Crash Landing of Flybe Bombardier Dash Q400 – Landing Gear Collapse

This last week a Q400 experienced an emergency when trying to land at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. There were very high crosswinds for the runway in use, and apparently the significant crab angle and side loading that was used to get the plane down overstressed the right side landing gear, causing it to collapse. The plane skidded to a stop, damaging the wing, fuselage, and propellers. The incident was captured on video by both passengers inside the plane and by a spectator outside (George Pachantouris). Everyone made it out of the plane safely, and there were no fatalities or injuries reported.

This incident is a good example of the always-changing weather factors and how much they can affect a flight. With the high winds and inclement weather, perhaps a decision to cancel might have been a better option. Either way though, once the flight departed it was up to the flight crew to make a safe landing at their destination. At this point there is no conclusion about the exact cause of the accident, so nobody is blaming pilot error for causing the crash, although it is still a possibility that it had some role to play. Simply from watching the video, it looked to me like they were using proper crosswind corrections. In the two minutes of the approach and flare it’s easy to see how they were crabbing for the wind and then applying opposite rudder and bank into the wind to keep the aircraft’s longitudinal axis parallel to the direction of flight (straight down the runway). Perhaps it was just a slight mistiming or a technical problem that made the right side gear collapse.


On that topic of “armchair” speculation, Bombardier’s Dash Q400 series have actually had a long and troubled history of gear problems and unusual landing incidents. Back in 2007 specifically, Scandinavian Airlines experienced 3 different gear failures that actually led to them permanently withdrawing the aircraft type from service. Bombardier issued several service bulletins and advisory notices, but no major changes were ever made. Even before that, many other airlines had similar troubles.

Regardless of the cause for this incident, it was fortunate that all passengers and crew were fine, and most likely the aircraft will be able to be repaired and put back into service. Of course the cost to repair it will depend on how much of the other “expensive” parts have to be replaced completely. Since the propeller struck the ground also, the engine will most likely have to be inspected for damage/fatigue to all components inside.

Following current events and incidents that happen in aviation is a great way to stay up to date with the industry and to be aware of changes that might be happening in the future. It’s also just always interesting to see how the same general factors (like winds) that affect pilots in training have the same affect on the larger commercial flights that happen all the time.

Below is the copied page from Wikipedia that specifically lists other incidents. Note: I deleted select entries that were not applicable to this post, but please view this LINK if you want the full version.

