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FAA proposes $275,000 civil penalty against Atlas Airlines
23 February 2016

FAA proposes $275,000 civil penalty against Atlas Airlines

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $275,000 civil penalty against Atlas Airlines for allegedly operating a Boeing 747 after performing improper maintenance on the aircraft.

The FAA alleges that Atlas maintenance workers improperly repaired the plane’s landing gear after it would not retract on departure from Sydney, Australia. Atlas repaired the gear using the wrong part, and maintenance workers had to install the component upside down to get it to fit, the FAA alleges.

Atlas operated the aircraft on 24 cargo flights over a 10-day period after improperly repairing the landing gear, the FAA alleges. The aircraft was not in an airworthy condition during those flights, the agency alleges.

Atlas has been in communication with the FAA about the case.

Atlas Air is a US cargo carrier that operates 50 aircraft, among which 21 Boeing 747-400F and 10 Boeing 747-8F aircraft.

FAA proposes $417,500 civil penalty against FedEx

FedEx Boeing 727 tail section (photo: Valder137)

FedEx Boeing 727 tail section (photo: Valder137)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $417,500 civil penalty against FedEx for allegedly operating an aircraft that was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges that FedEx failed to rebalance a horizontal stabilizer tab control surface on the Boeing 727 after repainting the part. The Boeing 727 Structural Repair Manual identifies the work as a major repair and requires rebalancing the control surface after the work is done.

The FAA alleges that FedEx’s failure to perform the rebalancing requirements rendered the aircraft unairworthy and that the company operated the aircraft on at least 133 flights when it was in that condition.

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

Drone manufacturer DJI to block flights near airports

Typical small drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

Typical small DJI drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

Drone manufacturer DJI announced it will add a geofencing system to it’s products to ban operation of a drone into airport zones.

The operation of drones around airports and other areas with safety concerns is a growing problem. Numerous airprox events have been reported with these unmanned aircraft systems and aircraft.

The new DJI firmware and app update will provide DJI drone users with up-to-date guidance on locations where flight may be restricted by regulation or raise safety concerns.  The drone will by default not fly into or take off in, locations that raise safety or security concerns.  However, in order to accommodate the vast variety of authorized applications, the new system will also allow users who have verified DJI accounts to temporarily unlock or self-authorize flights in some of those locations. The unlock function will not be available for sensitive national-security locations such as Washington, D.C. or other prohibited areas.

Unlocking will require a DJI user account verified with a credit card, debit card or mobile phone number.  The verified account, required only if and when a user chooses to fly in a location that might raise an aviation safety or security concern, provides a measure of accountability in the event that the flight is later investigated by authorities.

More information: 

FAA fines drone operator $1.9 million for unauthorized operations in congested airspace

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed against a UAS operator for endangering the safety of our airspace.

The FAA proposes a $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan International, Inc. of Chicago. Between March 21, 2012, and Dec. 15, 2014, SkyPan conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of our most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules, the FAA alleges. These operations were illegal and not without risk.

The FAA alleges that the company conducted 65 unauthorized commercial UAS flights over various locations in New York City and Chicago between March 21, 2012 and Dec. 15, 2014. The flights involved aerial photography. Of those, 43 flew in the highly restricted New York Class B airspace.

SkyPan operated the 43 flights in the New York Class B airspace without receiving an air traffic control clearance to access it, the FAA alleges. Additionally, the agency alleges the aircraft was not equipped with a two-way radio, transponder, and altitude-reporting equipment.

The FAA further alleges that on all 65 flights, the aircraft lacked an airworthiness certificate and effective registration, and SkyPan did not have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for the operations.

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

FAA proposes $735,000 fine for Cleveland Airport’s lack of snow and ice removal

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed civil penalties totaling $735,000 against the City of Cleveland for failing to meet FAA requirements for maintaining a safe airport during winter weather.

The FAA alleges that over a 15-month period ending in March 2015, managers at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport failed on numerous occasions to keep the airport’s runways and taxiways safe and clear of snow and ice.  Federal Aviation Regulations require airports with commercial service to have sufficient and qualified personnel to carry out their snow and ice control plans during severe weather.

Between Dec. 30, 2013 and Feb. 25, 2014, the FAA began three separate investigations into the airport’s alleged failure to comply with regulations:

  • Early in the morning of Dec. 30, 2013, two commercial aircraft were disabled on taxiways because of unsafe braking conditions.  Regulations require airport personnel to monitor conditions and close any pavement areas that are unsafe.  Freezing rain and drizzle had been falling for more than two hours when the airport allegedly dismissed its maintenance staff at 11 p.m. the previous evening.  No airport personnel were on duty to operate snow-removal and de-icing equipment after the two passenger flights landed.
  • On Jan. 18, 2014, an Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting vehicle slid on ice during a training exercise and was unable to stop before crossing a line that marked the entrance to a runway.  An aircraft had just begun its takeoff roll on that runway, resulting in a runway incursion.  The aircraft departed safely.
  • On Feb. 25, 2014, airport management allegedly failed to follow the approved snow and ice control plan, resulting in unsafe conditions on the airfield.  The airport was closed after one pilot reported poor to non-existent braking conditions.

After initiating those investigations, the FAA worked with airport management to update Cleveland’s snow and ice control plan.  This included establishing new procedures and adjusting schedules to ensure that sufficient personnel were available to respond to inclement weather.

On March 1, 2015, icy conditions prevented an air carrier from quickly exiting the runway.  Controllers subsequently canceled the takeoff clearance for one flight and told the captain of another flight on final approach to go around.  During this investigation, the FAA found that, even under the updated policy, airport management allegedly had failed on 19 separate days between Jan. 5 and March 1 to have the required number of maintenance and airport operations personnel on duty.

