ALASKA FLIGHT 261
  

There is one glaring fact associated with the Alaska 261 crash – it didn't have to happen! All the preventative mechanisms were in place, but selectively ignored with a 'hell-bent-for-max-profits' attitude.

Instead, 88 people didn't just get killed, they suffered an eternity of horror before they died, hanging inverted in their seat-belts. They died screaming, while Alaska Airlines profits were being perpetuated by a maximum of corruption - that continues as you read this.

There was an extreme of warning, just on the jack-screw failure. Yet the insatiable demand for profits killed that warning; hence, the people. Previous jack-screw failures had been recently identified within the same fleet; prior to AK-261. A mechanic had done his utmost to get that particular jack-screw replaced; he was overruled with the cavalier attitude, "... you can't make us…." That attitude was common throughout the company for years. It is still there.

One FAA inspector, Mary Rose Diefenderfer (among others), had not only warned of the impending disaster for years, but had been hammered by the FAA itself for officially citing the inevitable. Despite the pre-existing criminal investigation of Alaska Airlines for their maintenance practices, the FAA did everything possible to ensure that Alaska suffered no harm, following AK-261. In testimony to that statement is the Seattle Times address of the fact that the Alaska maintenance manuals had been pre- written with the help of the FAA - PRIOR to the FAA announcement of the company enforcement liability.

On the anniversary of the crash, the Seattle P-I published an account as to how the FAA inspectors subsequently made an attempt to cover Alaska's maintenance short-comings - despite the Grand Jury Investigation in progress.

Eighty-eight senseless deaths meant nothing to the entire FAA. Following AK-261, an incredible number of letters flowed to every agency with an interest in the matter, including the Inspector General's office – no change. Media exposures of the despotic corporate culture had no effect; safety just didn't matter.

Instead, a clever propaganda machine was slowly built. The machine currently diverts the public attention uniquely to the jack-screw failure. That failure was a precipitating event, but only played a relatively small role, compared to the entire history.

Remembering that this was an MD-83 series aircraft, the accident begs the following questions to be answered with a maximum of honesty:

1.   Was the horizontal stabilizer design changed (in terms of strength and surface area) from the original "DC-9-10" series to accommodate the aerodynamic rigors of the stretched MD-83 design?

2.    Was the horizontal stabilizer actually built in the U.S., as opposed to China?

3.   If it was built in China, were adequate quality control measures in place to guarantee safety?


The crash of the Alaska Airlines flight 261,MD-83, occurred approximately 4:20 PM, on 31 January, 2000. The aircraft had known stabilizer trim problems, experiencing an uncontrolled flight condition, finally crashing into the Pacific Ocean, northwest of Los Angeles.

The aircraft, N963AS, was purchased by Alaska Airlines in 1992; accumulating over 26,500 hours of flight time.

The United States Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard, worked feverishly with the assistance of local boats to search for any possible survivors. Ultimately they were only able to recover debris and human remains. The strange discovery of a Masonic ring legft behind in the debris spoke a message from 'beyond' in a pre-arranged signal.

The Alaska MD-83 departed from Puerto Vallarta the afternoon of 31 January, 2000. The autopilot was engaged at approximately 7,500 feet. The NTSB advised that about 13 minutes later, the autopilot was disengaged, for unknown reasons, at 29,000 feet, climbing to 31,000 feet.

To date, nothing has been revealed between the aircraft level-off and the beginning of the CVR tape. That approximate 1 ½ hour void of information represents more than a convenient condensation of the events. During that time, a deadly mechanical failure was evolving. The evidence is / was on the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

One major fact stands out in the matter, the pilots knew they were in trouble with sufficient opportunity to land. The science of Crew Resource Management (CRM) teaches three rules:

1. Stabilize the situation.

2. Utilize all possible resources.

3. Land as soon as possible.

Any pilot will tell you that flight control problems are serious. In a sentence, the crew should have turned around or diverted when the problem couldn't be corrected with the checklist.

Subsequent incidents and pilot testimony tell us that the company philosophy didn't endorse rule three. The AK-261 transcript contains the captain's open admission that he was being pressured to continue. Beyond proper maintenance, the proper application of CRM would have made the difference.

The FAA continues not to care.

The NTSB account moved from the top-of-climb to a point, approximately 1 ½ hours later, picking up on the events with the pilots discussing a problem with the stabilizer trim. According to the original NTSB account from the FDR, the crew had flown for 1 hour and 53 minutes with the autopilot disengaged. The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) transcript, however, indicates that they did get the autopilot re-engaged at some point in time. The transcript shows that the autopilot was engaged as the CVR tape picks up.

The NTSB presented a chart representing the last 14 minutes of the flight, based on transponder radar data. Why they didn't present the entire FDR data is unknown, but suspicious, as the failure progression must be indicated by that data. The presented chart depicted the aircraft's altitude against a time scale.

The NTSB chart did indicate that at approximately 12 minutes before the end of the FDR recording, the aircraft was cruising in straight and level flight at an altitude of 31,000 feet and 301 knots, calibrated air speed, WITH the autopilot engaged.

It must be presumed that as the mechanical deterioration was transpiring during the entire flight; the autopilot was compensating for the damage. That compensation disappeared in an instant, when the autopilot was disengaged.

The NTSB presentation shows that, simultaneous with autopilot disengagement, the stab-trim moved to the full nose-down trim position (minus 2.2 degrees) in approximately 6 seconds, never moving from that position. All indicators suggest that the 'end-nut' on the jack-screw broke on impact, rather than in flight.

Later arguments that the end-nut on the jack-screw broke, in flight, are not supported by either the NTSB data nor the known flight characteristics of the aircraft.

By design, the aircraft would not have been the least bit uncontrollable with ONLY the jack-screw failing. Admittedly, the control would have been difficult.

The known flight characteristics at the end of the flight are more strongly suggestive of a failure of the horizontal stabilizer, in addition to the jack-screw failure.

After the autopilot was disengaged, the aircraft abruptly began an average descent rate of 7,000 feet per minute. In response, the captain deployed the speed brakes. After approximately a minute, the crew regained some control in the realm of 24,000 feet.

For approximately 9 minutes, the crew fought to control the aircraft, descending from 24,000 to approximately 18,000 feet.

Toward the end of the flight, the crew attempted to regain control of the aircraft and slow it for landing by extending the slats and flaps for approximately 30 seconds. The CVR transcript contains comments that the aircraft was somewhat controllable in that configuration. The crew then retracted the slats and flaps.

The resulting aircraft control was insufficient, so the crew elected to retract the flaps and slats, then changed their mind, extending them again. With the final slat / flap extension, control is finally lost.

CVR and FDR data indicate that toward the end, the aircraft was somewhat controllable at about 18,000 feet, with an airspeed of 270 knots, a pitch attitude of 2.7 degrees nose up. The horizontal stabilizer was jammed in the full nose-down trim position, with the elevator deflected more than 12 degrees, nose-up. The NTSB described the elevator angle as, "…approximately 50 percent of full travel." Something blocked the elevator controls.

In the original NTSB report, the data is described as indicating that the flaps first extend to 11 degrees, with the slats deploying approximately 3 seconds after the start of the flap movement. This is inconsistent with normal procedure / design. This is contradicted by the later CVR transcript, which is probably more accurate; the slats were extended before the flaps. Possibly, the flaps, themselves, were never extended at the end.


According to the NTSB, approximately 4 seconds after the beginning of the final slat / flap deployment, the aircraft pitches nose-down at a maximum rate of 26 degrees per second (extremely fast), reaching a nose-down attitude of 59 degrees in approximately 3 seconds. The pitch rate decreases during the next 2.5 seconds, reaching a nose-down attitude of 70 degrees; with a violent negative 3G vertical acceleration.

Although the Flight Data Recorder indicates that the pitch attitude began moving rapidly in the nose-up direction in that time frame, the aircraft did not reach level flight thereafter. It is possible that the pitch-up rate was actually a function of the aircraft being inverted.

A 60-degree per second roll rate to the left began as the pitch attitude approached the maximum nose-down value. The roll rate suggests either mechanical or structural failure. It is conceivable that the left-side outer half of the horizontal stabilizer broke off, with the remaining surface able to roll the aircraft. Given the excessive speed of the aircraft, it's also possible that the roll could have been a function of either a slat or flap failure. The remaining roll values from the recorder are consistent with the airplane rolling into an inverted position. While the pilots make an effort to roll the aircraft right- side-up, their efforts fail. The final descent from 17,900 feet lasted just over a minute.

At the end, the engines fail, due to fuel starvation from the inverted position; neither gravity nor the boost pumps could provide the required fuel.

The approximate aircraft impact point was located approximately 47 miles northwest of Los Angeles at Latitude 34 03.5 North, Longitude 119 20.8 West.

The NTSB also presented a chart displaying the route of flight 261 covering the last 6½ minutes of flight. The route of flight was derived from radar transponder information; the last transponder return indicated an altitude of 1,600 feet. Open circles and open triangles on that chart indicated some primary radar returns. The NTSB speculated that these might be reflections of radar signals from related objects, recorded up to 2½ minutes after the last transponder beacon from flight 261. The NTSB acknowledgement of these returns, as well as their possible meaning, should not be taken lightly.

On that chart, the NTSB marked the area of the loud noise; corresponding to the beginning of the flight's final descent.

The NTSB cautiously described those primary radar returns as possibly indicative of parts coming from flight 261. The NTSB noted the path of the primary targets as being consistent with the direction of the recorded winds at the time of the accident, opposite the final path of the aircraft. The NTSB, accordingly, instructed assets of the U.S. Navy to search that area, speculating that any pieces which departed the aircraft would have landed – approximately 4 miles from the main wreckage site. The pieces are probably control surfaces.

