The aircraft had returned to Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Yeovilton after completing an air show display at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) Duxford. The pilot had slowed the aircraft and was configuring it for landing but despite several attempts, using the normal (Green) and standby (Red) hydraulic systems, the landing gear failed to unlock and lower. After consultation between the pilot, air traffic control (ATC) and the operator’s Chief Engineer, the decision was taken to do a wheels-up landing. This was carried out; the pilot landed the aircraft and came to a stop on the runway without further incident. The pilot made the aircraft safe and vacated the cockpit unaided.
The landing gear failed to lower because of a mechanical break-up within both the normal and standby hydraulic systems pumps. The break-up was caused by seizure of the pistons within the hydraulic pumps, probably due to the presence of a contaminant. Forensic work is continuing to identify the contaminant and its source.
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