NTSB Identification: LAX00FA041.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR GEMINI AIR CARGO
Accident occurred Sunday, November 07, 1999 in HONOLULU, HI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/25/2002
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30F, registration: N602GC
Injuries: 5 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The DC-10 captain, in response to a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) alert, made an aggressive pitch change and felt a slight buffet as the airplane decelerated. The maneuver resulted in wrinkling of the elevator skins. Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructed a DC-9 crew to maintain visual separation and the DC-9 crew accepted the instruction. The airplanes were about 7 miles from each other in night conditions on converging courses; the DC-9 was descending out of 5,000 feet and the DC-10 was climbing through 3,800 feet. The controller had to repeat instructions to the DC-10 crew, as well as other crews. One crew informed ATC that their radio transmissions were weak. Douglas Flight Operation Letter AOL, C1-E60-HHK-L033 dated January 21, 1988, explained probable resultant damage to aircraft components when speed was reduced to buffet speeds indicated on the Cruise Buffet Onset Boundary Chart as presented in the DC-10 Aircraft Flight Manual. It noted that in some cases this buffeting resulted in wrinkled outboard elevator skins. It emphasized that speed reduction down to or near the clean configuration stalling speed greatly increased the chance of experiencing elevator damage.

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

The pilot-in-command initiated an evasive manuver during a near midair collission. The airplane entered a prestall buffet, which resulted in buckling of the elevator skins.

Full narrative available

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