Scarebus34
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Accusation: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:25 pm

A new report is out alleging a whistleblower complaint has been filed regarding the FAA's action while granting Southwest permission to fly to Hawaii.

"The employee, who has been granted formal whistleblower protections, alleged that FAA managers engaged in “gross mismanagement and an abuse of authority” for “the financial benefit of the airline,” according to the counsel’s summary."

"The whistleblower alleged that agency managers held Southwest pilots and officials “to a lower standard than they otherwise would have been,” according to the special counsel’s summary. The allegations, according to the summary, also blamed managers for rushing some of the steps and relying on inspectors from outside the Dallas-area office that normally oversees Southwest. The claims, according to the summary, further alleged that the FAA’s expedited approval “was based solely on the finances of the airline.”

As part of the unusual speed, according to the summary of the allegations, the whistleblower indicated FAA managers brought in employees to observe all six demonstration flights who lacked the necessary 737 pilot licenses and had less specific knowledge about Southwest operations than local FAA employees. A local inspector, who had the required credentials, was relegated to the cabin during the flights while personnel from FAA headquarters, tasked with accelerating approvals, were assigned to sit in the cockpit, according to the summary."


https://www.wsj.com/articles/faa-lowere ... 1579712828

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3533595-s ... email_link
Last edited by Scarebus34 on Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:30 pm

Not much to read at either of those links. Without any real facts to go on, is this anything more than sour grapes?
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
Scarebus34
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Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:32 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
Not much to read at either of those links. Without any real facts to go on, is this anything more than sour grapes?


The inquiry has yet to be made public.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:35 pm

Scarebus34 wrote:
"The whistleblower alleged that agency managers held Southwest pilots and officials “to a lower standard than they otherwise would have been,” according to the special counsel’s summary. The allegations, according to the summary, also blamed managers for rushing some of the steps and relying on inspectors from outside the Dallas-area office that normally oversees Southwest. The claims, according to the summary, further alleged that the FAA’s expedited approval “was based solely on the finances of the airline.”

As part of the unusual speed, according to the summary of the allegations, the whistleblower indicated FAA managers brought in employees to observe all six demonstration flights who lacked the necessary 737 pilot licenses and had less specific knowledge about Southwest operations than local FAA employees. A local inspector, who had the required credentials, was relegated to the cabin during the flights while personnel from FAA headquarters, tasked with accelerating approvals, were assigned to sit in the cockpit, according to the summary."


Maybe I'm missing something here, but given that the inspectors assigned to WN necessarily don't have a lot of ETOPS experience, isn't bringing in outsiders to help with ETOPS certifications likely both necessary and desirable?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 6:38 pm

Scarebus34 wrote:
exFWAOONW wrote:
Not much to read at either of those links. Without any real facts to go on, is this anything more than sour grapes?


The inquiry has yet to be made public.

You might want to re-write the thread title. It reads like it is a final conclusion and not just an accusation.
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
coolbeans202
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Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:02 pm

exFWAOONW wrote:
Scarebus34 wrote:
exFWAOONW wrote:
Not much to read at either of those links. Without any real facts to go on, is this anything more than sour grapes?


The inquiry has yet to be made public.

You might want to re-write the thread title. It reads like it is a final conclusion and not just an accusation.


One should probably read the article...

"The preliminary conclusion by the Office of Special Counsel pertains to a Federal Aviation Administration employee’s allegations that agency managers gave the carrier preferential treatment by rushing the approval process and cutting corners in other ways. The counsel’s staff 'found a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing' by FAA employees, according to one document, among several documents and emails between staff and the whistleblower reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The inquiry hasn’t been made public."
 
JAAlbert
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:37 pm

I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!
 
nws2002
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:42 pm

JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


I was thinking the same thing. Southwest's ETOPS approvals dragged out forever. Maybe it was the Pacific OpSpecs not the ETOPS approvals?
 
