NTSB tells FAA to scrutinize repair station applicants

 - March 30, 2007, 10:30 AM

The NTSB has recommended that the FAA issue a regulation similar to FAR 119.39 to apply to applicants for a Part 145 repair station certificate. The intent is for the FAA to prevent individuals who have been associated with a previously revoked repair station from continuing to operate through a new repair station.

FAR 119.39, “Issuing or denying a certificate,” pertains to the issuance of an air carrier certificate or operating certificate. It says, “An application for a certificate may be denied if the Administrator finds that…an individual who will have control over or have a substantial ownership interest in the applicant had the same or similar control or interest in a certificate holder whose certificate was revoked, or is in the process of being revoked, and that individual materially contributed to the circumstances causing revocation or causing the revocation process…”

The NTSB suggests that if an air carrier, operator or repair station certificate is surrendered before completion of an enforcement investigation that could lead to revocation, the FAA should nonetheless complete the investigation to the extent necessary to document all available facts relating to the fitness of the involved individuals. The facts should then be made available to the FAA for reference when reviewing future requests.

The NTSB recommendation can be traced back to last year’s Beech 95 Travel Air fatal accident in which a pilot lost control of the aircraft shortly after takeoff and crashed. The cause of the accident was determined to be the separation of the right propeller from the engine. All four blades from the accident airplane were found to have been improperly overhauled by T&W Propellers, whose owner had previously been chief inspector at a repair station that had its certificate revoked in 1998. The loophole the NTSB seeks to plug is based on the fact that an individual who voluntarily leaves a repair station while it is in the process of having its certificate revoked may apply for a new certificate to start a new repair station.

The NTSB further recommends that the FAA continue investigations into problems associated with a repair station that would have resulted in certificate revocation even if the principals chose to go out of business before actual revocation.