Phoenix Heliparts to appeal Part 145 certificate revocation

 - September 30, 2010, 6:57 AM

Phoenix Heliparts said it will appeal the FAA’s emergency revocation of its Part 145 repair station operating certificate to the NTSB.

On September 9, the FAA revoked Phoenix’s air agency certificate to operate as a Part 145 repair station, charging that the Mesa, Ariz. company performed improper repairs and deliberately falsified maintenance records. The emergency revocation comes on the heels of an investigation by the FAA’s Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office that began in 2008. It allegedly uncovered multiple violations and “hundreds” of discrepancies.

A Phoenix spokesman told AIN that the FAA’s allegations “center around events that took place over two years ago when the company was under different management, and the company has addressed all [the FAA’s] concerns under the direction of counsel for over a year now.”

He said Phoenix’s management was caught “completely flatfoot” by the revocation in light of the FAA’s re-issuance of its Part 145 certificate after the company engaged in a voluntary “stand down” and then moved into new and expanded premises on June 21. According to the spokesman, “The company…has instituted a solid quality system and is using that system to ensure that its individually certified mechanics can henceforth prove that every step is taken in accordance with the regulations.”

Company president Tina Cannon said, “This revocation action comes as a complete surprise. To imply our work is unsafe, as the FAA has done, is both wrong and harmful to our employees and customers alike.”

While the company appeals, it will continue to operate under individual employees’ Part 65 mechanic certificates. Cannon said, “The aviation industry understands that accusations by the government are easy to make and extremely hard and time-consuming to defend.”

Among the FAA’s allegations is the agency’s assertion that Phoenix intentionally made false entries in aircraft maintenance records on at least four occasions, used an unauthorized electronic record-keeping system, failed to operate the maintenance shop according to its approved repair station and quality-control manuals, used unqualified people to perform the work, and used incorrect parts.The FAA also alleges that Phoenix identified unserviceable parts as serviceable and retained them for reuse, failed to document maintenance work and inspections, and failed to have and use approved data to guide major repairs and alterations. The agency also charged that Phoenix had approved the return to service of a U.S. Department of Agriculture Hughes 369 with more than 30 airworthiness discrepancies and 100 items that had not been inspected in accordance with Phoenix’s quality-control manual.

In announcing the revocation of Phoenix’s certificate, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said, “Safety is not optional for aviation companies. Whether repairing airplanes or helicopters, repair stations are required to follow maintenance rules and procedures.”

The FAA said it offered Phoenix “numerous opportunities to correct its problems”; however, “Phoenix was unable to bring the company into compliance.”