N600UA │Distracted Crew Cause A Belly Landing
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N600UA. Situational awareness is a crucial trait for all pilots around the world. It's defined as:

"The accurate perception and understanding of all the factors and conditions within the four fundamental risk elements (pilot, aircraft, environment, and type of operation) that affect safety before, during, and after the flight" (The FAA’s Risk Management Handbook)

The absence of such a trait mid-flight will definitely lead to endangering the course of the flight and might even lead to a disaster.

This flight is an example of losing situation awareness due to a minor distraction, thus leading the whole plane to be unserviceable for life.

N600UA Flight Card:

  • Aircraft: DOUGLAS DC-6B
  • Registration: N600UA
  • Persons on board: 4 Flight Crew.
  • Survivors: All
  • Injuries: None.
  • Date: 12 June 2011
  • Time: 23:55 UTC
  • Route: Togiak Village Airport (ICAO: PATG) to Cold Bay Airport (ICAO: PACD)
  • Accident Site: Cold Bay Airport (ICAO: PACD). Click here for the location (https://goo.gl/maps/D6umCYDQCQTRUKsR8)
N600UA Belly Landing Flight Card Information

N600UA Flight:

Who was flying?

The captain was the pilot flying (PF) with 3 other flight crew present in the cockpit.

Flight Crew Information card & Experience:


  • Male, 56 years old. American.
  • Total Flying Hours: 10000 Hours
  • Total Flying Hours on type (DC-6): 4000 hours, 3800 as Pilot in Command (PIC).
  • Seat Occupied: Left

First Officer:

  • Male, 34 years old. American.
  • Total Flying Hours: 1982 Hours.
  • Total Flying Hours on type (DC-6): 601 hours.
  • Seat Occupied: Right.

Flight Engineer:

  • Total Flying Hours: 4000 Hours.
  • Seat Occupied: Center.

Additional Flight Crew:

There was an additional pilot present sitting on the jump seat.

N600UA Belly Landing

Aircraft Information:

  • Airframe Total Time: 37334 Hours.
  • Engines type: 4 Reciprocating Pratt & Whitney R2800 CB16 rated at 2400 hp.
  • Weight at the time of Accident: 74184 lbs


  • The last inspection performed on the aircraft took place on 11 March 2010. AAIP type inspection.
  • Time since the last Inspection: 98 Hours.

N600UA│The Flight:

  • The aircraft departed Kenai Airport (ICAO: PAEN) at 11:25 am (Local Time) with 4116 Pounds of cargo towards Togiak Village Airport (ICAO: PATG).
  • After dropping the freight at PATG, the aircraft departed VFR and cruised at 1500 ft heading to Cold Bay Airport (ICAO: PACD).
  • The ceiling dropped below 1000 ft so approximately 20 miles away from the destination airport, the crew requested Special VFR and received the clearance.
  • The aircraft proceeded to a right base of RWY 26 at an altitude of 600 ft.
  • While on the base leg, the pilot distracted the crew by pointing out a boat dock.
  • After the aircraft made contact with the runway (Touchdown), the crew realised that the landing gear wasn't extended.
  • The crew evacuated the aircraft.

N600UA│The Cause:

The cause is very clear, as the captain himself took responsibility and stated that "I distracted the crew by pointing out the board dock where our fish was being unloaded from a crab boat".

Also, the report mentioned that the DC-6 warning horn didn't sound.

The warning horn sounds when flaps are positioned more than 30 degrees with flaps up.


The aircraft sustained substantial damage to the underside of the fuselage. According to Aviation Safety Network, the aircraft was put up for sale by KW Salvage in September 2011 and again in July 2013.

Universal Airlines ceased operations at the end of the 2011 season after this accident.

N600UA Crashlanding

Where is N600UA now?

There isn't much information about it on the web but according to the latest information by Ruud Leeuw: "The consensus opinion is that the airplane hulk is still at Cold Bay but most likely cut into pieces".


You see .. As a pilot myself, I never like to 'talk bad' about other pilots even if they make mistakes like this because you never know what was exactly going on.

But I must say after reading the report, I still can't answer the only question I have in mind which is: how did FOUR (4) experienced Flight crew members miss out that the landing gear was not extended?!

Thank You Note:
I'd like to thank the nice people who I emailed over the course of writing this very short blog post, amazing people, who helped me with information and allowed me to use their rare pictures of the aircraft:

  • Ralph Peterson.
  • Harro Ranter.
  • Ruud Leeuw.

Thank you all once again!


FAA. (n.d.). In Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2) (pp. 49–49). essay. Retrieved May 2022, from https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/handbooks_manuals/aviation/media/faa-h-8083-2.pdf.

ASN aircraft accident Douglas DC-6BF N600UA Cold Bay Airport, AK (CDB). Aviation Safety Network. (2011, June 12). Retrieved May 2022, from https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20110612-0

NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2022, from https://data.ntsb.gov/Docket/Document/docBLOB?ID=40452361&FileExtension=.PDF&FileName=Brief

NTSB. (n.d.). N600UA National Transportation Safety Board Aviation Accident Final Report. Retrieved May 2022, from https://baaa-acro.com/sites/default/files/2021-08/N600UA.pdf

Pettersen, R. (2009). Douglas Dc-6 N600UA. Airhistory. photograph. Retrieved from https://www.airhistory.net/photo/37126.

2019 Alaskan Propliner round-up. (n.d.). Retrieved May 2022, from http://www.proplinerinfoexchange.com/alaska_may2019.htm

Leeuw, R. (n.d.). KENAI, JUNE 23rd. USA 2012 Pacific Northwest & Alaska. Retrieved May 2022, from https://ruudleeuw.com/usa12.htm

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