Eastwind Airlines Flight 517 was a scheduled flight from Trenton-Mercer Airport in Trenton, New Jersey to Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. The crew lost rudder control but successfully landed on June 9, 1996. No casualties occurred and one flight attendant suffered only minor injuries. No damage occurred to the airplane as a result of the incident.

The crew of the Boeing 737-200 under the command of captain Brian Bishop experienced loss of rudder control while on approach to Richmond. The airplane's airspeed was about 250 knots and it was flying at an altitude of about 4,000 feet 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 TV series Mayday and National Geographic Channel's Air Emergency episode, Deadly Components, first aired on May 12, 2008.


Template:Aviation incidents and accidents in 1996