any kind of scrutiny from the NTSB/FAA...No point in being proud or saying "I can handle this. I don't need to declare no stinking emergency" Should something bad happen you know the first thing out of the investigators mouths would be to ask why you didn't declare...

2. I have had the same problem on a Piper with the gear lights as well...only on the ground though. The light would go out as we hit bumps on the taxiway! The mechanics I spoke with said the vibration can cause connections to loosen on the gear...or it could simply be a snapped wire, but that this is not an uncommon thing. The gear unsafe light on the Piper Arrow/Seminole will illuminate any time you don't have all three green lights. The gear could very well be down and locked mechanically and the hooks engaged, but unless all three of those little microswitches are compressed and working properly the red light will be on. If you do the emergency gear extension, you can usually feel the front gear extension through the rudder pedals.


Again, I think you guys did a great job and I don't want people to jump on me for this....You should use this as a learning experience and so should everybody here, and part of learning is analyzing what we have done.

Let us know what the mechanics find...I would be interested
 

BlueStreak

New Member
Aloft,
I definately see where you are coming from here. Looking back at things, it probably would've been better to declare an emergency and have the fire dept. standing by. At the time, I felt we had been handling things very well but after looking at it now, there are definately things I would've done differently. I guess that's why hindsight is 20/20 and why I am glad this was only a learning experience. Things would've been different if we were dealing with a controlled field but it was an uncontrolled field and we had advised all aircraft to stay clear of the airport while we were doing our fly-by's, etc. Hopefully it's something I won't have to deal with again.
 

ananoman

New Member
Good job. I'm glad everything worked out.

At my company, if we have a gear problem, we are supposed to do all the things you did (leave the pattern to trouble shoot, flyby, etc). We are also supposed to declare the emergency, which was not as important in your situation, since it was an uncontrolled field. We also land as soft as possible, let the airplane roll to a stop and shut everything down. The mechanics then come out to take a look. It is better to make sure everything is down and locked before taxiing off the runway. It would be expensive if you turned off the runway and the gear collapsed.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
Heya Brad,


First off, great job with handeling that. I've had similar things happen, kinda freaky eh?

Second of all, was this the same Arrow that you blew a jug in a while back?

Cheers


John Herreshoff
 

aloft

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Things would've been different if we were dealing with a controlled field but it was an uncontrolled field and we had advised all aircraft to stay clear of the airport while we were doing our fly-by's, etc.

[/ QUOTE ]Ahhh....huge detail I missed there; didn't realize you were at an uncontrolled field. In that case, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters?
I'd guess that the unicom operator could call the fire dept, but that's purely a judgment call on your part--sorta like calling 911 because you might be in an accident.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
[ QUOTE ]
So they should have tied up the runway until an A&E could get out there with some Piper parts and fix it before taxing off?? Why??

[/ QUOTE ]

Because if the gear really was messed up, the act of turning the airplane off the runway might be the last straw. And who's the guy who chose to taxi it off the runway? The PIC


...And something like that would shut the airport down far longer than it would take to get the mechanic out there.

Also on the emergency, since you didn't need any kind of priority handling nor did you have to break any FARs, why declare? Can't you get the equipment out there without having to declare?

Not saying you should hesitate to do it... just wondering
 

MrSkyKingRon

New Member
Hey Aloft, love your outfit! The abominable snowman rules!


I should have raindeer pulling my Beech avatar! <font color="blue"> </font>Ho!Ho!Ho!
 

Maximilian_Jenius

Super User
[ QUOTE ]
Glad to hear you handled the situation so well and emerged unscathed, but I disagree thoroughly with your assessment that declaring an emergency was unnecessary. You clearly had a safety-of-flight issue that you never had complete resolution for. What if the nosegear hadn't held and for whatever reason the plane ended up in a twisted ball of aluminum on the runway? I'll bet you'd wish you'd had emergency crews on hand for immediate assistance.

Seriously, if you're running emergency checklists, you've already declared the situation an emergency to yourself and your crew/passengers; there's no rational reason not to include ATC in that loop.

[/ QUOTE ]



Gotta agree with Aloft BlueStreak. I think that the instructor handled the situation correctly. As they performed several fly bys and had ground staff (with binoclulars hopefully) tellin em that all 3 gears were down.

The instructor tho human has the most time in the plane. And I feel he made the right choice....

But hey what do I know I'm only a lowly PPL.


But hey Aloft you look lika an extra in elf in your avatar.... love the addition of the "yhetti".



Matthew
 

Mr_Creepy

Well-Known Member
First of all, some very good answers and replies here.

darrenf said:
[ QUOTE ]
So they should have tied up the runway until an A&amp;E could get out there with some Piper parts and fix it before taxing off?? Why??

[/ QUOTE ]

The answer to this is yes for several reasons, or at least until they can get a tug and tow it off. By the way, what's an A&amp;E? Isn't that a network?

I didn't see it was an uncontrolled airport but I would still do it, just to avoid having an accident, incident or violation on your record.

Let's say there's a tower. FAA says the runway is yours until you are clear. Not so with the taxi ways! Ground control has complete control of all taxiways.

Also, let's say you have passengers in the plane. Well if the gear collapses we are going to have some sort of evacuation. This could be as much as two guys getting out of the plane and standing there or any number of people wandering around on a taxiway. The runway is always in sight and anyone on final is going to see someone on the runway.

I'm not so sure about taxiways. Taxiways are more three dimensional than runways and eyes are frequently looking in other directions as well as down in the cockpit (yes they shouldn't be but they are.)

For safety purposes, especialy at towered airports, runways are much safer spots for a group of passengers until some emergency equipment can be scrambled.

Sounds nitpicky but there have incidents in the past.
 
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