From abc.net.au 11th December 2013
A pilot who crashed at an outback airstrip with the landing gear retracted was probably distracted by emus, an accident report has found.
The Cessna 441 pilot was making his third trip for the day between Adelaide and the outback Honeymoon mine area in the far north of South Australia.
There were eight passengers on board when the aircraft crash-landed, in early September, and none was injured despite the belly landing.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says the pilot had noticed emus on the runway while making his landing checks and somehow forgot to engage the Cessna’s landing gear.
It says a horn which usually warns of such a failure did not sound.
The bureau says the incident highlights the danger pilots can face from distractions, especially at a critical stage of flights.
It says research by the bureau has found 13 per cent of accidents between 1997 and 2004 could be attributed to pilots getting distracted during the approach stage of their flights.
It urges pilots who get distracted during their check list stage return to the start of the list to reduce the likelihood of making a mistake.