BravoOne
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:43 pm

Regarding the FAA oversight one would imagine that since the FAA has but a few bonified International Operations Specialists, and the last time I saw any details, they were only working out of the SFO and I think, JFK FAA Field offices. That may have been reason enough to borrow them for this assugnment. I would think that any FAA ETOPS specialist would have the authority to help facilitate both the International ops and ETOPS approvals. These kind of approval are not made in a vacuum.
Last edited by BravoOne on Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
Dieuwer
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 7:53 pm

Improperly = Criminal?
 
BravoOne
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:01 pm

nws2002 wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


I was thinking the same thing. Southwest's ETOPS approvals dragged out forever. Maybe it was the Pacific OpSpecs not the ETOPS approvals?


The OpsSpec component for mainland to the islands (Central Eastern Pacific) is not rocket science these days so I find it hard to imagine that being the issue, assuming there is any meat to this persons complaint.
 
durangomac
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:09 pm

BravoOne wrote:
nws2002 wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


I was thinking the same thing. Southwest's ETOPS approvals dragged out forever. Maybe it was the Pacific OpSpecs not the ETOPS approvals?


The OpsSpec component for mainland to the islands (Central Eastern Pacific) is not rocket science these days so I find it hard to imagine that being the issue, assuming there is any meat to this persons complaint.


If I remember correctly it took WN a long time to get to the point of being able to start the ETOPS certification. There is more than just paperwork to get to that point, at least one plane had to be modified with additional rafts and other equipment which WN didn't have.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:13 pm

According to one of our regular posters and a SWA pilot as well, they had number of aircraft ready to now well in advance of the first proving flights. I dunno?
 
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Laulau
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:13 pm

Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!
 
TXMikeDC
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:16 pm

Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?
 
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exFWAOONW
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Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:31 pm

coolbeans202 wrote:
exFWAOONW wrote:
Scarebus34 wrote:

The inquiry has yet to be made public.

You might want to re-write the thread title. It reads like it is a final conclusion and not just an accusation.


One should probably read the article...

"The preliminary conclusion by the Office of Special Counsel pertains to a Federal Aviation Administration employee’s allegations that agency managers gave the carrier preferential treatment by rushing the approval process and cutting corners in other ways. The counsel’s staff 'found a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing' by FAA employees, according to one document, among several documents and emails between staff and the whistleblower reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The inquiry hasn’t been made public."

Without signing up or going behind a paywall, there wasn't much to read.
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Laulau
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:39 pm

TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:41 pm

Dieuwer wrote:
Improperly = Criminal?


Not necessarily. Did inspectors give a generous interpretation where subjectivity is permitted? Not criminal. Were inspectors PAID to look the other way? Acceptance of a bribe would be a problem.
 
rbavfan
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:03 pm

JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


When WN actually started the process (not the years they talked about it) they were delayed due to Trump shutting down the government.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:29 pm

Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php

Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):
But there’s an even bigger factor – and not an entirely fair one. The study placed major importance on whether an airline has passed an operational safety audit (IOSA) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade organization of the world’s airlines. And Southwest didn’t check that box – although that seems to be a technicality. “Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory,” AirlineRatings.com noted. “Therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate.”

An IOSA audit is required for airlines that belong to IATA, but according to an online list of IATA carriers, Southwest is not a member. Because U.S. airlines are so closely regulated and inspected by the FAA, Southwest’s lack of an IOSA audit doesn’t mean it’s not safe. But its failure to get that audit cost it three stars out of seven in the AirlineRatings.com safety study.

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:57 pm

WayexTDI wrote:
Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:

Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php

Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):
But there’s an even bigger factor – and not an entirely fair one. The study placed major importance on whether an airline has passed an operational safety audit (IOSA) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade organization of the world’s airlines. And Southwest didn’t check that box – although that seems to be a technicality. “Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory,” AirlineRatings.com noted. “Therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate.”

