On October 12, 2010, the FAA, in separate announcements, said that it was proposing to fine two companies a total of $1,119,175 for maintenance violations. First, the FAA proposed a $664,000 civil penalty against The Parachute Center of Acampo, California, for allegedly failing to perform required aircraft parts replacements and failing to comply with safety directives. Then, the FAA announced that it was proposing to fine Corporate Air of Billings, Montana, $455,175 for allegedly operating a Beech 1900C airliner when it was not compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.
In the announcements, Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood said esentially the same thing: the DOT and FAA expect airlines and aircraft operators to comply with the Federal Aviation Regulations and will take enforcement action when they do not. Likewise, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s comments on the two cases mirrored each other: “The safety of the passengers and crew must be the top priority of any operator, they have to be able to trust that an operator has done the right thing and has complied with all of the rules. Safety and compliance are the right choices every time.”
The FAA alleged that the Parachute Center operated a DeHavilland DHC-6 Twin Otter 2,121 times with elevator control cables that overdue for replacement and when the plane was not in compliance with Airworthiness Directives requiring visual inspections of the wing main spar, lower spar cap extensions and wing support for possible corrosion.
The FAA alleged that Corporate Air failed to maintain its Beech 1900C airliner under the company’s general maintenance manual for the aircraft’s turboprop engines. The FAA stated that on at least 80 flights, Corporate Air failed to inspect for the cause of excessive oil consumption by the right engine and failed to correct the problem.
Both Corporate Air and The Parachute Center will have 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.