NTSB Press Release

National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs


INVESTIGATION UPDATE: CRASH OF EMERY WORLDWIDE FLIGHT 17, RANCHO CORDOVA, CALIFORNIA

April 20, 2001

On February 16, 2000, Emery Worldwide Airlines flight 17, a Douglas DC-8-71F (N8079U), on a scheduled cargo flight from Sacramento, California to Dayton, Ohio, crashed shortly after takeoff from Mather Field. All three crew members aboard were killed. The investigation into this accident is ongoing.

A review of aircraft loading records, the carrier's shipping records, and interviews with the loader has not revealed significant differences when compared to the aircraft weight and balance information provided to the flight crew. Examination of the wreckage found indications that a push rod to an elevator control tab may have been disconnected. Work is continuing to determine if that push rod was disconnected before impact.

The Safety Board is in the process of conducting aircraft performance studies to determine if a disconnected pushrod would cause the aircraft's flight path to match information from the flight data recorder (FDR). Detailed examination of the FDR data for the accident aircraft's previous landing indicates an irregularity in the data that might be consistent with a possible disconnect in the elevator system. The aircraft's elevator system was last overhauled on November 17, 1999, as part of heavy maintenance work ("D" check), performed by an FAA -approved repair station.

The elevators were removed from the aircraft and overhauled elevators installed. A maintenance technician and an inspector signed the completed work card for the installation of the elevator control tabs. At the time of the "D" check, the airplane had accumulated 84,050 flight hours and 33,180 cycles. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 84,447 flight hours and 33,395 cycles.

The Safety Board is examining the repair station's maintenance procedures as well as the oversight of the maintenance by Emery and the FAA. The NTSB plans to hold a public hearing on issues related to this accident some time this summer. A public docket, containing all investigative factual information, will also be opened at that time.

NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100

 

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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.