An IOSA audit is required for airlines that belong to IATA, but according to an online list of IATA carriers, Southwest is not a member. Because U.S. airlines are so closely regulated and inspected by the FAA, Southwest’s lack of an IOSA audit doesn’t mean it’s not safe. But its failure to get that audit cost it three stars out of seven in the AirlineRatings.com safety study.

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber
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usflyguy
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Re: Accusation: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:22 pm

Scarebus34 wrote:
A new report is out alleging a whistleblower complaint has been filed regarding the FAA's action while granting Southwest permission to fly to Hawaii.

"A local inspector, who had the required credentials, was relegated to the cabin during the flights while personnel from FAA headquarters, tasked with accelerating approvals, were assigned to sit in the cockpit, according to the summary."


So, some inspector is upset because they had to ride in the cabin and watch the flight attendants? FFS.
My post is my ideas and my opinions only, I do not represent the ideas or opinions of anyone else or company.
 
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Laulau
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:30 pm

lightsaber wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Laulau wrote:

Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):
But there’s an even bigger factor – and not an entirely fair one. The study placed major importance on whether an airline has passed an operational safety audit (IOSA) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade organization of the world’s airlines. And Southwest didn’t check that box – although that seems to be a technicality. “Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory,” AirlineRatings.com noted. “Therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate.”

An IOSA audit is required for airlines that belong to IATA, but according to an online list of IATA carriers, Southwest is not a member. Because U.S. airlines are so closely regulated and inspected by the FAA, Southwest’s lack of an IOSA audit doesn’t mean it’s not safe. But its failure to get that audit cost it three stars out of seven in the AirlineRatings.com safety study.

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber


Why do all the other American carriers participate in the IOSA audit?? So even with failures by the FAA with the Max certification and other Southwest incidents you are willing to take the FAA's side?? Sounds like you are in denial of recent shortfalls at the FAA. There should not be a reason not to do the audit because of cost-if safety is paramount. The cost for a carrier the size of Southwest would be minimal.
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: Accusation: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:32 pm

BarneyCaptain should weigh in....
 
TXMikeDC
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:36 pm

Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php


I won’t pile on by pointing out what everyone else already has. I’ll take Southwest’s actual record compared to some group’s subjective score of safety.
 
TXMikeDC
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Wed Jan 22, 2020 11:43 pm

Laulau wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber


Why do all the other American carriers participate in the IOSA audit?? So even with failures by the FAA with the Max certification and other Southwest incidents you are willing to take the FAA's side?? Sounds like you are in denial of recent shortfalls at the FAA. There should not be a reason not to do the audit because of cost-if safety is paramount. The cost for a carrier the size of Southwest would be minimal.


As I understand it, the IOSA audit was intended to help airlines avoid the need for cross-audits before codesharing and affiliating. Because Southwest doesn’t do those things, there is no benefit to undertaking an IOSA audit.
 
freakyrat
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:19 am

lightsaber wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Laulau wrote:

Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):
But there’s an even bigger factor – and not an entirely fair one. The study placed major importance on whether an airline has passed an operational safety audit (IOSA) conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade organization of the world’s airlines. And Southwest didn’t check that box – although that seems to be a technicality. “Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory,” AirlineRatings.com noted. “Therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate.”

An IOSA audit is required for airlines that belong to IATA, but according to an online list of IATA carriers, Southwest is not a member. Because U.S. airlines are so closely regulated and inspected by the FAA, Southwest’s lack of an IOSA audit doesn’t mean it’s not safe. But its failure to get that audit cost it three stars out of seven in the AirlineRatings.com safety study.

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber


I'm with you on this Lightsaber. Also didn't the government shutdown affect Southwest's final approval to begin Hawaii flights and as I recall didn't Southwest pay the FAA employees for the checkrides as you or I would pay an FAA examiner for say a Private Pilot Checkride?
 
