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FAA proposes $1,567,968 penalty against O’Hare Airport over snowy runway operations
28 August 2020

FAA proposes $1,567,968 penalty against O’Hare Airport over snowy runway operations

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1,567,968 civil penalty against the operator of Chicago-O’Hare Airport for allegedly failing to ensure safe airline operations during snowy and wet runway conditions.

The Chicago Department of Aviation’s Snow and Ice Control Plan requires the airport to take specific safety actions if two consecutive flight crews report poor braking action after landing. On November 11, 2019, at least two consecutive flight crews reported poor braking action three separate times after landing on runway 10L at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

However, the CDA failed to limit operations on that runway, conduct a runway condition assessment, inform airlines about potentially unsafe conditions or limit operations to safe portions of the airport, the FAA alleges. The CDA allowed a total of 43 aircraft to land on runway 10L following the consecutive reports of poor braking action, the FAA alleges. One of those aircraft, an Envoy Airlines Embraer EMB-145, slid off the runway due to poor braking action.

 

FAA proposes $1.25 million in civil penalties against Boeing for pressuring FAA designees

The FAA proposes two civil penalties totaling $1.25 million against  Boeing for alleged violations in the program that allows the aircraft manufacturer to perform certain functions on behalf of the FAA. The FAA alleges that Boeing managers exerted undue pressure or interfered with the work of FAA designees at the company’s plant in South Carolina.

The first civil penalty, for $1,066,655, alleges Boeing implemented an improper structure of its FAA-approved Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. The ODA program authorizes Boeing to perform approved functions on behalf of the FAA, including inspecting aircraft and issuing airworthiness certificates. Between November 2017 and July 2019, employees in two ODA units reported to managers who were not in approved ODA management positions. Boeing failed to ensure ODA administrators were in a position to effectively represent the FAA’s interests, the FAA alleges.

The FAA further alleges that between September 2018 and May 2019, non-ODA Boeing managers exerted undue pressure or interfered with ODA unit members.

The second civil penalty, for $184,522, alleges Boeing on Feb. 26, 2020 failed to follow its quality control processes and subjected ODA members to undue pressure or interfered with an airworthiness inspection of a Boeing 787-9.

In both cases, the FAA found that despite the alleged undue pressure or interference from Boeing managers, the ODA unit members fulfilled their FAA responsibilities to ensure aircraft were conforming and in a condition for safe operation prior to issuance of their airworthiness certificates.

Boeing has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letters to respond to the agency.

For more details on this story, see this article at seattletimes.com.

 

FAA proposes $19.68 million civil penalty against Boeing

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $19.68 million civil penalty against The Boeing Co. for allegedly installing equipment on hundreds of the company’s 737 aircraft containing sensors that were not approved for that equipment.

The FAA alleges that between June 2015 and April 2019, Boeing installed Rockwell Collins Head-up Guidance Systems on 791 jetliners, including 618 Boeing 737 NGs and 173 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. The FAA alleges that the guidance systems in these aircraft were equipped with sensors that had not been tested or approved as being compatible with those guidance systems.

The FAA alleges that Boeing violated Federal Aviation Regulations when it certified these aircraft as airworthy when they were not in conformance with their type certificate. The agency further alleges that Boeing failed to follow its own Business Process Instructions, which are in place to help prevent such situations from occurring.
The manufacturer of the head-up guidance system, Rockwell Collins, subsequently conducted the necessary testing and risk analysis and updated the documents.

Boeing has 30 days to respond the FAA’s enforcement letter.

FAA proposes $5.4 million civil penalty against Boeing over nonconforming slat tracks on 737 MAX

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $5.4 million civil penalty against Boeing for allegedly installing nonconforming slat tracks on approximately 178 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which Boeing subsequently presented as ready for airworthiness certification.

This proposed civil penalty is in addition to a previously proposed civil penalty of more than $3.9 million against Boeing for allegedly installing the same nonconforming components on approximately 133 Boeing 737 NG aircraft. The FAA sent that letter to Boeing in early December.

Slat tracks are located on the leading edge of a Boeing 737’s wings and are used to guide the movement of panels known as slats. These panels provide additional lift during takeoff and landing.

The FAA alleges that Boeing failed to adequately oversee its suppliers to ensure they complied with the company’s quality assurance system. The agency contends that this failure resulted in the installation of slat tracks that were weakened by a condition known as hydrogen embrittlement that occurred during cadmium-titanium plating.

The FAA further alleges that Boeing knowingly submitted aircraft for final FAA airworthiness certification after determining that the parts could not be used due to a failed strength test at a third-tier supplier, indicating the presence of hydrogen embrittlement.

The FAA alleges that Boeing failed in this instance to maintain its quality system to ensure suppliers adhered to Federal Aviation Regulations.

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

More information:

FAA proposes revoking Nantucket Express’s air carrier certificate over alleged safety issues

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes to revoke the air carrier certificate of Nantucket Express, LLC of Nantucket, Mass., for allegedly conducting passenger-carrying flights using unqualified pilots and operating unauthorized aircraft.

The FAA alleges that:

  • Between March 2015 and September 2017, Nantucket Express conducted 76 passenger-carrying flights using three aircraft that were not listed on its air carrier certificate, and that unqualified pilots operated these flights. The pilots were unqualified by either not being listed on the air carrier certificate as an authorized pilot or by failing to pass a required knowledge test and competency and flight checks.
  • Nantucket Express operated 39 of these passenger-carrying flights in an aircraft that had not undergone required safety inspections.
  • Between April 2016 and September 2017, unqualified pilots operated an additional 17 passenger-carrying flights.

