- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2007

TORONTO (AP) — Plane maker Bombardier ordered the grounding of all Q400 turboprop planes with least 10,000 flights yesterday after landing gear on a Scandinavian Airlines aircraft failed and sent it skidding off a runway in Lithuania, the second such incident in three days.

None of the 52 passengers and crew on board was injured. However, the incident closely resembled a crash landing late last week, when landing gear failed on another SAS aircraft. That landing injured five persons. The turboprop carrying 73 persons caught fire after its right landing gear collapsed during an emergency landing at Aalborg’s airport in western Denmark.

The grounding yesterday forced the cancellation of at least 200 flights worldwide. Both SAS and Horizon Air, a regional carrier operated by Alaska Air Group Inc., each canceled more than 100 flights to inspect their turboprop aircraft.

Bombardier said the grounding would affect 60 of the 160 Q400 aircraft that have been delivered worldwide.

SAS grounded its 27 Bombardier turboprops of the same make, Horizon grounded 19, and Austrian Airlines Group said it grounded eight. Bombardier Inc. would not comment on who operates the remaining six of the 60 aircraft that should be grounded.

Bombardier sent representatives to assist European authorities, saying, “Bombardier cannot speculate or comment as to the cause of these incidents.” The company called the groundings a “precautionary measure.”

U.S. and Canadian aviation regulators recently ordered Montreal-based Bombardier to address wing malfunctions on certain jets flown by regional carriers in North America.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s directive, which went into effect Sept. 5, covers 684 airplanes in the U.S. fleet that were built by Bombardier and used by carriers such as Air Wisconsin and SkyWest Inc.

The airplanes have experienced flap failures over several years, according to Transport Canada, a regulatory body which issued its own safety order affecting 87 jets last month.

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