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Monday, September 24, 2007

Prosecutor Opens Case on Q400

Prompted by the twin gear collapse of Bombardier Q400s at SAS on September 9 and 12, a Stockholm prosecutor informed SAS that a preliminary investigation began regarding suspicion of “creating danger to another person.” The preliminary investigation is based on the events in Aalborg and Vilnius, respectively, in which SAS Q400 aircraft gear collapsed. Related Story
“We reject the claim that there are grounds for the public prosecutor’s suspicions,” said Hans Ollongren, SAS Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. “We will naturally cooperate with the prosecutor and provide all necessary information.”
Meanwhile, Horizon is still coping with flight disruptions that will continue until Tuesday. The airline said it is operating 95 percent of its schedule and will return to its normal schedule on September 25. It released a modified schedule to provide service to all of its markets and accommodate most of its currently booked customers. Alaska provided extra sections in the routes in shares with Horizon in order to accommodate passengers. On Friday, Horizon ran an open letter from Jeff Pinneo, president and CEO, in newspapers in most of the cities it serves to thank customers for their understanding and patience as Horizon completed the precautionary inspections.
With hundreds of flights cancelled worldwide owing to two recent collapses of the Q400 landing gear, Bombardier reported that about 70 percent (116 aircraft out of a worldwide fleet of 165) are in service. Of the estimated 85 Q400 aircraft requiring detailed inspections, more than 35 aircraft are already back in service. On September 13, Bombardier provided Q400 operators with detailed inspection procedures developed by Goodrich and approved by Bombardier. These inspection procedures address Transport Canada’s airworthiness directive related to the aircraft’s recent main landing gear issue. Spokesperson Mark Duchesne reported corrosion was found on the two SAS accident aircraft in the main landing gear actuator rod. If operators find corrosion, they must either remove it or change out the rod. Related Story Duchesne indicated that a third gear collapse which occurred in Japan in March was caused by an electrical problem, unrelated to the current problem
Bombardier’s All-Operators Message (AOM) providing Q400 operators with detailed inspection procedures, according to RAN’s sister publication Aviation Maintenance magazine. These inspection procedures were developed by Goodrich, the landing gear manufacturer, and approved by Bombardier. The document issued to Q400 aircraft operators includes highly detailed procedures on how to inspect, repair the retract actuator if necessary or replace it as follows:
* Disassemble the retract actuator and visually determine if any corrosion exists;
* If corrosion is found, options are available to operators to allow them to return the aircraft to revenue service. These range from removal of light corrosion and repairs of the affected unit, to the replacement of the retract actuator. All procedures require a thorough application of corrosion-inhibiting compound.
Furthermore, the document provides guidance for continued inspections of the retract actuator unit. Airlines are currently using these procedures to inspect and return aircraft back into service. "We have been in constant communication with airlines around the world and are aware that they are working diligently to inspect their fleets of Bombardier Q400 aircraft. As these inspections continue, Q400 aircraft are returning to service," said Steven Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Regional Aircraft.
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