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Lack of speed warning system in Q400

Dec. 14, 2009, Montreal – Colgan Air says the lack of low-speed warnings in the Bombardier Q400 contributed to last February's crash in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50.


December 14, 2009
By Ross Marowits | Canadian Press

Dec. 14, 2009, Montreal – Colgan Air says the lack of low-speed warnings in the Bombardier Q400 contributed to last February's crash in Buffalo, N.Y., that killed 50.

In a submission to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the regional airline said the probable cause of last February's crash was the pilots' "loss of situational awareness" and their failure to follow training and procedures.

It pointed to four contributing factors, two of which involve Bombardier, the Montreal-base aircraft manufacturer.

Colgan said the cockpit warning system failed to adequately advise pilots when the speed below the calculated stall-warning speed.

It also pointed to the lack of an adequate warning in the turboprop's flight and operating manual regarding the effect of setting a non-ice reference speed during approach and landing.

The remaining two contributing factors were the crew's failure to follow procedures regarding the proper response to a "stick shaker" and "non-pertinent conversation" by the flight crew during the descent and approach.