Narrative:TWA Flight 59 originated in New York destined for Los Angeles with intermediate scheduled stops at St Louis, Kansas City, Amarillo, Albuquerque and Phoenix. The Albuquerque-Phoenix leg of the flight was flown by the First Officer. Upon arrival over Scottsdale at 00:05 the flight was cleared by the Phoenix tower to enter the left traffic pattern to runway 08L. While on the down wind leg of the traffic pattern, the flaps were lowered to takeoff position. As the turn on to the base leg was made, the landing gear was lowered and the final before landing check list was read and acknowledged. The tower was notified that the flight was on base leg approaching the city and in return advised the flight that an American Airlines plane making a straight-in approach was No. 1 to land and that Flight 59 would be No. 2 In order to establish proper time separation, the flight immediately started a shallow 360-degree turn to the left and so advised the control tower. During this turn the landing gear was retracted. Upon completing the turn and entering the base leg for the second time the flight as cleared to land. The first officer called for gear down and observed the captain reach over to move the operating lever The captain stated he moved the lever from the up position to what he believed to be the full down position, but that he did not check to see if it was actually in the full down position As the flight turned in on final the first officer called for approach flaps and later landing flaps, which orders the captain executed. As the aircraft passed over the approach end of runway 08L several ground witnesses observed that its landing gear was retracted. When the aircraft was approximately abeam of the control tower. However, before the flight could be advised of this condition, the aircraft had settled on the runway and slid to a stop. There was no fire and all passengers and crew were evacuated safely.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was failure of the captain to place the landing gear operating lever in a full gear down position and to make the necessary checks to determine its position before the landing was made."
» CAB File No. 1-0023
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Albuquerque Municipal Airport, NM to Phoenix-Sky Harbor International Airport, AZ as the crow flies is 524 km (328 miles).