Narrative:China Eastern flight 583 had an inadvertent deployment of the leading edge wing slats while in cruise flight. The autopilot disconnected, and the captain was manually controlling the airplane when it progressed through several violent pitch oscillations and lost 5,000 feet of altitude. The captain regained stabilized flight, declared an emergency because of passenger injuries, and diverted to the US Air Force Base, Shemya, Alaska. Two passengers were fatally injured, and 149 passengers and 7 crewmembers received various injuries. The airplane did not receive external structural damage, but the passenger cabin was substantially damaged.
PROBABLE CAUSE: "The inadequate design of the flap/slat actuation handle by the Douglas Aircraft Company that allowed the handle to be easily and inadvertently dislodged from the UP/RET position, thereby causing extension of the leading edge slats during cruise flight. The captain's attempt to recover from the slat extension, given the reduced longitudinal stability and the associated light control force characteristics of the MD-11 in cruise flight, led to several violent pitch oscillations.
Contributing to the violence of the pitch oscillations was the lack of specific MD-11 pilot training in recovery from high altitude upsets, and the influence of the stall warning system on the captain's control responses. Contributing to the severity of the injuries was the lack of seat restraint usage by the
» Air Safety Week 1.11.1993 (p. 1-3)
» Air Safety Week 19.04.93 (1,2)
» Air Safety Week 31.05.1993 (p. 1,2)
» Air Safety Week 12.4.1993 (p. 1,2)
Follow-up / safety actions
This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not
display the exact flight path.
Distance from Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport to Los Angeles International Airport, CA as the crow flies is 10376 km (6485 miles).