The Navy was reported to have recovered an 8-foot section of the left horizontal stabilizer and some portion of the center horizontal stabilizer. The condition of the right half of the horizontal stabilizer is yet unknown.

The NTSB cited the aircraft as having had two previous stabilizer trim maintenance write-ups, both in 1999. In October, the trim system was reported to have checked out OK. In November, the aircraft alternate trim switch was replaced. These actions might be related to the final events; it is difficult to be certain.

Although many have speculated that the aircraft should have been diverted into Point Mugu Naval Station, it should be appreciated that the altitude and position of the aircraft made that nearly impossible, with respect to the maneuvering requirement. Further, the traits of human nature, with regard to the mental processes of the pilots under pressure, would have been resistant to that thought, as would ATC. Mentally, LAX was simply, 'easier.' While the Pt. Mugu airport was in fact closer, few pilots would have made that choice, except in unique circumstances, such as discovering a visual sight-picture which made the decision highly attractive.


With the above information in mind, it is necessary to move on to the essence of the CVR transcript, provided by the NTSB, along with supplemental information.

As the transcript begins, the aircraft is approximately 70 miles southeast of San Diego, proceeding inbound to Tijuana, cleared on a course direct from Tijuana to the San Marcus VOR station, heading approximately 290 degrees (magnetic). They are cruising at 31,000 feet, autopilot ON, with the pilots having no indication of the magnitude of the control problem about to emerge. The copilot is flying the aircraft. A flight attendant is apparently standing in the cockpit, monitoring the events.

The pilots are talking to maintenance, attempting to sort out the stabilizer trim problem. The captain has already requested a diversion to Los Angeles and is awaiting approval from dispatch. While the captain had full emergency authority, he was apparently - and mysteriously - unaware that he had such authority. ATC has not been notified of the situation, nor the captain's intentions.

It is probable that the captain is fighting his survival instinct, against the current or anticipated demands of the company. The transcript reveals his awareness that he has already over-flown suitable airports for landing, and is continuing to do so. It's entirely possible that he feels culpable for having done so. While it is clear that he wants to land at Los Angeles, he is confronted with the challenge of justifying the decision. Again, he is apparently oblivious as to his emergency authority.

As events unfold, it is probable that the autopilot had been engaged for quite some time, able to maintain constant and adequate control.

TRANSCRIPT LEGEND


RDO    Radio transmission from accident aircraft, Alaska 261
CAM   Cockpit area microphone voice or sound source
PA   Voice or sound heard on the public address system channel.
HOT    Hot microphone voice or sound source

     For RDO, CAM, HOT, and PA comments:

-1   Voice identified as the Captain
-2    Voice identified as the First Officer
-3   Voice identified as a Flight Attendant
-? Voice unidentified

MZT   Radio transmission from Mazatlan Center
LAX CTR-1   Radio transmission from the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center sector 30 controller.
LAX CTR-2    Radio transmission from the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center sector 25 controller.
LAX-MX   Radio transmission from Alaska Airlines Maintenance facility in Los Angeles
LAX-OPS   Radio transmission from Alaska Airlines Operations facility in Los Angeles
SEA-DIS   Radio transmission from Alaska Airlines Dispatch facility in Seattle
SEA-MX   Radio transmission from Alaska Airlines maintenance facility in Seattle
      -1 First voice
      -2 Second voice

ATIS   Radio transmission from Los Angeles airport Automated Terminal Information System
CAWS   Mechanical voice or sound source from the Central Aural Warning System, as heard on the Cockpit Area Microphone channel.
*   Unintelligible word
@   Non-pertinent word
# Expletive
- - -    Break in continuity or interruption in comment
( )   Questionable insertion
[ ]   Editorial insertion
...    Pause


Note 1: Times are expressed in Pacific Standard Time (PST).

Note 2: Generally, only radio transmissions to and fom the accident aircraft were transcribed.

Note 3: Words shown with excess vowels, letters, or drawn out syllables are a phonetic representation of the words as spoken.

Note 4: A non-pertinent word, where noted, refers to a word operation, control or condition of the aircraft.


INTRA-COCKPIT COMMUNICATION AND AIR-GROUND COMMUNICATION


TIME and SOURCE
  

1549:49.3   [start of recording]

1549:50 SEA-MX   "…um beyond that I have verified no history on your aircraft in the past thirty days." (The reasoning is that anything pertinent should have had a previous write-up within the previous month.)

The phrase, "... beyond that.." is curious by itself. Beyond 'what?'

1549:54.8
CAM
  [sound of click]

1549:57.7 RDO-1  ".. yea we didn't see anything in the logbook." (The captain's own research doesn't suggest anything pertinent to him.)

1550:14
CAM-2
   [ to the copilot] "Why don't you pull your seat forward and I'll just check this pedestal back there. I don't think there's anything beyond that we haven't checked."

1550:22
CAM-1
   "…see when he's saying pedestal……. I believe he's talking about this…" (apparently, the captain points to a switch.)

1550:25
CAM-2
   "…oh."

1550:25
CAM-1
   "….switch that's on the * that's on the pedestal."

1550:27
CAM-2
   "…yea okay."

1550:31
CAM-1
   "Do you see anything back there?"

1550:32
CAM
   [Sound of click]

1550:33
CAM-2
   "…uh there's *…." (interrupted by radio call)

1550:40
SEA-MX
   "…and two sixty one, maintenance."

1550:42.0
RDO-1
   "Go ahead maintenance; two six one."

1550:44
SEA-MX
   "Understand you're requesting uh diversion to L-A for this uh discrepancy ...is there specific reason you prefer L-A over San Francisco?"

1550:45
ATC
  "Alaska two sixty one radar service terminated; contact uh Los Angeles center frequency one one nine decimal ninety five; good day."

1550:54.4
RDO-1
   "Well a lotta times its windy and rainy and wet in San Francisco and uh, it seemed to me that a dry runway... where the wind is usually right down the runway seemed a little more reasonable." (Despite his legal authority, the captain is justifying his decision. Clearly he is accustomed to being intimidated by the company. A remark of, "That is against my better judgment," would have sufficed. The nature of the situation legally meets the test of an emergency (FAR 121.627), but the captain apparently doesn't know it.)

1550:55.0
RDO-2
   ATC "…one one nine ninety five: Alaska two sixty one."

1551:01.2
RDO-2
   "Say again the frequency one one nine point eh ninety five?"

1551:05
MZT
   "Affirm; one one nine decimal ninety five."

1551:09.3
RDO-2
   "Roger."

1551:09.9
SEA-MX
   "OK and this this added fuel that you're gonna have in L-A gonna be a complication or an advantage?" (The fuel should be no factor, given their plight. Possibly, maintenance is trying to 'nudge' the decision toward San Francisco.)

1551:18.1
RDO-1
   "Well the way I'm reading it uh heavier airplanes land faster right now I got fifteen five [15,500 pounds of fuel] on board, I'm thinking to land with about twelve which is still uh an hour and forty minutes... uh and those are the numbers I'm running up here." (The captain's logic is weak, as the priority is to simply land.)

1551:20.6
RDO-2
   "L-A Alaska two sixty one; three one zero [altitude 31,000 feet]."

1551:36
SEA-MX
   "OK uh two sixty one; standby for dispatch."

1551:38
RDO-2
   "Los Angeles [center] Alaska two sixty one three one zero.

1551:40
RDO-1
   "OK the other thing you gotta know is that they're talking about holding and delays in San Francisco um for your maintenance facil- eh you know planning uh it uh L A seemed like a smarter move from airworthy move." (By all that is right, the captain should not be held accountable, nor should he tolerate the accountability.)

1551:42
LAX-CTR1
   "Alaska two sixty one L-A center roger." (acknowledges radio check-in)

1551:50
RDO-2
   * "… there's two people on the frequency I'm sorry Alaska two sixty one I didn't hear your response." (The copilot is confused, listening to two radios in the cockpit.)

1551:58
LAX-CTR1
  "Alaska two six one squawk two zero one zero."[radar transponder code]

1552:01
RDO-2
   "Two zero one zero Alaska two sixty one."

1552:02
SEA-DIS
   "Two sixty one dispatch... uh current San Francisco weather one eight zero at six, nine miles, few [clouds] at fifteen hundred broken twenty eight hundred overcast thirty four hundred... uh if uh you want to land at L-A of course for safety reasons we will do that uh wuh … we'll uh tell you though that if we land in L-A uh we'll be looking at probably an hour to an hour and a half we have a major flow program going right now. Uh that's for ATC back in San Francisco." (By now, dispatch should have realized that safety is at stake. Pressure is put on the captain.)

1552:31
RDO-1
   "Well uh yu you eh huh …….boy you put me in a spot here um."

1552:41
RDO-1
   "I really didn't want to hear about the flow being the reason you're calling us …cause I'm concerned about over-flying suitable airports." (The captain is irritated and takes a safety position. In referencing his over-flying 'suitable airports,' the captain is obviously aware of the seriousness of his situation, acknowledging, by default, that he probably should have landed earlier. His statement is a prompt to dispatch that he has already stuck his neck out. The language, in essence, is throwing the situation back on Dispatch.)

1552:51
SEA-DIS
   "Well we wanna do what's safe. So if that's what you feel is uh safe we just wanna make sure you have all of the uh... all the info." (Dispatch backs off with a final 'hint' – guilt trip - as to the crimp the proposed diversion will put on the company system. Safety has nothing to do with maintaining the 'schedule.')

