NTSB Identification: ERA09IA056
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Piedmont Airlines (D.B.A. USAir Express)
Incident occurred Sunday, November 16, 2008 in Philadelphia, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/12/2010
Aircraft: DeHavilland DHC-8-311, registration: N326EN
Injuries: 38 Uninjured.
NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.
The airplane was on approach for landing. When the landing gear was selected to the extended position, the main landing gear extended properly but the nose landing gear did not. The crew performed a go-around, exited the airport airspace, and unsuccessfully attempted to extend the nose landing gear using several checklists and in consult with ground-based maintenance personnel. A subsequent fly-by of the air traffic control tower confirmed that the nose landing gear doors were open, but that the nose landing gear was not extended. The captain subsequently landed the airplane with the nose landing gear retracted and delayed lowering the nose until the slowest speed possible. The nose of the airplane contacted the runway and the airplane slid for about 525 feet before it stopped. There was no fire, and the passengers deplaned normally at the scene. On-site examination of the airplane and a laboratory examination of the nosegear components revealed that the steering links had been circumferentially loaded in tension beyond their load-carrying capacity. Failure of the steering links allowed the nosewheels to rotate in the wheel well and become wedged within the structure. Hardness testing satisfied the manufacturer's minimum requirements and no determination could be made as to when the overload occurred.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be: The mechanical overload of the nosewheel steering links for undetermined reasons, which resulted in nose landing gear rotation and its subsequent wedging within the wheel well structure. Full narrative available
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