FAA assigned Curaçao and Sint Maarten Cat. 2 safety rating

January 20, 2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Curaçao and Sint Maarten do not comply with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), based on an assessment of each country’s civil aviation authority.

As a result, the FAA has assigned both Curaçao and Sint Maarten an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 2 rating. With a Category 2 rating, Curaçao and Sint Maarten air carriers will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States, but can continue existing service. Both countries were previously part of the Netherlands Antilles, which had a Category 1 rating.

A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority – equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters – is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures.

As part of the FAA’s IASA program, the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate or have applied to fly to the United States and makes that information available to the public. The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.

Countries with air carriers that fly to the United States must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

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NTSB issues safety recommendations following B737 tailwind landing accident

December 11, 2011

The NTSB has issued four safety recommendations and reiterated one older recommendation to prevent runway excursion accidents following tailwind landings.

On December 22, 2009, American Airlines flight 331, a  Boeing 737-800, N977AN, ran off the departure end of runway 12 after landing at Kingston-Norman Manley International Airport (KIN), Jamaica. The aircraft landed approximately 4,000 feet down the 8,911-foot-long, wet runway with a 14-knot tailwind component and was unable to stop on the remaining runway length. After running off the runway end, it went through a fence, across a road, and came to a stop on the sand dunes and rocks above the waterline of the Caribbean Sea adjacent to the road. No fatalities or postcrash fire occurred.

The investigation, being conducted by the Jamaica CAA, is still ongoing. The NTSB, being part of the investigation, decided to issue the following recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA):

 

Require principal operations inspectors to review flight crew training programs and manuals to ensure training in tailwind landings is (1) provided during initial and recurrent simulator training; (2) to the extent possible, conducted at the maximum tailwind component certified for the aircraft on which pilots are being trained; and (3) conducted with an emphasis on the importance of landing within the touchdown zone, being prepared to execute a go-around, with either pilot calling for it if at any point landing within the touchdown zone becomes unfeasible, and the related benefits of using maximum flap extension in tailwind conditions. (A-11-92)

Revise Advisory Circular 91-79, “Runway Overrun Prevention,” to include a discussion of the risks associated with tailwind landings, including tailwind landings on wet or contaminated runways as related to runway overrun prevention. (A-11-93)

Once Advisory Circular 91-79, “Runway Overrun Prevention,” has been revised, require principal operations inspectors to review airline training programs and manuals to ensure they incorporate the revised guidelines concerning tailwind landings. (A-11-94)

Require principal operations inspectors to ensure that the information contained in Safety Alert for Operators 06012 is disseminated to 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K instructors, check airmen, and aircrew program designees and they make pilots aware of this guidance during recurrent training. (A-11-95)

The National Transportation Safety Board also reiterates the following recommendation to the Federal Aviation Administration and reclassifies it “Open—Unacceptable Response”:
Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121, 135, and 91 subpart K operators to accomplish arrival landing distance assessments before every landing based on a standardized methodology involving approved performance data, actual arrival conditions, a means of correlating the airplane’s braking ability with runway surface conditions using the most conservative interpretation available, and including a minimum safety margin of 15 percent. (A-07-61)

This recommendation, A-07-61, was issued following the December 2005 runway excursion accident involving a Boeing 737-700 at Chicago-Midaway Airport.

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FAA proposes $777,000 civil penalty against Horizon Air

December 10, 2011

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $777,000 civil penalty against Horizon Air Industries for allegedly operating 32 Bombardier DHC-8-400 Dash 8 turboprop aircraft on 49,870 flights when the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleged Horizon installed new external lighting systems on the aircraft, but did not conduct required tests for radio frequency and electromagnetic interference before returning the aircraft to service. Horizon operated the aircraft between Oct. 19, 2009 and Mar. 17, 2010, before the FAA discovered the compliance problems during routine surveillance. Horizon immediately completed tests and inspections of all 32 aircraft before further flights.

Horizon Air has 30 days from receipt of the civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

 


FAA proposes $180,000 civil penalty against Evergreen International Airlines

November 21, 2011

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $180,000 against Evergreen International Airlines, Inc, of McMinnville, OR, for allegedly operating aircraft on seven flights in 2009 when the pilots on those flights had not been trained in accordance with the airline’s approved training program.

The FAA alleged Evergreen failed to conduct the appropriate required familiarization flights involving the use of the flight management system on the company’s Boeing 747s before assigning those individuals to revenue flights on those aircraft.  The training program specifically calls for familiarization flights in Class I and Class II airspace.  Class I airspace includes ground-based navigation aids; Class II is airspace without ground-based aids, such as over an ocean.  Evergreen provided only the Class I familiarization flights.