At this point, the copilot is focused on landing at SFO, as the diversion hasn't been authorized yet.

1552:59
RDO-1
"yea we we kinda assumed that we had …… what's the uh the wind again there in San Francisco?" (The captain more-or-less confesses that he didn't verify his original assumption of crosswinds at SFO.)

1553:03
SEA-DIS
   "Wind at San Francisco currently zero uh one zero eight at …..six."

1553:08
CAM-2
   "What runway they landing - one zero?"

1553:09
CAM-1
   "What's that?"

1553:10
CAM-2
   "Ask him what runway they're landing."

1553:11
RDO-1
   "…and confirm they're landing runway one zero?"

1553:15
SEA-DIS
   "..and uh standby I'll confirm that." (Dispatch responds to the possibility that the flight will be continued.)

1553:17
CAM-2
   "..and see if the runways are dry or wet."

The captain responds to the copilot's thinking-out-loud, as opposed to focusing on the diversion plan.

1553:19
RDO-1
   "…and we need to know if they're dry or wet."

1553:21
SEA-DIS
   "…eh yup I'll uh find that out and uh correction on that wind one eight zero at six and standby." (Dispatch should have the situation in the proper perspective, such that a diversion is the logical choice. Instead, Dispatch is playing into the captain's obvious lack of conviction that the diversion into Los Angeles is a hard decision.)

1553:28
CAM-1
   "…[wind] one eight zero at six… so that's runway one six what we need is runway one nine, and they're not landing runway one nine." (Ordinarily, six knots of crosswind is hardly noticeable, but the captain is concerned, indicating his overall concern for safety.)

1553:35
CAM-2
   "I don't think so."

1553:37
CAM-2
   "We might just ask if there's a ground school instructor there available and discuss it with him... or a uh simulator instructor." (The copilot injects a supplemental idea, as all other solutions have failed. The suggestion is unusual, indicating the need for ANY possible solution. Thus the magnitude of the situation is evident. At this point, the autopilot is handling the aircraft, acceptably. The crew is oblivious to the surprise waiting for them.)

1553:40
CAM-1
   "Yea."

1553:46
RDO-1
   "..and uh dispatch one sixty one we're wondering if we can get some support out of the uh instructernal force…"

1553:53
RDO-1
   "…instructors up there if they got any ideas on us." (The captain takes the copilot's idea seriously - good CRM.)

1554:23
CAM-1
   "You're talkin' to ATC, huh?"

1554:24
CAM-2
   "..yea uh huh."

1554:26
CAM-2
   "Well, lets confirm the route of flight it's uh, I wasn't totally sure but its uh direct Oceanside?"

1554:32
CAM-1
   "Tijuana Oceanside; Oceanside right… then Santa Catalina." (The captain is referring to the original flight planned route. ATC will often alter that route with 'direct routings' to save on time and fuel.)

1554:47
CAM-1
   "…ehh somebody was callin' in about wheelchairs."

1554:50
CAM-3
   "Oh really?" (flight attendant)

1554:50
CAM-1
   "…when I'm workin' a problem."

1554:51
CAM-3
   "Is that why it [radio] went static?"

1554:53
CAM-1
   "OK, yea know…I just that's something that oughta be in the computers, if they want it that bad they you guys oughta be able to pick up the phone …"

1555:00
CAM-3
   "..mmm hmm."

1555:00
CAM-1
   "…just drives me nuts. Not that I wanna go on about it you know I it just blows me away they think we're gonna land, they're gonna fix it, now they're worried about the flow, I'm sorry this airplane's idn't gonna go anywhere for a while .... so you know."

1555:16
CAM-3
   "…So they're trying to put the pressure on you…"

1555:18
CAM-1
   "…well no; yea." (The captain confesses as to the pressure.)

1555:19
CAM-3
   "Well get it to where it needs to be."

1555:20
CAM-1
   "…and actually it doesn't matter that much to us."

1555:23
CAM-3
   "…still not gonna go out on time to the next [destination]."

1555:24
CAM-1
   "Yea, yea …I thought they'd cover the people [passenger connections] better from LA."

1555:29
CAM-3
   "…L-A."

1555:30
CAM-1
   "…then San Francisco." (Captain apparently pondering the welfare of the Seattle connecting passengers.)

1555:32
RDO-2
   "L-A Alaska two sixty one just confirm our routing after uh Tijuana is, direct Oceanside?"

1555:38
LAX-CTR-1
   "Alaska two sixty one; after Tijuana cleared to San Francisco via direct San Marcus jet five zero one Big Sur direct maintain flight level three one zero." (Atc just issued a 'direct' routing.)

1555:47
RDO-2
   "OK uh [cleared to] San Francisco San Marcus "J" five-zero-one [airway routing to] Big Sur, uh direct [to San Francisco] three one zero; Alaska two sixty one."

1555:55
LAX-CTR-1
   *

1556:03
SEA-DIS
   "Alaska two sixty one; Dispatch."

1556:06
RDO-1
   "Dispatch Alaska two six one; go ahead."

1556:08
SEA-DIS
   "…yea I called uh ATIS [San Francisco] they're landing two eight right two eight left and uh wasn't able to get the runway report but uh looking at past uh weather it hasn't rained there in hours so I'm looking at uh probably a dry runway."

1556:21
RDO-1
   "OK, uh."

1556:26
RDO-1
   "…have with the information I have available to me and we're… waitin on that CG update I'm looking at a uh approach speed of a hundred and eighty knots, uh do you have a wind at L-A-X?"

1556:50
SEA-DIS
   "It's two six zero at nine."

1556:56
RDO-1
   "OK, two six at nine."

1556:59
RDO-1
   "…versus a direct crosswind which is effectively no change in groundspeed... I gotta tell you, when I look at it from a safety point I think that something that lowers my ground speed makes sense." (This thought process is correct, but is weak against the small difference it will likely make.)

1557:16
SEA-DIS
   "OK two sixty one that'll uh that'll mean L-A-X then for you ..um.. I was gonna get you, if I could, to call L-A-X with that, uh, info and they can probably whip out that CG for you real quick." (Dispatch approves the diversion & mysteriously hands off the flight support, knowing a serious mechanical problem is in progress. There should be no reason why Dispatch can't accommodate the crew by relieving their work-load.)

1557:30
RDO-1
   "I suspect that uh that's what we'll have to do. OK, here's uh, ….my plan is we're gonna continue as if going to San Francisco get all that data then begin our descent back in to L -A-X, and at a lower altitude we will configure, and check the handling uh envelope before we proceed with the approach." (Despite his desires and plans, the captain hasn't advised ATC of the impending diversion. Ideally, the crew should have advised ATC, so as to effect a timely descent.)

1558:05
SEA-DIS
   "OK, two sixty one, Dispatch copied that, if you can now keep uh L-A ops updated on uh your ETA, that would be great and I'll be talking with them." (After handing off the task of the crew's coordination of the landing data to LAX, Dispatch says that they'll coordinate other matters with LAX.)

1558:15
RDO-1
   "OK, well.. ah.. if you'll let them know we're comin' here I'll I think they'll probably listen as we talk... were goin to L- A-X we're…gonna stay up here and burn a little more gas; get all our ducks in a row, and then we'll, uh, be talking to L-A-X when we start down to go in there."

1558:29
SEA-DIS
   "OK, and if you have any problems with them giving you a CG gimme a call back."

1558:34
RDO-1
   "OK, break, L-A-X do you read Alaska two six one?"

1558:39
LAX-OPS
   "Two sixty one, I do copy. Do you have an ETA for me?"

1558:43
RDO-1
   "..well ."

1558:45
RDO-1
   "Yea, I'm gonna put it at about thirty, thirty five minutes, I could actually, the longer the more fuel I burn off the better I am... but I wonder if you can compute our current CG based on the information we had at takeoff for me."

1558:58
LAX-OPS
   "OK, you're transmission is coming in broken but uh, go ahead."

1559:02
RDO-1
   "…you know what, I'll wait a minute we'll be a little bit closer and that'll help everything."

1559:06
LAX-OPS
   "OK also uh two sixty one just be advised uh because you're an international arrival we have to get landing rights [U.S. customes requires notification.] I don't know how long that's gonna take me... but uh I have to clear it all through customs first."

NOTE:

Under FAR 121.627, an emergency is underway. With no regulations available to the pilots (except at their own expense), that particular regulation would have been almost unknown. In actual practice, few pilots are aware of that particular FAR provision. The pilots were poorly trained in the science of CRM and in the FAA Regulations. In the airline industry, as a whole, pilots are commonly taught, in error, that relying on the company Operations Manual will keep them 'legal.' As the Alaska 506 pilots were to find out later, companies defend pilots against the FAA, at the option of the company.


1559:19
RDO-1
   "OK, I unders….I remember this is complicated, yea well, better start that now cause we are comin' to you."

1559:26
LAX-OPS
   "Copy."

1559:29
CAM-1
   "We'll call 'em back over as we get closer to Catalina."

1559:34
CAM-2
   "As we get what?"

1559:34
CAM-1
   "Closer to L- A she's got to get landing rights."

1559:37
CAM-2
   "Were ninety four miles from LA now." [At that distance, the pilots need to quickly initiate a descent to keep from over-flying the airport. The copilot's comment jogs the captains thought processes into the 'descent' mode.]

1559:38
CAM-1
   "Oh, OK. You wanna listen to the ATIS you can."

1559:42
CAM-2
   "In fact, I switched it once already just kinda late."

