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Breaking News

FAA Mandates MD-80 Inspections

Aired February 10, 2000 - 5:16 p.m. ET

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

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: For a late development on Air Alaska and the MD-80 aircraft, we go now live to CNN's Carl Rochelle here in Washington -- Carl.

CARL ROCHELLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, the FAA has decided to issue an emergency airworthiness directive, requiring, mandating inspection of all of that MD-80 series of aircraft, and that runs from the DC-9, the MD-80, -90 and the Boeing (OFF-MIKE), all essentially with the same family. Of course, there are some differences with them. That is based on the findings of Alaska Airlines when they were inspected two of -- they expected all of their planes (OFF-MIKE) found on the ground. They found metal fibers, metal filaments wrapped in and around the jackscrew on one, and on another, where the horizontal stabilizer attaches to it, they actually found a piece of metal curling out of a nut in that area.

You can see, this is the jackscrew recovered from Alaska Airlines flight 261, the one that crashed, and you can see what looks like little wires sticking off the side. That's what they are talking about. That is parts of metal.

And Boeing last evening put out a recommendation with all of the airlines that operate these airlines, almost 2,000 worldwide, roughly 1,100 in the United States that they take a look at this jackscrew assembly and see if they can find any kind of damage in the area. A number of airlines have been inspecting. Delta has more than of its fleet inspected and has found no problems so far.

American Airlines is beginning to look at them this evening, and will look through all of their planes. They say it'll take a abut a week. But Alaska Airlines finished looking at the 34 MD-80 aircraft it owns, and did find the problem in two of them. And based on that, those two airplanes were ground. Both the NTSB -- the National Transportation Safety Board -- and the FAA, as well as Boeing, has sent inspectors to Seattle to look at the two aircraft that are on the ground to determine what the problem is, and if there is a tie between that and the airplane that crashed. And one might take a guess, without going into actually saying that there is a tie, because the metal fibers that were found in the one, in the crashed airplane, there were also metal fibers on the two that were found on the ground.

It may be a continuing problem. It may not be. But again, that emergency air directive will be out this evening or early tomorrow. It will require the inspection of all the MD-80-type aircraft within the United States and advise them to be inspected worldwide -- Bernie.

SHAW: Carl Rochelle, thanks very much.

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