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NEWS: Safety Violations Alleged Against American Airlines

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posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 10:02 PM
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According to a civil complaint filed by the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn on Thursday, American Airlines the U.S. largest airline violated multiple federal air safety regulations and put its passengers at risk in 2003 by allowing one of its aircraft to fly with a leaky fuel tank. The complaint stems from a report filed by an FAA inspector who was a passenger on board an American flight from Orlando to New York when he saw fuel leaking from a wing a McDonnell Douglas Md-82. The U.S. government is seeking more than $1 million in penalties against the airline.
 



news.yahoo.com
American Airlines, the No. 1 U.S. air carrier, was accused of safety violations in a civil lawsuit seeking over $1 million in fines announced on Thursday by federal prosecutors in Brooklyn.

American, owned by AMR Corp., denied the accusation in the lawsuit filed on September 6 in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, saying that it had never compromised passengers' safety.

The lawsuit stems from a Federal Aviation Administration inspector's claim that he observed fuel leaking from the wing of a McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft during a flight from Orlando, Florida to LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

The inspector, who was on the flight in November 2003, reported that he had seen the leak and pointed it out to the flight's crew, the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney's office said in a statement.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


Reportedly upon landing the inspector told the flight crew about the leak and insisted that it be recorded in the aircraft’s maintenance log. However, the complaint alleges “no such entry” was made by the pilot or maintenance crew.

Now if that was not bad enough the complaint goes on to state that American Airlines continued to allow the jet to make an additional 53 commercial flights over two weeks before the leak was repaired during a regularly scheduled maintenance check.

Now I ask you just what is wrong with this picture! First we have an FAA inspector who sees a leak and then he reports it. Then aircraft maintenance personnel say they did not see any leak only to find out two weeks later the leak was just were the inspector had stated it was. My question is why didn’t the FAA inspector just insist the plane be grounded until the leak was fixed?



Related News Links:
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posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 03:58 AM
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The biggest rule of the FAA inspectors is "I'm not responsible." The only time I've ever heard of an FAA inspector being proactive like that was when one of them grounded all the DC-10s shortly after an American went down in Chicago when an engine fell off due to a maintenance error. I'd love to say the true meaning of FAA, but it would be edited so fast my head would be spinning. There was a really good article written in Playboy shortily after 9/11 that the FAA was more dangerous than the terrorists, and it was true.

The second biggest rule of the FAA is to make the airlines happy. Why do you think that when they make a "safety change" to the fleet, they give them like 6-10 years to have it completed, so that they can do it during scheduled inspections, so they don't lose money by grounding the fleet. On top of that I don't think the FAA has EVER made any changes until AFTER at least one major accident, involving fatalities.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 08:11 AM
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Interesting... I wonder if this would be a likely scenario:

Airline pays fine... airline declares bankruptcy... government bails out airline...



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 08:22 AM
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Originally posted by DCFusion
Interesting... I wonder if this would be a likely scenario:

Airline pays fine... airline declares bankruptcy... government bails out airline...


Since the alleged event took place right around the time that AA was on the verge of bankruptcy, I was thinking more along these lines.

FAA Looks the other way .... allowing airline to avoid bankruptcy....so government can fine the airline at a later date



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 08:24 AM
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Ok thats definatly not good stuff. I know a retired airline mechanic, and if I learned anything from him, it's that you don't let planes like that fly full of people. I'm finding it quite incredulous that American Airlines would allow such a plane to fly. Leaky fuel tanks are not good, quite dangerous actually because it means you've got flammable liquid were it shouldn't be.