1559:44
CAM-1
   "You got the jet." [The captain transfers monitoring and control of the aircraft to the copilot, while he gets the local weather report.]

1559:44
CAM-2
   "…got it."

1559:50
ATIS
   [Recorded airport weather message.] "…charlie five and charlie six is restricted " taxiway charlie five is restricted to MD-11 and smaller. Read back all runway hold short instructions. Upon receipt of your ATC clearance read back only your callsign and transponder code unless you have a question. Advise on initial contact, you have information "Mike. Los Angeles international airport information "Mike." [time] two two five zero zulu. wind two three zero at eight. Visibility eight. Few clouds at two thousand eight hundred. one two thousand scattered. ceiling two zero thousand overcast. temperature one six dewpoint one one. Altimeter three zero one seven. simultaneous ILS approaches in progress runway two four right and two five left or vector for visual approach will be provided. Simultaneous visual approaches to all runways are in progress; and parallel localizer approaches are in progress between Los Angeles International and Hawthorne airports. Simultaneous instrument departure in progress runway two four and two five.

1601:01
CAM-2
   "..so he wanted us to go to San Fran' initially?"

1601:06
CAM-1
   "…to keep the schedule alive. I mean it was just it was I mean he had all the reasons to do it, I stated concern about flying over-flying a suitable airport …"

1601:15
CAM-2
   "Yea."

1601:16
CAM-1
   "…but I was listening, then when he gives me the wind, its it's... the wind was a ninety degree cross at ten knots. Two eight and we'd be landing on…"

1601:30
CAM-2
   "…and they are using one nine?"

1601:33
CAM-1
   "..you know; I don't know I wrote it down there…the winds were... one eighty at six... I don't know."

1601:49
CAM-2
   "I don't know."

1601:49
CAM-1
   "I don't care…you know what? I expect him to figure all that #." (The captain is irritated at the lack of support. It's obvious that he is aware of an adversarial attitude on the part of Dispatch.)

1601:53
CAM-2
   "Right."

1601:53
CAM-1
   "…he's got it on the screen…"

1601:54
CAM-2
   "That's why I was thinking that an instructor would really uh…"

1601:58
CAM-1
   "Yea."

1601:58
CAM-2
   "…cut through the crap there."

1601:59
CAM-2
   "…they…not available?"

1602:00
CAM-1
   "Well they just don't talk to each other." (Dispatch and Training)

1602:02
CAM-2
   "Oh."

1602:02
CAM-1
   "I mean I …"

1602:04
CAM-2
   * "They've always told us they were available you know…" (Referring to the training department.)

1602:06
CAM-1
   "Yea, yea."

1602:07
CAM-2
   "…anytime you have a problem." (Facetiously quoting the 'propaganda.' The training department would have been willing, only if contacted.)

1602:09
CAM-2
   "…if they get one down there."

1602:12.6
RDO-1
   "Los Angeles one sixty one do you read me better now?" (Stress shown by mistaken flight number.)

1602:29
CAM-1
   "I got the track goin' over there."

1602:31
LAX-OPS
   "Go ahead two six one."

1602:33.6
RDO-1
   "Two sixty one, I…I know you're busy on us uh, but we're discussing it up here could you give us the winds at San Francisco if you could just pull em up on your screen?"

1602:57
CAM-2
   "I thought they …"

1603:00
LAX-OPS
   "OK… ahhh San Francisco, ok we've got uh... winds are one seventy at six knots."

1603:15.6
RDO-1
   "OK, thank you that's what I needed. We are comin' in to see you... and I've misplaced the paperwork here."

1603:23
CAM-2
   "There it is."

1603:35
CAM-1
   "I can't read your writing can you read her the uh zero fuel weight…"

1603:40
CAM-2
   "Yea."

1603:41
CAM-1
   "…and all those numbers and CG."

1603:43
LAX-OPS
   "L-A operations from two six to two six one."

1603:48
CAM-2
   "I got it."

1603:48.5
RDO-2
   "..uhhh two sixty one... do you need our uh, our numbers?"

1603:52
LAX-OPS
   "Yea we just wanna advise that we do not have landing rights as yet."

1603:56
RDO-2
   "Here's our numbers we had uh ten in first class, seventy in coach, zero fuel weight one zero two one one zero point one fuel on board thirty four point niner take off weight one thirty six five one one point eight, CG eleven point eight." (This data should have been relayed by Dispatch to Los Angeles, as a minimum. The distraction to the cockpit to coordinate the information is unacceptable. If Dispatch didn't already have the data, they should have requested it from the departure station.)

1604:19
LAX-OPS
   "OK I got ten and seventy Z-fuel weight one zero two one one zero point one, fuel on board thirty four decimal nine take off weight five one one decimal eight and a CG of eleven decimal eight."

1604:32
RDO-2
   "Yea uh take off one three six five one one point eight and uh CG one one point eight…. and we currently have thirteen thousand six hundred pounds of fuel on board."

1604:43
CAM-1
   "Estimate ten thousand [fuel weight] on landing."

1604:45
RDO-2
   "Estimating ten thousand pounds on landing."

1604:53
LAX-OPS
   "OK, you said your takeoff weight was... one one uhh one five one one decimal "eight?

1604:58
RDO-2
   "One three six five one one point eight."

1605:05
LAX-OPS
   "One three six five one one point eight thank you."

1605:07
RDO-2
   "…and we're currently a hundred and fifteen seven on our…weight, and we'll burn another three thousand pounds."

1605:19
CAM
   [sound of two clicks]

1605:27
CAM-2
   "I'm back on the uh I'm off of the uh company."

1606:26
CAM-1
   "..no that's what I was expecting them to do. Duh."

1606:47
CAM-2
   "So our…actually our landing speed will be one forty eight plus… some additive [speed], right?"

1607:06
CAM-1
   "Lets guess… lets guess one twelve."

1607:10
CAM-2
   "OK."

1607:10
CAM-1
   "One forty six…plus…I get a minus two [wind speed component], worst case …twenty four knots fifty sixty seventy." (The captain is estimating the landing speed.)

1607:33
LAX-OPS
   "Alaska two sixty one from operations can you give us your tail number?"

1607:38
RDO-1
   "…uh two sixty one, it was ship number nine six three."

1607:43
LAX-OPS
   "Copy that two... uh your aircraft number is nine six three."

1607:47
RDO-1
   "Affirmative, thank you."

1607:51
LAX-MX-1
   "…and two sixty one maintenance."

1607:53
RDO-1
   "two sixty one go."

1607:54
LAX-MX-1
   "Yea, are you guys with the uh, horizontal situation?"

1607:58
RDO-1
   "Affirmative."

1607:59
LAX-MX-1
   "Yea did you try the suitcase handles and the pickle switches right?" (Alternate stab-trim controls.)

1608:03
RDO-1
   "Yea, we tried everything together, uh ."

1608:08
RDO-1
   "...we've run just about everything if you've got any hidden circuit breakers we'd love to know about 'em." (The crew is probably formerly qualified on the B-727, which had circuit breakers in difficult-to-find locations.)

1608:14
LAX-MX-1
   "I'm off. I'll look at the uh circuit breaker uh guide just as a double check and um yea I just wanted to know if you tried the pickle switches and the suitcase handles to see if it was movin' in with any of the uh other switches other than the uh suitcase handles alone or nothing."

1608:29.9
RDO-1
   "Yea, we tried just about every iteration. (Referring to their checklist procedures.)

1608:32
LAX-MX-1
   "..and alternate's inop too, huh?"

1608:35.1
RDO-1
   "Yup its just it appears to be jammed the uh the whole thing, it spikes out when we use the primary, we get AC load that tells me the motor's tryin to run but the brake won't move it." (The captain is describing a previous attempt to operate the trim electrically. During those trials, the electrical power gauge is observed, noting a current drain with switch activation. This tells maintenance that the circuit is complete and that the motor is attempting to operate. If a current drain had not been observed, it would have indicated a power break, possibly a circuit breaker.) …when we use the alternate, nothing happens."

1608:50
LAX-MX-1
   "OK and you you you say you get a spike when on the meter up there in the cockpit when you uh try to move it with the uh um with the primary right?"

1608:59
CAM-1
   "I'm gonna click it off you got it." (The captain decides to make another attempt to troubleshoot the stab trim problem. However, he must first disconnect the autopilot. This decision will be their un-doing.)

1609:00
CAM-2
   "OK."

1609:01.5
RDO-1
   "Affirmative we get a spike when we do the primary trim but there's no appreciable uh change in the uh electrical uh when we do the alternate." (The description almost sounds like a failed alternate trim motor. However, the motor is smaller and might not normally draw a prominent amount of current.)

1609:09
LAX-MX-1
   "OK, thank you sir; see you here." (In a mechanics mind set - and probably the pilots - when a primary and support system fail, mechanical failure is indicated. In situations such as this, the exact nature and magnitude of the problem are unknown. The daunting question in the minds of the pilots and mechanics is, "Is this another event of 'Murphy's Laws?' In perfect hindsight, we may be certain.)

1609:11
RDO-1
   "OK."

1608:59
CAM-1
   "I'm gonna click it off you got it." (The captain is probably determined to take a last opportunity to 'prove' they have a serious trim problem. It will be a fatal decision.)

1609:00
CAM-2
   "OK."

1609:13
CAM-1
   "Lets do that."

1609:14.8
CAM
   [sound of click]

1609:14.8
CAM-1
   "This'll click it off."

1609:16
CAM
   [sound of clunk] (Whatever mechanisms the autopilot controls, let go.)

