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Eastwind Airlines Flight 517
Incident summary
Date June 9, 1996
Type Rudder Malfunction
Site Richmond, Virginia
Passengers 48
Crew 5
Injuries 1
Fatalities 0
Survivors 53 (all)
Aircraft type Boeing 737-200
Operator Eastwind Airlines
Tail number N221US
Flight origin Trenton-Mercer Airport
Destination Richmond International Airport

Eastwind Airlines Flight 517 was a scheduled flight from Trenton-Mercer Airport in Trenton, New Jersey to Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. The flight lost rudder control but successfully landed on June 9, 1996.

The Boeing 737-200 experienced a reported loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond from Trenton. There was one minor injury to a flight attendant and no damage to the airplane as a result of the incident. At the time of the event the airplane's airspeed was about 250 knots and at 4,000 feet MSL. On approach the crew experienced unexpected movement of the rudder, causing the airplane to roll to the right. The crew applied opposite aileron input to keep the plane from rolling over. Thirty seconds later the plane righted itself back to normal flight. As the crew performed the emergency checklist, the plane again rolled over to the right. Another thirty seconds went by before the plane snapped back to level. Captain Brian Bishop instructed his first officer to declare an emergency and landed safely in Richmond. Investigation of this incident would later help solve two other accidents: United Airlines Flight 585 and USAir Flight 427.

It was then reported that the airplane had previously had problems with uncommanded rudder deflections. Previous reports consisted of "rudder bumps" during departure and a lack of proper trim. [1]

The flight was reenacted, along with United Airlines Flight 585 and USAir Flight 427, in the episode "Hidden Danger" of the TV series Mayday and National Geographic Channel's Air Emergency episode, Deadly Components, first aired on May 12, 2008.

See also




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