But on the other hand this may have something to due with the fact that they may soon lose their jobs. It may not be a good excuse, but I can imagine they're feeling disgruntled with the current corporate enviroment. Apparently theres this new trend that involves sending airlines to countries like China and Mexico. Supposedly theres a loophole that allows uneducated workers from 3rd world countries to perform maintence so long as they're inspected by somebody with qualifications. Anyhow, with the way that maintenence is being exported, it's no wonder mechanics are going to be a bit disgruntled. I've said this before, it is just flat out dangerous to piss off your mechanics.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 08:50 AM
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I wonder why the FAA isn't all over Anerican on this one? I know for a fact that the FAA will fine an airline for an error such as this. I believe the federal prosecuter will lose this one! Also, if the pilots never made an entry in the log, a mechanic would never even bother to look at the supposed "leak" to determine that it was OK.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 09:48 AM
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Originally posted by shots
Now I ask you just what is wrong with this picture! First we have an FAA inspector who sees a leak and then he reports it. Then aircraft maintenance personnel say they did not see any leak only to find out two weeks later the leak was just were the inspector had stated it was. My question is why didn’t the FAA inspector just insist the plane be grounded until the leak was fixed?


First. The inspector doesn't have the authority to ground the aircraft.

Second. How does he know it was a fuel leak? There are other fluids inside that wing besides fuel. Where do you think the water in the restroom comes from.

Third. Aircraft leak. It is just a fact of life. A fuel leak is not cause for the grounding of an aircraft. It may not even be an indication of a problem. As an aircraft's altitude changes the air pressure outside of it also changes. There are vents built into the fuel cells of aircraft to keep the internal pressure in the tank the same as the air pressure outside of the tank. This prevents the tank's internal pressure from rupturing the tank. This leak may just have been some fuel or other fluid releasing from a vent to equalize the pressure.

Fourth. The article doesn't say what type of inspector the man making the complaint is. There are many different types of FAA inspectors. These include maintenance , training, records and various other types. Inside each type of inspectors there are subtypes. In maintenance there are Powerplants, Airframes, Avionics and Electrical to name a few. If the man was a maintenance inspector he wouldn't have had to say anything to the flight crew about the leak. He would have either recognized it for what it was or he would have made a simple phone call to his office and got the number for American's head of maintenance and let him know about it.

One of the primary duties of the FAA is to promote aviation. This can sometimes get in the way of the regulating duties, but tha majority of the time it works pretty well. One of the side effects of having both of these duties is that sometimes things are not publicized, but are taken care of quietly. This can give someone who doesn't know how things work the impression of a cover-up. I spent a better part of fifteen years as both an aircraft builder and mechanic, on both military and civilian aircraft. I have been on the recieving end of an FAA inspection and can tell you that they are very thorugh. There is a problem with there not being enough inspectors to be able to have as many checks as I would have liked to have seen. I can say with complete honesty that there are no short cuts being taken in the safety of commercial aircraft in the US, even by those airlines in financial trouble. The ultimate call on safety lies in the hands of the individual mechanic, it is there license number that is places in the sign-off section of the logbook. It is the individual mechanic who will be the first to catch the fall out if there is a descrepency discovered in their work. That makes most of the mechanics put themselves before their company, this is a good thing, because if a company was pressuring their mechanics to do substandard work to save money there are enough ways for the mechanics to report this and they always have the ulitmate power of not signing off on the work.

Last. even if there was a fuel leak there was no danger to the aircraft. Jet fuel is very hard to ignite. It may surprise you to know that both military and civilian aircraft actually dump fuel from their tanks while they are in the air. The civilian aircraft don't do it except in case of emergency, but military aircraft do it all of the time. Next time you watch the movie "Top Gun" watch for the scene where the Tomcat is chasing the A-4 and you see the white vapor curling up around the back of the Tomcat. That vapor is the dumped fuel. The movie "Die Hard 2" where he lights the leaking fuel on the ground and blows up the plane is impossible. If you dump a bucket of jet fuel on a fire all you are going to do is to put the fire out. Wait a few minutes and try to light the vapors coming off of the hot coals then you will get your BOOM! I do not buy into the fuel vapor theory that is used to explain the explosion of the 747 off of New York a few years back, but that is something for another thread.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 12:55 PM
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JIMC says: First. The inspector doesn't have the authority to ground the aircraft.


