LAXintl
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FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 4:06 pm

Hmm.. another maintenance related fine against Horizon.. 3rd one in about half a year…


The FAA proposes a civil penalty of $1,005,000 against Horizon Air for operating aircraft in non compliance with FARs.

FAA alleges that Horizon Air operated 22 Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft for a period of 3.5 years between 2007 and 2011 with flight deck door installation utilizing incorrect rivets.

FAA discovered the violation when an incorrectly modified aircraft experienced and inflight incident caused by damaged wiring result of the rivets.

The FAA also alleges the airline even after being told of the non compliance, Horizon operated aircraft in revenue flights before correcting the safety defects promptly.


Press release:
http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=13815

=
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AA737-823
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:38 pm

Wow... a fine in excess of a million dollars over incorrect rivet use?
If the modification was done IAW anything, that document was most likely FAA approved.....
So were the wrong rivets SPECIFIED, or were they selected by mistake?
Seems a bit excessive... as thought the FAA feels like carriers (QX and AA this week) enjoy making maintenance mistakes, and the only way to make it painful is HUGE fines.
 
Mir
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 6:50 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 1):
Seems a bit excessive... as thought the FAA feels like carriers (QX and AA this week) enjoy making maintenance mistakes, and the only way to make it painful is HUGE fines.

If QX really did allow aircraft to operate after they had been informed of the problem, that's not a mistake.

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seabosdca
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:16 pm

Makes sense to me...

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
FAA alleges that Horizon Air operated 22 Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft for a period of 3.5 years between 2007 and 2011 with flight deck door installation utilizing incorrect rivets.

Oops. Fix it.

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
FAA discovered the violation when an incorrectly modified aircraft experienced and inflight incident caused by damaged wiring result of the rivets.

Oops. Fix it quickly.

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
The FAA also alleges the airline even after being told of the non compliance, Horizon operated aircraft in revenue flights before correcting the safety defects promptly.

This is beyond "oops, fix it." This warrants the fine.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:57 pm

Quoting Mir (Reply 2):
f QX really did allow aircraft to operate after they had been informed of the problem, that's not a mistake.

Exactly......the Airline was aware....Thats the problem.
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LAXintl
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Thu Aug 09, 2012 10:01 pm

Kinda wonder if Horizon has a systematic or internal cultural issue with maintenance practices and quality control.

As I stated this is their 3 large formal fine from the FAA in 6-months.
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United727
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:14 am

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't QX owned and operated by AS? If so, AS has an excellent MX history, why would they sit back and allow QX to get away with shoddy MX?
 
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RWA380
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:45 am

Quoting United727 (Reply 6):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't QX owned and operated by AS? If so, AS has an excellent MX history, why would they sit back and allow QX to get away with shoddy MX?

AS MX has been held in question before, and IIRC, they have been levied fines by the FAA for MX issues. I want to say it was something to do with the M80 they lost in the Pacific operating from SJD to SFO or something like that, I forget the flight number, I'm sure someone here can correct me.
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Polot
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:16 am

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 7):

AS MX has been held in question before, and IIRC, they have been levied fines by the FAA for MX issues. I want to say it was something to do with the M80 they lost in the Pacific operating from SJD to SFO or something like that, I forget the flight number, I'm sure someone here can correct me.

You are thinking of AS 261, which crashed in January 2000 off the coast of California while operating PVR-SFO. And indeed, poor maintenance on AS's part and poor oversight on the FAA's part were factors in the crash.
 
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RWA380
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:50 am

Quoting Polot (Reply 8):

You are thinking of AS 261, which crashed in January 2000 off the coast of California while operating PVR-SFO. And indeed, poor maintenance on AS's part and poor oversight on the FAA's part were factors in the crash

Thanks for inserting the details properly, yes this was the crash I was referring to, a very sad day indeed. RIP 261
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PHX787
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:52 am

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 1):
Wow... a fine in excess of a million dollars over incorrect rivet use?

Does seem a little expensive....maybe these fines is how we're going to lower our national debt   

Quoting seabosdca (Reply 3):
Oops. Fix it quickly.

Were they assessed a warning first?
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United727
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:16 am

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 7):
AS MX has been held in question before, and IIRC, they have been levied fines by the FAA for MX issues.

I was well aware of 261, but that was 12 years ago, and I haven't heard anything derogatory about their maintenance as of late.
 
Maverick623
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:00 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 10):
Does seem a little expensive

As it should be. It's been proven time and time again that until the penalties exceed the cost savings of cutting corners, the corners will be cut.
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B747forever
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:16 am

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
The FAA also alleges the airline even after being told of the non compliance, Horizon operated aircraft in revenue flights before correcting the safety defects promptly.
Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 1):
Seems a bit excessive... as thought the FAA feels like carriers (QX and AA this week) enjoy making maintenance mistakes, and the only way to make it painful is HUGE fines.

Even after being told about the incorrect rivets, QX continued to operate the aircraft.

It seems as though they enjoy to make these mistakes, otherwise they would have been corrected immediately.


