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

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

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.”

 

CAA Nepal suspends AOC of Simrik Airlines over safety issues

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), has grounded Simrik Airlines for failing to meet safety standards.

The inspection team of CAAN had found that the airline was using substandard spare parts in its Beech 1900 aircraft. CAAN did the same finding in an audit in 2018.  The aircraft will be grounded until the airline replaces its spare parts and conducts the required maintenance of its aircraft.

Simrik Airlines was founded in 2009 and operates domestic flights in Nepal using two Beech 1900C aircraft.

FAA proposes $715,438 civil penalty against Allegiant Air

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $715,438 civil penalty against Allegiant Air for allegedly operating an aircraft on more than two dozen flights following improper engine maintenance.

In October 2017, Allegiant asked the FAA if it could deactivate an MD-80’s functioning automatic reverse thrust system when the aircraft engine’s exhaust gas temperature exceeds normal limits. The FAA in December 2017 responded that deactivating that system would be improper unless the system caused the excess temperature, because the temperature exceedance could have other causes.

The FAA alleges that on April 13, 2018, the exhaust gas temperature of an Allegiant MD-88 engine exceeded normal limits while the plane was taking off from Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport in Virginia for Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida. When this occurs, the MD-80 maintenance manual calls for turning off the automatic reserve thrust system, finding the cause of the excess temperature, and correcting the cause before turning the system on again.

Allegiant, however, did not determine the cause of the excess temperature, the FAA alleges. Instead, the carrier deactivated the system on April 14, 2018, and installed an inoperative placard on it.

Between April 14, 2018, and April 22, 2018, Allegiant operated the MD-88 on 28 passenger-carrying flights without determining the cause of the excessive engine exhaust gas temperature, the FAA alleges. As a result, Allegiant violated the terms of its FAA-issued operations specifications, the agency alleges.

Allegiant has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency. 

South African CAA again suspends CemAir Air Operator Certificates over safety concerns

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) again suspended CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) on Friday, 11 January 2019.

The regulator stated there were “concerns over the systemic failure of the airline’s maintenance controls […] the most recent annual renewal audit revealed CemAir’s inability to prove the continued airworthiness of its fleet.”

CemAir’s two AOC’s had earlier been suspended on December 13, 2018.  On December 18 however, a court order lifted the suspension. A subsequent audit revealed eleven findings of which five  were classified as Level 1. CemAir then submitted a Corrective Action Plan to the CAA for 11 of the findings. The initial plan and subsequent revised versions were reviewed and found to be unacceptable. On 26 December 2018, the SACAA grounded eight of the airline’s aircraft with immediate effect.

The regulator performed additional inspections and learned that the operator could not produce sufficient evidence that maintenance recommendations made by the aircraft manufacturer were fully implemented. The CAA judged the findings to be ‘serious’ and proceeded to immediately suspend CemAir’s Part 121 and 135 AOC’s.

 

 

Nippon Cargo disciplined for maintenance irregularities

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism faulted Nippon Cargo Airlines for inadequate aircraft maintenance, according to a statement made by the ministry.

The Japan News reports that disciplinary action was taken against Nippon Cargo Airlines for its inadequate aircraft maintenance and failure to report accidents, as well as the manipulation of maintenance records. The airline is said to have tried to cover up the violations.

Eight maintenance staff members are said to have been involved in three cases of data falsification. In one of them, a maintenance manager and a mechanic manipulated an airplane’s lubricating oil level to avoid a mandatory checkup at Narita International Airport in April 2018. Between August 2013 and May 2018, there also were inadequate maintenance cases including the testing of aircraft control functions by an unqualified worker.

As a result, the ministry stripped the company of its exemption from annual safety inspections.

FAA proposes $1.4 million civil penalty against Virgin Islands Port Authority over safety violations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1,466,775 civil penalty against the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) for alleged violations of airport safety regulations at Saint Croix-Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX/TISX) and Saint Thomas-Cyril E. King Airport (STT/TIST).

The FAA inspected both airports in late January and early February 2018 and found numerous violations at both airports. The FAA alleges that VIPA did not have qualified personnel to oversee airport operations, to conduct required daily inspections, or to conduct Airport Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) operations. The agency also alleges the airports did not maintain and make available to the FAA required records including its Airport Certification Manuals, airport emergency plans, and training records for operations supervisors and ARFF employees.

Additionally, the FAA alleges that VIPA did not meet the ARFF requirements for air carrier flights at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) after an ARFF unit could not apply a fire-extinguishing agent within the required time and was not capable of performing its required functions.

FAA inspectors also found that VIPA did not properly grade the safety area for runways at both airports to eliminate hazardous ruts, humps, depressions or other surface variations. The runways and taxiways were not properly lighted, marked, or signed and VIPA failed to issue Notices to Airman (NOTAM) informing air carriers of the runway and taxiway issues at the airports, the FAA alleges.

