Platinum Jet faces FAA penalties of nearly $2 million

 - October 3, 2006, 11:19 AM

The FAA has hit Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based charter operator Platinum Jet with civil penalties totaling more than $1.86 million for violations involving 49 passenger-carrying flights.

The agency became aware of the violations during its investigation of a February 2 accident at Teterboro Airport in which a Challenger 600 operated by Platinum Jet crashed into a building after an aborted takeoff.

A consultant for Platinum Jet said the pilot-in-command reported that moments after the airplane reached the rotation speed of about 135 knots, he pulled on the yoke and found that it would move only about an inch. At that point the airplane refused to fly. The aircraft subsequently departed the end of the runway, crossed a busy highway and crashed into a brick wall of the Strawberry clothing warehouse.

A letter from the FAA dated July 8, informing Platinum Jet of the penalties, noted that for that February 2 flight, “Platinum failed to prepare, before takeoff, accurate load manifests containing required information concerning loading of aircraft.”

In fact, the FAA said that for the February 1 flight from Las Vegas to Teterboro Platinum listed the fuel load weight for the aircraft at 13,000 pounds when it was actually 14,500 pounds. According to the agency, “Platinum thereby operated the aircraft in a careless or reckless manner.”

Among other charges, the FAA said that Platinum did not establish and maintain an approved pilot training program, used pilots who had not passed a written or oral test and used flight attendants in charter operations although the company did not have a Part 135 flight-attendant training program.

Platinum Jet has 30 days from receipt of the letter to submit the “suggested amount in settlement or furnish additional information pursuant to the described procedures.”