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New pilot blamed in wheels-up landing

A student pilot's knee may have caused a plane's landing gear to retract seconds after it landed at Weston Airport, causing "significant" damage to the aircraft.

Neither the student pilot, the instructor or another student sitting in the back were injured in the accident at the Co Kildare airport on June 4, 2009.

The student, on a training exercise, was flying a twin-engined aircraft for the first time.

The aircraft landed at Weston, but just after touchdown, the nosewheel retracted fully and the main landing gear started to retract.

Damaged

The plane slid for some 250 metres on its nose and main gear along the runway.

The propellers on both engines were also damaged.

The investigators found that in the seconds after touchdown, the landing gear selector switch was "inadvertently moved from the down position to the up position".

This was probably caused "by the student's right knee as he moved his feet up on to the brake pedals".

A contributory cause of the accident was "the inexperience of the student" on the aircraft type, investigators said.

This was likely to have led to a lack of awareness of the relative proximity of his knee to the landing gear selector switch.

mlavery@herald.ie


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