Colgan Inspector Blows Whistle on FAA

 - June 30, 2009, 10:59 AM

An FAA inspector has filed a federal “whistleblower” complaint against his employer, charging the agency with removing him from his field position overseeing the certification of Colgan Air’s Bombardier Q400 operation last year when he raised concerns about pilot flying performance and the airline’s safety culture.

FAA acting assistant administrator for communications Laura Brown told AIN that the agency assembled a team of outside inspectors in April last year to investigate the claims, and found some procedural and technical problems but no serious regulatory violations. The inspector, Christopher Monteleon, alleges that Colgan pilots
flew their airplane too fast with its flaps extended and bungled multiple attempts at landing the Q400 in Charleston, W.Va., among other transgressions.

“The bottom line was we didn’t find any issues that presented regulatory violations,” said Brown, who added that the inspection team found “some issues with the difference between the flight characteristics of the aircraft and the simulator they were using at the time” and recommended “changing the way some of the inspectors made their reports to their supervisors.”

Later, the agency placed Monteleon on paid leave, reportedly after managers accused him of menacing an FAA attorney. Brown confirmed that Monteleon remained on leave, but said that privacy laws prevented her from discussing the reason.