Embraer EMB 170, Dulles, Va., May 30, 2006–Improper servicing of the nose-gear strut and inadequate maintenance caused the failure of the United Express EMB 170 nose gear to extend on landing, said the Safety Board. A factor was the operator’s inadequate checklist. After the flight departed Houston, en route to Washington Dulles International Airport, the first officer could not raise the landing gear handle to retract the gear. The crew decided to press the downlock release button and the gear retracted. When the airplane approached Dulles, the nose gear did not extend. The crew prepared for an emergency landing and touched down on the main gear. One passenger was seriously injured during the evacuation. Three days before the accident flight, the nose gear strut had been serviced, then a pilot reported it was “low” and “sounded like it was bottoming out.” The day before the accident flight, a pilot reported that the gear did not retract after takeoff. Maintenance personnel replaced the gear control lever.
After the accident, the nose gear was found to contain approximately two-fifths of the fluid a normally serviced gear should contain. Investigators found evidence of “bottoming.”