Boeing Recommends Airlines Examine MD-80 Series Jetliners For Horizontal Trim Assembly ProblemsAired February 10, 2000 - 2:01 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: We begin with the latest in the Alaska Airlines crash: a call by Boeing now for airlines to take a closer look at the back of several types of planes, including the MD-80 series.
CNN's Carl Rochelle tells why.
CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Airplane manufacturer Boeing is recommending all operators of MD-80 series jetliners perform inspections to determine if there are any problems with the plane's horizontal stabilizer trim assemblies. The recommendation follows the recovery of the damaged jackscrew from Alaska Airlines Flight 261.
RUSS YOUNG, BOEING SPOKESMAN: We still don't know what caused the crash, but what often happens in an accident investigation is you will pull up some wreckage, take a look at it, and it raises questions. So one way to answer those questions, go out and look at some more airplanes.
ROCHELLE: Alaska, American and Delta Airlines report the inspections are underway, no problems found so far. Close to 2000, including DC-9s, MD-80s, 90s, and Boeing 717s are in operation worldwide. All use the same type of jackscrew assembly as the two- foot long device recovered from the wreckage of Alaska Airlines. It is threaded through the front of the jetliner's horizontal stabilizer. Electric motors rotate the screw to raise or lower the stabilizer, the small, wing-like device on the plane's tail used to raise and lower the jetliner's nose.
A close look at the jackscrew shows thin pieces of metal intertwined with the threads, meaning it may have been ripped out of the stabilizer.
JIM HALL, NTSB CHAIRMAN: It was unclear whether the damage had occurred prior to the impact or was caused by the impact of the aircraft into the waters.
ROCHELLE: When the damage occurred is key. Is it the result of stress from the flight crew trying to control the plane? Did it fail during the final dive, or was it damaged in the crash? The NTSB has sent metallurgists to examine the jackscrew in an attempt to answer those questions.
(on camera): The FAA has been keeping close watch on the incidents involving horizontal stabilizers in the MD-80 series. Sources say nothing they have seen so far, including the inspections that are being performed, would require ordering any new restrictions or inspections on the planes.
Carl Rochelle, CNN, Washington.
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