FAA Aircraft Inspections and Aircraft Delays

First we seen someone blow the whistle on FAA Inspectors becoming lax with a Southwestern airline not complying with mandatory fuselage inspections for cracks on the 737 fleet. The result…grounding hundreds of aircraft and delaying thousands more of the Americian flyers. Let’s not forget the pending 10 million dollar fine against the Air Carrier. Just my opinion a just and proper fine at that.

Then we witnessed another FAA manatory inspection of wiring bundles on the MD 80 fleet of aircraft. Causing a severe disruption in Air Carrier service across the Country leaving thousands delayed or finding flights cancelled.

Most of us in the aircraft business know very well how the system is suppose to work. The aircraft manufacturer and or the FAA finds a defect and will issue an “AD” for action that might include inspection visual or NDI and or specific action or parts or a systems check to comply with the inspection and or check. On routine aircraft inspection checks…A , B, C, or D check D being a “heavy overhaul” inspection and check. FAA licensed mechanics and or inspectors inspect and or service aircraft. The faster the turn around time the quicker the aircraft is returned to service and making money…..lots of money.

This all comes down to the Airlines hiring their own FAA licensed Mechanics and Inspectors with the integrity to inform their QC departments when a inspection or check is not correct.

The QC department of the Airlines must have people with a high morale standard that can openly and honestly report missed inspections / checks regardless of the circumstances. More and more I hear from Techs and Inspectors the Airlines attempt to “bend the rules alittle”.

Now we find Airlines attempting to cut costs anyway they can to survive.
We see more and more aircraft being sent to 3rd party Repair Stations instead of the Airline conducting it’s own “heavy inspection and checks”. Only a few US Airlines conduct their own maintenance/ inspections / checks.

In a desperate move more and more Airlines are looking to send these critical inspection / checks overseas. To places where they cannot even read English let alone speak it. Most of our Manuals and inspection / check paperwork is in english as well. Next stop China or Mexico for our aircraft service?

In 2007 the subject of proper oversight of Foreign Repair Stations was a topic of discussion. See below.

Title: Aviation Safety: FAA Oversight of Foreign Repair Stations
Date: June 20, 2007
Type: Testimony
Summary: On June 20, the Inspector General testified on FAA’s oversight of foreign repair stations before the Senate Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security. Specifically, the Inspector General discussed recent trends in outsourcing aircraft maintenance, regulatory differences between domestic and foreign repair stations, and two key areas in FAA’s efforts to effectively oversee outsourced maintenance: (1) strengthening safety oversight of repair stations and non-certificated repair facilities and (2) ensuring that inspectors are well-positioned to adequately oversee maintenance outsourcing

You must decide when you will request Congress to step in and take action. Request that Americian Airlines keep inspection / checks here in our Country. This is also a security issue as well. We cannot afford even one mishap that will result in loss of life.

David Kraft Indianapolis

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