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Repair error led to ANA plane's 2007 nose-landing.

TOKYO, May 28 Kyodo

A repair error by Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier Aerospace led to the March 2007 nose-landing of an All Nippon Airways passenger plane at Kochi airport, western Japan, transport ministry investigators said in a report released Wednesday.

The Aircraft and Railway Accidents Investigation Commission investigators said Bombardier maintenance workers failed to attach a bolt while repairing the front landing-gear doors of the DHC8-Q400 propjet shortly after the plane was manufactured in June 2005.

The commission questioned Bombardier's quality management system, citing its failure to prepare a repair manual detailing procedures maintenance workers must observe.

The commission under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has asked Canadian transport authorities to order Bombardier to take a safety measure.

The investigators said Canadian authorities and Bombardier refused to disclose details of the repair work in question and denied them direct access to the maintenance workers who undertook the repairs, resulting in the commission having to conclude the investigation without identifying the exact cause of the envisaged repair error.

''As we are dealing with a manufacturer outside Japan, it would be difficult for us to conduct further investigations,'' one investigator said.

According to the report, the bolt that was supposed to be attached to the landing-gear doors was missing from the plane.

As a result, a tubular component called a bushing, about 3 centimeters long and 1 cm in diameter, protruded about 1 cm from its position, obstructing the deployment of the front landing-gear doors as it collided with surrounding components.

During their investigation in Canada, the investigators found that Bombardier workers had accidentally damaged the plane's front landing-gear doors while testing the gear's movement on June 16, 2005, just four days after the plane was built, the report said.

Bombardier replaced part of the landing-gear doors, including the bushing, with a new one meant for a different plane, it said.

The commission concluded that Bombardier must have failed to attach the bolt during the repair work mainly for three reasons -- the area around the bushing not being damaged by the bolt, the area around the bolt having been disassembled during the repair and ANA not having conducted maintenance work in the area near the bolt.

According to the report, had Bombardier compiled a repair manual specifying the strength with which workers are supposed to fasten bolts, the envisaged error could not have happened.

The report said the crew of ANA subsidiary Air Central, which operated the plane that made a nose-landing after leaving Osaka, acted appropriately in terms of emergency instructions to passengers and landing operations.

On March 13, 2007, flight 1603 made an emergency landing at Kochi airport with only its main landing gear deployed after its captain reported he could not lower the front gear even manually.

The plane successfully landed on the 2,500-meter runway with its nose touching the surface, giving off sparks before it came to a halt. None of the 56 passengers and four crew members were hurt.
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Publication:Japan Transportation Scan
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Jun 2, 2008
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