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GlobalAirways
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:39 am

Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php


The SFGate is known publish information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by using appeal to emotion or stereotypes) to favor liberal causes. This story really wasn't picked up by any big news medias so...
There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. ~ W. Clement Stone
 
kiowa
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Re: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:52 am

Cubsrule wrote:
Scarebus34 wrote:
"The whistleblower alleged that agency managers held Southwest pilots and officials “to a lower standard than they otherwise would have been,” according to the special counsel’s summary. The allegations, according to the summary, also blamed managers for rushing some of the steps and relying on inspectors from outside the Dallas-area office that normally oversees Southwest. The claims, according to the summary, further alleged that the FAA’s expedited approval “was based solely on the finances of the airline.”

As part of the unusual speed, according to the summary of the allegations, the whistleblower indicated FAA managers brought in employees to observe all six demonstration flights who lacked the necessary 737 pilot licenses and had less specific knowledge about Southwest operations than local FAA employees. A local inspector, who had the required credentials, was relegated to the cabin during the flights while personnel from FAA headquarters, tasked with accelerating approvals, were assigned to sit in the cockpit, according to the summary."


Maybe I'm missing something here, but given that the inspectors assigned to WN necessarily don't have a lot of ETOPS experience, isn't bringing in outsiders to help with ETOPS certifications likely both necessary and desirable?


Although I like the idea of bringing outside FAA people in to observe and evaluate rather than the local ones with a cozy history with Southwest, putting non-type rated pilots to evaluate is absurd and shoud never have happened. It would be like an pediatric doctor evaluating the skills of a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon. They both went to medical school but the evaluation would be worthless.

If the FAA really did "lower the bar" in order for Southwest to pass as the WSJ says, that would be very wrong. This is especially true as safety has been compromised with the entire 737 MAX relationship Boeing has had with the FAA.
 
Cubsrule
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Re: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:20 am

kiowa wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
Scarebus34 wrote:
"The whistleblower alleged that agency managers held Southwest pilots and officials “to a lower standard than they otherwise would have been,” according to the special counsel’s summary. The allegations, according to the summary, also blamed managers for rushing some of the steps and relying on inspectors from outside the Dallas-area office that normally oversees Southwest. The claims, according to the summary, further alleged that the FAA’s expedited approval “was based solely on the finances of the airline.”

As part of the unusual speed, according to the summary of the allegations, the whistleblower indicated FAA managers brought in employees to observe all six demonstration flights who lacked the necessary 737 pilot licenses and had less specific knowledge about Southwest operations than local FAA employees. A local inspector, who had the required credentials, was relegated to the cabin during the flights while personnel from FAA headquarters, tasked with accelerating approvals, were assigned to sit in the cockpit, according to the summary."


Maybe I'm missing something here, but given that the inspectors assigned to WN necessarily don't have a lot of ETOPS experience, isn't bringing in outsiders to help with ETOPS certifications likely both necessary and desirable?


Although I like the idea of bringing outside FAA people in to observe and evaluate rather than the local ones with a cozy history with Southwest, putting non-type rated pilots to evaluate is absurd and shoud never have happened. It would be like an pediatric doctor evaluating the skills of a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon. They both went to medical school but the evaluation would be worthless.

If the FAA really did "lower the bar" in order for Southwest to pass as the WSJ says, that would be very wrong. This is especially true as safety has been compromised with the entire 737 MAX relationship Boeing has had with the FAA.


I understand the sentiment, but is there any part of an ETOPS verification flight that would require a type rating in the relevant aircraft for acceptable evaluation?
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
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lightsaber
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 4:48 am

Laulau wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber


Why do all the other American carriers participate in the IOSA audit?? So even with failures by the FAA with the Max certification and other Southwest incidents you are willing to take the FAA's side?? Sounds like you are in denial of recent shortfalls at the FAA. There should not be a reason not to do the audit because of cost-if safety is paramount. The cost for a carrier the size of Southwest would be minimal.

Failures happen. I've worked with the FAA. People want to do the right thing.

Cost with no benefit is silly. Cost of audits add up.

I'm well aware of the recent issues. The FAA is still the organization that makes things safer.

