Chronic Problem With CRJ 200, Source Says
Know how the flight
attendants are always telling you to remain seated until the plane
has come to a stop? An Independence Air passenger knows why
tonight, after falling and experiencing a minor shoulder injury
when the nose gear of the CRJ200 collapsed in the gate at
Greensboro, NC. The passenger was taken to a Greensboro hospital
The sole flight attendant on the fifty-seat jet was also
slightly injured. She did not seek treatment in Greensboro, but
returned to Dulles, where the flight originated, on a later
Independence Air flight. The two pilots and 32 other passengers
reported no injuries.
Damage to the aircraft is not believed to be substantial.
The accident will be investigated by the NTSB, with the
assistance of Bombardier and such other parties as NTSB sees fit.
While it is certainly too early to form an opinion, and there is
far too little information known about the circumstances of the
mishap yet, one caller well-versed in CRJ lore was quick to make a
"Don't be surprised if you see this again," this man, known by
us to be familiar with CRJ operations and maintenance, warned
Aero-News. "The early CRJ, the CRJ200, is basically a stretch of
the Challenger and shares that bizjet's gear."
"Well, how is the duty cycle of an RJ different from a bizjet?"
Uh, duty cycles? "Exactly, the RJ will fly six legs a day --
compared to a Challenger, the gear takes a beating."
"Bombardier subsequently beefed up the gear, but as these
machines start showing a lot of cycles, we start seeing SDRs
[Service Difficulty Reports] on the gear. It's made some airlines
leery of the CRJ200 and they go with a larger CRJ, which has
stronger gear, or an [Embraer] ERJ 145, which doesn't inherit any
The CRJ 200 was indeed developed from the Challenger 604
The CRJ's hydraulic landing gear is made by Dowty; the mains
retract inward and the nose gear, the one that collapsed in
Greensboro, retracts forward.
In, June, 2002, an Atlantic Southeast Airlines CRJ 200 suffered
a landing gear collapse on landing at Atlanta. No one was injured,
and that collapse was of the main gear. In November, 1999, a Lauda
Air CRJ 200 suffered a similar main landing gear collapse in
Romania. This mishap led to a recurrent-inspection AD on the main
landing gear. To put this in perspective, well over 1,000 CRJs are
It is, of course, extremely premature to attribute this accident
to design or any other cause; the accident might as easily have
resulted from human error, maintenance, or some unanticipated
combination of events. The accident will be fully investigated by
the responsible authorities -- fortunately, the injuries are not
life-threatening and the aircraft is fully intact for