I don't get why some members here complain about the FAA every time they fine an airline. If airlines performed proper maintenance there would never be any fines, and in reality there shouldn't be any need for fines. I for one am happy that at least the FAA does their part of the job. After all, the FAA exists for our safety.
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EA CO AS
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:18 am

Quoting United727 (Reply 11):

I was well aware of 261, but that was 12 years ago, and I haven't heard anything derogatory about their maintenance as of late.

AS has received the FAA's Diamond Award for maintenance training excellence for 10 consecutive years.

In regard to the QX incident mentioned here, the FAA claims that QX improperly used an alternate rivet while installing fortified flight deck doors on 22 of the Q400s in the fleet. They have proposed this $1,005,000 fine as a result.

QX believed at the time that this alternate rivet - a stronger one, mind you - was a proper substitute, and that procedures were being followed in choosing to make the substitution. QX opted to use the alternate rivet and believed it was within its authority to make the change.

QX took immediate action when the FAA expressed concern, inspected its entire fleet and replaced the alternate rivet with the specified rivet on all of the affected aircraft. This was completed in June, and the specified rivets are now in the maintenance procedures.
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HAWK21M
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:31 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 14):
QX took immediate action when the FAA expressed concern, inspected its entire fleet and replaced the alternate rivet with the specified rivet on all of the affected aircraft. This was completed in June, and the specified rivets are now in the maintenance procedures.

Then why the fine......
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RWA380
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:32 am

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 14):
AS has received the FAA's Diamond Award for maintenance training excellence for 10 consecutive years.

In regard to the QX incident mentioned here, the FAA claims that QX improperly used an alternate rivet while installing fortified flight deck doors on 22 of the Q400s in the fleet. They have proposed this $1,005,000 fine as a result.

QX believed at the time that this alternate rivet - a stronger one, mind you - was a proper substitute, and that procedures were being followed in choosing to make the substitution. QX opted to use the alternate rivet and believed it was within its authority to make the change.

QX took immediate action when the FAA expressed concern, inspected its entire fleet and replaced the alternate rivet with the specified rivet on all of the affected aircraft. This was completed in June, and the specified rivets are now in the maintenance procedures.

I am hoping AS appeals this ruling and they re-look at this fine, on the surface seems like an unintentional interpretation of the rules set by the FAA? What would this type of repair cost QX per aircraft? Then x it by 22.

You'll most likely find the fine far exceeds the original cost of doing this repair to each plane that needed the refit to begin with. I don't think QX would have intentionally left this issue go uncorrected unless they did honestly believe the problem was resolved with the stronger rivet. No way QX would have risked a fine like this just to avoid replacing a few rivets during routine MX. Especially after 10 years of excellence awards for great MX.
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LAXintl
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:21 pm

Quoting United727 (Reply 11):
I haven't heard anything derogatory about their maintenance as of late.

Well AS got a fine themselves recently ---

FAA Fines Alaska & Horizon Air – Safety Violations (by LAXintl May 4 2012 in Civil Aviation)

and then last fall also -
FAA Fines Alaska Air Over Maintenance Violations (by LAXintl Sep 9 2011 in Civil Aviation)
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hatbutton
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:03 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 15):
Then why the fine......

Because at the end of the day flights were actually operated with the alternate rivets. QX thought they were acceptable alternate parts. The FAA said they weren't. QX gets fined for the flights that operated with them and they worked on replacing the rivets immediately upon hearing from the FAA that they were in the wrong.
 
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:13 pm

Before getting too critical on Horizon, the FAA basically fines every airline every year for various compliance items. The requirements are so complicated and convoluted, that mistakes happen. In this case since it happened on 22 airplanes, I would expect that there was a problem with the task card to accomplish the procedure. It easily could have been that the procedure called out square rivets, but blind rivets were easier to install and someone allowed it to happen without realizing the consequences. From an engineer’s perspective, that is an easy mistake to make since it is a judgment call as to whether the Service Bulletin author chose square rivets because he felt like it or because there was an actual reason.

Between Service Bulletins, Component Maintenance Manual, Airplane Maintenance Manual, Task Cards, Work Instructions, etc mistakes can get made. Quality control should prevent this, and the FAA is quick with issuing fines for non-compliance in order to drive airlines to enforce strict quality controls, but mistakes happen. Having one airplane not get the repair sounds like another mistake with the configuration control.

I don’t completely excuse QX engineering & maintenance because they legitimately did not comply with a Service Bulletin procedure, but I certainly understand mistakes happening. Every airline at the world has mistakes like this happen. Even airlines with some of the most robust engineering and maintenance capabilities and hundreds of engineers like United, American, Delta and Southwest have things like this happen on a frequent basis.
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ua2162
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 4:49 pm

Perhaps if they wrote a simple message on the door such as, "We know about this..." things would be different.
 
