Eastwind Airlines Flight 517

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Eastwind Airlines Flight 517
N221US, the aircraft involved in the incident, at Tampa International Airport in 1998, two years after the incident.
Occurrence summary
Date June 9, 1996
Summary Rudder malfunction
Site Richmond International Airport, Richmond, Virginia, United States
Passengers 48
Crew 5
Injuries (non-fatal) 1
Fatalities 0
Survivors 53 (all)
Aircraft type Boeing 737-2H5
Operator Eastwind Airlines
Registration N221US
Flight origin Trenton-Mercer Airport
Destination Richmond International Airport

Eastwind Airlines Flight 517 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Trenton-Mercer Airport in Trenton, New Jersey to Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. On June 9, 1996 the crew of the Boeing 737-200 operating the flight lost rudder control but was able to land successfully. Only one flight attendant suffered minor injuries. No damage occurred to the aircraft as a result of the incident.

The flight crew of the Boeing 737-200, Captain Brian Bishop and First Officer Spencer Griffin, experienced loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond. The airplane's airspeed was about 250 knots (460 km/h; 290 mph) and it was flying at an altitude of about 4,000 feet (1,200 m) MSL at the time of the incident. The crew experienced unexpected movement of the rudder, causing the airplane to roll to the right. They applied opposite aileron input to keep the plane from rolling over and thirty seconds later the plane righted itself back to leveled flight. As the crew performed the emergency checklist, the plane again rolled over to the right. After another thirty seconds, the plane snapped back to leveled flight. The crew declared 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 later reported that the airplane previously had problems with uncommanded rudder deflections. These 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 Canadian TV series Mayday and National Geographic Channel's Air Emergency episode, "Deadly Components", first aired on May 12, 2008.

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