Narrative:Eastwind Airlines flight 517 experienced a reported loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond, VA. There were no injuries or 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. The captain reported that he was hand flying the airplane and he felt a slight rudder "bump" to the right. He asked the first officer if he had felt the bump, then the airplane suddenly rolled to the right. He reported that he applied opposite rudder but that the rudder felt stiff. He stated the he applied opposite aileron and used asymmetric power to keep the airplane upright. He stated that after he declared an emergency to the approach controller, he and the first officer performed the emergency checklist. The captain reported that as part of the checklist they turned off the yaw damper. He reported that the airplane became controllable, but was not certain if the problem when away at the same time that the yaw damper was turned off.
It is reported that the airplane has previously had problems with uncommanded rudder deflections. Previous reports have been of "rudder bumps" during departure and that the airplane would not trim properly. The FDR was removed from the airplane for examination.
» Aviation Week & Space Technology 8.7.96 (34)
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 Trenton-Mercer County Airport, NJ to Richmond International Airport (Byrd Field), VA as the crow flies is 374 km (234 miles).