That may be true, however one phone call to the FAA could change that in an instant since the FAA can and does ground aircraft on occassion. American Airlines crash in Chicago comes to mind when they grounded all DC-10's. So do not say it cannot be done it is clear they can




JIMC says: Last. even if there was a fuel leak there was no danger to the aircraft.


Obvously the FAA thinks different then you do or they would not have filed a claim against them, would they?

Also as you noted Flight 800 and its theory if true could also prove your theory wrong as to no danger to the aircraft.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 01:49 PM
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Originally posted by shots


That may be true, however one phone call to the FAA could change that in an instant since the FAA can and does ground aircraft on occassion. American Airlines crash in Chicago comes to mind when they grounded all DC-10's. So do not say it cannot be done it is clear they can


That was in response to an incident that cost lives and they grounded all aircraft of that type until the cause of the accident was discovered. This aircraft was just suspected of having a fuel leak and there was no incident.




Obvously the FAA thinks different then you do or they would not have filed a claim against them, would they?

What I find interesting is that this is a lawsuit filed against American Airlines by a Federal prosecutor from Brooklyn New York. The article states that there was a supposed violation of FAA regulations. The interesting part of this is if the FAR's (Federal Aviation Regulations) were violated then why isn't this being handled as a regulatory hearing by the FAA as is the usual procedure. The FAA is quite capable of investigating this and if necessary imposing fines and penalties.



Also as you noted Flight 800 and its theory if true could also prove your theory wrong as to no danger to the aircraft.


The stated cause of the Flight 800 explosion has nothing to do with a fuel leak. It has to do with fuel vapors being ignighted by the wiring in an empty fuel cell. There are enough holes in this theory to drive a truck through. One of them is. The jet fuel used was JET A it has a flashpoint of 120 degrees F. The flashpoint is a temperature at which a material gives off flamable vapors. How did the internal temperature in that cell reach 120 degrees? The second is that the JET A vapors are heavier than air. Remember the venting system I talked about earlier? If the temperature was warm enough that the JET A was giving off vapors then the vapors should have displaced the air in the tank causing the air to leave through the vents. This should not have allowed enough oxygen to be in the tanks to cause an explosion. Remember the grade school science experiment where you place a candle in the bottom of a beaker and light it. Then you mix vinegar and baking soda in another beaker and you dump the CO2 into the beaker with the candle and the candle goes out. Same thing.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 02:39 PM
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JIMC sorry but I will not buy your arguments at all. The fact is that jet fuel can and will burn given the right conditions that is a fact.

Now that we know it can burn that only means one thing it can endanger an aircraft. Get back to me when you can prove jet fuel will not burn OK?

[edit on 9/9/2005 by shots]



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 02:48 PM
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Originally posted by shots
JIMC sorry but I will not buy your arguments at all. The fact is that jet fuel can and will burn given the right conditions that is a fact.

Now that we know it can burn that only means one thing it can endanger an aircraft. Get back to me when you can prove jet fuel will not burn OK?

[edit on 9/9/2005 by shots]


You've got it! You said it yourself,"jet fuel will burn given the right conditions" until those conditions are met a minor fuel leak is not a danger to the aircraft.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 02:54 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499


You've got it! You said it yourself,"jet fuel will burn given the right conditions" until those conditions are met a minor fuel leak is not a danger to the aircraft.



And What happens if the small leak ruptures and turns into a big leak? OOOOPs plane runs out of fuel if over a large body open water, runs out of fuel and bye bye plane and passengers.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 03:19 PM
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Originally posted by shots

And What happens if the small leak ruptures and turns into a big leak? OOOOPs plane runs out of fuel if over a large body open water, runs out of fuel and bye bye plane and passengers.


