After takeoff from Coventry Airport, at approximately 800ft, the pilot selected the landing gear UP. The landing gear IN TRANSIT light illuminated but the landing gear did not retract. The pilot recycled the landing gear several times but the landing gear still failed to retract. With the landing gear extended the pilot observed that, in addition to the three landing gear DOWN lights, the landing gear IN TRANSIT light was also illuminated. The pilot advised Coventry Airport ATC of the problem and of his intention to return to land. The landing was initially uneventful but, as the pilot applied the brakes, the nose landing gear (NLG) retracted and the aircraft’s nose and propellers struck the runway.
An examination by the aircraft’s maintenance organisation showed that the NLG downlock pivot bolt had bent, which had caused the downlock assembly to foul the gear doors and stop the retraction of the leg. The displacement of the downlock mechanism prevented the nose leg from achieving the fully locked position but allowed the activation of the microswitch that operated the DOWN light, while the NLG was unlocked. The reason for the distortion of the pivot bolt could not be identified.
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