NTSB Releases Flight 261 Recommendations

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If pilots are experiencing problems in flight, airline dispatchers shouldn't try to talk them into continuing the flight -- and pilots shouldn't let themselves be talked into anything, either -- in a loose interpretation of the NTSB's recommendations resulting from the Alaska Airlines Flight 261 investigation. The NTSB is asking the FAA to issue a flight standards information bulletin to airlines telling them to train pilots to go by the book if they experience flight-control problems and not try corrective measures beyond those on the approved checklist. The NTSB also wants the FAA to make sure dispatchers and maintenance managers don't encourage the pilots of faulty aircraft to press on in the interest of flight scheduling. The human-factors recommendations topped a lengthy list that also included specific measures to ensure that the elevator trim jackscrew assemblies on all MD-80 and related aircraft are properly and regularly greased. The NTSB found a worn jackscrew assembly on the MD-80 ultimately led to the loss of the flight into the ocean off California, killing all 88 aboard.

NOTE: The NTSB recommendations are available at their Web site as an Adobe PDF document.