Chances of that are very remote. As far as the plane running out of fuel over open water goes it is possible but again remote. Seeing as how the fuel tanks are in the wings and fuselage and knowing how they are constructed. If you had a large enough failure for the aircraft to lose all of its fuel in such a short amount of time, the loss of fuel would be the least of your worries. Fuel systems are designed as a series of tanks, not one large tank. Inside if these tanks there are structures called "slosh baffles". What slosh baffles do is to prevent the fuel from moving around inside the tank when ever the aircraft maneuvers. If it wasn't for the slosh baffles an aircraft gould tear itself apart from just the movement of its fuel.
Any kind of failure serious enough to result in the loss of all of an aircraft's fuel would be severe enough that the aircraft would crash long before the engines stopped turning. Commercial aircraft in the US are required to carry enough fuel to get to their destination plus enough to have a reserve of at least 45 minutes. With the pumps and shut-off valves in the individual fuel tanks the failure of any one tank resulting in the loss of it's fuel would be an inconvience not a catastrophe.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499
First. The inspector doesn't have the authority to ground the aircraft.


Incorrect; an FAA ops inspector does have the authority to ground an aircraft.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
Second. How does he know it was a fuel leak? There are other fluids inside that wing besides fuel. Where do you think the water in the restroom comes from.


The lav water; also known as "blue juice" or "blue lagoon" is store in the fueslage--not the wing. The only fluid actually stored in the wing is fuel. Hydraulic reservoirs are typically mounted on the engines because the engines drive hydraulic pumps. However, a leaking hydraulic contol or valve could cause the fluid to deep onto the wing. But hydraulic fluid is red and it would be hard to mistake this for fuel.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
Third. Aircraft leak. It is just a fact of life. A fuel leak is not cause for the grounding of an aircraft.... This leak may just have been some fuel or other fluid releasing from a vent to equalize the pressure.


Depends on where the leak is and what is causing it. I've declined an aircraft for having a fuel leaking (even small) where it shouldn't be leaking.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
If the man was a maintenance inspector he wouldn't have had to say anything to the flight crew about the leak. He would have either recognized it for what it was or he would have made a simple phone call to his office and got the number for American's head of maintenance and let him know about it.


Incorrect. An FAA maintenance inspector does have the authority to ground an aircraft. As a representative of the FAA he also has the authority to inspect the pilot's certificates. It's happened to me.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
One of the primary duties of the FAA is to promote aviation. This can sometimes get in the way of the regulating duties,


You are correct on this one: The fact that the FAA is the regulatory arm of aviation often conflicts with its role as promoter of aviation.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
Last. even if there was a fuel leak there was no danger to the aircraft. Jet fuel is very hard to ignite. It may surprise you to know that both military and civilian aircraft actually dump fuel from their tanks while they are in the air. The civilian aircraft don't do it except in case of emergency, but military aircraft do it all of the time. Next time you watch the movie "Top Gun" watch for the scene where the Tomcat is chasing the A-4 and you see the white vapor curling up around the back of the Tomcat. That vapor is the dumped fuel. The movie "Die Hard 2" where he lights the leaking fuel on the ground and blows up the plane is impossible. If you dump a bucket of jet fuel on a fire all you are going to do is to put the fire out. Wait a few minutes and try to light the vapors coming off of the hot coals then you will get your BOOM! I do not buy into the fuel vapor theory that is used to explain the explosion of the 747 off of New York a few years back, but that is something for another thread.


Fuel leaking where it shouldn't is very dangerous--especially if it's leaking within an enclosed space, such as a landing gear well. Also, an ignition source (such as a spark from a short or overheated pump) inside a fuel tank will cause the vapors to explode.

The "white vapor" in those scenes are either condensation trails from the engines or from the wings. When an aircraft is maneuvering the air flowing over the wing may cool to a temperature at or below the dewpoint. This will make the water vapor become visible. As a military pilot I can tell you that we do not dump fuel except, as you stated for civilian airliners, in an emergency.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499

Originally posted by shots

And What happens if the small leak ruptures and turns into a big leak? OOOOPs plane runs out of fuel if over a large body open water, runs out of fuel and bye bye plane and passengers.


