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Thu, Jun 30, 2005

Passenger, FA Injured In CRJ Gear Collapse

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 for examination.

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 suggestion.

"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 bizjet parts."

The CRJ 200 was indeed developed from the Challenger 604 business jet.
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 flying.

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 examination.

FMI: www.flyi.com

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