  • On 17 April 2005, Tobago Express 534 made an emergency landing at Piarco International Airport Trinidad following a failure of the nose gear.[25]
  • On 13 March 2007, All Nippon Airways Flight 1603, a Q400 nose-landed safely at Kōchi Ryōma Airport after the front wheel of the aircraft failed to deploy. Bombardier advised all operators to inspect the nose landing-gear mechanism of the aircraft.
  • On 20 April 2007, a Dash 8 operated by Bahamasair suffered a port side landing gear collapse on landing at Governor’s Harbour Airport, Bahamas; no injuries were reported but inquiries continue. The aircraft suffered left wing and propeller damage, and was dismantled and shipped off-site.[28]
  • On September 21, 2007, Lufthansa Flight LH4076 (tail number D-ADHA) with 68 passengers and four crew members was on flight to Florence, Italy when problems with the front landing gear were identified. The pilots were forced to make an emergency landing at Munich Airport. The aircraft landed with its front landing gear up. There were no injuries.
  • On 10 October 2007, a SAS Denmark Q400 headed for Poland returned to Copenhagen when the pilots got problems with the indicator lights of the front landing gear. The pilots got a yellow indication that the front landing gear hatch didn’t close after taking off. Then they heard the hatch closing, then opening and closing again.[33][34]
  • On 12 October 2007, a Scandinavian Airlines flight scheduled for Copenhagen returned to Warsaw due to problems with the landing gear.[35]
  • On 16 November 2008, Flight 4551, a Dash 8-300 operated by Piedmont Airlines landed at Philadelphia International Airport without its nosegear. There were no reported injuries.[36][37]
  • On 13 February 2009, Austrian Airlines Flight OS780, operated by Tyrolean Airways, a scheduled flight from Skopje to Vienna failed to retract landing gear after take-off and returned to Skopje Airport.[38][39] [1]
  • On 12 May 2009, Colgan Air Flight 3268 reported tyre detachment after landing at Buffalo Niagara International Airport. It was discovered that a wheel bearing overheated and snapped, leading to the detachment.
  • On 30 September 2010, Air New Zealand subsidiary Air Nelson Flight 8841 was flying from Wellington International Airport to Nelson Airport but was diverted to Blenheim due to bad weather in Nelson, New Zealand. On landing, the nosegear on the Dash 8 Series 300 collapsed. No passengers or crew were injured.
  • On 9 February 2011, an Air New Zealand Bombardier Q300 Dash 8 aircraft – Flight NZ8309, operated by the subsidiary Air Nelson again suffered a nose wheel failure upon landing at Blenheim Airport. It had been scheduled to fly from Hamilton to Wellington (in the North Island), but was diverted to Blenheim after crew reported a problem with the undercarriage. After circling the airport four times, the aircraft landed with the nose gear undeployed coming to a stop approximately two thirds along the length of the runway. No injuries were sustained. A Transport Accident Investigation Commission report (#11-002), found a faulty inhibit switch caused the loss of nosewheel steering on departure and was the cause of the landing gear later not extending normally. The pilots were unable to utilise the alternate extension system as they did not apply enough force to the release handle for the uplock (or possibly did not hold the release handle in position long enough for the uplock to disengage). This was found to be at least in part due to the flight simulators not requiring the full 40 kg (90 lbs) or more force as required in the actual aircraft.[40] Image during landing here [2]
  • On 4 March 2011, a wheel fell off a Bombardier Q400 operating a Flybe flight from Exeter to Newcastle. The aircraft returned to Exeter and made an emergency landing, no one was injured. The AAIB report said the wheel bearing had seized and allowed the wheel to detach.[41]
  • On 7 March 2011, an Air Iceland Bombardier Q100 Dash 8 aircraft suffered a collapsed right landing gear whilst landing at Nuuk Airport, Greenland. Several of the 31 Passengers on board reported a severe crosswind gust immediately prior to the main gear touching down, which resulted in the aircraft drifting over and subsequently making contact with snow banks alongside the runway, causing the right gear to collapse.[42]
  • On 18 May 2013, US Airways subsidiary Piedmont Airlines Flight 4560, a Dash 8-100, made a belly landing at Newark International Airport after its left main landing gear failed to extend. No one was injured.[43]
  • On 27 September 2013, Croatia Airlines Flight 464 from Zagreb to Zurich – Dash 8 Q-400 registration number 9A-CQC landed without nose wheel at Zurich Airport. The crew noted that nose gear was blocked and has failed to lock into the position during first landing attempt. After performing go-around and circling for the next 40 minutes in the holding pattern, they made a second landing attempt and landed safely on runway 14 at 18:18 GMT/UTC without nose wheel. There were no injuries among 60 passengers and 4 crewmembers, while the aircraft sustained no major damage.[44]
  • On 6 November 2014, Jazz (airline), operating as Air Canada Express Flight 8481, from Calgary to Grande Prairie – Dash 8 Q-400 made an emergency landing at Edmonton International Airport. One of the main landing gear tires apparently blew on takeoff. Due to bad weather in Calgary, the pilot redirected to Edmonton. During landing in Edmonton, the right side main landing gear collapsed, injuring 3 people among 71 passengers and 4 crew members. The aircraft sustained damage, including a propeller penetrating the cabin, causing one of the injuries.[45][46]
  • September 17, 2016: airBaltic flight BT641 using a Bombardier Q400 NextGen (registered YL-BAI) from Riga to Zurich made an emergency landing at Riga Airport without its nose landing gear deployed. There were no injuries among 63 passengers and 4 crewmembers.[48]


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