TSA Blunder Forces Eagle To Ground Embraers

 - August 20, 2008, 6:36 AM

American Eagle had to ground nine Embraer ERJ regional jets at Chicago O’Hare Airport on August 19 after a TSA officer used the airplanes’ total air temperature (TAT) probes to hoist himself onto jet bridges to perform routine security checks. According to an American Eagle spokesperson, at around 5:30 a.m. one of the airline’s maintenance workers witnessed the inspector trying to climb onto a jet bridge with the help of a TAT probe; upon questioning by the Eagle employee, the TSA agent admitted to using the TAT probes as handholds on eight other airplanes while attempting to check that their doors were locked. Although subsequent inspections found no damage to the probes, the incident forced American Eagle to delay 40 flights while it spent as much as two hours checking each airplane, the last of which went back into service at 10:45 a.m. The TSA said it will retrain its inspectors to avoid similar incidents in the future.