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Passenger plane that crashed into Buffalo home was new

Feb. 13, 2009, Montreal - The Dash 8 turboprop that crashed into a house in suburban Buffalo killing 50 people was a new aircraft, a Bombardier Aerospace spokesman said Friday.


February 13, 2009
By Tobi Cohen

Feb. 13, 2009, Montreal – The Dash 8 turboprop that crashed into a house in
suburban Buffalo killing 50 people was a new aircraft, a Bombardier
Aerospace spokesman said Friday.

The Q-400 involved in the tragedy was a “very recent model''
introduced into service just a few months ago, Marc Duchesne said in
an interview.

Colgan Air,  an affiliate of Continental Airlines which operated
the airplane, made a firm order last month to acquire 15 new Q-400s
and has since been granted the option to purchase 15 more.

Earlier this month, Bombardier said it would ramp up production
of the Q-400 due to rising demand for the Toronto-built, low-cost
78-seat propeller plane known for its fuel efficiency.

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"The Dash 8 has a very good reliability record,'' Duchesne said
in an interview. “We've delivered more than 220 aircraft since its
introduction early in the year 2000.

"It's a very appealing aircraft for regional airlines.''

Duchesne said Bombardier is co-operating with the National
Transportation Safety Board, which is handling the investigation.

As the "original equipment manufacturer,'' the company has sent
a product safety and technical team to the site to assist with the
investigation, he said.

Witnesses heard the aircraft sputtering before it went down in
light snow and fog, about eight kilometres from Buffalo Niagara
International Airport.

While there were incidents related to the plane's landing gear
more than a year ago in northern Europe, Duchesne said it's “highly
inappropriate to link previous incidents with (Thursday's)
accident.''

Dundee Securities analyst Richard Stoneman agreed.

In fact, he said those incidents turned out to be the result of
maintenance issues and, despite speculation at the time that sales
of the aircraft would drop as a result, they actually increased.

Bombardier stock fell about eight per cent to $3.25 in noontime
trading on Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

But Stoneman attributed the drop to “a peculiar Canadian
discomfort for large companies and French-Canadian companies.''

"In Canada we have a particular phenomenon,'' he said. "When
there's an incident with a Bombardier aircraft, we predict it will
sell no more.''

When an Air France A340 went off the runway in Toronto in August
2005, there was no talk about what that might do to the company's
sales, he suggested.

And he said Airbus stock wasn't affected recently when a pilot
had to land a plane in the Hudson River after a flock of birds got
caught in its engines.

THE CANADIAN PRESS