DOT IG Notes Gaps in Aging Aircraft Program

 - November 15, 2006, 8:43 AM

In its new study of the FAA’s aging aircraft program, the DOT Inspector General’s office noted the rules do not cover both private and commercial aircraft with fewer that 30 seats. As an example of non-program aircraft, the study pointed to the Dec. 19, 2005 fatal crash of a Chalk’s Ocean Airways Turbo Mallard in which fatigue cracking occurred in both wings. In addition, the study found that the aging aircraft program’s inspections “are very limited” because they involve visual checks only, “so subsurface cracks or hidden corrosion would not be found,” again citing the Chalk’s accident. The study came in response to a request by Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) that the DOT IG “evaluate the FAA’s oversight of air carriers’ aging aircraft programs to determine whether these programs are effective in managing and detecting issues associated with aging aircraft fleets and whether vulnerabilities exist in the commercial aviation industry due to aging aircraft.”