Saturday, March 17, 2018

Canada’s Bombardier to investigate Nepal, Iran crashes

  • News Desk,
    Published: 2018-03-14 03:17:04 BdST


Canada's Bombardier Inc, which made the aircraft that crashed in Nepal on Monday, will investigate the causes of the crash that killed at least 49 people and injuring over a dozen critically.

A day before, on Sunday, another Bombardier-made aircraft met an accident in Iran, leaving  11 people dead.

The US-Bangla Airlines plane that crashed in Nepal was a Q400 turboprop aircraft used by many other airlines.

According to Toronto Star, Air Canada has a total of 44 Q400 turboprop aircraft in its fleet.

A Westjet spokesperson told the newspaper that Westjet Encore, a regional carrier owned by Westjet, uses the Q400. It also has 44 in its fleet.

Nathalie Siphengphet, a spokesperson for Bombardier, told the Star that a senior investigator and a field service representative would leave on Tuesday for Nepal.

The causes of both crashes were not immediately available.

The Toronto-based roving correspondent could not verify the investigators' departure for Nepal with Bombardier.

Siphengphet said in a separate interview with The Canadian Press, “It (Q400) has been designed to be robust and reliable in consideration to high cycle demands of regional airlines.”

Joseph D’Cruz, a Rotman School of Management professor emeritus who specialises in aviation, said Q400s are used by Porter Airlines and that he flies in them all the time.

“If the plane was recognized as having a deficiency, Transport Canada wouldn’t allow Porter to fly,” D’Cruz told the Star.

“The plane is certainly considered airworthy. I have never given a second thought to flying (in) it.”

Siphengphet told the Star the company has delivered 29 Q400s to Porter.

Bombardier is based in Montreal. 

Director of communications and public affairs for Bombardier, Mark Masluch, said the back-to-back crashes were an 'unfortunate coincidence'. But he said it would be “inappropriate to comment on any links between the two accidents”.

More than 1,000 Challenger 600 series planes have been delivered and that they are “one of the most robust and reliable aircrafts in business aviation”, he added.

The Q400, or Dash 8, is the largest prop plane made by Bombardier and can hold 86 passengers.

The company spokesperson said, "More than 500 planes have been delivered to about 60 owners and operators in over 90 countries, and have transported 500 million passengers since they first entered service in 2000."

Other crashes

In 1992, Bombardier acquired de Havilland Canada, according to its website, which had made different iterations of the plane.

Since the acquisition, however, the plane has had several technical malfunctions around the world, particularly with its landing gear.

In 2009, a Q400 crashed near Buffalo, killing 50 people. Colgan Air, the airline, ultimately attributed the crash to pilot error, linking it in part to a warning system malfunction, which failed to alert the pilots that they were flying too slowly.

The plane stalled and crashed into a house while preparing to land at the airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilot error, including the response by the captain, was the main cause of the accident.

In Japan, pilots had to make an emergency landing after a Q400’s landing gear malfunctioned in 2007. Less than a week later, the crew of another Bombardier-built turboprop, a smaller iteration of the Q400, had to drop landing gear manually when the automatic system failed. There were no fatalities.  

The same year, in Denmark, a Q400, flown by Scandinavian Airlines, underwent an emergency landing when part of one of its landing gears collapsed. Five people received minor injuries, the airline told the Star. A spokesperson said on Monday, that since 2007, Scandinavian Airlines have discontinued to use the Q400.

In South Korea in 2007, a Q400 slammed into a drainage ditch after a rudder malfunction, which caused the plane to veer off course, according to Aviation Safety Network, a database listing aviation accidents.