Chances of that are very remote. As far as the plane running out of fuel over open water goes it is possible but again remote. Seeing as how the fuel tanks are in the wings and fuselage and knowing how they are constructed. If you had a large enough failure for the aircraft to lose all of its fuel in such a short amount of time, the loss of fuel would be the least of your worries. Fuel systems are designed as a series of tanks, not one large tank. Inside if these tanks there are structures called "slosh baffles". What slosh baffles do is to prevent the fuel from moving around inside the tank when ever the aircraft maneuvers. If it wasn't for the slosh baffles an aircraft gould tear itself apart from just the movement of its fuel.
Any kind of failure serious enough to result in the loss of all of an aircraft's fuel would be severe enough that the aircraft would crash long before the engines stopped turning. Commercial aircraft in the US are required to carry enough fuel to get to their destination plus enough to have a reserve of at least 45 minutes. With the pumps and shut-off valves in the individual fuel tanks the failure of any one tank resulting in the loss of it's fuel would be an inconvience not a catastrophe.


While remote, it has happened recently. A Canadian Air Transat Airbus 340 lost all its fuel while flying over the Atlantic. They were, however, fortunate enough to be within gliding range of Lajes Airfield and successfully dead sticked the aircraft for a landing. A remarkable feat indeed!

For me, losing fuel, even from only one tank, would be an emergency; simply because you have no idea where that fuel went. And the act of turning on (or turning off) an electrical compnent, such as a landing light, could cause a spark igniting that leaked fuel. Also, the imbalance caused by the empty tank would create additional, and possibly excessive, loads on the wing and fuselage structure.



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 05:30 PM
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Air Transat lost its fuel because of a ruptured line in the engine. When the mechanics replaced the engine they didn't put a bracket around the lines to keep them from rubbing, and it rubbed a hole and blew. Different situation. The wings would be blown apart long before you ran out of fuel in a situation like this, if you blew a big enough hole to lose all the fuel.



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 10:06 AM
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Originally posted by Freedom_for_sum

Incorrect; an FAA ops inspector does have the authority to ground an aircraft.

The article doesn't say what type of inspector lodged the complaint.



The lav water; also known as "blue juice" or "blue lagoon" is store in the fueslage--not the wing. The only fluid actually stored in the wing is fuel. Hydraulic reservoirs are typically mounted on the engines because the engines drive hydraulic pumps. However, a leaking hydraulic contol or valve could cause the fluid to deep onto the wing. But hydraulic fluid is red and it would be hard to mistake this for fuel.

In certain models of aircraft potable water is carried in tanks in the wing near the wing root. You don't wash your hands with the blue juice.


Depends on where the leak is and what is causing it. I've declined an aircraft for having a fuel leaking (even small) where it shouldn't be leaking.

Exactly. You have declined an aircraft because fuel was leaking from where it shouldn't have been. You knew that it shouldn't have been leaking there and did the correct thing. The article doesn't state where the leak was, the wing is a big area. It does state that the aircraft was checked and was considered safe.



The "white vapor" in those scenes are either condensation trails from the engines or from the wings. When an aircraft is maneuvering the air flowing over the wing may cool to a temperature at or below the dewpoint. This will make the water vapor become visible. As a military pilot I can tell you that we do not dump fuel except, as you stated for civilian airliners, in an emergency.


The scene that I am referring to is a fuel dump. The pilot flying the Tomcat was later assigned to VF-31 on the Forrestal and told us about the filming of Topgun. I first saw Topgun in VF-31's Ready Room. Naval aircraft operating from carriers dump fuel all of the time.

I am still curious about why this is taking place as a lawsuit in Federal Court instead of being handled as an enforcement matter through the FAA? I also noticed that the flight in question happened in 2003 and is just now becoming an issue. I think that this is going to pan out as a disgruntled FAA employee and a grandstanding Federal Prosecuter.



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 04:17 PM
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Originally posted by JIMC5499
The article doesn't say what type of inspector lodged the complaint.


From the actual complaint:
23. In the course of the November 17, 2003 flight, a Federal
Aviation Safety Inspector (the "Inspector" or the "FAA Inspector"),
travelling aboard the aircraft, observed what he believed to be fuel
leaking from the area of a fuel access panel on the top of the right
wing of the aircraft (the "fuel leak").