StuckInCA
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:15 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 17):
Well AS got a fine themselves recently

Seems that most any airline that doesn't have an entirely new fleet could be described the same way. Here are just a few examples from Google:

FAA seeks $1M fine for Horizon Air over door rivets (8/8/2012)
American Airlines faces record FAA fines, court filings say (8/7/2012)
Delta faces stiff fines over alleged delayed repairs (7/11/2012)
FAA proposes $1.1 million fine for Southwest maintenance ... (9/13/2011)
FAA proposes $350000 fine against Lynx Aviation | ATWOnline (4/11/2011)
US Airways, United face FAA fines for safety violations - CNN (10/14/2009)
 
spacecadet
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:31 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 10):
Were they assessed a warning first?

Does the following (taken from the OP) answer your question?

Quoting LAXintl (Thread starter):
The FAA also alleges the airline even after being told of the non compliance, Horizon operated aircraft in revenue flights before correcting the safety defects promptly.

A hefty fine is warranted. This would be like a cop pulling you over for speeding, giving you a warning and telling you not to speed anymore, then you peel out right in front of him, blowing dust in his face, and take off at 100mph down the highway.

No sympathy for Horizon on this. No sympathy for *any* airline that gets fined for safety violations, especially when they do it knowingly.
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seabosdca
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:12 pm

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 19):
Having one airplane not get the repair sounds like another mistake with the configuration control.

This is the "mistake" that prompted the fine, and it should have. Once the airline had notice that the rivets were incorrect (and had caused an incident!), it was inexcusable sloppiness not to make sure no Q400 was cleared to fly before it received the repairs. The earlier mistake (whether it came from an incorrect procedure or incorrect execution of a correct procecure) is much easier to understand and forgive.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:33 am

Quoting hatbutton (Reply 18):
Because at the end of the day flights were actually operated with the alternate rivets. QX thought they were acceptable alternate parts. The FAA said they weren't. QX gets fined for the flights that operated with them and they worked on replacing the rivets immediately upon hearing from the FAA that they were in the wrong.

So shouldn't the Airline have cleared with Regulatory before deciding on the Alternative rivets.
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hatbutton
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:37 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 24):
So shouldn't the Airline have cleared with Regulatory before deciding on the Alternative rivets.

If I'm not mistaken, there are sometimes acceptable interchangeable parts (like rivets) on aircraft for different areas of the plane that an airline can use to complete repairs. Airlines follow operating guidelines and do not ask the FAA before installing a part on every airplane. Just like Fedex (who recently got fined for hazmat violations), will not verify hazmat paperwork with the regulatory authorities before very shipment. In this case, the airline thought the rivet they were using was acceptable for this part of the aircraft but then later found out it wasn't. It's not like they were using a part you buy off the shelf at an auto part store or anything.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:18 am

Quoting hatbutton (Reply 25):
In this case, the airline thought the rivet they were using was acceptable for this part of the aircraft but then later found out it wasn't.

So in other words they goofed up in presuming......
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RWA380
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:36 am

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 26):

So in other words they goofed up in presuming

This is the direction that the truth lies for sure, there is too much money to be fined for what would have been a much less costly repair for just 22 aircraft.
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hatbutton
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:52 pm



Quoting RWA380 (Reply 27):
This is the direction that the truth lies for sure, there is too much money to be fined for what would have been a much less costly repair for just 22 aircraft.

The size of the fine is typically in direct correlation with the number of flights operated with the incorrect maintenance. The FAA didn't decide to fine them x amount in order to make clear how bad the error was. That would make it too subjective. They have set amounts they fine per flight based on the type of maintenance issue. QX made a mistake installing these rivets even if these rivets were stronger than the rivets they should have installed.

It says that 186,000 flights were operated with these rivets. The fine was just over a million bucks so it was $5 per flight. It appears the FAA didn't think this was as much of a safety problem as they did think it was just not following the actual books. There are fines that happen where the cost per flight operated are much greater which leads me to believe the severity of the safety problem was much greater. Take this article about AA potentially getting fined by the FAA.

http://www.dallasnews.com/business/a...n-fines-from-american-airlines.ece

They want to fine AA $39.9 million for operating 1,480 757 flights improperly. That's $27k per flight! They want to fine them $27.6 million for operating 2,118 improper 767 flights. That's $13k per flight.

In no way am I downplaying the fact that QX screwed up and installed rivets that were not meant for that particular area of the airplane. But the fine was $5 per operated flight so to me, this seems less of severe punishment compared to AA's potential fines.

[Edited 2012-08-17 08:57:57]
 
toobz
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:33 pm

Quoting EA CO AS (Reply 14):

lol yeah because the FAA started watching them like a hawk after 261. AS (and I can say this cuz I used to work for them and saw first hand the conditions of the a/c) was a pretty scary airline 10 years ago as far as the condition of their md80s. They have definitely changed for the better.
 
yeelep
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RE: FAA Fines Horizon Air – Safety Violations

Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:54 pm

Quoting United727 (Reply 6):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't QX owned and operated by AS?

No, both AS and QX are owned by AAG (Alaska Air Group).

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 7):
AS MX has been held in question before, and IIRC, they have been levied fines by the FAA for MX issues.

What US airline hasn't?

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