1609:16.9
CAM
   [sound of two faint thumps in short succession] (The sounds being heard in the cockpit indicate the magnitude of the event, probably the nut sliding on the jack-screw to it's final position.)

1609:17.0
CAWS
   [sound similar to horizontal stabilizer-in-motion audible tone] (In all likelihood, the captain vainly attempts to use the stabilizer trim, in a reflexive reaction to the pitch- down.)

1609:18
CAM-1
   "holy #!"

1609:19.6
CAWS
   [sound similar to horizontal stabilizer- in-motion audible tone]

1609:21
CAM-1
   "…you got it? …# me." (The captain transfers the manual control to the copilot.)

1609:24
CAM-2
   "What are you doin'?"

1609:25
CAM-1
   "I…it clicked off…"

1609:25.4
CAWS
   [sound of chime] Altitude (The aircraft has deviated below the selected altitude by more than 300 feet.)

1609:26
CAM-1
   "…it'` got worse…OK."

1609:30
CAM
   [sound similar to airframe vibration begins]

1609:31
CAM-1
   "You're stalled!" (The airframe vibration mistaken for a stalled condition. It is probable that the horizontal stabilizer was buffeting as a result of it's angle and the upward angle of the elevators, attempting to correct the downward pitch. In all likelihood this vibration will induce structural failure in the horizontal stabilizer.)

1609:32
CAM
   [sound similar to airframe vibration becomes louder] (The aircraft is accelerating in a dive.)

1609:33
CAM-1
   "No, no; you gotta release it …ya gotta release it." (Referring to the aft yoke pressure in the mistaken notion that the aircraft is stalled – impossible at their airspeed.)

1609:34
CAM
   [sound of click]

1609:34
CAM
   [sound similar to airframe vibration ends] (In all likelihood, the copilot has released some back-pressure; as a consequence, the 'loading' on the horizontal stabilizer was diminished, stopping the vibration.)

1609:42.4
CAM-1
   "…lets … speedbrake."

1609:46
CAM-1
   "Gimme a high pressure pumps." (In cruise, a 'low' position is used on the hydraulic pressure pumps, minimizing the load on the hydraulic system. To facilitate the hydraulic demands at low altitude, the 'HIGH' position is normally selected. In this case, the HIGH position is obviously being elected for maximum hydraulic assistance. The pump switches are located on the copilot's side; hence the captain requests the copilot to activate them. In reality, the elevators are aerodynamically controlled. The HIGH position will only offer them more pressure for the rudder and the capability to extend the landing gear.)

1609:52
CAM-2
   "OK."

1609:52
CAM-1
   "…help me back help me back." (The captain has probably attempted to pull the nose up, but has met resistance in the controls; therefore, he asks the copilot's assistance.)

1609:54
CAM-2
   "OK."

1609:55
RDO-1
   "Center Alaska two sixty one we are uh in a dive here."

1610:01.6
RDO-1
   "…and I've lost control, vertical pitch."

1610:01.9
CAWS
   [sound of clacker] "Overspeed." [Computer voice begins and repeats for approx 33 seconds.]

1610:05
LAX-CTR-1
   "Alaska two sixty one, say again sir."

1610:06.6
RDO-1
   "Yea, were out of twenty six thousand feet, we are in a vertical dive... not a dive yet... but uh we've lost vertical control of our airplane."

1610:15
CAM
   [sound of click]

1610:20
CAM-1
   "…just help me."

1610:22
CAM-1
   "…once we get the speed slowed maybe…we'll be OK."

1610:28.2
RDO-1
   "We're at twenty three seven request uh."

1610:33 RDO-1   "…yea we got it back under control here."

1610:34
RDO-2
   "No, we don't; OK" [captain's voice heard in background] (Some control has been established, but it is clear that it is marginal, at best.)

1610:37
CAM-1
   "OK." LAX-CTR-1 "…the altitude you'd like to uh to remain at?"

1610:40
CAM
   [sound of click]

1610:45
CAM-2
   "Lets take the speedbrakes off I'm * …"

1610:46
CAM-1
   "…no no leave them there. It seems to be helping."

1610:51
CAM-1
   "# me."

1610:53
CAWS
   [sound of chime] Altitude (Warning)

1610:55
CAM-1
   "OK, it really wants to pitch down." (The back-pressure needed to maintain any pitch control is enormous.)

1610:58
CAM-2
   "OK."

1610:59
CAM-1
   "…don't mess with that."

1611:04
CAM-2
   "I agree with you." LAX-CTR-1 "Alaska two sixty one say your condition."

1611:06.6
RDO-1
   "Two sixty one we are at twenty four thousand feet, kinda stabilized."

1611:10
RDO-1
   "We're slowing here, and uh, we're gonna uh."

1611:15
RDO-1
   "..do a little troubleshooting, can you gimme a block between …uh, twenty and twenty five?"

1611:21
LAX-CTR-1
   "Alaska two sixty one maintain block altitude flight level two zero zero through flight level two five zero." (By now, ATC has no doubt that AK-261 is in serious trouble. ATC emergency coordination will be initiated.)

1611:27
RDO-1
   "Alaska two sixty one we'll take that block we'll be monitor'n the freq."

1611:31
CAM-2
   "…you have the airplane let me just try it."

1611:33
CAM-1
   "OK."

1611:34(?)
CAM-2
   "…uh how hard is it?"

1611:35(?)
CAM-1
   "I don't know my adrenaline's goin'… it was really tough there for a while."

1611:38
CAM-2
   "…yea it is."

1611:39
CAM-1
   "OK."

1611:43
CAM-2
   "Whatever we did is no good, don't do that again."

1611:44
CAM-1
   "yea, no it went down it went to full nose down."

1611:48
CAM-2
   "…uh it's a lot worse than it was?"

1611:50
CAM-1
   "yea yea we're in much worse shape now."

1611:59
CAM-1
   "I think its at the stop, full stop… and I'm thinking, we can… can it go any worse... but it probably can... but when we slowed down, lets slow it lets get down to two hundred knots and see what happens." (The crew is in a bind, as to slow the aircraft power must be reduced. However, that will result in the nose being lowered, increasing their airspeed.)

1612:16
CAM-2
   "OK?" CAM [sound of click]

1612:17
CAM-2
   "We have to put the slats out and everything…flaps and slats. (The crew is challenged by the airspeed being well above the maximum required to ensure that no damage is done to the slats and flaps from excessive speed. In reality, the flaps and slats are not required, but traditional thinking has taken hold. A 'zero-flap' landing is an emergency maneuver in its own right; requiring high airspeeds and a long runway.) 1612:20
CAM-1
   "Yea...well we'll wait ok you got it for a second?"

1612:23
CAM-2
   "Yea."

1612:25.3
RDO-1
   "Maintenance two sixty one are you on?"

1612:30
LAX-MX-2
   "Yea two sixty one this is maintenance."

1612:32.0
RDO-1
   "OK; we did…"

1612:33.2
RDO-1
   "We did both the pickle switch and the suitcase handles and it ran away full nose trim down."

1612:39
LAX-MX-2
   "Oh, it ran away trim down."

1612:42
RDO-1
   "And now we're in a * pinch so we're holding uh we're worse than we were."

1612:50
LAX-MX-2
   "OK uh... geez."

1612:52
LAX-MX-1
   "You want me to talk to em? (in the background during previous transmission)

1612:55
LAX-MX-1
   "Yea two sixty one maintenance uh uh you getting full nose trim down but are you getting any you don't get no nose trim up is that correct?" (The probability of such an extreme condition is so little anticipated that the mechanic is finding it difficult to believe. In the mind of the mechanic, if the trim can be electrically operated in one direction, there should be no reason that it would be impossible to operate the trim in the opposite direction, given the designed control redundancy. In any reasonably anticipated event, transitioning to the alternate trim motor should have solved any trim problem.)

1613:04
RDO-1
   "That's affirm we went to full nose down and I'm afraid to try it again to see if we can get it to go in the other direction." (The captain is afraid the situation can deteriorate further.)

1613:10
LAX-MX-1
   "OK well your discretion uh if you want to try it, that's ok with me if not; that's fine. Um we'll see you at the gate." (The mechanic knows that the aircraft should be controllable for the duration of the flight, using only the elevators. The reality justifiably defies the imagination of anyone.)

1613:20
CAM-2
   "…did it happen went in reverse? when you pulled back it went forward?"

1613:22
CAM-1
   "I went tab down…right, and it should have come back instead it went the other way." (The captain is describing his effort to apply back pressure as being opposite effect. The description suggests a radical effect of the 'local' airflow over the horizontal stabilizer as being super-sonic – which is possible under the right conditions.)

1613:29
CAM-2
   …"uh huh."

1613:30
CAM-1
   "What do you think?"

1613:32
CAM-2
   "…uhhh."

1613:32
CAM-1
   "You wanna try it or not?

1613:32
CAM-2
   "…uhh no. Boy I don't know."

1613:33
CAM-1
   "…its up to you man." (The captain is understandably frightened out of his wits, deferring to the copilot's judgment.)

1613:35
CAM-2
   "Lets head back toward uh here lets see….well we're…"

1613:39
CAM-1
   "I like where were goin' out over the water myself…I don't like goin' this fast though." (In typical pilot mentality, the captain doesn't want to risk the loss of life on the ground, if they crash.)

1613:50
CAM
   [sound of click]

1613:57
CAM-1
   "OK you got * [sound similar to short interruption in recording] second?"

1613:58
CAM-2
   "yea."

1613:59
CAM-2
   "We better…talk to the people in the back there."

1614:03
CAM-1
   "Ya I know."

