landing gear failure !!!

by: Capt. Tony La Rotta

Hello all,
On Thursday 24 October 1996, I experienced a landing gear failure.... We were on a final approach to Vanguardia Airport in Villavicencio, Colombia.

We executed our landing checklist and everything was OK. We made a normal and soft landing, as we slowed the airplane down we completed the "after landing checklist" and we were ready to leave the runway when the airplane started to bank to the right. At first we thought it was a flat tire but then we noticed that the green light turned off and we ended up with a red light. As this happened we tried to maintain the aircraft on the runway with some right engine power until the right propeller struck the ground and the engine cut off, right after the right wing struck the ground turning the airplane to the right and stopped about 30-40 ft. after. The airplane was maintained on the runway and was not allowed to get out of it. After everything was cut-off we evacuated the passengers and then we did. After the investigation it was found that the right gear didn't lock and the microswitch gut stuck giving us a false green light. As you probably already know even if the landing gear does not lock, the hydraulic pressure will not let it come back up, but later it was found that the actuator cylinder of the left landing gear exploded letting all the hydraulic fluid out (material fatigue) and since the right one didn't lock the gear retracted causing all this problem.

The airport was closed for 1:30 hr. while the aircraft was jacked up and towed away.

The aircraft only suffered propeller damage and wing scratches but we will have it flying back up again on Friday, 01 November 1996.

I hope this was helpful, and for those dc-3 pilots make sure on the preflight you inspect the cylinder to make sure it is not ruptured or near to do so.

Thanks for your time and good bye!!! Capt. Tony La Rotta

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