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Breaking News

Alaska Airlines: Faulty Jackscrews Found in Two Other MD-80s

Aired February 10, 2000 - 3:35 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Donna Kelley at the CNN Center in Atlanta. We'll be back to "TALKBACK" in just a minute.

Here are the top stories. In fact, as the investigation continues into the crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261. our Carl Rochelle joins us from Washington with more information -- Carl.

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Donna, operators of the of the MD-80 series jetliners were told to run inspections on that jackscrew that they though may have been a problem. We are now told by officials from the National Transportation Safety Board that Alaska Airlines has completed its inspection of its 34 aircraft, but in the process, two aircraft were found to have metal filings or shavings in and around the jackscrew. Those two airplanes have been taken out of service, and the National Transportation Safety Board is sending its investigators to Seattle to look at those two airplanes.

We have some animation. We can give you a little look at what the jackscrew is. It's a sort of vertical device in there. It's a screw, and it has a sort of nut-type device around it, and as the screw turns, the nut climbs up the shaft and goes down the shaft. That is what provides the force to move that vertical stabilizer up -- I'm sorry, horizontal stabilizer up and down, and that provides a stable effect to the aircraft. The elevators push the nose up and down. This helps them control that. Now, a little more, as you probably know or may recall, they found the jackscrew from the Alaska Airlines flight 261 yesterday, brought it in. Metallurgists were sent out from Washington to take a look at that jackscrew, because it did have some metal strips and metal filings around it.

But we are told by the safety board, at the present time, they don't know if the damage is pre-impact or post-impact, in other words, caused by hitting the water, but they do know that the material that was wrapped around that jackscrew in those places is from the nut. It's called a gimbal nut. It's where that horizontal stabilizer attaches to that jackscrew, as you just saw in the animation, and that is why it makes it go up and down. That's where the material was from.

The investigation, Donna, is continuing.

KELLEY: All right, Carl Rochelle, thanks very much, in Washington.

And now back to "TALKBACK LIVE."

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