FAA Targets Dassault, Three Airlines for Hefty Mx Fines

 - June 30, 2010, 9:55 AM

The FAA is proposing a $450,000 civil penalty against Dassault Falcon and its completion center in Little Rock, Ark., for improperly plating certain parts and installing them on airplanes. The agency alleges that after receiving a warning notice on this issue in January 2008, Dassault Falcon approved 18 airplanes for return to service between March 2008 and April 2009. According to the FAA, the aircraft contained “hundreds of parts electroplated by the company or its contractors but the companies did not have the required FAA rating to perform such work.” 

A spokesman for Dassault Falcon said the company is challenging the FAA's proposal. “We are respectfully questioning the basis for the penalty and the amount. The concerned parts were largely for decorative purposes and at no time was there a question about the structural integrity of the parts and aircraft involved,” he told AIN

“All those performing maintenance on an aircraft must have the appropriate skills and credentials,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, but according to Dassault Falcon the FAA has since approved the plating processes in question, which are a “mirror image of the processes used during the time period in question.” 

The FAA announced this week it is also proposing hefty maintenance-related fines against three airlines. The agency seeks $2,476,075 in civil penalties against Trans States Airlines and GoJet Airlines (both owned and operated by Trans States Holdings) of Bridgeton, Mo., for violation of various maintenance procedures and for operating nine jets on 320 revenue passenger flights when the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. Trans States Airlines performs maintenance and training on GoJet aircraft. The proposed civil penalties involve seven GoJet+ Bombardier CRJs and two Trans States Embraer ERJ 145 regional jets. The FAA alleges that “Trans States and GoJet violated a number of maintenance regulations and procedures, including use of outdated manufacturers' maintenance instructions to perform repairs; failure to connect a wing flap actuator to its torque tube, rendering the flaps inoperative; failure to document an inspection after an aircraft was damaged by severe turbulence; failure to document and carry out proper repairs after aircraft warning systems identified problems; improper repair of an engine oil leak; and failure to comply with minimum equipment list regulations.”

The FAA is proposing a $700,000 civil penalty against San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Executive Airlines, which does business as American Eagle Airlines. The agency alleges Executive operated eight of its ATR 42 twin turboprops when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. According to the FAA, when Executive Airlines did heavy maintenance checks on its aircraft in 2007 and 2008, mechanics did not perform and document required detailed visual inspections to detect possible cracks on the aileron center hinge bearing fittings. Executive Airlines operated the eight aircraft on 6,479 flights between the incomplete earlier inspections and Sept. 26-27, 2008, when the company completed the proper inspections and procedures. 

“All maintenance procedures must be followed at all times. There are no exceptions when it comes to safety,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.