NTSB: Inadequate Bombardier action on persistent CRJ door problems

Washington DC
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A review of pilot reports since 1995 in the Canadian service difficulty system, provided to US investigators by Bombardier, has revealed 823 incidents in which the main cabin door of a CL65-series regional jet (CRJ100 through CRJ900) has jammed or was difficult to open.

The issue came to light on 13 June 2007 after a Mesa Airlines flight operating as US Airways flight 2705 with 53 onboard landed in Phoenix after a flight from Los Angeles. Once at the gate, a flight attendant and later, the first officer, were unable to get the CRJ's jammed main passenger cabin door open.

Though a mechanic ultimately opened the door after entering the aircraft through the galley service door, an NTSB investigator who happened to be aboard the flight launched an investigation of the issue.

Mechanics later determined that the door had jammed because it was out of adjustment and some internal components had failed, issues the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) ruled in a final report issued yesterday were the probable cause of the incident.

Contributing to the failure however were the airline's "inadequate" maintenance programme and airframer's "inadequate" response to what turned out to be a long list of similar failures on other CRJs, says the NTSB.

Investigators reviewing Mesa's maintenance data and FAA records learned that crews had experienced problems opening or closing the incident aircraft's main cabin door on 14 different occasions over the previous 18 months.

A review of the FAA's service difficulty reporting (SDR) database revealed 58 similar events for the CL65 model since 1994.

Neither US Airways nor Bombardier was immediately available for comment.