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FAA proposes $1.1 million civil penalty against company for shipping substandard lithium batteries
9 December 2017

FAA proposes $1.1 million civil penalty against company for shipping substandard lithium batteries

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $1.1 million civil penalty against Braille Battery, Inc. of Sarasota, Fla., for allegedly violating the Hazardous Materials Regulations.

This is the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed for alleged violations of the requirements for offering an air shipment of lithium batteries. The FAA alleges that on June 1, 2016, Braille offered four shipments, each containing a 24-volt lithium ion battery, to FedEx for transportation by air. One of the batteries apparently caught fire while it was being transported on a FedEx truck, after it had been transported on an aircraft, resulting in the destruction of the vehicle.

The FAA alleges the lithium batteries in these shipments did not meet testing standards contained in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria or the U.S. Hazardous Material Regulations, were not equipped with a means of preventing dangerous reverse current flow, and were not in a proper condition for shipment. The FAA further alleges Braille failed to provide its employees with required hazardous materials training.

On June 8, 2016, the FAA informed Braille about the concerns in its training program. On June 14 and June 15, 2016, the FAA informed Braille that the Hazardous Materials Regulations and the ICAO Technical Instructions prohibit the shipment of lithium ion batteries that are not proven to meet the UN testing standards.

However, Braille continued to offer shipments of these lithium ion batteries for air transportation on 14 separate occasions between July 14, 2016 and August 3, 2016, the FAA alleges. The shipments included a total of 77 batteries. Each shipment contained between one and 27 batteries.
The FAA previously assessed an $8,000 civil penalty against Braille in 2013 for shipping undeclared lithium ion batteries.

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

FAA proposes $869,125 civil penalty against Compass Airlines

The U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes an $869,125 civil penalty against Compass Airlines for allegedly failing to provide flight crews with complete weather information.

The FAA alleges the company, which does business as Delta Connection, operated 47 flights between May 18, 2015, and June 19, 2015, without correctly using an approved system for obtaining weather forecasts and reports of adverse weather. Compass flew to and from Monterrey, Mexico, without the required Mexican Significant Meteorological Information in its flight weather packages, the agency alleges. The FAA further alleges that Compass did not notify its operations personnel about potentially hazardous meteorological conditions.

Compass has 30 days from receiving the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.


China fines Emirates for safety related incidents

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued a 29,000 Yuan (ca 4250 USD/3800 Euros) fine to Emirates for two safety related incidents.

Additionally the airline is not allowed to request additional flights to China. The first incident occurred on April 17, when an Emirates flight flew at a wrong altitude above Urumqi after the crew misunderstood instructions. On May 18, radio communications of an Emirates flights were cut off over the same area.

An Emirates spokesperson stated to Gulf News that safety was a top priority for the airline, and that the carrier will complete all actions required by CAAC.


FAA proposes $435,000 civil penalty against United Airlines

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $435,000 civil penalty against United Airlines for allegedly operating an aircraft that was not in an airworthy condition. 

The FAA alleges that on June 9, 2014, United mechanics replaced a fuel pump pressure switch on a Boeing 787 in response to a problem that a flight crew had documented two days before. However, the airline failed to perform a required inspection of the work before returning the aircraft to service, the agency alleges.

United operated the aircraft on 23 domestic and international passenger flights before performing the required inspection on June 28, 2014, the FAA alleges. Two of those flights allegedly occurred after the FAA had notified United that it had not performed the inspection.

The FAA alleges the aircraft was not airworthy during all 23 of the flights.

United has asked to meet with the FAA to discuss the case.

U.S. pilot sentenced to 10 months for operating aircraft without license

A 37-year old American who admitted that he illegally piloted private jet airplanes with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license was sentenced to 10 months in U.S. federal prison.

According to court documents, the pilot operated aircraft with passengers on a number of occasions without the proper authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. In January 2015, he piloted a Cessna Citation turbojet-powered aircraft, with paying passengers, from Santa Monica to Phoenix prior to receiving any type of airman’s certificate for turbojet-powered aircraft.

The following month, he obtained an airman’s certificate that authorized him to be a second-in-command pilot on a Cessna Citation turbojet-powered aircraft, but he continued to operate the Cessna Citation as a sole pilot with passengers. For example, in April 2015, he piloted a Cessna Citation from Burbank to Bermuda Dunes and from Santa Monica to Bentonville, Arkansas.

Furthermore, on April 8, 2016, he was the sole pilot of a Dassault Falcon 10 turbojet-powered aircraft, with passengers on board, that flew from Van Nuys to Las Vegas, Nevada. At this time, he was not certified to fly the Falcon 10, and the FAA had revoked all of his airman certificates.

This case was investigated by the Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, with assistance by the Federal Aviation Administration.


TransAsia Airways fined for disclosing confidential information during accident investigation

Wreckage of GE235 in the Keelung River

Wreckage of GE235 in the Keelung River

TransAsia Airways was given a penalty for their interference with the official investigation into the fatal accident involving an ATR-72 at Taipei, Taiwan.

In February 2015 TransAsia Airways Flight 235 crashed into the Keelung River, killing 43 of the 58 occupants. An investigation by the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) of Taiwan concluded in June 2016 that the flight crew shut down the working no. 1 engine following the uncommanded autofeather of engine number 2 during climbout from Taipei-Sung Shan Airport.

