Aviation Safety Letter 1/2005

One Minor Event Leads to an Expensive One...

Propellers are shown after the occurrence, damaged beyond repair.

Propellers are shown after the occurrence, damaged beyond repair.

Here is a lesson that could have happened to any of us, and from which we can all learn. The pilot had just taken off in a Piper PA23-160 Apache from a long, paved runway, when he noticed that gasoline was leaking from the left wing fuel cap. The fuel tank cap had been improperly closed after refuelling or during the walk-around. The pilot assessed that there was enough runway remaining to land straight ahead, and he lowered some flaps and lowered the landing gear. Unfortunately, there was not enough time for the landing gear to complete the extension cycle and the aircraft landed on its belly. Both propellers were bent and the flaps were damaged. In this situation, a quick circuit and return to point of departure would have likely been enough to solve the problem. An open door or cargo door indication could lead to a similar situation. The golden rule of aviation always remains the same: Aviate, Navigate, and Communicate.

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