Goodrich finds fix for Q400 nose-gear failures

 - September 13, 2006, 1:18 PM

Goodrich Aerospace has devised a solution to the wiring harness problems that led to a number of nose-gear retraction failures in Bombardier Q400 turboprops flying with Japan Air Commuter (JAC) and two regional units of All Nippon Airways (ANA). A Bombardier spokesman said Goodrich would also apply a permanent fix to all future Q400s.

Representatives from Bombardier, Goodrich, Transport Canada and the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) met in Toronto on April 25 to address dispatch reliability concerns related to the Q400, and Goodrich dispatched a special team of senior representatives to Japan to investigate the landing gear complaints.

Following the meeting, Bombardier agreed to perform an “in-depth analysis”
of the Q400’s operational performance in Japan with the help of three working groups dedicated to reliability, quality and spares, respectively. As a result, according to a Bombardier spokesman, in recent months “the number of incidents has declined significantly.”

A survey conducted jointly by ANA and JAC showed that 49 of 52 emergency landings involving Q400s in Japan from June 28, 2003, to May 20 of this year resulted from mechanical trouble. Apart from the main problem, which involved the landing gear, the JCAB cited complaints about flight controls, hydraulic systems, oil pumps and false error messages. However, reports from Japan erroneously cited design flaws as the source of the problems, according to the Bombardier spokesman. “These were reliability issues; they had nothing to do with the design,” he insisted.

As of Bombardier’s last status report, the company had delivered 11 of 14 Q400s ordered by ANA and eight of 10 to JAC. While, according to Bombardier, both airlines have expressed complete satisfaction with the airplane’s economics and operating performance, they continue to struggle with passenger aversion to turboprops and a lingering perception that propellers denote inferior technology.