The FAA alleges that “Nantucket Express’s actions were careless or reckless, and its numerous violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations demonstrate that it lacks the qualifications to hold an air carrier certificate.”

Nantucket Express has 15 days from when it receives the Notice of Proposed Certificate Action to notify the FAA on how it will respond to the proposed revocation. If the company fails to respond within that time, the FAA will issue a revocation order.

FAA proposes $145,452 civil penalty against Sioux Gateway Airport

 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $145,452 civil penalty against the Sioux Gateway Airport for numerous alleged safety violations at the Iowa airfield.

The FAA inspected Sioux Gateway Airport in May 2018, June 2019 and September 2019 and found numerous alleged violations each time. The FAA alleges the airport repeatedly failed to maintain surfaces, runway and taxiway markings, and visual wind direction indicators.

In May 2018 and June 2019, FAA inspectors found the airport did not properly grade the Runway Safety Areas for both runways to eliminate hazardous ruts, humps, depressions or other surface variations. The FAA also alleges the runway and taxiway markings were not properly maintained and were not clearly visible, lacked proper lighting, marking or signs, and wind indicators were faded, making them difficult to see.

In September 2019 during a construction inspection, FAA inspectors found that two taxiways were not properly marked, and one of them was not properly maintained, creating potentially hazardous Foreign Object Debris.

Sioux Gateway Airport has 30 days after receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

FAA proposes to revoke Executive Air Express’ Air Carrier Certificate

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed to revoke the air carrier certificate of Executive Air Express of Nashville, Tenn., USA, for allegedly using unauthorized aircraft in 30 passenger-carrying flights.

The FAA alleges that between Jan. 31, 2016, and Sept. 29, 2017, Executive conducted a total of 28 flights with paying passengers using a Learjet 35A corporate jet that was not on the company’s FAA-issued Operations Specifications (Ops Specs). Air carriers can only conduct for-hire flights using aircraft that are on their Ops Specs.

Between Jan. 31, 2016 and Oct. 24, 2016, Executive conducted 12 flights with the Learjet, the FAA alleges. On Oct. 24, 2016, the company requested that the FAA add the aircraft to its Ops Specs. Then, between Oct. 24, 2016 and May 3, 2017, Executive conducted an additional 15 flights using the Learjet, the FAA alleges.

On May 3, 2017, the FAA denied Executive’s request to add the Learjet to its Ops Specs, citing 49 discrepancies the company needed to address before the FAA could resume its inspection of the aircraft. On Sept. 29, 2017, Executive conducted another for-hire flight with the Learjet, the FAA alleges. The FAA also alleges Executive failed to conduct the required 25 hours of proving tests before using the Learjet in for-hire operations.

Additionally, the FAA alleges Executive conducted two for-hire flights on May 2, 2018, using a Swearingen SA226-T Merlin III that was not listed in its Ops Specs.

Executive’s operation of the Learjet and Swearingen was careless or reckless and endangered lives and property, the FAA alleges.

Executive has 15 days after receiving the FAA’s proposed revocation letter to respond to the agency.

FAA proposes $3.9 Million penalty against Boeing for installing nonconforming slat tracks

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a civil penalty of more than $3.9 million against The Boeing Co. for installing nonconforming components on approximately 133 aircraft, which Boeing subsequently presented as ready for airworthiness certification.

The FAA alleges that Boeing failed to adequately oversee its suppliers to ensure they complied with the company’s quality assurance system. The agency contends that this failure resulted in the installation of slat tracks that were weakened by a condition known as hydrogen embrittlement that occurred during cadmium-titanium plating.

Slat tracks are located on the leading edge of the wings of a Boeing 737 and are used to guide the movement of the slats. These panels provide additional lift during takeoff and landing. The FAA further alleges that Boeing knowingly submitted aircraft for final FAA airworthiness certification after determining that the parts could not be used due to a failed strength test.

The agency alleges that the affected slat tracks were processed by Southwest United Industries (SUI), a third-tier supplier to Boeing, on June 29, 2018. SUI subsequently shipped the parts to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. (Spirit), which then delivered the parts to Boeing.

The FAA also alleges that SUI notified Kencoa Aerospace, LLC, on July 6, 2018, that a batch of the slat tracks had failed a quality test indicating the presence of hydrogen embrittlement. Kencoa passed that information to Spirit on or about Aug. 3, 2018.

The FAA alleges that Spirit informed Boeing of the situation on or about Sept. 11, 2018, and subsequently proposed that Boeing accept the parts as delivered. On Oct. 9, 2018, Boeing rejected that proposal and instructed Spirit to submit a Notice of Escapement. Spirit filed that notice on Feb. 14, 2019, according to documents.

The FAA further alleges that from Aug. 16, 2018, through Oct. 9, 2018, Boeing certified approximately 48 aircraft potentially equipped with those slat tracks as airworthy. Between Oct. 10, 2018, and May 2, 2019, Boeing knowingly certified an additional 85 potentially affected aircraft as airworthy.

The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) on June 10, 2019, mandating inspections proposed in a Boeing service bulletin dated June 4, 2019, of the affected aircraft. The AD specified various actions based on the ability to identify the slat tracks.

The FAA alleges that identification of the defective parts was hindered because SUI did not apply a protective coating over the part identification mark that is required to be displayed on the slat tracks. As a result, those part identification marks became either obscured or invisible, making it difficult to identify the affected parts.

The FAA alleges that Boeing failed in this instance to maintain its quality assurance system to ensure suppliers adhered to Federal Aviation Regulations.

Boeing has 30 days to respond to the FAA’s letter proposing this civil penalty in the total amount of $3,916,871.

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.