During the investigation TransAsia Airways arranged to disclose confidential information to the “Next Magazine”, with the intention to stir up public opinion and press through media reports in an attempt to influence the accident investigation conclusion, the ASC claims. This constituted a breach of Article 21 of the Air Traffic Accident Investigation Law, leading to a fine of $3 million New Taiwan dollars (about US $94400).
ASC states that Next Magazine published contents of the draft final report on May 11, 2016 that it claims were obtained from TransAsia Airways. The airline had received a copy of the confidential draft report as it was a party in the investigation.

On the day the fine was announced, the airline’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) was revoked by the Taiwanese authorities. TransAsia  had previously announced that it was shutting down. The airline continuously lost money, with shares sliding since two fatal accidents in 2014 and 2015.

More information:

Dutch authorities ban Sky High Aviation Beech 1900 from Bonaire

The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate banned a Beech 1900D of Sky High Aviation from operating commercial flights to Bonaire Airport and other Dutch airports in the Caribbean.

Sky High Aviation, a small commuter and charter airline from the Dominican Republic, had commenced scheduled passenger flights from Santo Domingo Airport to Bonaire Airport on October 30, 2016 using a recently acquired Beechcraft 1900D, registered HI1007. During the second flight to Bonaire, authorities found that the aircraft was not equipped with a mandatory terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS).

The aircraft was allowed to leave Bonaire for a ferry flight without passengers back to Santo Domingo. HI1007 was manufactured in 1996 and operated as N87551 on behalf of Continental Express.


More information:

FAA proposes $500,000 civil penalty against SeaPort Airlines

A SeaPort Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (file photo)

A SeaPort Airlines Cessna 208B Grand Caravan (file photo)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $500,000 civil penalty against SeaPort Airlines, Inc. for allegedly operating three single-engine Cessna Caravans when they were not airworthy.

 The FAA alleges SeaPort failed to perform initial and recurring borescope inspections of the planes’ turbine compressor blades. The inspections are required by an Airworthiness Directive that is intended to prevent compressor turbine blade failures, which could cause an engine to lose power.

The FAA alleges the company operated the three aircraft on a total of 583 flights when the inspections were overdue. The agency alleges the aircraft therefore were not airworthy.

Additionally, the FAA alleges SeaPort failed to record the method of compliance with the Airworthiness Directive and when the next recurring inspections were required for those three aircraft as well as another Cessna Caravan.

SeaPort has 30 days from receiving the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

AOC of SA Express suspended due to safety concerns

One of SA Express' CRJ-200's (photo: Bob Adams / CC:by-sa)

One of SA Express’ CRJ-200’s (photo: Bob Adams / CC:by-sa)

Following failure to comply with the applicable civil aviation regulations, the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) briefly suspended SA Express’ air operator certificate (AOC). The suspension was effective as of  Saturday, 30 April 2016 and was reinstated on May 1.

CAA personnel conducted an audit on the South African Express operation on 19 and 20 April 2016, during which a series of non-compliances with safety regulations were found. The airline submitted corrective action plan on 29 April. According to a CAA statement,  this was judged inadequate by the CAA.

SA Express stated on May 1 that it met with CAA representatives and submitted required paperwork to the CAA. The same day the suspension was lifted.

SA Express is a regional airline, founded in 1994. It is currently operating ten Canadair CRJ-200ER jets, two CRJ-701ER’s and ten de Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 turboprops. The airline passed IATA’s IOSA safety audit.




FAA proposes $917,000 civil penalty against Puerto Rican airports for ARFF violations

Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport, Vieques (photo Jaro Nemčok / CC:by-sa)

Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport, Vieques (photo Jaro Nemčok / CC:by-sa)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $917,000 civil penalty against the Puerto Rico Ports Authority for alleged aircraft rescue and firefighting violations at three of its commercial airports.

The allegations are as follows.

Aguadilla-Rafael Hernández Airport

  • The airport is required to have two aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles based on the type of aircraft it serves.  On March 25, 2015, one of the vehicles was unable to perform its required functions because it failed to correctly mix firefighting foam and water.  As a result, the airport did not provide the required ARFF capability.
  • During a demonstration the same day, ARFF personnel failed to begin applying extinguishing agent within the required three minutes of an alarm sounding.  Moreover, the airport’s ARFF vehicles did not have two-way voice communications to maintain contact with other emergency vehicles and with the airport fire station.  And one firefighter had a damaged fire suit so was therefore not equipped to perform his duties.
  • The airport failed to ensure that 13 firefighters received recurrent aircraft familiarization training.
  • The airport did not inspect its tenant fueling facilities between July 2014 and March 26, 2015.
  • The airport on 14 dates conducted daily self-inspections at night rather than at sunrise, as required by its Airport Certification Manual.
  • On Sept. 26, 2015, one of the airport’s two ARFF vehicles was not operational because the roof turret did not work and duct tape was used to seal cracks in a waterline to the roof turret.

 The FAA also alleges the airport’s air carrier runway had a larger than permitted hole in it on March 25, 2015.

Ponce-Mercedita Airport

  • On nine dates in March 2015, the airport conducted daily self-inspections in the afternoon or at night rather than at sunrise, as required by its Airport Certification Manual.

Vieques-Antonio Rivera Rodríguez Airport

  • The airport’s ARFF vehicles did not have required two-way radio communications with the airport fire station on March 24, 2015.

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.