|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||atc facility : tpa|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Large Transport, Low Wing, 3 Turbojet Eng|
|Flight Phase||ground : holding|
ground other : taxi
|Operator||general aviation : corporate|
|Make Model Name||Light Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turboprop Eng|
|Flight Phase||descent : approach|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 150|
flight time total : 11000
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Anomaly||other anomaly other|
|Independent Detector||other flight crewa|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
none taken : insufficient time
|Primary Problem||Flight Crew Human Performance|
|Air Traffic Incident||Pilot Deviation|
I was first officer (copilot) on part 121 air carrier taxiing for takeoff, south on the 18/36 parallel taxiway. Runway 36L was in use. I was communicating with ground control (121.7) on the right side of the dual head communication set. Departure control (118.8) was set into the left head. My normal practice on a dual head radio is to set it up like this and when ready, switch the right side (which has been on ground) to tower. Prior to switching to tower (right head tuned and selected to ground) the captain scanned the final to 36 and saw an aircraft on short final (1-2 mi off) and said its gear was up. I located the aircraft and agreed. Captain said, 'report the aircraft has gear up.' had I done so immediately on ground control, the situation probably could have been salvaged. However, I switched the right head to tower (119.5). Tower was talking on that frequency. I did not want to break in for 2 reasons that weren't conscious at the time, but which I remember as occurring simultaneously to me: 1) tower might be talking to the subject aircraft and it might be an intentional gear up approach. I didn't want to distract any such communications. 2) I thought if I talked over tower I would merely squelch him and no one's communication would be legible. The captain had recognized that tower was talking to another aircraft, not the one in question, and told me to break in and report. Because of reason #2 above, I didn't talk over tower. Instead, I decided to go back to ground. I switched the left side of the dual head to 121.8 (my home base ground control). I can't say why I did this instead of going to the proper frequency of 121.7. I reported twice, 'aircraft landing tpa, your gear is up,' hoping ground control could relay it to tower in time. There was no answer (naturally). The captain looked down and saw frequency was wrong. He switched the left head to 121.7 and reported the problem. Simultaneous with his transmission (it seemed) the aircraft landed gear up. I said it looked like there was a fire and the captain reported that we never had any acknowledgements, but crash/fire trucks appeared almost immediately. There was no fire/injuries. End of narration. Why did my involvement happen? 1) habit of putting departure on left head of dual head and shifting right head frequency from ground to tower. This way ground frequency is lost if I had tower in left head, ground in right (or vice verse). The frequency would have been preserved and it could have simply been reselected. 2) training/habit of never breaking in on radio communications. Good radio manners led to inertia and inability to act. I still don't really know if stepping on tower would have resulted in garble, or if we could have been understood. This scenario certainly takes longer to relate than it took to happen (maybe 15-30 seconds). But, if I had done this exactly properly, the gear up landing might have been averted. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter states he felt so awful at his seeming inability to do something--anything to make someone aware. Captain was frustrated too, wondering why he just didn't break in on tower. Terrible to watch gear up landing and feel you can't help.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: SPECTATOR TO GEAR UP LNDG. TRIED TO NOTIFY TWR TO NOTIFY PLT.
