A man arrived home to find another man inside his house. When he asked the stranger who he was, the man replied "I'm one of your brother's friends." The man told the stranger "I know my brother's friends and you're not one of them." The other man left. When police arrived, they could not locate the man.A pilot I fly with pointed me to the video below, I watched it and got that slightly sick feeling. An unintentional gear-up landing is a shame because the root cause is pilot error. Forgetting to put the gear down happens regularly and can be traced to several common causes, but like all accidents, gear-up landings are usually the result of a chain of events.
My intent is not to defame or ridicule the people shown in this video, but rather to learn from their mistakes. And the video illustrates at least three broken links in the safety chain: Failure to acknowledge the audible gear warning, failure to follow accepted checklist procedures, and failure to enforce a
You can view the video here.
Virtually all aircraft with a retractable landing gear have some sort of gear warning system meant to prevent an unintentional gear-up landing. Gear warning systems typically associate certain aircraft configuration changes with the pilot's intention to land and if the gear handle is up, an audible (and sometimes a visual) warning is provided. Configurations that produce a gear warning usually involve reducing power below a certain threshold or configuring flaps beyond an approach setting while the gear handle is in the UP position.
If you routinely configure your aircraft such that the gear warning is activated, you are conditioning yourself to ignore the warning and this means good checklist procedures and cockpit discipline are the only thing between you and a gear-up landing. So one thing that pilots, instructors, and examiners can do is to avoid intentionally configuring the aircraft in a way that activates the gear warning. There are some training situations where the gear warning will be unavoidable, but that's not usually the case in day-to-day flight operations.
Many pilots who transition to a complex aircraft are not used to the aircraft's increased speed and the extra planning required when descending for an approach to landing. These pilots typically effect a descent by just yanking the throttle back, which activates the gear warning system. Do this on a regular basis and, well ... If you find you need to reduce the power such that the gear horn sounds, why not just consider extending the gear at that point to help the descent? Of course you need to be certain you are at or below the gear extension speed.
You can make routine work to your advantage by performing your Gear Down/Before Landing checklist in a consistent manner, thereby making it a habit. On a visual approach to landing in the traffic pattern, I encourage pilots to perform their Gear Down/Before Landing checklist when they are abeam their intended touchdown point on the downwind leg of the pattern, then again on the base leg of the pattern. Follow this up with a "Three Green and Stabilized" check at 400 feet AGL or so on final. If you are on an instrument approach, perform the Gear Down/Before Landing checklist at or just prior to the final approach fix, repeat it at 1000' AGL and follow it up with a "Three Green and Stabilized" check at 400 feet AGL or just before the minimum descent altitude.
Here's another thing that I find helps pilots verify the three green gear lights are illuminated - Keep your hand on the gear handle until the three green lights illuminate. Don't go any further in your checklist, don't do any other task, just keep your hand on the gear handle and wait. If there is an instructor, another pilot, or a passenger on board, use accepted cockpit resource management techniques by involving them in the process: When you have extended the gear, say to them "Three Green, no red lights, do you agree?" If you involve the front seat passenger or the other pilot or instructor in the process, you'll probably find it easier to enforce a sterile cockpit rule - no conversation that is not directly related to the flight.
Any time you get a gear warning, verbally announce it, especially if your aircraft has a mute switch that allows you to disable the audible warning. And if you know who your friends are - good habits, checklist discipline, and a sterile cockpit - you've made it highly unlikely that you'll ever land gear-up unintentionally.