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AA Maintenace Dispute W/ FAA Escalating - WSJ  
User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3545 times:

Excerpts from the FAA....(article is copyrighted for subscribers but will likely be released to general users in the next few days).


American Airlines faces an escalating dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration over allegedly improper repairs to at least 16 aircraft.


The latest case is viewed as particularly serious because some FAA inspectors believe it's likely the airline chose to mothball one plane suddenly as part of an effort to hide the extent of suspected defects. The plane was ferried to the New Mexico desert in March for storage, according to people familiar with the probe and company documents, which have been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The FAA's probe focuses on allegations that incorrect fasteners, improperly drilled holes, related poor workmanship and other maintenance lapses afflict a portion of American's aging fleet of MD-80 series jets, which the carrier is gradually replacing with more fuel-efficient planes.

10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineQqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2256 posts, RR: 13
Reply 1, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3105 times:



Quoting WorldTraveler (Thread starter):
The latest case is viewed as particularly serious because some FAA inspectors believe it's likely the airline chose to mothball one plane suddenly as part of an effort to hide the extent of suspected defects. The plane was ferried to the New Mexico desert in March for storage, according to people familiar with the probe and company documents, which have been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

I read the article and found it to be interesting. The one point to make, however, as the article from the WSJ did, is that the FAA has full access to mothballed planes, meaning AA's removal of that a/c from the fleet, whether planned or sudden, does not preclude it from further FAA scrutiny. The FAA can easily look back over the a/c's records and determine how many flights were operated after the incorrect maintenance procedures were performed, and they can still physically inspect the a/c.

It's no secret AA's MD-80s are gradually being phased out, and it only makes sense that a/c like these, with potential rear pressure bulkhead issues (which is what the FAA is looking into in this case), and other costly repairs are relegated to the desert instead of a repair shop. The article indicated AA had originally planned for this particular a/c to undergo the repairs, but it shouldn't be surprising, or particularly shocking, that the repairs were abandoned. The timing may seem suspect, but considering again the FAA still has access to a/c, the decision shouldn't be alarming.



The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8373 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 3073 times:

It is not too surprising that the aircraft AA chooses to retire are the ones with the most extensive and costly maintenance problems. It's not necessarily an indication of bad dealing. Maybe it is an indication that AA has common sense.

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2826 times:

The contention is not that AA is retiring aircraft that need work but apparently that AA was somehow trying to hide the extent of the damage. AA contended that the FAA had access to the aircraft so it was not an issue; FAA said that AA should have notified it of the retirement.

User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 6982 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 2704 times:

And this comes out right after WN has their issues with improper parts, this a Texas thing or what? hhhhmmmmmmmmm Smile

User currently offlineQqflyboy From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2256 posts, RR: 13
Reply 5, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 5 days ago) and read 2693 times:



Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 3):
FAA said that AA should have notified it of the retirement.

Which, apparently, isn't typical procedure. The FAA is not normally notified of individual a/c that are removed from active status and/or retired, so this seems to be a moot point. While the maintenance concerns are serious and need to be investigated/addressed, it seems the row regarding this particular a/c is a case of an individual inspector with their panties in a wad.

Quoting WorldTraveler (Reply 3):
AA was somehow trying to hide the extent of the damage

Which is stupid because the FAA has just as easy access to the a/c in ROW as they do at any other airport in the US. Just because it's been removed from service does not prevent the FAA from checking out the a/c. WorldTraveler, I don't point this out to suggest this is your position, but rahter, to point out the FAA, or rather, an individual inspector, is making something out of nothing.



The views expressed are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect my employer’s views.
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2532 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 2536 times:



Quoting Par13del (Reply 4):
And this comes out right after WN has their issues with improper parts, this a Texas thing or what?

On the surface this sounds like a petty quip. I think there is some merit here. The DFW FSDO in the last couple of years has been accused of being overly friendly with it's resident airlines. The Aux pump wiring was WAY over the top. They were grounding airplanes that were perfectly safe. It was about tie off spacing!

Now the issue is the aft P-Dome. This may be a bit more involved. I know first hand that DL had some problems with repairs to the MD80 in this area. Our issues were with the frame around the p-dome. The frame looks like a bent T. Our inital issue was for tooling marks on the vertical portion of the T. We asked Boeing for the limits for marks on this leg. Their answer was none allowed and BTW how did it happen? We said, sombody drilled too deep while adding the drain holes to the bottom leg of the T. Boeing said, what drain holes?

Due to an unapproved drain hole mod we had to change out the bottom portion of the p-dome frame on about half of our MD80s. A lot of OT was worked to fix this. I doubt this is the same problem, but it is serious. P-dome work, if done wrong, really gets ugly. It is the fastest way to grow an Orange Grove in the cabin.


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8373 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2472 times:



Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 6):
The DFW FSDO in the last couple of years has been accused of being overly friendly with it's resident airlines.

They were accused of that by the FAA administrator himself at a hearing in Congress. There was a major problem with that. FAA administrator was in major doo-doo if he didn't basically put his foot down in Dallas on some particular inspectors (who must surely be gone now).

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 6):
It is the fastest way to grow an Orange Grove in the cabin.

That doesn't sound good  Big grin


User currently offlineTSS From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 3065 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 2442 times:



Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 6):
Now the issue is the aft P-Dome.

I'm guessing "P-Dome" refers to the pressure bulkhead?



Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
User currently offlineQualitydr From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 117 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2147 times:



Quoting Qqflyboy (Reply 5):
panties in a wad

Yep, that's my take on it at this point...

Don’t get your knickers in a knot.
Don’t get your tutu in a twist.
Don’t get your shorts in a wad.
Don’t get your undies in a bunch.
Don't get your briefs in a bundle.
Don’t get your boxers in a boodle.
Don’t get your skivvies in a skew.

 Big grin



All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. -- Mark Twain
User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (4 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1944 times:



Quoting Qqflyboy (Reply 5):
I don't point this out to suggest this is your position, but rahter, to point out the FAA, or rather, an individual inspector, is making something out of nothing.



Quoting Flighty (Reply 7):
They were accused of that by the FAA administrator himself at a hearing in Congress. There was a major problem with that. FAA administrator was in major doo-doo if he didn't basically put his foot down in Dallas on some particular inspectors (who must surely be gone now).

That may be so... but the FAA is a government body and as such as the same power to make your life as miserable as the IRS. You either have to learn to live with them or suffer the price. Unfortunately, AA and WN DID benefit from some questionable relationships between themselves and the FSDO. Whether AA could have or should have been the whistle-blower is not necessaily our place to decide but AA and WN are both large enough to knowthat there were differences in the way the DFW FSDO and others operated.

It ALWAYS happens that when a gov't body is accused of not doing their job, they simply take it out on their constituents rather than take responsibility. When you have all the power, you can get by with that kind of stuff.


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