The instruction and experience requirement is part of Evergreen’s FAA-approved training program.  The flights in question operated from Aug. 23 to Sept. 19, 2009.

Evergreen has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the Agency.

 


U.S. FAA creates web page for laser incident reporting

October 28, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has created a new website to make it easier for pilots and the public to report laser incidents and obtain information on the subject. Lasers pointed at aircraft are a growing concern.

The website, which can be found at http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/safety/report/laserinfo/,collects a wide array of laser information into one location. It includes links for reporting laser incidents, laser statistics, FAA press releases, and FAA research on the dangers lasers can pose to pilots, as well as downloadable videos.

Laser event reports have increased steadily since the FAA created a formal reporting system in 2005 to collect information from pilots. Reports rose from nearly 300 in 2005 to 1,527 in 2009 and 2,836 in 2010.

This year, pilots reported 2,795 laser events through Oct. 20. Pilots have reported the most laser events in 2011 in Phoenix (96), Philadelphia (95) and Chicago (83).

The FAA began addressing the problem in 2005 by encouraging pilots to report laser events to the nearest air traffic control facility and requiring facilities to immediately relay that information to local law enforcement agencies. In June 2011, the FAA announced it would start imposing civil penalties of up to $11,000 against people who interfere with a flight crew by pointing a laser into the cockpit of an aircraft. The agency is currently working on 18 civil penalty cases.

Over the past few years, people have been charged under local, state and federal criminal statues for pointing lasers at aircraft, and legislation is pending that would make it a specific federal crime. The FAA is prepared to work with all law enforcement agencies to assist with criminal prosecutions.

The increase in annual laser reports is likely due to a number of factors, including the availability of inexpensive laser devices on the Internet; increased power levels that enable lasers to reach aircraft at higher altitudes; more pilot reporting of laser strikes; and the introduction of green and blue lasers, which are more easily seen than red lasers.


U.S. FAA proposes $1 Million in civil penalties against Pinnacle Airlines

October 21, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing $1,042,500 in civil penalties against Pinnacle Airlines, Inc., of Memphis, Tenn., for allegedly operating two aircraft on a combined 63 flights when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges Pinnacle operated a Canadair Regional Jet on 23 flights between April 30 and May 4, 2009 on which flight crew members performed procedures that should have been performed by maintenance employees, after FAA inspectors had denied an airline request to make the work an operations task instead of a maintenance task.

The airline’s general maintenance manual requires maintenance workers to install and remove a cable kit when operating an aircraft with an inoperative or missing wheel assembly for the passenger door. Instead, flight crew members performed the procedure on the flights in question. The proposed civil penalty for this violation is $625,000.

The FAA also alleges Pinnacle failed to complete inspections of the low-pressure turbine case on a Canadair Regional Jet.  The inspections were to identify and track growth of a crack in the case to make sure the crack did not grow to exceed the maximum allowable length.  The inspections required by the airline’s continuous airworthiness maintenance program must be done every 300 to no more than 600 operating hours.

The FAA said Pinnacle let 640 operating hours pass between a May 22, 2010 inspection and a subsequent inspection on Aug. 31, 2010.  During that time, a 3.5-inch crack grew to four inches in length. The FAA alleges the airline operated the aircraft on 40 passenger flights between Aug. 25 and 31, when it was not in compliance.  The proposed civil penalty for this violation is $417,500.

Pinnacle Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letters to respond to the Agency.


U.S. FAA proposes $160,000 in civil penalties against SkyWest Airlines

October 19, 2011

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a civil penalty of $160,000 against SkyWest Airlines of St. George, Utah, for allegedly operating four regional jet aircraft on four revenue passenger flights when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges SkyWest failed to follow its procedures for documenting cargo and baggage, and as a result operated those flights with incorrect weight, balance, cargo and baggage load data.

The four flights operated Mar. 3, 2011, from San Diego; Phoenix; Omaha; and Missoula, Mont., to Salt Lake City. The FAA alleges the airline operated the flights without a load manifest that accurately reflected the weight of the cargo and baggage, when the total weight of the aircraft was not computed under approved procedures, and when the aircraft were not loaded according to an approved load schedule.

SkyWest has paid civil penalties in eight previous cases involving improper weight, balance and loading calculations and documentation.

SkyWest has 30 days from receipt of the civil penalty letter to respond to the Agency.


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