Alaska Airlines Flight 261 - 31 JAN 2000
Last updated: 16 October 2004
Relevant parts of the Air traffic control transcript of the January 31, 2000 crash of an Alaska Airlines MD-83 (Flight 261) off Point Mugu, CA USA. - 00.09h - 00.20h UTC
Accident details: AS261 Coverage
Source: FAA

The reader of these transcripts is cautioned that the transcription of a CVR or ATC tape is not a precise science but is the best possible product from a group investigative effort. The transcript, or parts thereof, if taken out of context can be misleading. Therefore, the CVR and ATC transcripts should only be viewed as an investigative tool to be used in conjunction with other evidence. Conclusions or interpretations should not be made using the transcript as the sole source of information.
Furthermore, this transcript is made available for educational purposes, so the reader is encouraged to read the accident description associated with the transcripts for better understanding of the circumstances.

R14 = Los Angeles ARTCC Sector 14
R25 = Los Angeles ARTCC Sector 25
R30 = Los Angeles ARTCC Sector 30
ASA261= Alaska Airlines Flight 261
NTD= Naval Air Weapons Station, Point Mugu
N50DX = Aero Commander 690A, registrated N50DX
SKW5154 = Skywest Flight 5154 (Santa Barbara - Los Angeles)

time source content
16:09:55 ASA261 Center Alaska two sixty one we are uh in a dive here
16:10:01 R30 Alaska two sixty one uh say again
16:10:03 ASA261 (unintelligible) pitch
16:10:01 R30 Alaska two sixty one say again sir
16:10:06 ASA261 Yeah we're out of twenty six thousand feet we're in a vertical dive - not a dive yet - but uh we've lost vertical control of our airplane
16:10:07 R30 Alaska two sixty one roger
16:10:28 ASA261 We're at twenty three seven request uh - yeah we''ve got it back under control there no we don't (unintelligible)
16:10:36 R30 Alaska two sixty one uh say the altitude you'd like to uh remain at
16:11:03 R30 Alaska two sixty one say your condition
16:11:06 ASA261 Two sixty one we're at twenty four thousand feet kinda stabilized - we're slowin here and uh - do a little troubleshooting we'll can you give me a block between uh twenty and twenty five
16:11:21 R30 Alaska two sixty one maintain block altitude flight level two zero zero through flight level two five zero
16:11:26 ASA261 Alaska two sixty one we'll take that block we'll be monitoring the freq
16:14:03 R30 Alaska two sixty one uh let me know if you need anything
16:14:07 ASA261 (unintelligible) we're still working at it
16:14:09 R30 Roger
16:14:53 R30 Alaska two sixty one contact LA center one two six point five two they're aware of your uh situation
16:14:59 ASA261 K Alaska two sixty one say again the frequency one two zero five two
16:15:03 R30 Uh Alaska two sixty one twenty six fifty two
16:15:06 ASA261 Thank you
16:15:19 ASA261 LA Alaska two sixty one uh we're with you at twenty two five we have a jammed stabilizer and ah we're maintaining altitude with difficulty uh but uh we can maintain altitude we think and our intention is to land at Los Angeles
16:15:35 R25 Alaska two sixty one Alaska Center roger uh you're cleared to Los Angeles Airport via present position uh direct Santa Monica direct Los Angeles and uh you want lower now or what do you wanna do sir
16:15:56 ASA261 Center Alaska two sixty one I need to uh get down about ten change my configuration make sure I can control the jet and I'd like to do that out there over the bay if I may
16:16:06 R25 Ok Alaska two sixty one roger that stand by there
16:16:10 D14 That's fine go ahead green light
16:16:11 R25 Hey Alaska two sixty one wants to go into LA
16:16:14 D14 No problem
16:16:15 R25 He wants to get down to around ten thousand feet but he wants to do it out there over the bay
16:16:17 D14 Sure
16:16:19 D14 OK
16:16:19 R25 I'm gonna send him out on like a two eighty heading right now and then uh
16:16:22 D14 OK put him on a