I'm in an organization that has so many audits it is becoming less safe as new innovations are not being adopted

It is a cost. A good LCC hires people like me or my friends to do internal audits. I know when paper improves safety. On my last program I increased the paper to speed it up and to cut costs. I also pushed back on a worthless audit that employed a bunch of people who couldn't make the technical reasoning to understand the issues. It would have tied up the people who keep us safe.

I would fly Southwest any day. I will fly the MAX as soon as I can. Heck, I would fly WN to Hawaii (Ok, probably not, HA from LGB is just too convenient for me.).

I had never heard of this audit until it started cropping up in WN threads. For WN, I am more interested in them updating software for opperations to make introducing a 2nd time more economical.

Recall, I come out of flight testing. I don't agree with certain original MAX engineering as I cannot make the risk meet standards. But now it does. Aviation works by a system that works to correct issues, not find blame.

So I personally look forward to WN flying MAXes to Hawaii.

Lightsaber
IM messages to mods on warnings and bans will be ignored and nasty ones will result in a ban.
 
N505fx
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:51 am

Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php


The methodology in this "report" is completely flawed and is just a sensationalist piece of click-bait. - nothing to see, move on.
 
mcdu
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Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:11 am

JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.

This is not surprising to anyone in the industry that doesn’t work for WN.
 
mcdu
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Re: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:19 am

Cubsrule wrote:
kiowa wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:

Maybe I'm missing something here, but given that the inspectors assigned to WN necessarily don't have a lot of ETOPS experience, isn't bringing in outsiders to help with ETOPS certifications likely both necessary and desirable?


Although I like the idea of bringing outside FAA people in to observe and evaluate rather than the local ones with a cozy history with Southwest, putting non-type rated pilots to evaluate is absurd and shoud never have happened. It would be like an pediatric doctor evaluating the skills of a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon. They both went to medical school but the evaluation would be worthless.

If the FAA really did "lower the bar" in order for Southwest to pass as the WSJ says, that would be very wrong. This is especially true as safety has been compromised with the entire 737 MAX relationship Boeing has had with the FAA.


I understand the sentiment, but is there any part of an ETOPS verification flight that would require a type rating in the relevant aircraft for acceptable evaluation?


Airplanes differ in systems and how they operate in the 180 etops area required for Hawaii flying. Eg A 777 doesn’t need an APU available as it can be deferred for 180 but a 737 would need to run the APU the entire flight. Some operators have APU on demand for 180 but don’t think a new ETOPS operator would be approved. A 757 or 767 needs the APU available but not required to run entire flight like a 737.

That’s just the electrical system. Also divert speeds for ETOPS is aircraft specific.

So yes a type rating would be a worthy rating.

I think we see more clearly why WN doesn’t want an IOSA audit. The things under the surface are scary in how WN cuts corners and applies pressure.
 
nagpaw
Posts: 26
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:32 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:11 am

mcdu wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.


Proof?

Nice story, but without proof, it's just a story. (Your paraphrased words to me from another thread, IIRC ;) )
 
Silver1SWA
Posts: 4608
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:12 am

mcdu wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.

This is not surprising to anyone in the industry that doesn’t work for WN.


It took them roughly 18 months which is right there on average for airlines seeking ETOPS approval. They had a couple setbacks, including the government shutdown.

Bummer someone beat you to starting this thread.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
mcdu
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:30 am

nagpaw wrote:
mcdu wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.


Proof?

Nice story, but without proof, it's just a story. (Your paraphrased words to me from another thread, IIRC ;) )


Proof? Use google. Read the news stories. Visit the pilot forums. WN failed the table top exercise more than once. They had a lot of issues in getting certified for ETOPS.

This whistleblower report seems to agree with the facts of the period.
 
mcdu
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:35 am

Silver1SWA wrote:
mcdu wrote:
JAAlbert wrote:
I'm surprised to hear allegations that the FAA rushed the approval, since it seemed to take Southwest years to get its Hawaii routes up and running!


It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.

