ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-82 N951AS Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 1 September 1997
Type:Silhouette image of generic MD82 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Operator:Alaska Airlines
Registration: N951AS
MSN: 49111/1064
First flight: 1982-03-11 (15 years 6 months)
Total airframe hrs:45378
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney JT8D-217
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 5
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 111
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 116
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA) (   United States of America)
Phase: Landing (LDG)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Los Angeles International Airport, CA (LAX/KLAX), United States of America
Destination airport:Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA (SEA/KSEA), United States of America
A McDonnell-Douglas MD-82, operating as Alaska Airlines flight 255 from Los Angeles, California, to Seattle, Washington, sustained substantial damage when its nose landing gear collapsed during landing roll-out on runway 16L at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Seventeen of the 111 passengers incurred minor injuries during the emergency evacuation commanded by the captain after the airplane slid to a stop. There was no fire.
The flight was uneventful until the landing gear was extended and the nose landing gear warning light indicated an unsafe landing gear indication. At that time, the crew initiated a go-around (retracting the landing gear), climbed to a safe altitude in safe airspace, and then completed appropriate checklists in an attempt to obtain a safe gear-down indication with the landing gear extended. After completing appropriate checklists, the mechanical nose landing gear position indicator indicated that the nose landing gear was extended in a down and locked position, while the light continued to indicate an unsafe condition. The crew elected to land, and requested emergency equipment standing by.
The captain stated that he landed the airplane smoothly; at about 60 knots indicated airspeed, the nose settled onto the runway and the airplane slid to a stop. The airplane slid about 1300 feet and drifted slightly to the right of centerline. He commanded an evacuation.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "Fatigue failure of the nose landing gear upper lock link, due in part to reduced strength after the manufacturing process was changed from forged to machined plate stock; and inadequate non-destructive inspection process for testing the link."

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year and 8 months
Accident number: SEA97FA202
Download report: Summary report

Landing gear collapse
Runway mishap



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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 Los Angeles International Airport, CA to Seattle/Tacoma International Airport, WA as the crow flies is 1527 km (954 miles).

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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