FAA Pilots Heard Loud “Bang” Before Crash Landing

According to a preliminary report, two Federal Aviation Administration pilots heard a loud "bang" when they lowered their landing gear before crash-landing.

The pilots of the King Air B90 aircraft made an emergency landing at Alliance Airport on June 3 because of a landing-gear problem.

The plane is used for flight inspection training, said FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford. He said the pilots were completing an afternoon training flight when the nose gear would come down, Lunsford said. That wasn’t part of the training exercise.

A preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board into the incident sheds a little more light on the events leading up to that landing.

The two men had completed their work in the air when they started to practice takeoffs and landings in Waco. When they lowered their landing gear, they heard a loud “bang,” followed by a “gear unsafe” indication on the airplane’s control panel.

The duo turned around and headed back to Alliance Airport, where their flight originated. They did a low fly-by so air traffic controllers could look at the landing gear.

“Tower reported that the main landing gear appeared to be up but the nose landing gear did not appear to be fully extended,” an NTSB inspector wrote in the report, which was published online this week.

After failed attempts to troubleshoot the landing gear problem, the pilots decided to manually extend the main landing gear, burn off fuel and try to land.

The pilots made a smooth landing onto runway 34L at Alliance Airport.

“As speed dissipated, the nose gear folded, and the airplane slid to a stop,” the NTSB report said. 

Both pilots walked away from the plane unharmed.

NTSB investigators who examined the plane after it landed said the nose gear actuator, which extends and retracts the gear, had sheared. It was not known if the damage occurred before or during the landing.

The NTSB is still investigating the cause of the nose gear malfunction.

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