Busy Flight, Distractions, Minus Landing Checks

After flying to another airfield, where the pilot flying had just revalidated an instrument rating, the pilot and examiner returned towards the base airfield for the pilot to complete a multi-engine proficiency check. The check concluded at the base where a number of circuits were to be flown.

Downwind on the final circuit, the aircraft was configured for a simulated asymmetric approach and landing, with intermediate flaps selected and undercarriage down. ATC informed them that they were number two to a Spitfire and Hurricane (locally based) ahead of them and instructed them to orbit to the left once, late downwind. During the orbit, the pilot retracted the flaps and undercarriage; however, the examiner, whose attention was on the aircraft ahead of them and was not expecting a change in configuration, missed this.

After receiving clearance to land, the pilot positioned the aircraft for the approach to land, but neither the pilot nor the examiner realised that the flaps and undercarriage were retracted, and no further landing checks were made. As the aircraft flared, they both heard the propellers and rear fuselage contact the ground and a go-around was immediately initiated. During the ensuing circuit, they realised that the undercarriage was retracted. This was then extended and the aircraft landed without further incident.

The examiner, who was the commander for the flight [1], attributed the loss of awareness of the fact that the undercarriage had been retracted to a high workload at the end of a busy two-hour flight, with an unusual ATC instruction to orbit late downwind. Both the examiner and the pilot flying were pre-occupied with carrying out this instruction while trying to make visual contact with the aircraft ahead of them and did not give any thought to making additional checks prior to landing.

[1] The pilot flying was acting as Pilot in Command for the revalidation and check-out flight.

From an AAIB report

Author: FTN Editor

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