VIPA also failed to confirm that each fueling agent at STX had trained fueling personnel, and failed to take immediate action to alleviate wildlife hazards detected at the landfill near the airport, the FAA alleges.

VIPA has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

Russian authorities revoke Saratov Airlines AOC over unresolved safety issues

The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) revoked Saratov Airlines’ Air Operator Certificate (AOC) per May 31, 2018 over safety issues.

Saratov Airlines was involved in a fatal accident on February 11, 2018 when an Antonov An-148 crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow, Russia, killing all 71 on board.
Violations and inconsistencies were revealed in the airline’s activities during an audit, causing the company to be put on notice in March. Ultimately the airline was given 90 days to rectify all concerns.

A check of flight assignments, flight log books, time sheets and other documents of flight crew members for March and April 2018 conducted by the Rosaviatsiya on May 26-27, found that violations at the airline are continuing and are of a systemic nature:

  • the airline carries out crew rostering without taking into account the normalization of working hours, the time of rest of flight personnel and the control of fatigue;
  • flight crew members deliberately do not observe the duty and rest times, and there is no proper control by the airline;
  • pilots are allowed to fly without a second medical examination, etc.

These conclusions led authorities to decided to revoke the airline’s AOC as of May 31, 2018.

 

Mexican aviation authorities grounded Global Air pending a safety inspection

Mexican aviation authorities suspended the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Global Air, the airline involved in the recent fatal accident at Havana, Cuba.

The Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil (DGAC) reported that they have initiated a safety inspection of Aerolíneas Damojh, S.A. de C.V., doing business as Global Air, after a Boeing 737-200 of the airline was involved in the May 18 crash at Havana, Cuba, in which 111 occupants died.

A decision was made to ground the airline as of May 21, as the inspection commenced.

Operations of the airline were suspended once before. Inspections following an incident on November 4, 2010 revealed safety shortcomings. These resulted in the suspension of the AOC from November 11 until December 18, 2010. The suspension was lifted when all issues had been rectified by the airline.

 

FAA issues emergency order of suspension for Island Airlines

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Emergency Order of Suspension against Island Airlines, LLC, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for not allowing the agency to inspect the company’s aircraft and records.

On March 14, 2017, the FAA received information alleging the St. Croix-based company was operating a Beech B200 while an inspection was overdue for one of its engines. Between March 15, 2017 and Nov. 29, 2017, the FAA tried numerous times to contact Island Airlines by email and certified letters to alert the company it was opening an investigation and to schedule an inspection of its aircraft and records.

Additionally, the FAA sent inspectors to St. Croix to inspect Island Airlines’ records and aircraft in April 2017 and November 2017.

The company did not respond to the FAA’s various communications and did not make a representative available to allow the inspectors access to its operations base, the FAA alleges.

Because Island Airlines did not allow access to its operations base for inspection of its records and aircraft, the FAA cannot verify the company’s qualifications to hold an Air Carrier Certificate, the agency alleges. The FAA has determined that the safety of the flying public requires the suspension of Island Airlines’ certificate until it allows inspection of its records and aircraft to establish the company’s qualifications.

The Emergency Order of Suspension is effective immediately, and the company cannot conduct operations while the order is in effect. Island Air surrendered its certificate

More info:

FAA revokes Air America’s air carrier certificate over safety issues

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Emergency Order of Revocation against Air America, Inc. of Carolina, Puerto Rico, for allegedly conducting passenger-carrying flights using a pilot who had not received enough rest, using an unqualified pilot, operating aircraft when they were overweight and not properly loaded, and failing to provide pilot records.

The FAA alleges that in March and June 2017, the company’s director of operations served as pilot in command of multiple passenger-carrying flights when he had not received required rest. The FAA further alleges the director of operations falsely recorded that he had provided required ground and flight training to a new pilot, when he had in fact not provided that training.

As a result, the new pilot was not qualified to serve as pilot in command for Air America, the FAA alleges. Nevertheless, he served as pilot in command on at least eight passenger-carrying flights between April 23 and June 3, 2017

The FAA further alleges the unqualified pilot made improper weight and balance calculations on three flights in May and June 2017. Consequently, the aircraft were overweight and improperly loaded. The twin-engine Piper PA-23-250 Aztec E he was flying crashed on June 3, 2017, killing one of the passengers.

The FAA also alleges that Air America was unable to provide pilot flight and duty records to an FAA inspector who requested them on June 5, 2017. As of February 2018, the company still had not provided those records.

The FAA alleges Air America’s actions were careless and reckless, and its numerous violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations pose a threat to safety in air commerce or air transportation.

According to the FAA aircraft register, the airline also operates a Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander, N7049T and another PA-23 Aztec, N2395Z.