On February 5, 1999, about 1110 Alaska standard time, the crew of a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 airplane, N934AS, reported a partial flight control malfunction during takeoff from the Fairbanks International Airport, Fairbanks, Alaska. The flight was being conducted under Title 14, CFR Part 121, as a scheduled domestic passenger flight, operated by Alaska Airlines, Inc., as Flight 82. There were no injuries to the two pilots, three flight attendants, or the 133 passengers aboard. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight plan had been filed for the flight to Anchorage, Alaska. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge on February 5, the captain stated that during the takeoff roll, the airplane's nose failed to rise as he applied aft control yoke pressure. He stated that when he applied an excessive amount of aft control yoke pressure, the nose rotated slowly, and the airplane assumed the desired pitch angle for takeoff. He said that after he was assured that a positive rate of climb had been established, he declared an in-flight emergency, and continued on to Anchorage for an emergency landing.
The captain said that during the approach and landing in Anchorage, the elevator control felt "sluggish and slow to respond to control inputs." After landing, the airplane was taxied to the gate, and all 138 of the occupants disembarked uneventfully.
Fairbanks International Airport weather observation at the time of the incident consisted of: Sky conditions and ceiling, 400 feet broken, 2,000 feet overcast; visibility, 1/2 statute mile; wind, calm; temperature, minus 47 degrees F.
During a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge on February 6, the director of flight safety for the operator reported that prior to the incident, the incident airplane remained parked at the gate overnight, outside, prior to the incident flight. He added that while the airplane remained in Fairbanks overnight, the outside air temperature went below minus 50 degrees F.
The incident airplane remained in Anchorage for two days following the partial flight control malfunction. While in Anchorage, the airplane underwent an extensive inspection and evaluation of the flight control system, and no flight control anomalies were discovered by company maintenance personnel.
The airplane's flight data recorder (FDR) was removed and shipped to the NTSB's Washington, D.C., laboratory for analysis. The FDR readout showed that during the initial phase of the incident takeoff roll, both elevators remained in a down position. As the takeoff roll progressed and the airspeed approached 150 knots, both elevators responded to the pilot's control column inputs, and the nose of the airplane rotated. The pilot's control column position was not a recorded parameters of the incident airplane’s FDR.