Both the type of commuter plane involved in Thursday night’s tragic crash outside Buffalo and the commuter airline are familiar at Albany International Airport.
The Bombardier Q400, the type of plane that crashed in Clarence, taking 50 lives, is a 74-seat twin engine turboprop of a type that’s used on many of the busier commuter flight routes, including some into Albany.
The Q400 is larger and faster than most turboprops, capable of flying over 400 mph.
Colgan Air of Manassas, Va., operates flights in and out of Albany and has an aircraft maintenance and training facility here, said airport spokesman Doug Myers. Close to 100 people work for Colgan in Albany.
“The Q400 are among the planes serviced at the airport,” Myers said.
Colgan, a subsidiary of Pinnacle Airlines of Memphis, operates regional commuter flights in the Northeast, Texas and Virginia on behalf of Continental, US Airways and United.
It has 15 of the Q400’s in its fleet, along with 34 smaller, 34-seat Saab 340 commuter turboprops, according to the Colgan Air Web site. The Q400’s are newer planes, which Colgan began putting into service about a year ago.
The plane that crashed was only a few months old, with a clean safety record, airline officials said. It wasn’t clear whether it had been serviced in Albany, but Albany was described as a main service site for the planes.
Albany International has once-a-day service to the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport that is provided by Colgan Air, but doesn’t involve the Q400, Myers said.
The Albany airport hasn’t had a fatal commercial crash since 1972, when a Mohawk Airlines commuter flight from LaGuardia Airport crashed onto two houses on Edgewood Avenue in Albany, about four miles short of the airport.
That crash killed 17 people. Nobody on the ground was hurt.