On the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 plane crash in Buffalo

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Something sounded familiar to me when I read the news of the horrific crash last night in Buffalo, when Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed about five minutes before it was due to land.

The plane was a Bombardier Dash 8 Q400, the same plane model that was grounded by SAS a year and a half ago after huge problems with the landing gear.

Here's an except from a Forbes article from October 27, 2007:

"Scandinavian Airlines System yesterday announced the permanent removal of all Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 passenger planes from its fleet following a series of incidents involving landing gear.

 The airline group's board of directors said in a statement that it had decided 'to immediately discontinue the use of this type of aircraft'.

The Dash 8 Q400 has given rise to 'repeated quality-related problems,' said SAS deputy chief executive officer John Dueholm."

and

 

"On Sept 12, SAS grounded its entire fleet of 8 Q400s after two planes' landing gears failed in separate incidents.

Inspections later found that the insides of the landing gear bolts on the entire Dash fleet of SAS were corroded.

After that ban was lifted another 8 Q400 had problems with its landing gear whilst in mid-air on October 10 and was forced to return to Copenhagen airport."

That seems now to have been a smart move by SAS.

And one has to wonder whether landing gear issues were once again responsible in this case. The timing of the crash - during final approach - would certainly lend some credence to the hypothesis.

 

Hopefully the FAA will have some answers soon, but meanwhile carriers still flying fleets of Bombardier Dash 8's had better ground the damn things before anyone else dies. Whatever the cause of this particular crash, the entire model run clearly needs a full-scale overhaul and safety inspection.

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