While the two “voluntary” groundings over the past year at Clearwater, Fla.-based Avantair eventually led to its recent downfall, the fractional provider had a long history of maintenance-related issues, according to FAA files obtained this week by AIN under a Freedom of Information Act request. In fact, one such action from June 4, 2008, involves a $500,000 civil penalty, according to the FAA documents. This particular action remains pending.
One of the FAA program tracking and reporting subsystem reports provided to AIN lists 26 discrepancies in a letter sent to Avantair on Sept. 15, 2009. These include instances of missing maintenance records; failure to perform required maintenance; flying aircraft beyond required inspection intervals, including hot-section inspections, sometimes by hundreds of hours; complying with ELT inspections on ELT types that weren’t installed; and not replacing oil filters as required, among others.
A subsequent letter dated Oct. 2, 2009, lists 10 discrepancies. Avantair responded to the FAA, but because “multiple discrepancies identified in the letter dated Sept. 15, 2009, were not addressed/mitigated,” the FAA initiated an enforcement action. Avantair responded again, and the FAA identified seven items that “were not mitigated,” then cited four regulations that it said Avantair violated.