1614:04
LAX-CTR-1
   "Alaska two sixty one let me know if you need anything."

1614:08
RDO-2
   "Yea we're still workin' this."

1614:12
PA-1
   "Folks we have had a flight control problem up front here we're workin it …uh that's Los Angeles off to the right [indicates the aircraft position] there that's where we're intending to go. W're pretty busy up here workin this situation I don't anticipate any big problems once we get a couple of sub systems on the line. But we will be going into L A X and I'd anticipate us parking there in about …. twenty to thirty minutes."

1614:39
CAM-1
   "OK…did the, first of all, speedbrakes. Did they have any effect?"

1614:49
CAM-1
   "Lets put the power where it'll be for one point two, for landing. "You buy that?" The captain wants to set the power for the anticipated landing speed, then alter the aircraft configuration to achieve that speed. It is worth noting that despite the speed problem, neither pilot mentions lowering the landing gear, to achieve a higher level of 'drag.')

1614:53
CAM-1
   "Slow it down and see what happens."

1614:54
LAX-CTR1
   "Alaska two sixty one contact L A center one two six point five two they are aware of your situation."

1615:00.0
RDO-2
   "OK, Alaska two sixty one say again the frequency, one two zero five two?"

1615:02
CAM-1
   "I got the yoke."

1615:04
LAX-CTR-1
   "Alaska two sixty one, twenty six fifty two."

1615:06
RDO-2
   "Thank you."

1615:07
LAX-CTR1
   "You're welcome have a good day."

1615:19.7
RDO-2
   "L-A Alaska two sixty one we're with you we're at twenty two five, we have a jammed stabilizer and we're maintaining altitude with difficulty. Uh but uh we can maintain altitude we think... and our intention is to land at Los Angeles." (The aircraft is still descending, but not radically.)

1615:36
LAX-CTR2
   "Alaska two sixty one L A center roger um you're cleared to Los Angeles airport via present position direct uh Santa Monica, direct Los Angeles and uh, you want lower now or...what do you want to do sir?" (They have passed Los Angeles and must turn around. They are at approximately 22,000 feet.)

1615:54
CAM-1
   "Let me get… let me have it."

1615:56
RDO-1
   "Center, uh Alaska two sixty one. I need to get down about ten, change my configuration, make sure I can control the jet and I'd like to do that out here over the bay if I may." (The captain speculates that the air density at the lower altitude will significzntly increase their control effectiveness.)

1616:07
LAX-CTR-2
   "OK, Alaska two sixty one roger that standby here."

1616:11
CAM-2
   "Lets do it at this altitude instead."
CAM-1   "What?"

1616:12
CAM-2
   "[instead of]…of goin to ten lets do it at this altitude." (The copilot is apparently reasoning that they might need all the altitude available in case something happens.)

1616:14
CAM-1
   "..cause the airflow's that much difference down at ten this air's thin enough that that you know what I'm sayin'?"

1616:20
CAM-2
   "Yea uh I'll tell 'em to uh…"

1616:22
CAM-1
   "I just made a PA to everyone to get everybody…"

1616:24
CAM-2
   "OK."

1616:26
CAM-1
   "…down (seat the passengers) you might call the flight attendants."

1616:27
CAM
   [sound similar to cockpit door operating – open (flight attendant entering)]

1616:32
CAM-3
   "I was just comin up this way. LAX-CTR2 "Alaska two sixty one fly a heading of two eight zero and descend and maintain one seven thousand."

1616:34
CAM-2
   "…uhh."

1616:36
CAM
   [sound similar to cockpit door operating – closing behind flight attendant]

1616:39.0
RDO-1
   "Two eight zero and one seven seventeen thousand Alaska two sixty one. …and we generally need a block altitude."

1616:45
LAX-CTR-2
   "OK, and just um I tell you what do that for now sir, and contact L A center on one three five point five they'll have further…uhh instructions for you sir."

1616:56.9
RDO-2
   "OK, thirty five five say the altimeter setting?"

1616:59
LAX-CTR-2
   "The L A altimeter is three zero one eight."

1617:01
CAM-1
   "I need everything picked up…"

1617:02
CAM-1
   "…and everybody strapped down." RDO-2 "Thank you."

1617:04
CAM-3
   "OK."
CAM-1   "…cause I'm gonna unload the airplane and see if we can…" (The captain is planning a test-pilot method of relieving all control pressures by diving, then changing the trim position while there is no aerodynamic pressure on the horizontal stabilizer. In essence, he's attempting to 'sneak up' on the trim mechanism.)

1617:06
CAM-3
   "OK."

1617:07
CAM-1
   "…we can regain control of it that way."

1617:09
CAM-3
   "OK, we had like a big bang back there."

1617:11
CAM-1
   "Yea I heard it."

1617:12
CAM-3
   "OK."

1617:12
CAM-1
   "…the stab trim I think it…"

1617:13
CAM-2
   "You heard it in the back?"

1617:13
CAM-3
   "Yea."

1617:14
CAM-2
   "…Yea."

1617:15
CAM-3
   "So…"

1617:15
CAM-1
   "I think the stab trim thing is broke…"

1617:17
CAM-3
   "…I didn't wanna call you guys…but…" (The flight attendant is being courteous, as during an obvious emergency, the flight attendants are instructed to leave the cockpit undisturbed, free of any additional distractions. Obviously the flight attendant's judgment has over-ridden that mandate – appropriate to the situation.)

1617:18
CAM-1
   "No, no; that's good."

1617:20
CAM-3
   "…that girl, they're like you better go up there…"

1617:21
CAM-1
   "I need you everybody strapped in now, dear."

1617:22
CAM-3
   "…and tell them." (Referring to the upcoming zero-G maneuver.)

1617:23
CAM-3
   "OK."

1617:24
CAM-1
   "Cause I'm gonna I'm going to release the back pressure and see if I can get it... back."

1617:30
CAM
[sound similar to cockpit door operating – as flight attendant leaves]

1617:33
CAM-2
   "…three zero one eight." (The first officer prompts the captain to reset his altimeter, as the aircraft is descending through 18,000 feet.)

1617:37
CAM-1
   "I'll get it here."

1617:40
CAM-2
   "I don't think you want any more speed-brakes do you?"

1617:42
CAM-1
   "…uhh no… actually."

1617:46
CAM-2
   "…he wants us to maintain seventeen."

1617:51
CAM-1
   "OK I need help with this here."

1617:52
CAM-1
   "Slats ext…lets…" (The captain has elected to configure the aircraft for landing, obviously hoping to also achieve better control of the aircraft.)

1617:54
CAM-2
   "OK, slats…"

1617:54
CAM-1
   "Gimme slats extend."

1617:55
CAM-2
   "[you] got it."

1617:56.6
CAM
   [sound similar to slat/flap handle movement]

1617:58
CAM-1
   "I'm test flyin' now…"

1617:59
CAM-2
   "How does it feel?"

1618:00
CAM-1
   "It's wantin' to pitch over more on you."

1618:02
CAM-2
   "…really?"

1618:03
CAM-1
   "…yea."

1618:04
CAM-2
   "Try flaps?... fifteen, eleven?"

1618:05
CAM-1
   "…ahh lets go to eleven."

1618:07.3
CAM
   [sound similar to slat/flap handle movement]

1618:09
CAM-2
   "OK… get some power on."

1618:10
CAM-1
   "I'm at two hundred and fifty knots, so I'm lookin' "

1618:17
CAM-2
   "…real hard?"

1618:17
CAM-1
   "No actually its pretty stable right here… see but we got to get down to a hundred an eighty."

1618:26
CAM-1
   "OK… bring bring the flaps and slats back up for me." (The reason for this decision is unclear, unless the captain has decided not to 'abuse' the control surfaces. The decision is almost strange, as he has gotten some control authority back. There is every possibility that stress is clouding his judgement.)

1618:32
CAM-2
   "…slats too?"

1618:33
CAM-1
   "Yea."

1618:36.8
CAM
   [sound similar to slat/flap handle movement]

1618:37
CAM-2
   "…that gives us twelve thousand pounds of fuel, don't over boost them." (Referring to fuel flow and the maximum power setting.)

1618:47
CAM-1
   "…what I'm what I wanna do…"

1618:48
CAM
   [sound similar to slat/flap handle movement]

1618:49
CAM-1
   "…is get the nose up and then let the nose fall through and see if we can stab it when it's unloaded." (The captain elects to stay with his original plan to try to regain some trim control while in a zero-G dive.)

1618:54 CAWS    [sound of chime] Altitude (repeats for approximately 34 seconds)

1618:56
CAM-2
   "You mean use this again? I don't think we should … if it can fly, its like…" (The copilot is probably referring to the use of the alternate trim controls, the 'suitcase handles,' named after their shape.)

1619:01
CAM-1
   It's on the stop now, its on the stop." (The captain, in essence, is notifying the copilot that the trim is at max travel and that they have nothing to lose by trying anything that might work.)

1619:04
CAM-2
   "Well not according to that its not." (The copilot is probably referring to the trim position indicator.)

1619:07
CAM-2
   "The trim might be, and then it might be uh, if something's popped back there…" (The captain is addressing the probability of unknown mechanical damage in the trim mechanism; giving a false position indication.)

1619:11
CAM-1
   "Yea."
CAM-2   "…it might be " mechanical damage too."

1619:14
CAM-2
   "I think if it's controllable, we oughta just try to land it…" (In essence, the copilot is appealing to the captain not to tamper with progress.)

1619:16
CAM-1
   "You think so? OK, lets head for L A." (The copilot has talked the captain out of his idea of 'unloading' the aircraft, in an attempt to regain trim control.)

