I was browsing the NTSB's database of incident reports when I came across this one (sorry for the all caps, thats how it came):
NTSB Identification: DCA93MA037 . The docket is stored on NTSB microfiche number 48295.
Scheduled 14 CFRPart 129 operation of Foreign CHINA EASTERN AIRLINES
Accident occurred Tuesday, April 06, 1993 at SHEMYA, AK
Aircraft:MCDONNELL DOUGLAS MD-11, registration: B2171
Injuries: 2 Fatal, 60 Serious, 96 Minor, 97 Uninjured.
FLIGHT 583 WAS LEVEL AT 33,000 FEET WHEN THE LEADING EDGE SLATS DEPLOYED INADVERTENTLY. THE AUTOPILOT DISCONNECTED AND THE CAPTAIN WAS MANUALLY CONTROLLING THE AIRPLANE WHEN IT PROGRESSED THROUGH SEVERAL VIOLENT PITCH OSCILLATIONS AND LOST 5,000 FEET. THE SAFETY BOARD DETERMINED THAT THE INADVERTENT DEPLOYMENT OF THE SLATS WAS THE RESULT OD AN INADEQUATELY DESIGNED FLAP/SLAT HANDLE THAT ALLOWED THE HANDLED TO BE EASILY AND INADVERTENLY DISLODGED FROM THE UP/RET POSITION, THEREBY CAUSING SLAT EXTENSION.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident/incident as follows.
THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD DETERMINES THAT THE PROBABLE CAUSE OF THIS ACCIDENT WAS 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 OCCUPANTS.
For those who dont wanna read it I'll sum up the similarities that I see here (some more detailed than others):
-China/Hong Kong widebody jet involved
-Inadvertent slat deployment
-poorly designed handle
-over the Pacific Ocean
-similar casualty figures (in Airframe, 3 dead and 56 injured)
-similar but not entirely identical probable cause...
-similar flight numbers (TPA 545 in Airframe)
-aircraft involved had a reputation for problems
What do you think?