The FAA has proposed a $533,320 civil penalty against Steele Aviation of Beverly Hills, California, for allegedly conducting unauthorized charter flights using pilots who lacked required training. The agency said this is the third civil penalty the FAA has proposed against Steele Aviation since 2017. In separate actions, the agency also suspended and later revoked the pilot certificates of Nicolas Steele, the president of Steele Aviation, and a pilot he employed. Both men have appealed the revocations.
In the most recent case, the agency alleges Steele Aviation conducted at least 10 unauthorized for-hire flights between January 28, 2019 and February 14, 2019 using a Hawker HS-125-800. The flights were “unauthorized because Steele Aviation did not have an air carrier certificate; used pilots who had not passed required annual knowledge checks, annual flight-competency checks, and undergone recurrent training; used an aircraft that was not on the operating specifications of any air carrier certificate; and did not have economic operating authority from the DOT,” the FAA contended.
What’s more, the agency said Steele Aviation knew these flights were unauthorized because the FAA had taken enforcement action against the company twice previously for similar alleged violations that occurred in December 2017 and October 2018. Both cases are still pending.
Steele Aviation has until late August to respond to the agency. The company did not reply to attempts by AIN to contact it.