Posted by John McHale
WASHINGTON, 16 March 2010. Officials at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are looking to collect civil penalties from American Airlines totaling $787,500 for three different violations including one for not replacing two faulty Central Air Data Computers (CADCs) on a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 jetliner.
In the first case, which occurred in April 2008, the FAA alleges American Airlines mechanics diagnosed problems with one of two CADCs. Instead of replacing the flight computer, mechanics improperly deferred this maintenance under the airline's DC-9 Minimum Equipment List (MEL) by noting that the auto-throttles were inoperative, FAA officials say in a public release. The MEL, however, does not allow deferral of an inoperative CADC.
The airline subsequently flew the plane on 10 passenger flights before the computer was replaced, according to the FAA release. During this time, flight crews were led to believe that both computers were working properly.
The FAA proposes a civil penalty of $625,000 in this case.
In the second case, the FAA found that in March 2008, American failed to correctly follow an Airworthiness Directive involving the inspection of rudder components on certain Boeing 757 aircraft, according to the FAA release. As a result, four 757s operated by American Airlines did not comply with the requirements of the Airworthiness Directive.
The FAA alleges that after American was advised of the situation, the company said it would cease flying the planes until they were repaired. However, during the following two days, the airline flew two of the planes on a total of three passenger flights, according to the FAA release. The FAA is seeking a penalty of $75,000 in this case.
In the final case, the FAA alleges that in May 2009, American's mechanics returned an MD-82 aircraft to service, even though several steps of a scheduled B-check maintenance visit had not been checked off as completed, according to the FAA release. The airline also replaced a landing gear door without noting it in the aircraft's logbook.
The aircraft was operated on two passenger flights with the logbook error. An FAA inspection of the aircraft revealed several discrepancies in the tail section, including loose screws, a missing nut plate and a right hand elevator torque tube binding and making noise. As a result of these discrepancies, the FAA proposes a civil penalty of $87,500.
American Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA's civil penalty letter to respond to the agency, according to the FAA release.