An ASI has the power to ground an aircraft if he believes it's unsafe.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
In certain models of aircraft potable water is carried in tanks in the wing near the wing root. You don't wash your hands with the blue juice.


Please state which aircraft you are referring to. I've only flown Boeings and can tell you they keep the blue juice and the potable water in the fuselgage. The problem with storing these fluids in the wing is that they would freeze relatively quickly as the wing offers little protection from extremely cold temps.


Depends on where the leak is and what is causing it. I've declined an aircraft for having a fuel leaking (even small) where it shouldn't be leaking.



Originally posted by JIMC5499
Exactly. You have declined an aircraft because fuel was leaking from where it shouldn't have been. You knew that it shouldn't have been leaking there and did the correct thing. The article doesn't state where the leak was, the wing is a big area. It does state that the aircraft was checked and was considered safe.


There is no place on the wing, except perhaps a vent port, where a fuel leak in permisible. According to the quote from the complaint, the inspector "observed what he believed to be fuel leaking from the area of a fuel access panel on the top of the right wing of the aircraft (the "fuel leak")." This could just as well be condensation.

If the aircraft was "checked and was considered safe" then that would mean the pilot wrote up the leak in the maintenance forms. There's no reason for maintenance to "check" into a problem, especially a fuel leak, unless it's written up. Minor things--yes. But not a fuel leak.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
The scene that I am referring to is a fuel dump. The pilot flying the Tomcat was later assigned to VF-31 on the Forrestal and told us about the filming of Topgun. I first saw Topgun in VF-31's Ready Room. Naval aircraft operating from carriers dump fuel all of the time.


You made it sound like military pilots typically, and with frequent regularity, dump fuel, which is not the case. There is no benefit to doing this. The next time I watch that silly movie (the aerial scenes were great but the drama was downright silly) I'll try to notice the scene you're talking about. Though, I'm not looking forward to another "Negative Gohst Rider the pattern is full" line!!


[edit on 12-9-2005 by Freedom_for_sum]



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 04:49 PM
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Originally posted by Freedom_for_sum
From the actual complaint:
23. In the course of the November 17, 2003 flight, a Federal
Aviation Safety Inspector (the "Inspector" or the "FAA Inspector"),
travelling aboard the aircraft, observed what he believed to be fuel
leaking from the area of a fuel access panel on the top of the right
wing of the aircraft (the "fuel leak").

An ASI has the power to ground an aircraft if he believes it's unsafe.


All that I have had to go on is the article that was originally posted. Could you link to the actual complaint. I'll bow to the person with more info.


Originally posted by JIMC5499
Please state which aircraft you are referring to. I've only flown Boeings and can tell you they keep the blue juice and the potable water in the fuselgage. The problem with storing these fluids in the wing is that they would freeze relatively quickly as the wing offers little protection from extremely cold temps.

DC-9s and DC-10s Potable water was kept in the wing root.



There is no place on the wing, except perhaps a vent port, where a fuel leak in permisible. According to the quote from the complaint, the inspector "observed what he believed to be fuel leaking from the area of a fuel access panel on the top of the right wing of the aircraft (the "fuel leak")." This could just as well be condensation.

If the aircraft was "checked and was considered safe" then that would mean the pilot wrote up the leak in the maintenance forms. There's no reason for maintenance to "check" into a problem, especially a fuel leak, unless it's written up. Minor things--yes. But not a fuel leak.


Again I'll bow to more info.


You made it sound like military pilots typically, and with frequent regularity, dump fuel, which is not the case. There is no benefit to doing this. The next time I watch that silly movie (the aerial scenes were great but the drama was downright silly) I'll try to notice the scene you're talking about. Though, I'm not looking forward to another "Negative Gohst Rider the pattern is full" line!!

Carrier pilots don't like to do it, but they dump fuel on a regular basis to get down to their landing weight. The exact scene that I am refering to is the first time Maverick goes after Jester and they show the Tomcat right behind the A-4 as they pass over the camera you can see the fuel coming out of the dump pipe between the Tomcat's engines. Best way to watch that movie is in a room full of F-14 crews, their reactions are funnier than the movie. By the way the guy in the helicopter that fishes them out when they crash was my instructor at North Island in 1983.


