Factual Report: Learjet lands gear up

 - October 9, 2007, 5:06 AM

GATES LEARJET 35A, CANCUN, MEXICO, AUG. 14, 2003–Learjet N403FW, registered to Aircraft Holdings and operated by Air America Flight Services, landed gear up at the Cancun International Airport (CUN) at 10:22 p.m. CDT. The airplane was substantially damaged but there were no injuries to the airline transport rated pilot and copilot, or to the three medical personnel onboard the airplane. It was on a Part 91 repositioning flight operating on an IFR flight plan in VMC. The flight originated at 9:15 p.m. EDT from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fla.

According to Air America Flight Service’s director of operations, who interviewed the crew after the accident, the airplane was cleared for a visual approach to Runway 12 at CUN. The crew told him they did read and comply with the landing checklist and that the landing gear was down and locked as indicated by the three green lights. They could not recall if landing gear extension was verified by visual observation of the landing lights. They also advised him of feeling the fuselage contact the runway surface before the airplane slid approximately 4,000 feet before coming to rest upright.

The nose of the aircraft was subsequently raised and the nosewheel landing gear was observed to be inside the wheelwell. Emergency extension of the landing gear was initiated and the nose landing gear extended and locked; the main landing gear did not extend as the fuselage’s weight on the runway prevented its extension. The airplane was subsequently raised with a crane, at which time the main gear extended and locked into position.