This is not surprising to anyone in the industry that doesn’t work for WN.


It took them roughly 18 months which is right there on average for airlines seeking ETOPS approval. They had a couple setbacks, including the government shutdown.

Bummer someone beat you to starting this thread.


Where do you calculate 18 months? Also if it was a sham process then perhaps the timeline is seriously flawed? Should have taken longer without the intervention $$$$$$. Wouldn’t be the first time WN has arranged a cozy relationship with the FAA to get things overlooked.

I think a lot of this is fallout from the PHL passenger death. The NTSB and the FAA got a wake up call and inspectors that maybe wouldn’t have had access to WN previously got a peak inside the operation.
 
Silver1SWA
Posts: 4608
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 6:11 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:12 am

mcdu wrote:
Silver1SWA wrote:
mcdu wrote:

It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.

This is not surprising to anyone in the industry that doesn’t work for WN.


It took them roughly 18 months which is right there on average for airlines seeking ETOPS approval. They had a couple setbacks, including the government shutdown.

Bummer someone beat you to starting this thread.


Where do you calculate 18 months? Also if it was a sham process then perhaps the timeline is seriously flawed? Should have taken longer without the intervention $$$$$$. Wouldn’t be the first time WN has arranged a cozy relationship with the FAA to get things overlooked.

I think a lot of this is fallout from the PHL passenger death. The NTSB and the FAA got a wake up call and inspectors that maybe wouldn’t have had access to WN previously got a peak inside the operation.


They formally applied after announcing plans to serve Hawaii in October 2017. ETOPS approval was granted at the end of February 2019. Yes, the process invited the FAA in to take a close look at the operation and they found things that needed improvement. Isn’t that how it works?

You love talking about some cozy relationship with the FAA but you also find fault when the system holds them accountable. So which is it??
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8325
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Accusation: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:47 am

The comments in the WSJ article excoriated the authors and pointed out what everyone here saw: the FAA is accused of having inspectors that are too "cozy" with WN when the $$$/power-seeking "whistleblowers" are from outside Dallas, and the Dallas-based "whistleblowers" accuse the HQ folks of being too "cozy" with WN when they are relegated to the cabin of a certification flight that they were nevertheless invited aboard. Stupid. There are two jump seats in a 737. This is a turf-war pissing match over who should sit up front.

And the oh-so-trumpeted "revelation" that the inspectors who got to ride in the cockpit weren't "type-rated 737 pilots" -- stupid again. The inspectors typically are not pilots, much less type-rated pilots in that aircraft. They are there to monitor compliance with certain ETOPS procedures, not to evaluate the quality of WN's pilots, which would be stupid in itself. ETOPS certification involves all sorts of procedural development and implementation, manual pages being written, plans, maintenance procedure changes, blah-blah -- much more than just a couple of certification flights that bureaucrats view as perks. The whole article premise is asinine. Fourteen months to do something that a bunch of (lesser?) carriers are already doing with the exact same aircraft is "rushing"? Please. Let's move on. Nothing to see here.
 
wjcandee
Posts: 8325
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:50 am

Re: Accusation: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:53 am

TVNWZ wrote:
BarneyCaptain should weigh in....


He's too smart to comment on an article that dumb.
 
oldannyboy
Posts: 2528
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:28 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:12 am

Laulau wrote:
TXMikeDC wrote:
Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Bad safety record?



Give this read TXMike
https://www.sfgate.com/travel/article/S ... 945622.php


Not a SWA fanboy here, and not US based either but....what a load of rubbish that article is. It's so bad I'd be embarrassed to post the link. Safety is not based on passing a voluntary audit. Give us a break man.
 
reltney
Posts: 536
Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:34 am

Re: FAA acted improperly re: WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:33 am

coolbeans202 wrote:
exFWAOONW wrote:
Scarebus34 wrote:

The inquiry has yet to be made public.

You might want to re-write the thread title. It reads like it is a final conclusion and not just an accusation.


One should probably read the article...

