The FAA has proposed a $4.855 million civil penalty against Evergreen International Airlines of McMinnville, Ore., for its alleged use of improperly or insufficiently trained pilots on 232 revenue flights.
The flights in question occurred between Feb. 19 and July 9, 2009, on aircraft equipped with a new flight management system (FMS) that differed enough from the prior system that it required a specific training program. The FAA alleges Evergreen did not complete its FAA-approved training for pilots before assigning them to fly revenue trips using the new FMS.
“We put rules and regulations in place to keep air transportation safe, and we expect airlines to comply,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
The FAA alleges Evergreen line pilots received ground training and a check ride on the new FMS, but that the company did not provide required familiarization flights supervised by its own check pilots despite being told to do so by the FAA. The familiarization flights form part of the FAA-approved training program for Evergreen aircraft equipped with the FMS. Evergreen also failed to distribute copies of the required system manual to crews who would be using the FMS, according to the FAA.
Since July 9 Evergreen has met all the training requirements, said the FAA.
“Even though Evergreen now complies with its training program, this penalty is appropriate because requiring operators to complete required, approved training is the only way to make sure crews are fully qualified to operate the equipment and systems to manage flights safely,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
Evergreen has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.