NTSB Identification: ANC02IA007.
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Nonscheduled 14 CFR operation of Air Transport International
Incident occurred Friday, December 14, 2001 in Anchorage, AK
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/16/2003
Aircraft: Douglas DC-8-71F, registration: N825BX
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.

The crew of Douglas DC-8-71F airplane reported a partial flight control malfunction during takeoff. The captain reported that just after the airplane became airborne, the airplane rolled hard to the left. He said that he had to apply full right aileron control, in conjunction with right rudder, to keep the airplane from continuing to roll to the left. The crew immediately declared an in-flight emergency, returned to the airport using left turns only, and made an emergency, high speed landing, without the use of any wing flaps. After landing, the flight crew discovered that the left wing outboard spoiler had deployed just after takeoff. A postincident inspection revealed a broken outboard left wing spoiler retraction cable. An NTSB Metallurgist reported that a magnified optical examination of the broken cable revealed that the area adjacent to the fracture site was severely worn, and reduced in size. He added that many individual wire strands were worn to a knife-edge. The remaining broken strands appeared typical of overstress separations, with no indication of external corrosion. Currently, the subject cable is considered to be an "on condition" component, and has no required life limit assigned. In response to this incident the airplane's manufacture sent a safety notice to all DC-8 operators. In the notice, the manufacturer recommends that all operators review their maintenance procedures with respect to the scheduled inspection of all aircraft cables. A special emphasis was placed on the proper cable condition and cable routing.

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

The asymmetrical activation of the left wing spoiler due to a broken retraction cable during takeoff. A factor associated with the incident was the operator's inadequate inspection of the cable.

Full narrative available

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