NTSB Identification: SEA97IA071.
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Incident occurred Tuesday, March 11, 1997 in PORTLAND, OR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/10/1998
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F, registration: N830BX
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various sources and may not have traveled in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft incident report.

During the process of changing one side of the elevator, maintenance personnel put washers under the head of the bolts used to attach the inboard portion of the elevator drive torque tube to the outboard portion of the tube. Because washers were not called for in the installation, the clearance between the bolt heads and the elevator structure was reduced to a point where, under the flight loads generated during the takeoff roll elevator test, elevator binding occurred. Because of this binding, the takeoff was aborted. It was later determined that washers had been put under the bolt heads during a previous installation, and the mechanics had simply copied what they saw while removing the old elevator. After the incident, maintenance personnel checked the Illustrated Parts Catalog (IPC), which clearly showed that no washers were to be used. They also checked the installation of the elevator on the other side of the aircraft and discovered that it had been installed correctly (no washers under the bolt heads).

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this incident to be:

improper installation of four attach bolts on the elevator drive torque tube.

Full narrative available

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