CYKA From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (12 years 6 months 1 week 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 2011 times:
I've heard many times about the 737 rudder problem, both here and on the news. I still dont know what sort of mulfunction the rudder mechanism caused. Also whats that long screw-like thing that they often showed on t.v.
The fellow that wrote this 5-part series won a Pulitzer prize for it, and it's a good read. FYI, the NTSB just revised the probable cause in the United 585 accident mentioned in these articles, to show the rudder as the culprit...
Re: the other question you asked, that's called a jackscrew. As a basic mechanical device, they're used a couple of places on the aircraft, most commonly to move the horizontal stabilizer, and on some aircraft, to drive the trailing edge flaps up and down. The Seattle times also did a series of articles on Alaska 261, and I'm sure they have plenty of photos and drawings somewhere in the archive. See: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/flight261/