This Day in History… 23 years ago

Wednesday, 16th of February, 2000

– United States of America

On February 16, 2000, about 1951 Pacific standard time, Emery Worldwide Airlines, Inc., (Emery) flight 17, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F (DC-8), N8079U, crashed in an automobile salvage yard shortly after takeoff, while attempting to return to Sacramento Mather Airport (MHR), Rancho Cordova, California, for an emergency landing. Emery flight 17 was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 as a cargo flight from MHR to James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY), Dayton, Ohio. The flight departed MHR about 1949, with two pilots and a flight engineer on board. The three flight crew members were killed, and the airplane was destroyed. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan.

– Details:

Emery Flight 17 had just departed Sacramento-Mather Airport runway 22L when the crew reported balance problems. A little later the aircraft was seen to crash in a left wing low, nose low attitude, into the Insurance Auto Auctions salvage yard, setting fire to 100-200 cars. Debris cut a swath about 250 yards wide and a 600yds long. The plane’s cargo included clothing, transmission fluid and a small amount of 9 grams fuses used to activate automobile air bags. The NTSB is focusing on the possibility that a push rod in an elevator control tab may have been separated from the control system of the plane before impact.

– Cause: “A loss of pitch control resulting from the disconnection of the right elevator control tab. The disconnection was caused by the failure to properly secure and inspect the attachment bolt.”

– NTSB Report:…/20000216-0_DC87…

– Docket:

– Flight Safety Detectives video: