We were ‘night flying’ one night when I was in UPT. Everything was going fine that night until a classmate reported that he only had ‘2 Green’ vs. “3 Green,” with his Gear Check. We needed ‘3 Green’ to be sure that we had 3 (landing) gear ‘Down and Locked.’
So, the the RSU Controller told him to continue through the Final Turn and execute a low approach. They planned to look him over as he flew by on his go-around.
Well, it didn’t work out too well – too dark. So the student was told to clean it up, and head around the (traffic) pattern. Once he was stable at traffic pattern altitude, he was instructed to remove the errant Landing Gear light and replace it with the ‘Takeoff Trim’ green light. (Both systems used the same kind of light; simple enough, or so it would seem).
When the jet arrived back on Initial, instead of pitching out for landing, as expected, he continued straight through and turned once again to Outside Downwind. Okay, understandable, it could be tricky to change out the bulbs. Night, wearing gloves, solo, flying the jet, clearing, and so forth.
The second time he showed up on Initial, once again he continued through. At this time the RSU Controller asked him if he was having any problems. It was then that the student replied, “Oh, I dropped the little bastard!”
Not wanting a solo student to be flying around the pattern, at night, with his head buried in the cockpit, looking for a stupid light, probably under the seat, the RSU Controller told him, “Let’s go ahead and land. It will probably be okay.” And, it was…