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

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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 January 2000
Actual or Potential
Event Type
Airworthiness, Human Factors, Loss of Control
Day/Night Day
Flight Conditions VMC
Flight Details
Aircraft MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-83
Operator Alaska Airlines
Domicile United States
Type of Flight Public Transport (Passenger)
Origin Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport
Intended Destination San Francisco International Airport
Actual Destination Los Angeles
Take off Commenced Yes
Flight Airborne Yes
Flight Completed No
Flight Phase Cruise
ENR
Location En-Route
Origin Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport
Destination San Francisco International Airport
Location
Approx. 2.7 Miles North of Anacapa Island, California
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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
Fatalities Most or all occupants (88)
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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Further Reading

For further information: