LAXintl
Topic Author
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:34 pm

The FAA is proposing a civil penalty of $1,892,000 against Pinnacle Airlines subsidairy Colgan Air.

The FAA alleges, Colgan allowed 84 new flight flight attendant to work revenue flights without proper training on use of emergency cabin equipment (fire extinguishers) during a period in November 2009.

Press release:
http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=13089
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
apodino
Posts: 3030
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:10 pm

Not a good week for Colgan, this, plus the pilots landing at the wrong airport.

This company has a PR problem with those who follow them, and they need to address it.
 
Italianflyer
Posts: 521
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:06 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Fri Sep 16, 2011 3:39 pm

As much as I hate saying it...there has to be more to the story. ...and I'd love to know the background.

My reasoning: $1.9 mil is stiff for this type of offense, esp compared to other fines this year, like MQs $77K slap for improper de-icing proceedures and fines in the $250-600K range to FL,AS,EV & WN for operating aircraft on multiple live segments that were out of airworthiness directive compliance.

The second component of my arguement is based on the nature of initial and recurrent training. Having been involved in the process at two airlines, I am astounded that something like fire suppression qualification could fall through the cracks. I mean, even if the checks and balances were partially brain dead..I just dont see how an entire class could get from ground school to hands on to IOE without this coming to light.
 
LAXintl
Topic Author
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:04 pm

The background if you read the FAA release is these crew members were trained on the Saab 340 equipment, while assigned and operating the Q400.

The FAA inspected the carrier’s new-hire flight attendant training for the Q400 on Nov. 2, 2009. The FAA alleges the new Colgan flight attendants were trained with fire extinguishers used on the airline’s Saab 340s, which operate differently than those used on the Q400.

“The airlines have to properly train crewmembers on the use of emergency equipment,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “The flight attendants’ primary responsibility is to know exactly how to handle emergency situations, and they can’t carry out that responsibility if they’re not properly trained.”
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
Italianflyer
Posts: 521
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:06 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:44 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
The background if you read the FAA release is these crew members were trained on the Saab 340 equipment, while assigned and operating the Q400.

I did read the release...thank you very much. Doing my homework before opening my mouth was drilled into me at a young age.

I still stand by my assertion that a) this a a high proposed amount compared to other, more glaring infractions at other carriers and b) I do not see how something like this could happen, given the checks and balances built into FAA initial and recurrent training programs. IF that is the case, and there is nothing more to the story, then this indicated a total failure of the training system at both Colgan and the FAA...and is disturbing.
 
BE77
Posts: 360
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:15 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:52 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
FAA alleges the new Colgan flight attendants were trained with fire extinguishers used on the airline’s Saab 340s, which operate differently than those used on the Q400.

I am curious about the differences between the extinguishers.

In my industry we need to know how to use them as well for essentially the same reason as an airliner (small spaces with no immediate exit possible most of the time). There are a few special cases (cold weather ops especially - most extinguishers suck at -35 C), but generally once an employee is trained on the different types they generally are similar enough that if you learn one type, then different makes / models used for the same application are going to work very similarly. The main benefit for us in the training is that people always comment how much different a fire behaves than what they thought when they finish putting out a few fires with extinguishers the time (normally we have them extinguish a fuel fire and a paper / wood fire at least). No one ever says they had trouble learning how to pull the pin and shoot the thing. After all, by design a fire extinguisher is supposed to be user friendly.


So, I am wondering if they are so different that you would not be expected to intuitively know how to operate one if you knew the other, considering that they are desgined for the same environment?

If they are that different, then perhaps one of the models needs to be replaced with something that provides a little more commanality, since if it is needed, you wouldn't want the stress of trying to remember 'which' one you were using (lets see, was it the red button, no the blue, or is it blue on Tuesday and Green on Sundays). I mean, if you can certify A318/319/320/321, B757/767 or B777/B787 to a common type rating, you should be able to get it for a couple of fire extinguishers?
Tower, Affirmitive, gear is down and welded
 
Italianflyer
Posts: 521
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2007 3:06 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:05 pm

Here is Colgan's response to the issue...sheds a bit more light on the issue. Very good points Be77...I am glad you see my point.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Colgan...onds-to-bw-236106436.html?x=0&.v=1

Colgan Air Responds to Proposed FAA Civil Penalty
businesswire

tweet
Email
Print

Press Release Source: Colgan Air, Inc. On Thursday September 15, 2011, 4:14 pm EDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Strict compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations is essential to Colgan Air.

In accordance with FAA rules and Company policy, Colgan Air regularly trains all of its Flight Attendants on the use of cabin fire extinguishers as well as all other safety equipment on every aircraft we operate.

This proposed fine is related to Flight Attendant training on the use of the cabin fire extinguisher; alleging that the bottle carried in the Q400 aircraft was a different type than the one used in training. Colgan Air was using the same type extinguisher for both the Saab 340B and Q400 training, although the Q400 extinguisher has a hose.

Upon notification and out of an abundance of caution, Colgan updated our training manuals and retrained all Flight Attendants to ensure full Flight Attendant understanding.

This occurred in Nov. 2009, and all flights during this period were completed safely and Colgan remains in compliance with these requirements today.

Safety is a top priority at Colgan. We intend to cooperate with the FAA and will respond to the allegations per their process.
 
JoeCanuck
Posts: 3951
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 3:30 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:29 pm

Quoting be77 (Reply 5):

Indeed....aren't most fire extinguisher instructions basically, "pull pin, point at fire, squeeze trigger."?

I've worked and trained with a lot of different fire extinguishers and they have all been variations of that theme.

Still, training with the real thing is a good idea...I think the fine is a bit harsh, though.
What the...?
 
BE77
Posts: 360
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:15 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:11 pm

Quoting ItalianFlyer (Reply 6):
Colgan Air was using the same type extinguisher for both the Saab 340B and Q400 training, although the Q400 extinguisher has a hose.

Ugh. I have no idea if Colgan is good, bad, or indifferent as an airline, other than the ANet and press stuff (never flown with them, etc.).
However, if the FAA is really gunning for them (legit or not), and a hose on a fire extinguisher is the best they can do, then it certainly leaves one wondering if Colgan is all that bad, or, if they are that bad that the FAA should be trying to bust them, then one wonders how good is the FAA team looking into them. I mean, Colgan flies airplanes, and there is always something not 100% perfect with an airplane or the paperwork, and that's it. I can't imagine what the fine would have been for something that really was a hazard?

Colgan obviously had to 'retrain them' (likely would have been a fun class though, but then I list fluency in sarcasm as a language in FB). And of course the release is suitably conciliatory, but could they actually lose this in the appeal process?
What if they checked the fire extinguisher training of say an AF A380 crew about to leave JFK and grounded or fined them because the F/A's hadn't played with their hoses? Would it not be viewed as retaliation for something different (say the DL / OH incident), and nothing to do with fire extinguishers?
Tower, Affirmitive, gear is down and welded
 
lucce
Posts: 154
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2011 3:12 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:55 am

So the fire extinguishers were the only part of the type-training they didn't receive? That's certainly odd. Nevertheless I found it kind of precious that FAA complaint's about lacking fire fighting training. I'm not sure if it same with all airlines but with Southwest it only consisted of putting off a fire in a open trash can kind of thing in the yard which is hardly the scenario in an real aircraft.

Quoting be77 (Reply 8):
What if they checked the fire extinguisher training of say an AF A380 crew about to leave JFK and grounded or fined them because the F/A's hadn't played with their hoses?

I know this isn't the point you tried to make but AF only gives type-training to the minimum crew on board its aircraft so the chance of finding a crew member not knowing how to operate some piece of equipment is highly likely. If they have any jurisdiction, that I don't know
 
Markhkg
Posts: 838
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:13 pm

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:26 am

My understanding is that although the initial fine seems pretty steep, most airlines are able to work out a settlement and the ultimate fine will be substantially lower. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
briboy
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2001 1:47 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:42 pm

From the press release:

"The 84 newly-hired flight attendants worked flights [...] after the FAA told Colgan the flight attendants had not completed the required training."

I suspect part of the harshness of the fine is that Colgan continued to operate with non-properly trained FAs *after* they were notified. That is, they decided, possibly for commercial reasons, to operate *knowing* they were in non-compliance.

No surprise the regulator did not take kindly to this.
next up: YYC, SFO, SYD, AKL, WLG, CMB, BKK, SIN, FRA, VCE, JFK
 
flyorski
Posts: 725
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2004 8:23 am

RE: FAA Fines Colgan Air $1.9Mil For Safety Violations

Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:27 pm

Quoting briboy (Reply 11):
I suspect part of the harshness of the fine is that Colgan continued to operate with non-properly trained FAs *after* they were notified. That is, they decided, possibly for commercial reasons, to operate *knowing* they were in non-compliance

  
"None are more hopelessly enslaved, than those who falsly believe they are free" -Goethe