"The preliminary conclusion by the Office of Special Counsel pertains to a Federal Aviation Administration employee’s allegations that agency managers gave the carrier preferential treatment by rushing the approval process and cutting corners in other ways. The counsel’s staff 'found a substantial likelihood of wrongdoing' by FAA employees, according to one document, among several documents and emails between staff and the whistleblower reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The inquiry hasn’t been made public."



Gee, sounds like it’s more than sour grapes...

Best part is “the inquire hasn’t been made public”. Really, how come it’s on the internet in a forum... mmm sound public to me.

Cheers
Knives don't kill people. People with knives kill people.
OUTLAW KNIVES.

I am a pilot, therefore I envy no one...
 
planecane
Posts: 1435
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:38 am

Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


WN "pressure" was a thing when going from the 737 classic to NG. The MAX was due to AA threatening to give Airbus their entire narrowbody order if Boeing didn't offer something similar to the NEO in the same time frame.

That said, there is no similarity between WN asking a manufacturer for aircraft features and allegedly getting "favors" from the FAA.
 
WN732
Posts: 660
Joined: Sat Feb 26, 2011 12:49 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:30 pm

mcdu wrote:
nagpaw wrote:
mcdu wrote:

It took them years because they kept failing in the process. They failed the table top exercise on more than one occasion.


Proof?

Nice story, but without proof, it's just a story. (Your paraphrased words to me from another thread, IIRC ;) )


Proof? Use google. Read the news stories. Visit the pilot forums. WN failed the table top exercise more than once. They had a lot of issues in getting certified for ETOPS.

This whistleblower report seems to agree with the facts of the period.


Why don't we wait until there is factual evidence before making assumptions. This is all heresay at this point.
 
AirnerdTX
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Mar 13, 2019 12:27 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:47 pm

Laulau wrote:
Not a surprise. Just like the pressure SWA has put on Boeing to keep reengineering a 737 airframe that is outdated. There is a culture of between the FAA and SWA along with Boeing that have caused these problems-and you wonder why they have the bad safety record!!!!


Can you please expound on the "bad safety record"? I'd also like to see a compare/contrast in the roles of AA vs WN in the pressure applied on Boeing for the MAX plan.


thanks
 
WayexTDI
Posts: 1489
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:38 pm

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:58 pm

Laulau wrote:
lightsaber wrote:
WayexTDI wrote:
Yeah, you might want to give it a thorough read (bolding mine):

It's been discussed over and over that this "rating" isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

WN refuses to pay for that audit. I personally trust the FAA more.

I work with the FAA and other government regulators. They almost issued me an incident commander card.
IMHO FAA is more than sufficient.

Air travel is still the safest way to travel. The most dangerous part of air travel is pedestrian street crossing on the way to the flight.

A paper hassle. It sounds like WN did everything right.

Lightsaber


Why do all the other American carriers participate in the IOSA audit?? So even with failures by the FAA with the Max certification and other Southwest incidents you are willing to take the FAA's side?? Sounds like you are in denial of recent shortfalls at the FAA. There should not be a reason not to do the audit because of cost-if safety is paramount. The cost for a carrier the size of Southwest would be minimal.

From the same article (I've copying what's already in this chain):
An IOSA audit is required for airlines that belong to IATA, but according to an online list of IATA carriers, Southwest is not a member.

WN is not an IATA member, hence they're not required to take an IOSA audit, hence they lost almost half the points (3 out of 7) of this silly rating.

By the way, Spirit for one is not registered in the IOSA audit; so, not "all the other American carriers participate in the IOSA audit".
 
mcdu
Posts: 1583
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 5:23 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:03 pm

WN732 wrote:
mcdu wrote:
nagpaw wrote:

Proof?

Nice story, but without proof, it's just a story. (Your paraphrased words to me from another thread, IIRC ;) )


Proof? Use google. Read the news stories. Visit the pilot forums. WN failed the table top exercise more than once. They had a lot of issues in getting certified for ETOPS.

