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FAA revokes certificate of maintenance firm that delivered faulty 737 MAX AOA sensor to Lion Air
27 October 2019

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an order on October 25, 2019, revoking the repair station certificate of Xtra Aerospace, LLC, of Miramar, Florida.

According to the order, Xtra failed to comply with requirements to repair only aircraft parts on its list of parts acceptable to the FAA that it was capable of repairing. The company also failed to comply with procedures in its repair station manual for implementing a capability list in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations. Xtra is a repair station certificated under part 145 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA began its investigation in November 2018. Investigators looked specifically at the company’s compliance with regulatory requirements that apply to its capability list, and records and work orders for aircraft parts it approved for return to service. The investigation determined that from November 2009 until May 2019, Xtra failed to complete and retain records in accordance with procedures in its repair station manual to support parts on its capability list. The company also did not substantiate that it had adequate facilities, tools, test equipment, technical publications, and trained and qualified employees to repair parts on its capability list.

The agency issued the order as part of a settlement agreement with the company. Under the agreement, Xtra waives its right to appeal the revocation to the National Transportation Safety Board or any court.

On the same day the order was issued, the Indonesian NTSC investigators published their final report on the Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crash. It was concluded that MCAS activation on a previous flight was caused by faulty repair and calibration of an AOA sensor by Xtra Aerospace.  This led the NTSC to issue a safety recommendation to the FAA: “The absence of equivalency assessment required by Xtra Aerospace procedure and unavailability of procedure was not detected by the FAA. This indicated inadequacy of the FAA oversight. Therefore, NTSC recommends that the FAA improves the oversight to Approved Maintenance Organization (AMO) to ensure the processes within the AMO are conducted in accordance with the requirements.”