[edit on 12-9-2005 by Freedom_for_sum]



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 06:34 PM
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I don't have the direct link to the complaint. I only have what's available on a private union website. Since there is a lot of standard language contained in the complaint the post would be very long. Here is the "meat" of the complaint:

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
22. On or about November 17, 2003, American Airlines operated
the aircraft on Flight 1368 (the "November 17, 2003 flight"), departing
Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida, and landing at
LaGuardia Airport in Queens, New York.

23. In the course of the November 17, 2003 flight, a Federal
Aviation Safety Inspector (the "Inspector" or the "FAA Inspector"),
travelling aboard the aircraft, observed what he believed to be fuel
leaking from the area of a fuel access panel on the top of the right
wing of the aircraft (the "fuel leak").

U.S. v. AMERICAN AIRLINES
COMPLAINT Page 7 of 15

24. The FAA Inspector observed the fuel leak from the time of
takeoff, through the aircraft's attainment of cruising altitude.

25. During the course of the November 17, 2003 flight, the FAA
Inspector reported the fuel leak to crewmembers of the aircraft, at
least one of whom confirmed the observation, as well as to the pilotin-
command (the "pilot") of the aircraft.

26. Following the landing of the aircraft at LaGuardia, the FAA
Inspector indicated the physical location of the fuel leak to the
pilot, and requested that the pilot contact aircraft maintenance to
ensure that an entry concerning the fuel leak was made in the aircraft
maintenance log.

27. Upon information and belief, no such entry in the aircraft
or maintenance logs was made by the pilot or aircraft maintenance
personnel, who are or were, upon information and belief, agents,
officers, employees, or contractors of Defendant.

28. On or about November 18, 2003, the FAA Inspector telephoned
American Airlines' maintenance manager for LaGuardia Airport to
ascertain what, if anything, had been done to repair the fuel leak, and
was informed that no corrective action had been taken.

29. Upon information and belief, between November 17, 2003 and
December 2, 2003, the aircraft remained in use for commercial aviation
purposes, and undertook approximately fifty-three (53) commercial
flights, carrying persons and/or property in the form of passengers,
crew, and cargo.

30. Upon information and belief, during the period between the
landing of the aircraft at LaGuardia Airport on November 17, 2003 and
the December 2, 2003 inspection, encompassing the aforementioned 53
commercial flights, no maintenance or repair was undertaken to remedy
the fuel leak by American Airlines, its agents, officers, employees,
or contractors, nor was action taken to adequately repair, inspect, or
maintain the area in which the leak was observed by the FAA Inspector.

31. Upon information and belief, the fuel leak observed by the
FAA Inspector continued between November 17, 2003 and December 2, 2003.

32. Upon information and belief, the fuel leak observed by the
FAA Inspector and brought to the attention of American Airlines'
agents, officers, employees, or contractors by the Inspector was not
reported to the certificate holding office within seventy-two (72)
hours of the occurrence or detection of the fuel leak.

33. In consequence of the fuel leak and/or American's failure
to adequately and appropriately inspect, repair, or maintain the
aircraft, the aircraft was operated in an unsafe and un-airworthy
condition on each and every commercial flight it undertook between
November 17, 2003 and December 2, 2003.

34. In consequence of the fuel leak and/or American's failure
to adequately and appropriately inspect, repair, or maintain the
aircraft, the aircraft was operated in a careless or reckless manner
so as to endanger the life or property of another.

U.S. v. AMERICAN AIRLINES
COMPLAINT Page 9 of 15

35. On or about December 2, 2003, the aircraft underwent a
regularly scheduled maintenance inspection conducted by American (the
"December 2, 2003 inspection").

36. In the course of the December 2, 2003 inspection, a fuel
leak was located in the same area identified by the FAA Inspector in
the course of the November 17, 2003 flight, and was apparently
corrected as part of the December 2, 2003 inspection.




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