Lakeway- Councilman Joe Bain safely landed his 1969 Cessna 210 Centurion at approximately 3:00 pm on March 3rd, 2010. However he forgot to extend the gear. "It was one of my better landings, it was just a bit lower than normal." he quipped minutes after the plane came to rest.
Aviators say their are two types of pilots that fly retractable gear aircraft, Those who have and those who will have a mishap due to landing gear not being retracted. The FAA preliminary data indicates that as many as half of the accidents involving retractable gear single engine aircraft are landing gear related accidents (LGRA)
The Cessna Centurion is equipped with several warning devices to indicate the gear is retracted. A red light on the panel indicates the gear is in the retracted or up position. When the gear is properly extended the light will change to green. Once the throttle is retarded for landing and the manifold pressure drops the plane has an audible warning if the gear is not extended. Finally the main gear is visible to the pilot and should always be checked to confirm the gear is down and locked.
Even with all these safety checks the number one mishap involving Cessna Centurions is LGRA. Predominately the number one reason for these incidents is pilot error or oops I forgot. Mr. Bain did indicate the possibility the audible warning did not activate. However, there are many cases where the warning does activate, yet the pilot does not hear or recognize the warning.
Councilman Bain stated " I was concentrating on a good landing. I knew everyone would be out watching." Wednesday was one of the warmest days of the year so far and flying weather was perfect. Bain departed Lakeway about 15 minutes earlier. Ironically, very few were actually watching. Those who did witness the incident were unable to get to a radio to warn him.
The incident resulted in a 2 hour and forty five minute closure of the airstrip so the plane could be lifted onto it's gear and towed from the runway. Many residents of the airpark and local police gathered at the field and provided assistance. A wrecker was called in to lift the plane back on its gear. Below is a slideshow that will show the process of lifting the plane.