Investigation of a Passenger Airline Crash
On 31 Jan 2000, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 airplane crashed off the California coast while en route from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to San Francisco. Approximately 90% of the aircraft was recovered from a depth of about 700 ft. (213 m). Among the recovered components were parts of the jackscrew assembly, including the jackscrew with an internal torque tube, the gimbal nut, and the upper and lower mechanical stops. The jackscrew was connected to the horizontal stabilizer and controlled its movement. Multiple damage features, indicative of contact with another object, were observed on the upper surface of the lower mechanical stop. Damage to the spline teeth was also observed on the lower mechanical stop. The stripping pattern and offset circumferential marks were consistent with the lower stop being at two or more skewed angles to the splines of the jackscrew during stripping. This investigation is continuing.