Piper PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow, G-AWAZ
The aircraft was returning to Elmsett following a recreational flight of about 20-25 minutes. The pilot reports that, after a normal approach, he called finals at about 2 miles, selected the landing gear down and applied two stages of flap. Slowing to 80 mph, he applied the third stage of flap and touched down on the mainwheels but, as he allowed the nose to lower, it continued to drop and he heard the propeller strike the ground before the aircraft slid gently to a stop.
The pilot was surprised that the nose gear had collapsed because he felt that he had made a “text book” landing. When the maintenance company arrived to recover the aircraft, they were able to manually extend the nose gear and move it into downlock, following which it was towed to a hangar. The pilot could not recall whether he had seen the ‘three greens’ indication which would be expected for a correctly locked landing gear.
The maintenance company have reported that, having raised the aircraft on jacks, numerous selections of the gear resulted in the nose gear locking down normally and all indications and audio warnings functioned correctly. No pre-existing mechanical or electrical faults have been identified.
Date of occurrence: 7 April 2013