16:16:23 R25 He's at two two five right now
16:16:25 D14 Uhhh OK that's fine
16:16:25 R25 Altitude altitude
16:16:27 D14 Put him on a two eighty heading take him down to one seven thousand radar contact
16:16:29 R25 He're we go
16:16:30 D14 (unintelligible)
16:16:31 R25 Alaska two sixty one uh fly heading of two eight zero and descend and maintain one seven thousand
16:16:38 ASA261 Two eight zero and one seven seventeen thousand Alaska two sixty one and we generally need a block altitude
16:16:44 R25 Ok uh just um I'll tell you what uh do that for now sir and contact LA Center on three five point five they'll have further uh instructions for you sir
16:16:56 ASA261 K thirty five five say the altimeter setting
16:16:59 R25 The LA altimeter is three zero one eight
16:17:01 ASA261 Thank you
16:17:02 R25 Thank you
16:18:02 R14 Commander ah five zero delta xray traffic at ah one o'clock four mile westbound one eight thousand descending to one seven thousand up there kinda high is one of Alaskas ah Boeing ah probably an MD eighty do you see him up there high ahead and to
    your right
16:18:18 N50DX Ah delta xray we're looking sir
16:18:37 R14 Ah Alaska two sixty one you over here with me yet sir
16:18:52 N50DX LA delta xray we do have that airplane quite high and up at one o'clock
16:18:56 R14 Zero delta xray roger just kinda keep your eye on him he's having some pretty bad problems up there right now he doesn't have any intent to go below seventeen thousand but keep your eye on him OK
16:19:07 N50DX Will do delta xray
16:19:09 R14 Thanks
16:19:20 R14 Skywest fifty one fifty four traffic one o'clock ah fifteen miles westbound up at ah about one seven thousand is an Alaska MD eighty do you see him up there high ahead and to your right there
16:19:31 SKW5154 Ah we're looking Skywest fifty one fifty four
16:19:39 N50DX Five zero delta xray that plane has just started to do a big huge plunge
16:19:43 R14 A big huge plunge ah thank you Skywest fifty one fifty four the MD eighty is ah one becoming about two o'clock about ten miles now another pilot reports he's really looking pretty bad there ahead and to your right do you see him
16:19:55 SKW5154 Yes sir ah I concur he i uh definitely in a nose down uh position descending quite rapidly
16:20:01 R14 OK very good keep your eye on him Alaska two sixty one are you here with us yet sir
16:20:20 N50DX Plane's inverted sir
16:20:22 R14 OK very good it looks like he's turning ah turning over in front of you now Skywest fifty one fifty four you still got your eyes on him sir
16:20:29 SKW5154 (unintelligible) he's in sight he ah definitely out of control
16:20:32 R14 OK very good
16:20:39 SKW5154 (unintelligible) he's inverted
16:20:41 R14 He's OK
16:20:44 UNK (unintelligible)
16:20:46 R14 Just ah just do what you need to do there Skywest fifty one fifty four keep us advised
16:20:59 N50DX And he's just hit the water
16:21:03 SKW5154 Ah yes sir he ah he ah hit the water he's ah down
16:21:09 R14 Ok
16:21:11 N50DX And for a position I'm right abeam him five zero delta xray
16:21:15 R14 Yeah wu we ha he just now hit it we have the spot marked right there guys
16:21:32 SKW5154 Center he's about ah two and a half miles off the end of Anacapa just uh towards Point Mugu
16:21:38 R14 Ok, he's about two and a half miles off the east end of Anacapa was it
16:21:42 SKW5154 Sir that's affirmative actually he's off the uh northeast end probably a zero three zero heading off of Anacapa there was a boat that doesn't seem to be turning around right next to him
16:21:50 R14 Ah roger that five zero delta xray do you still do you still see the spot right were it went in
16:21:57 N50DX Negative sir it's just ah behind me I can turn if you like
16:22:07 R14 OK thank you very much
16:22:16 SKW5154 And center ah that ah boat seems to be pulling a one eighty now they're about a mile and a half away from the wreck site
16:22:17 NTD Fourteen Mugu I need a full call