NTSB: DC-8 Crash Caused By Faulty Maintenance

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The NTSB said on Tuesday that the probable cause of the crash of an Emery Worldwide Airlines DC-8 aircraft near Sacramento, Calif., on Feb. 16, 2000, was "a loss of pitch control resulting from the disconnection of the right elevator control tab." The three crew members aboard the flight were killed, and the aircraft was destroyed. The board judged that improper maintenance work caused the control problem that doomed the airplane, but investigators were not able to determine exactly when the improper work was done. NTSB Chairman Ellen Engleman said the finding illustrates the interdependence of each member of the aviation safety chain. "Safety requires 100-percent performance by everyone," she said in a news release. Emery Worldwide Flight 17 crashed into an auto salvage yard while attempting to return for landing shortly after departing Sacramento Mather Airport. The DC-8 was on a scheduled cargo flight to Dayton, Ohio. As a result of this investigation, the NTSB issued 15 recommendations to the FAA, including provisions for revised maintenance procedures, improved training for flight crews, the redesign of DC-8 elevator control tab installations, and replacement of DC-8 aluminum elevator geared tab crank arms. A synopsis of the accident investigation report is now online at the NTSB Web site. The complete report will be available in about six weeks.