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Accident description
Last updated: 20 October 2017
Status:Final
Date:Wednesday 4 July 2012
Time:11:08
Type:Silhouette image of generic DH8D model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402 Q400
Operated by:Colgan Air
On behalf of:United Express
Registration: N213WQ
C/n / msn: 4213
First flight: 2008
Total airframe hrs:7936
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW150A
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 31
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 35
Airplane damage: Substantial
Airplane fate: Repaired
Location:Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX (IAH) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Little Rock-Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, AR (LIT/KLIT), United States of America
Destination airport:Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX (IAH/KIAH), United States of America
Flightnumber:UE4915
Narrative:
A Colgan Air DHC-8-402, N213WQ, operating as United Express flight 4915, landed with the nose gear retracted on runway 9 at Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX (IAH), Texas. There were no injuries to the 31 passengers and 4 crewmembers onboard and the airplane received substantial damage. The flight originated from Little Rock Airport (LIT), Arkansas.
The first officer was the pilot flying and the captain was the pilot monitoring for the flight. During climb out after departure from LIT the first officer and the captain noticed a different airflow noise than normal when the landing gear was selected up. They observed an amber nose gear door open advisory light, a master caution, and a landing gear inoperative caution light. The three green gear indication lights and three red gear indication lights were extinguished indicating the landing gear was retracted. The captain performed the Nose Gear Door Malfunctions check list contained in the Quick Reference Handbook and the crew maintained airspeed of at or below 185 knots for the remainder of the flight as stated in the checklist.
During the flight to IAH, the crew heard a "thump" and observed the nose gear door amber status light and the LDG GEAR INOP caution light had extinguished.
In accordance with the Nose Gear Door Malfunctions check list, and guidance received from company maintenance and system operations control via ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System), the crew elected to use the Alternate Landing Gear Extension checklist for landing at IAH.
The crew exchanged roles as the captain became the pilot flying and the first officer assumed the role of pilot monitoring for the remainder of the flight.
Approximately over the ROKIT intersection, about 50 miles from IAH, the first officer began to perform the Alternate Landing Gear Extension checklist.
At 10:33:34 the first officer pulled the main gear release handle and the nose gear release handle and observed that the main landing gear indicated down and locked with green indicator lights, the nose landing gear did not indicate down and locked, and the red Nose Gear Unsafe light was illuminated. The alternate gear indication lights in the floor near the nose gear release handle agreed with the primary gear indication lights on the flight deck panel.
After the Alternate Gear Extension Procedure was completed, the crew could hear the nose gear door was "flapping loosely". The flight crew conducted a low approach and air traffic control tower personnel advised them that the nose gear doors appeared to be open but the nose gear did not appear to be down.
At 10:56:52 the captain briefed the cabin crew members and advised them that an evacuation, if necessary, would be conducted using the forward doors. The flight crew configured the airplane for landing at flaps 35 on runway 9 with the main landing gear down, and the nose landing gear retracted.
At 11:07:46, after passing through about 1,000 feet on approach, the first officer made a "brace" call over the passenger address system. The main gear touched down at 11:08:50 and the captain held the nose off the runway until the airplane slowed to about 80 knots. Once the nose touched down, there were sparks and smoke resulting from the fuselage scraping the runway and the airplane came to a stop at about 11:09. The captain ordered an evacuation and the pilots performed the On Ground Emergencies checklist. The passengers and crew evacuated through the forward cabin doors and were bussed to the terminal.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The nose landing gear alternate release handle was not pulled with sufficient enough force or distance to release the uplocks and allow extension of the nose landing gear.
Contributing to the accident was the dissimilar pull force and pull length set on the flight simulator that was used for flight crew training of alternate landing gear extension procedures and the lack of information available to crew members advising of the dissimilar pull force."

Classification:
Wheel(s) up landing
Forced landing on runway

Sources:
» NTSB


Photos

photo of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402 Q400 N213WQ
photo of de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402 Q400 N213WQ
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Map
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Little Rock-Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, AR to Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport, TX as the crow flies is 599 km (375 miles).

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