A Brief Look Into Alaska Flight 261

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A Brief Look Into Alaska Flight 261 Essay, Research Paper A Brief Look Into Alaska Flight 261 There I was flying along at 13,000 feet with no feeling of alarm. Goldfish, my dad said. My family and I sat there in first class on an Alaska Airlines DC-10 on our way to Disney Land. The cards kept us happy along with the constant Sprite refills we received. As a little kid, that is all I could possibly want, a good game of goldfish with my dad and constant bags of peanuts. My ride was going great. All of the sudden I felt the Sprite and peanuts rise to my chest. Before I could think about it, meal trays were spilt, our cards were scattered, and everyone was talking. We have just experienced some heavy turbulence, the pilot announced. We lost 2500 feet in one second. It made me

think of how quickly our airplane could have hit the ground. Air travelers are constantly coming up with concerns about traveling safety. Among these concerns is airworthiness. Is an airplane safe to fly? This is a concern because people want to feel confident they are safe when aboard an airplane. Most of us have been on an airplane, for a family vacation, business trip, or maybe to visit the relatives on the holidays. I am sure the thought of crashing has gone through everyone s mind. What if there were a crash and my friends and I were on board? What went wrong? What caused the crash? These are the questions investigators are trying to answer regarding Alaska flight 261. My research began at the CWU library where I found my self on CATRAX, the CWU search system. You can search

for books, magazines, topics, authors, and exc. Being a pilot myself, I am interested in aviation, and the recent Alaska Airline crash was all over the news. I thought this would make the perfect topic. The process of research was easy because of the Internet. I first tried our CWU library. Due to my topic being recent, I had a hard time finding sources, so I got on the Internet. I learned from the news, the aircraft that crashed was Seattle based, so I decided to search the Seattle Times newspaper for some articles. To my delight I found a time line of articles. I had a lot of information to sort through, the topic about damaged parts found in the ocean from the airplane and what those parts can tell us stuck out in my head. I found my article and it fueled my interest of the

topic. The article, Experts differ on what damage to Flight 261 jackscrew may mean by The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, relates the importance of a piece of wreckage that may have been clearly damaged before impact. The piece is called the jackscrew assembly, which controls the angle of the stabilizer, the horizontal part of the tail. Gene Daub, a senior air-crash investigator with the Federal Aviation Administration s Transportation Safety Institute in Oklahoma City, states that there are three pieces of evidence, which suggest damage prior to the crash. The stabilizer was jammed in the full nose down position before the crash, threads appear to have striped spirally on the jackshaft, possibly the automatic shutoff failed to work when in complete nose down position, and

possibly dirt in the shaft caused it not to operate smoothly. ( Experts differ, par. 7) A retired pilot, Barry Schiff is 80 % sure the damaged occurred prior to the crash, but is still unsure. ( Experts differ, par. 11) None of these facts are positive because of the disagreement among investigators and the incompletion of the tests. The theories behind why the jackscrew was damaged before the crash are good ones, but how could it have been damaged during the crash? The damaged evidence is too perfect. It seems to me that the answer wouldn t come that easy. It is my opinion that any four of the damage possibilities could have happened while the airplane was tumbling towards the ground or on impact. There must have been a problem prior to the crash. In my experience reading about