1619:21.1
CAM
   [sound of faint thump]

1619:24
CAM-2
   "…you feel that?" (Something in the control system just broke.)

1619:25
CAM-1
   "Yea."

1619:29
CAM-1
   "OK, gimme sl--- see, this is a bitch." (The control pressures have changed; the captain is desperate to regain any control effect. Based on the control effect of the previous slat/flap configuration, the captain elects to go back to that configuration.)

1619:31
CAM-2
   "Is it?" (…a 'bitch')

1619:31
CAM-1
   "Yea."

1619:32.8
CAM
   [sound of two clicks similar to slat/flap handle movement] (The slat extension at this point has probably disturbed the airflow over the horizontal stabilizer to the degree that the horizontal stabilizer has 'deep stalled,' to the extent that the nose-up control effect is totally lost.)

1619:36
CAM-?
   *

1619:36.6
CAM
   [sound of extremely loud noise] [increase in background noise begins and continues to end of recording {screaming??}] [sound similar to loose articles moving around in cockpit] (aircraft is pitching downward, creating a negative-G condition.)

1619:37
CAM-?
   *

1619:37.6 PA    [sound similar to CVR startup tone]

1619:43
CAM-2
   "mayday."

1619:49
CAM-1
   "Push and roll, push and roll." (The aircraft is inverted; the captain is using a standard phraseology for inversion recovery; probably from military flight school.)

1619:54
CAM-1
   "OK, we are inverted… and now we gotta get it…[rolled back upright]"

1619:59
CAM
   [sound of chime]

1620:03
CAM-1
   "Kick…[rudder]"

1620:04
CAM-1
   "Push push push… push the blue side up." (Referring to the visual orientation with the sky; either out the windshield, or the attitude indicator flight instrument.)

1620:14
CAM-1
   "Push."

1620:14
CAM-2
   "I'm pushing."

1620:16
CAM-1
   "OK, now lets kick rudder left rudder left rudder." (The uncontrolled roll tells the captain that the aircraft is pre-disposed to roll to the left. Thus his first inclination is to use that unknown roll force to assist the needed roll, back to the upright position - if possible.)

1620:18
CAM-2
   "I can't reach it." (With the aircraft inverted, gravity has his foot pinned against the bottom instrument panel; he can't reach the rudder pedal.)

1620:20
CAM-1
   "OK, right rudder…right rudder."

1620:25
CAM-1
   "…are we flyin'? …we're flyin' … we're flyin… tell 'em what we're doin'."

1620:33
CAM-2
   "Oh yea let me get…"

1620:35
CAM-1
   *

1620:38
CAM-1
   "…gotta get it over again... at least upside down we're flyin'. The control effect gives them better pitch control inverted than right-side-up. However, they can only remain in this condition for a few seconds, due to the impending fuel starvation to the engines. The inverted position may be denying fluids to the hydraulic pumps and the oil pumps, as well.)

1620:40.6
PA
   [sound similar to CVR startup tone]

1620:42
CAM-?
   *

1620:44
CAM-?
   *

1620:49
CAM
   [sounds similar to compressor stalls begin and continue to end of recording]

1620:49
CAM
   [sound similar to engine spool down]

1620:54
CAM-1
   "…speedbrakes."

1620:55.1
CAM-2
   "Got it."

1620:56.2
CAM-1
   "…ah here we go."

1620:57.1
[end of recording]
  

*********************************


Behind the scenes at Los Angeles ATC Center in Palmdale, the controller warned a privately owned twin-engine turboprop aircraft, an Aero Commander.

LAX-CTR-2   "Commander Zero Delta X-Ray, [you've got] traffic at, uh, 1 o'clock . . . .Do you see him up there high, ahead and to your right?"

Aero Commander Zero Delta X-Ray    "L-A., Delta X-Ray. We do have the airplane [in sight], quite high and up at 1 o'clock."

LAX-CTR-2    "Zero Delta X-Ray, roger, just kind of keep your eye on him. He's having some pretty bad problems up there right now."

The controller also brought the matter of the crippled MD-83 to the attention of SkyWest Flight 5154.

As the SkyWest crew was looking for Flight 261, the Aero Commander reported, "That plane has just started to do a big, huge plunge."

The controller asked the SkyWest pilot what he could see.

SkyWest 5154    "Yes sir, I concur, he is, uh, definitely in a nose-down position, descending quite rapidly."

LAX-CTR-2    "OK, very good, keep your eye on him." "Alaska 261, are you here with us yet, sir?"

Hearing no reply, the controller contacted two other planes on his frequency. The Aero Commander pilot reported, "Plane's inverted, sir."

Center desperately reacted by identifying Alaska 261's position to the second aircraft, "OK, very good, it looks like he's turning, uh, turning over in front of you now SkyWest 5154. You still got your eyes on him, sir?"

SkyWest 5154    "He's in sight. He, uh, is definitely out of control.. he's inverted." Obviously frustrated, helpless and resigned to the impending crash, the controller replied, "He's… OK, ……… just, uh, do what you need to do there, SkyWest 5154. Keep us advised."

The Aero Commander, Zero Delta X-Ray ,reported the impact;   "He's just hit the water." he said.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The crew extended the slats and wing flaps, in an attempt to gain maximum control and to slow the aircraft for landing. They first retracted them; then again extended them; losing final control. Between the time they first retracted the slats and flaps, and the second extension, part of the control mechanism broke. Following the associated breaking sound, an increase in the nose-down pitching occurs. The last event was the final extension of the slats.

The underlying mechanical problem is best illustrated by the thread material of the associated nut, found stripped and wrapped around the jackscrew in the wreckage, recovered from approximately 700 feet of water, 10 miles from Oxnard, Calif. The fact that it was wrapped around the jack-screw attests to the damage occurring during flight. While the maintenance and lubrication of the jackscrew is the apparent focus of the NTSB investigations, something else has to be true.

Honoring issues related to this accident, certain facts must be reviewed with scalding honesty –

1.   The NTSB previously reported the flight data recorder as indicating the maximum travel of 2.2 degrees - now, according to one NTSB investigator - they want to change it to 22 degrees?

2.    In the original NTSB report, the elevator angle was approximately 50% of it's travel 'authority.'

3.    It is certain that no pilot is going to face that kind of pitch down without pulling maximum force on the yoke; let alone both pilots.

4.   The NTSB account of the pitch-over and roll are not only possible, but probable if -

     A.   The pilots only had 50% travel available on the elevators due to mechanical / structural failure.

     B.   A major percentage of the horizontal stabilizer and elevators were severely damaged or broken off.
             (Remember the structural sounds.)

5.   If the stabilizer had snapped the jack-screw end-stop; and had gone to 22 degrees, the aircraft would never have stabilized in the inverted position, it would have continued to pitch as the airspeed initially increased. Further, that angle of the horizontal stabilizer would have probably broken the stabilizer hinge in flight, if not on impact.

6.   Following the aircraft inversion and the engine failure, a flat-spin obviously developed, sealing the fate of those on board. The flat spin would have been almost in the fashion of a rotating rock falling, with some air-resistance.

7.   The damage to the horizontal stabilizer and elevators tell the final story. It is extremely unlikely that the impact would have had a symmetrical damage pattern to the horizontal stabilizer. Thus the key evidence is in the breakup pattern, the wreckage distribution pattern and the missing pieces.

8.   In any case, the FAA refusal to respond to the NTSB pleadings to implement Crew Resource Management (CRM) in the cockpit itself is the ultimate issue. Basic rule 3 of CRM, "Land as soon as possible."

9.   The AK-259 & 506 incidents occurring in close succession are glaring testimony to the FAA 'convenient' oversight – profit facilitation and selective ignorance at its best. Not even 88 senseless fatalities would turn the FAA's attention to the CRM issue. Ironically, in the subsequent AK-506 hearings, the FAA hypocritically persecuted the pilots for the CRM failing which was INDUCED by the failure of the FAA to implement CRM in the cockpit.

10.    In addition to the 'basic' accident history are complaints to the FBI that the FAA inspectors attempted to facilitate the resulting FAA inspection of Alaska Airlines, by providing an enforcement 'insurance' in their proposed method of handling any 'findings.' This action is chronicled in the anniversary edition of the Seattle P-I.


On the anniversary of the crash, AirlineBiz.com attempted to pin Alaska Airlines down on the possibility that the airline had abandoned the crew and passengers to their watery grave. The question, however cruel and mercenary it may seem, was valid. The timing of the question was obviously an attempt to force an important question, as opposed to being morbid and opportunistic, to the detriment of the families. In response, Evans wouldn't give a direct or complete answer. In pursuit of the probable truth, AirlineBiz.com next attempted to garner the interest of its readership to get the answer to the question.

While Alaska's Jack Evans danced around the 'means-of-contact' information, he quietly refused to answer the following 15 questions, also failing to indicate his reasons for not doing so. One can only presume that the questions were not only direct, but accurate as to their focus.

1. With a clear mechanical emergency underway, why did Dispatch hand off the Los Angeles landing operational coordination (weight & balance, etc) to Flight 261, as opposed to Dispatch stepping up to the plate, automatically relieving the pilot workload? Was dispatch even aware of FAR 121.627 (automatic emergency provision)?

2. Is there any reason why a reasonable person shouldn't conclude that the emergency was being selectively ignored, with the pilots being punished with minimal support for their decision to divert?

3. While Flight 261 specifically asked Dispatch to coordinate assistance with the Training Department, Dispatch clearly 'blew them off;' why?