The city has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond.

FAA proposes $1,231,000 in civil penalties against SkyWest Airlines

File photo of a Skywest Canadair CRJ-100LR (Alan Wilson; CC:by-sa)

File photo of a SkyWest Canadair CRJ-100LR (Alan Wilson; CC:by-sa)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes two civil penalties against SkyWest Airlines, totalling $1,231,000 for allegedly operating several aircraft that were not in compliance with federal aviation regulations.

The FAA alleges SkyWest failed to inspect certain main landing gear components on four Bombardier CL-600 RegionalJets at required intervals for wear that could lead to an unsafe condition or failure of a component. SkyWest allegedly operated the aircraft on more than 6,700 flights when the inspections were overdue.

The FAA also alleges SkyWest failed to inspect the cargo door skins on two Bombardier CL-600 RegionalJets at required intervals. The inspections were required by an Airworthiness Directive (AD) issued in 2006 after cracks were discovered in the aluminum cargo door skin of a CL-600 during fatigue testing. The FAA determined that regular inspections of that type of aircraft for similar cracking could help prevent a situation in which a cracked skin could lead to an accident or unsafe condition. SkyWest allegedly operated the aircraft on a total of 15,969 flights when the inspections were overdue.

SkyWest has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.

Court rejects Pakistani CAA’s AOC suspension of Air Indus

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suspended the Air Operator Certificate of Air Indus for safety reasons. A decision that was rejected by the Sindh High Court (SHC).

Pakistani domestic carrier Air Indus commenced operations in 2013 and operated three Boeing 737-300 passenger aircraft. Two of which are airworthy.
“Despite repeated safety directives and warnings, the operator did not make any improvement and ignored the safety instructions,” the CAA said in a statement quoted by local media.

The suspension became effective on July 1 and would remain until all safety concerns have been addressed. Yet on July 2, the Sindh High Court (SHC) rejected the decision and allowed Air Indus to fly again.

 

 

FAA proposes $77,000 civil penalty against National Air Cargo following fatal Afghanistan crash

An MRAP vehicle being loaded on the accident flight 29 April 2013

An MRAP vehicle being loaded on the accident flight 29 April 2013

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $77,000 civil penalty against National Air Cargo for allegedly failing to comply with requirements for loading and securing heavy cargo.

The FAA alleges that during March and April 2013, National failed to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations while loading heavy military vehicles onto two Boeing 747 cargo aircraft that the company operated. The jets were flown on seven flights while loaded with one or more Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs), each weighing between 23,001 pounds (10,433 kg) and 37,884 pounds (17,184 kg).

Federal Aviation Regulations require operators to comply with all operating limitations specified in an aircraft’s approved flight manual. The FAA alleges that National did not comply with the operating limitations set forth in the Boeing 747s’ flight manuals, resulting in cargo that was not properly restrained to prevent shifting that could affect the safe operation of the aircraft.

On April 29, 2013, one of the 747s crashed immediately after takeoff from Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan while loaded with five MRAPs, killing its crew of seven and destroying the aircraft. The FAA alleges that National did not secure those vehicles in accordance with the limitations set forth in the aircraft’s flight manual. The probable cause of the accident is still under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

National Air Cargo has asked to meet with the FAA to discuss the case.

More information:

Rise in incident reports involving drones in the Netherlands

Typical small drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

Typical small drone with camera (photo: Don McCullough / CC:by)

The Dutch Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate reports a rising trend in the number of incident reports involving drones in the Netherlands.

The number of incident reports increased from 8 in 2012 to 27 in 2014. The increase in the number of reports is likely due to the increased use of drones.

Since 2012, the Inspectorate received 36 incident reports involving multiple aircraft are involved. Most incidents were reported by general aviation pilots and low-flying aircraft like medevac helicopters. Most likely recreational drone users were involved in these incidents.

Since July 1, 2013 drone operators risk a charge by Dutch police when they do not comply with the rules. Thirty drone operators were charged by police in 2013 and 2014. This involves violation such as flying without clearance from local air traffic control, professional flight without exemption, flying at night or in low visibility conditions and flying over people and buildings. The number of fines for model aircraft/drone recreational users is significantly higher than for professional users.

The Inspectorate states that pilots may not realise that drones and model aircraft may be operated to a height of 300 m (1000 ft) in uncontrolled Class G airspace.

Source:

 

U.S. FAA proposes $735,000 civil penalty against Mexico-based Volaris

File photo of a U.S.-registered Volaris A319 (photo: Aero Icarus / CC:by-sa)

File photo of a U.S.-registered Volaris A319 (photo: Aero Icarus / CC:by-sa)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $735,000 civil penalty against Volaris of Mexico, for allegedly operating an aircraft that was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges that on March 12, 2013, Volaris returned a U.S.-registered Airbus A319 to service after performing a heavy maintenance inspection. During that inspection, mechanics allegedly failed to ensure that certain safety tasks related to the heavy maintenance underwent required inspections according to Volaris’ maintenance manual. These included removing and replacing an emergency slide, verifying that ailerons were properly rigged, and verifying the aircraft’s weight and balance calculations.

On March 19, FAA inspectors reviewed the carrier’s maintenance records and told the company that the required inspections had not been done. On March 27, Volaris allegedly performed the required inspections on the slide and aileron tasks, but not the weight and balance calculation. On April 4, a subsequent FAA inspection found that Volaris allegedly still had failed to complete the inspection of the weight and balance calculations. Additionally, the inspection found the company had allegedly failed to perform the required inspections for two additional tasks related to the heavy maintenance: a right wing slat seal edge replacement and a nose landing gear spring nut replacement.

The FAA alleges that Volaris flew the aircraft on a total of 121 passenger flights before bringing the aircraft into compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

Volaris has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.