This whistleblower report seems to agree with the facts of the period.


Why don't we wait until there is factual evidence before making assumptions. This is all heresay at this point.


He was asking for proof in WN failing the ETOPS exercises. That was my suggestion to use google since he appears late to the party that knows about WN failing the ETOPS certification initially. So this does cast a dim light on how they achieved their certification. Was it pressure on the FAA and $$$ changing hands that got them qualified?

Coming on the heels of the recent FAA fine for improper aircraft weights the safety culture at WN does look questionable based on the facts available.
 
blueflyer
Posts: 4204
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 4:17 am

Re: Report: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 1:24 pm

There is no reason to complain or find it suspicious that the investigation is not public, because the Office of Special Counsel investigation is not over!

The OSC has made a preliminary determination that there is "substantial likelihood" that the whistle blower allegations are true ("substantial likelihood" = more likely than not). The next step is for the FAA to perform an internal investigation and report to the OSC. After the FAA turns in its conclusions, the OSC will make its final determination, publicize its results, and send them to Congress.

At this stage, the final outcome could go either way still. All the OSC has done so far is determine that the allegations are sufficiently substantiated that they should be looked into. Period.

WN732 wrote:
Why don't we wait until there is factual evidence before making assumptions. This is all heresay at this point.

It is not hearsay. The Office of Special Counsel made a preliminary determination and referred the matter to the FAA for further investigation. Just because they don't publicize their findings (yet) doesn't make it hearsay.

Silver1SWA wrote:
They formally applied after announcing plans to serve Hawaii in October 2017. ETOPS approval was granted at the end of February 2019. Yes, the process invited the FAA in to take a close look at the operation and they found things that needed improvement. Isn’t that how it works?

The very question of the investigation is how "things that needed improvement" were improved.
Taking a long government shutdown into account, the approval was granted faster-than-average. However the very definition of average implies that some approvals will be completed faster than average, and we cannot make conclusions, good or bad, on the quality of the process based on its duration alone.

planecane wrote:
WN "pressure" was a thing when going from the 737 classic to NG. The MAX was due to AA threatening to give Airbus their entire narrowbody order if Boeing didn't offer something similar to the NEO in the same time frame.

AA didn't negotiate a $1mil penalty clause if simulator time was required to fly the MAX.
All Hail King Donald
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 14228
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

Re: FAA acted improperly in approving WN Hawaii flying

Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:15 pm

mcdu wrote:
Cubsrule wrote:
kiowa wrote:

Although I like the idea of bringing outside FAA people in to observe and evaluate rather than the local ones with a cozy history with Southwest, putting non-type rated pilots to evaluate is absurd and shoud never have happened. It would be like an pediatric doctor evaluating the skills of a knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon. They both went to medical school but the evaluation would be worthless.

If the FAA really did "lower the bar" in order for Southwest to pass as the WSJ says, that would be very wrong. This is especially true as safety has been compromised with the entire 737 MAX relationship Boeing has had with the FAA.


I understand the sentiment, but is there any part of an ETOPS verification flight that would require a type rating in the relevant aircraft for acceptable evaluation?


Airplanes differ in systems and how they operate in the 180 etops area required for Hawaii flying. Eg A 777 doesn’t need an APU available as it can be deferred for 180 but a 737 would need to run the APU the entire flight. Some operators have APU on demand for 180 but don’t think a new ETOPS operator would be approved. A 757 or 767 needs the APU available but not required to run entire flight like a 737.

That’s just the electrical system. Also divert speeds for ETOPS is aircraft specific.

So yes a type rating would be a worthy rating.

I think we see more clearly why WN doesn’t want an IOSA audit. The things under the surface are scary in how WN cuts corners and applies pressure.


A type rating is necessary to evaluate whether a pilot runs to APU or the airspeed at which she flies? Again, let's go back to my question: is there any part of an ETOPS verification flight that would require a type rating in the relevant aircraft for acceptable evaluation?
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