4. The serious nature of the Flight 261 problem could not have escaped anyone; why were they encouraged to continue to San Francisco, in lieu of the automatic emergency provisions of FAR 121.627?

5. Given the extent and clarity of the early maintenance-related communication, why did Maintenance NOT initiate a "land ASAP" directive? In a sentence, when checklists don't solve flight control problems, something radical is wrong. This was underscored by the Boeing directive to land ASAP, as opposed to getting creative beyond the checklists.

6. Why did Dispatch not declare an emergency, independently of the pilots, per their FAR authority? The customs coordination effort clearly testifies that the situation was not being treated as an emergency, when it should have been.

7. Based on the Flight 261 experience, how did the Flight 259 incident become equally protracted with the very same ear-marks (early knowledge of the problem)?

8. Why didn't Alaska Airlines support the pilots of Flight 506, given the mechanical failure of the pressurization warning system on a new aircraft?

9. According to the FAA, there was no change to the Crew Resource Management program as a consequence of these three events. Given three events in close succession, why?

10. Given the obvious concerns, has Alaska Airlines increased their operational support of the pilots since the 261, 259 and 506 events? If so, how?

11. Assuming the 'hang it up' account is accurate, did Alaska confront the mechanic giving the 'hang it up' order with the question, "Did you think about telling the pilots to expedite their landing?" An assertive suggestion is one thing, However, we both know that taking a microphone away from someone is NOT ordinary procedure.

12. Given the long list of media allegations concerning pressure on Alaska's mechanics and pilots (including Horizon), has anything changed in the corporate culture? If not, is there any plan to make such changes?

13. The CVR transcript shows that if the pilots had done a normal descent profile into Los Angeles, they probably would have crashed in a populated area with over a thousand gallons of fuel on board. Was anyone aware of that, prior to the crash?

14. While the Alaska Airlines maintenance / operations manuals were re-written last year, how far along is Alaska in complying with the changes provided for in those manuals - 50%? 80% 90%?

15. Given the 'musical FAA inspectors' scenario, culminated by the selective removal of Mary Rose Diefenderfer (among others), has Alaska's relationship with the FAA changed?

In the shadow of Alaska 261 was the ProAir debacle; the parallels were reversed. While the Seattle FAA office ultimately revoked the operating certificate of ProAir, a reasonable person can only conclude that the FAA was playing "God" at the tax-payers expense. The FAA gave life; and they took it away. The issues which the FAA relied upon to revoke the ProAir certificate were chronicled to an extreme in the appeal to the FAA Emergency Revocation Order. ProAir was begging the FAA for assistance, during the entire time the FAA was doing everything possible to destroy the airline, contrary to the mission assigned by Federal Law. The pleas for FAA assistance were wasted time and effort.

While some degree of debate is available in the Alaska and ProAir cases, one fact cannot be debated, open knowledge and facilitation by the FAA was required. Worse is the fact that the details of these matters were thrust upon the Clinton White House, the FBI, the Inspector General's Office and various members of Congress in a timely manner - to no avail.

The FAA had earned the title of being the "Tombstone Agency." The title suggesting that without a body count, the FAA would change nothing. Now, even with a horrifying body count, the FAA would mysteriously change nothing.

Still worse, the media cited the FAA with being the initiator of an attempted cover-up in the Alaska 261 crash. Nothing made sense.

As the details become spotlighted, the typical person's mind screams to know the 'how' and 'why' of such events and their seemingly unchallenged extreme.

As radical an idea as it may seem, a military historian would instantly recognize the pattern as being nearly an identical model to Nazism. The actual force came from below. Under a microscope, the leadership (Hitler) played an amazingly small role. A large number of serfdoms carried out their perception of Hitler's will. In the case of the FAA, that idea is perhaps best illustrated by a nearly secret meeting in Washington D.C., which identified many of the FAA problem areas and political 'hot potatoes.' At the meeting, pledges for change were made; timetables for implementation were established. Still, nothing changed. The managers returned to their FAA Regional Offices and conducted 'business as usual.'

According to an LA Times account, Jane Garvey's number two man, Nick Lacey, all but called his boss a liar. He illustrated that the situation was worse, following the near-secret meeting. (Corporate profits did increase.)

Multiple media exposures betrayed an interesting truth. The core of the FAA employees were keenly aware of the corruption and would expose it at any 'safe' (secret) opportunity. As former FAA inspector, Mary Rose Diefenderfer found out, the 'whistle-blower' laws served to expose 'trouble-makers,' they did not protect anyone but management when the "non team-players" were thus officially exposed.

The most bewildering aspect of this FAA-airline history, was that most of the big air carriers had a common style to the flaunting of the FAA safety regulations. For example, the non-issuance of the FAA regulations to pilots, with the accompanying lie (unchallenged by the FAA or ALPA), "The operations manual is the equivalent of the FARs; it's okay." Few statements could be further from the truth. Similarly, the air carrier's "Operations Specifications" content (also a safety item required by the FAA regulations to be furnished to the pilots) was no longer issued to the pilots. Amazingly, the pilots bought into the argument - hundreds died; accidents continue.

The bottom of the FAA pyramid mysteriously acted in concert, yet, the leadership of Washington D.C seemed seriously detached from the brutal reality. The Regional Offices seemed to be receiving common direction, yet it is doubtful that it came from the top - or within the FAA. Perhaps one important clue was identified in a cryptic remark by Fred Abbott (Continental), "Anyone who underestimates the power of the ATA is a fool." [referring to the airline industry non-compliance with the crew rest regulations]

In reference to the Alaska 261 crash, Jane Garvey said it best, "We screwed up." The statement was made to Earlene Shaw, who lost her husband on Flight 261. Accordingly, the Seattle times printed the statement. While the FAA spin-doctors tried to portray a different context of Jane Garvey's remark, AirlineBiz.com verifies the authenticity of Jane Garvey's remark and the original context. Garvey was blatantly honest; the FAA screwed up.

The Seattle residents suffered a state of shock. For the longest time, Alaska Airlines was a major source of local pride. What happened? When Bruce Kennedy left, everything seemed to change. Exit Kennedy, enter Kelly and the de-humanization of  'big business.' A fine set of employees found themselves at the mercy of the infamous 'bottom line.' Approximately thirty-five of those same employees died for that 'bottom line' in the Alaska 261 crash.

The FAA has a similar set of fine employees - more bewildered and more terrified of their own management.

Following the Alaska 261 crash, as families begged for the remains of their children, so as to lay them to rest, the eternally haunting question screamed from their tormented souls, WHY???   The answer is instantly available, however horrible it may be:

Lord Acton said it best, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts - absolutely.

Those impacted by the horrifying events and hundreds of deaths such as Swiss Air 111, American 1420 and Alaska 261 cannot force the requisite honesty and integrity from the likes of Evans, Pearson, McSweeney, Lacey and Garvey. The dark side of such power is that absolute.

The recent slide in Alaska's profits partially attests to the eventual price of such power. Even the employees are fighting back, as valiantly as they dare. Tragically, there is no refund on the loss of lives, the misery, the lost pride, dignity and self respect of the innocent victims - and their families.

Emphasis on the 'HOW' of the crash was added in the recent NTSB hearing on the license revocation of mechanic-supervisor John Nanney. The defense presentation of four mechanics demonstrated that Alaska routinely had mechanics certifying work which they had not performed - contrary to the corporate General Maintenance Manual. FAA facilitation (negligent oversight) was obvious in the testimony.

While such certifications as Nanney made are routine in the industry (assuming accuracy and integrity), they are required to meet verification criteria to guarantee safety. The testimony clearly indicated that such was not the practice, nor the legal policy of Alaska. Although the Nanney case was more than two years old and preceded the Alaska 261 crash, Jack Evans said that only very recently did the company attempt to correct the deficiency.

The fate of the Alaska Flight 506 pilots and Nanney's license revocation should send a clear message to all Alaska employees, "Where profits are involved, individuals are expendable." It should be obvious to all that neither captains nor supervisors are exempt from scapegoating; the record is clear on that point. Liotine's credibility was affirmed.

At the Nanney hearing, the cavalier / arrogant admission of the illegal certification practice by the former and current mechanics, including a Quality Control inspector, punctuated Jack Evans' statement, regarding the policy change. Evans' statement was a staggering admission that:

1. Prior to the Nanney incident, the FAA missed the illegal practice.

2. Subsequent to the Alaska 261 crash, the local FAA office STILL hadn't identified the practice, even in the light of the Nanney case.

3. The subsequent FAA National Headquarters inspection teams failed to identify the practice.

4. The REVISED maintenance manuals, rewritten with the assistance of the FAA itself, still did not provide for the needed safety element.

5. The local FAA still hadn't identified the practice - AFTER the AK-261 crash - even with the pre-existing Nanney case glaring at them.

6. Prevention has an unacceptably low priority.

7. Despite the eighty-eight deaths and the associated fallout of AK-261, the cozy relationship with the FAA continues.

8. Whatever 'blessings' Alaska has garnered from the FAA, the 'blessings' continue from the FAA Washington D.C. offices.


So far, the only 'mileage' in the AK-261 legacy is in the corporate profits. The FAA players, Alaska Airlines and Jack Evans have no comment available to them; only ludicrous denial and the finest of spin-doctoring. Such is the nature of big business and the worship of money and power; Satanic influence is not required. The continuing corporate practices with continuing FAA facilitation leave no room for excuses, sincere apologies or deserving forgiveness.


The undeniable evidence and the continuing practices tell only one story, as with so many other accidents, the Alaska flight 261 crash was CAUSED - it does not deserve to be classed as an 'accident.'

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