Narrative: I WAS F/O (COPLT) ON PART 121 ACR TAXIING FOR TKOF, S ON THE 18/36 PARALLEL TXWY. RWY 36L WAS IN USE. I WAS COMMUNICATING WITH GND CTL (121.7) ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE DUAL HEAD COM SET. DEP CTL (118.8) WAS SET INTO THE LEFT HEAD. MY NORMAL PRACTICE ON A DUAL HEAD RADIO IS TO SET IT UP LIKE THIS AND WHEN READY, SWITCH THE RIGHT SIDE (WHICH HAS BEEN ON GND) TO TWR. PRIOR TO SWITCHING TO TWR (RIGHT HEAD TUNED AND SELECTED TO GND) THE CAPT SCANNED THE FINAL TO 36 AND SAW AN ACFT ON SHORT FINAL (1-2 MI OFF) AND SAID ITS GEAR WAS UP. I LOCATED THE ACFT AND AGREED. CAPT SAID, 'RPT THE ACFT HAS GEAR UP.' HAD I DONE SO IMMEDIATELY ON GND CTL, THE SITUATION PROBABLY COULD HAVE BEEN SALVAGED. HOWEVER, I SWITCHED THE RIGHT HEAD TO TWR (119.5). TWR WAS TALKING ON THAT FREQ. I DID NOT WANT TO BREAK IN FOR 2 REASONS THAT WEREN'T CONSCIOUS AT THE TIME, BUT WHICH I REMEMBER AS OCCURRING SIMULTANEOUSLY TO ME: 1) TWR MIGHT BE TALKING TO THE SUBJECT ACFT AND IT MIGHT BE AN INTENTIONAL GEAR UP APCH. I DIDN'T WANT TO DISTRACT ANY SUCH COMS. 2) I THOUGHT IF I TALKED OVER TWR I WOULD MERELY SQUELCH HIM AND NO ONE'S COM WOULD BE LEGIBLE. THE CAPT HAD RECOGNIZED THAT TWR WAS TALKING TO ANOTHER ACFT, NOT THE ONE IN QUESTION, AND TOLD ME TO BREAK IN AND RPT. BECAUSE OF REASON #2 ABOVE, I DIDN'T TALK OVER TWR. INSTEAD, I DECIDED TO GO BACK TO GND. I SWITCHED THE LEFT SIDE OF THE DUAL HEAD TO 121.8 (MY HOME BASE GND CTL). I CAN'T SAY WHY I DID THIS INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE PROPER FREQ OF 121.7. I RPTED TWICE, 'ACFT LNDG TPA, YOUR GEAR IS UP,' HOPING GND CTL COULD RELAY IT TO TWR IN TIME. THERE WAS NO ANSWER (NATURALLY). THE CAPT LOOKED DOWN AND SAW FREQ WAS WRONG. HE SWITCHED THE LEFT HEAD TO 121.7 AND RPTED THE PROB. SIMULTANEOUS WITH HIS XMISSION (IT SEEMED) THE ACFT LANDED GEAR UP. I SAID IT LOOKED LIKE THERE WAS A FIRE AND THE CAPT RPTED THAT WE NEVER HAD ANY ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS, BUT CRASH/FIRE TRUCKS APPEARED ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. THERE WAS NO FIRE/INJURIES. END OF NARRATION. WHY DID MY INVOLVEMENT HAPPEN? 1) HABIT OF PUTTING DEP ON LEFT HEAD OF DUAL HEAD AND SHIFTING RIGHT HEAD FREQ FROM GND TO TWR. THIS WAY GND FREQ IS LOST IF I HAD TWR IN LEFT HEAD, GND IN RIGHT (OR VICE VERSE). THE FREQ WOULD HAVE BEEN PRESERVED AND IT COULD HAVE SIMPLY BEEN RESELECTED. 2) TRNING/HABIT OF NEVER BREAKING IN ON RADIO COMS. GOOD RADIO MANNERS LED TO INERTIA AND INABILITY TO ACT. I STILL DON'T REALLY KNOW IF STEPPING ON TWR WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN GARBLE, OR IF WE COULD HAVE BEEN UNDERSTOOD. THIS SCENARIO CERTAINLY TAKES LONGER TO RELATE THAN IT TOOK TO HAPPEN (MAYBE 15-30 SECS). BUT, IF I HAD DONE THIS EXACTLY PROPERLY, THE GEAR UP LNDG MIGHT HAVE BEEN AVERTED. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR STATES HE FELT SO AWFUL AT HIS SEEMING INABILITY TO DO SOMETHING--ANYTHING TO MAKE SOMEONE AWARE. CAPT WAS FRUSTRATED TOO, WONDERING WHY HE JUST DIDN'T BREAK IN ON TWR. TERRIBLE TO WATCH GEAR UP LNDG AND FEEL YOU CAN'T HELP.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.