MD83, en-route, Pacific Ocean near Anacapa Island CA USA, 2000

Summary: 

On 31 January 2000, an Alaskan Airlines MD83, crashed into the sea off the coast of California, USA, following loss of control attributed to failure of the horizontal stabiliser trim system.

Event Details
When: 
31/01/2000
Event Type: 
Day/Night: 
Day
Flight Conditions: 
VMC

18741

Flight Details
Operator: 
Type of Flight: 
Public Transport (Passenger)
Actual Destination: 
Take-off Commenced: 
Yes
Flight Airborne: 
Yes
Flight Completed: 
No
Phase of Flight: 
Cruise
Location
General
Tag(s): 
Inadequate Airworthiness Procedures, Inadequate Aircraft Operator Procedures, Ineffective Regulatory Oversight
HF
Tag(s): 
Inappropriate crew response (technical fault)
LOC
Tag(s): 
Airframe Structural Failure, Significant Systems or Systems Control Failure, Extreme Pitch
AW
System(s): 
Flight Controls
Contributor(s): 
Maintenance Error (valid guidance available), Inadequate Maintenance Schedule
Outcome
Damage or injury: 
Yes
Aircraft damage: 
Hull loss
Non-aircraft damage: 
No
Non-occupant Casualties: 
No
Occupant Fatalities: 
Most or all occupants
Number of Occupant Fatalities: 
88
Off Airport Landing: 
No
Ditching: 
No
Causal Factor Group(s)
Group(s): 
Aircraft Technical
Safety Recommendation(s)
Group(s): 
Aircraft Operation, Aircraft Airworthiness
Investigation Type
Type: 
Independent

Description

On 31 January 2000, an Alaskan Airlines MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-83, crashed into the sea off the coast of California, USA, following loss of control attributed to failure of the horizontal stabiliser trim system.

Synopsis

This is an extract from the Aircraft Accident Report published by the National Transportation Safety Board (USA) (NTSB), USA:

"On January 31, 2000, about 1621 Pacific standard time, Alaska Airlines, Inc., flight 261, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83, N963AS, crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles north of Anacapa Island, California. The 2 pilots, 3 cabin crewmembers, and 83 passengers on board were killed, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces…

…the probable cause of this accident was a loss of airplane pitch control resulting from the in-flight failure of the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly's acme nut threads. The thread failure was caused by excessive wear resulting from Alaska Airlines' insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly…"

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