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It's time to fix or replace the FAA

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posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 10:44 PM
I've been looking at some Airworthiness directives lately (yes, it's what I do for fun, I said I was obsessed didn't I), and have come to the conclusion that it's far past time to either fix the FAA, or replace it with a new organization. Inspectors have become too close to the airlines, and far too often things aren't changed until people are injured or killed, even when known beforehand. And when they are ordered changed, to prevent "undue harm" to the airlines, they're frequently given five years or more to actually do the work.

A few examples:

United 811

Prior to the United 811 accident, a PanAm 747 departing from London had the forward lower lobe cargo door partially open, resulting in a depressurization problem. They returned to London, and the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD 88-12-04) to alter the cargo door, to prevent it from opening in flight. The aircraft used on the United 811 flight hadn't gone through the update yet, as they had between 18 and 24 months to perform the update.

After 811, when it was proven that the cargo door could open in flight, the time was shortened to 30 days. The initial change would have given the airlines 5 years to perform the update mandated as a result of the accident. According to the NTSB, the issued AD didn't go far enough.

GEnx-1B PiP2

Recently a Boeing 787-8 suffered the loss of an engine, due to significant damage from ice buildup that broke loose and went through the engine. This is a result of the new Performance Improvement put into the engines by GE to improve fuel burn. The FAA has issued an AD requiring crews to go to 85% power every five minutes under certain conditions, as well as replacing one PiP2 engine with an older PiP1 engine, and shaving the engine casing of the PiP2 engines to create more space between the fan blades and casing.

Despite the 787 being a twin engine aircraft, and this being a major safety consideration, the FAA issued a normal Airworthiness Directive, instead of an Emergency Airworthiness Directive, and gave the airlines 150 days to perform the engine portion of the AD. The AD doesn't go into effect until May 9th, and they will take comments on it until June 6th.

787 AD

Airbus Angle of Attack Sensors

Certain model Airbus aircraft have shown a possible loss of control situation, if equipped with certain Angle of Attack sensors. It began when an A321 suffered the blockage of two AoA probes, which led to loss of Alpha Protection and Mach number increasing. When Alpha Protection is lost due to this condition, the aircraft orders a full nose down attitude, which in a worst case scenario can't be overridden even by full back on the controls.

The FAA issued a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in November of 2015 about the proposed AD, even though the European authorities issued an AD in July of 2015. The FAA AD doesn't take effect until May 18th of this year, and gives airlines almost two years to replace AoA one model of sensors, and seven months for the other. Airbus has approached the FAA to reduce that time to 12 and 3 months respectively.

AoA sensor AD

Airline Inspections

Another job of the FAA is to perform compliance inspections, which check that all the parts stored by the airlines are compliant with FAA rules. They all have to have part and serial numbers, etc. It's been reported by whistleblowers in the airline industry that well ahead of when the inspectors are coming, sometimes months ahead of time, the airlines are notified that an inspection is coming. They then have been known to rent warehouse space away from the airport, where they would store non-compliant parts so that they wouldn't be found during the inspection.

Several years ago, Southwest Airlines was fined $10.2M for flying 46 aircraft without performing inspections for cracks, after FAA inspectors reportedly passed on sensitive data to them, ignored safety violations, and attempted to intimidate other inspectors to stop an investigation.

Memos from Boutris and another FAA whistle-blower, Douglas Peters, said that others in the office objected to their attempts to enforce basic safety standards at Southwest. Boutris and Peters say FAA officials overseeing enforcement were too close to Southwest managers. A top Southwest maintenance official had recently left the FAA and was friendly with several of the agency's top inspectors, they said.

Boutris said he had been raising concerns since 2003 about the airline's monitoring of aircraft parts identified as problem-prone in previous accidents. The review he finally launched in 2007 is what resulted in the fine against Southwest.

This is not an isolated incident sadly, and as time goes on it will only get worse, as airlines are outsourcing maintenance to other countries. One of those facilities has a single mechanic that is FAA certified, and no inspectors that monitor their work. The FAA had 100 inspectors in Asia that would travel to various facilities to monitor and inspect their work. That has since been cut to a single inspector. And maintenance from these facilities has led to serious incidents. An Airbus flew a week with 30 fasteners missing in the wing. Another flew with flammable paint, not approved for aircraft applied. A US based 737 had to make an emergency landing after a part around the forward passenger door was installed upside down, resulting in a pressurization problem. Another had cockpit instruments wired incorrectly.

It's time to create an agency that is independent, and performs these features instead of the FAA. Something that can be trusted, and has safety beyond "nothing changes until people die" as its attitude.
edit on 4/24/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 24 2016 @ 10:54 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58

It is too late at night for me to give this thread the attention
it deserves.My husband is a pilot and I do want him to see this.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 06:51 AM
I fly a fair bit, mostly between southeast Asia and the US, and these stories are disturbing in the extreme. I'm sure that a truly independent agency with adequate resources (human, technological, and financial) would go a long way toward making aviation even safer.

Unfortunately, the creation and regulation of any such agency would require the legislative branch of the US federal government to be functioning and, you know, debating and passing legislation. For that reason, I don't foresee the creation of any such agency any time in the near future.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 07:24 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58
Several years ago there used to be a magazine called U.S. Aviator. A very large part of the magazine was devoted to FAA stupidity and corruption. There was finally some well funded lawyer who sued the magazine out of existence.

The FAA is just like any other large government body. There are great people there as well as mismanaged graft taking numnuts who could not manage their way out of a paper bag. General aviation has felt their wrath many times with expensive and in some cases uncalled for A.D.s while at other times things that needed to be addressed went unnoticed.

I could probably write several paragraphs about abuse and stupidity if I put my mind to it but alas, it is what it is and will probably still be there long after I am gone.

edit on 727thk16 by 727Sky because: ...

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 08:32 AM
a reply to: 727Sky

I've known some great people in the FAA. I used to work closely with them, dealing with security equipment, but there are far too many of the other kind in all the wrong places.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 08:38 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58

They need to be mandated through legislation somehow that if an issue is found and requires an AD the entire fleet must be grounded until that issue is resolved or face huge fines or temporarily remove operating licenses. The military can ground fleets in certain circumstances when issues come to light and so should the civil aviation side. That would make the airline companies jump and take care of the issue in a hurry.
Like you suggest, that would require the formation or modification of another agency that would have jurisdiction over the FAA and take the power from the FAA over implantation of AD's. That would be one hell of a battle in Congress to do that but it's a necessary battle to wage for sure.
I would like to see the NTSB Safety Recommendations be more than just recommendation. Make them immediately mandatory and give them the task of overseeing AD's and there implantation. That might help to distance them from what needs to be done and the corruption and airline back scratching that prevents and slows down what need to be done.
I just hope that it won't take the lives of hundreds of people on an airliner in order to push for this change and expose the FAA's internal issues to the general public.
edit on 25-4-2016 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 11:14 AM
Having seen the business side of aviation, I have seen large corporations essentially negotiate the timing of ADs and their resolution. The more I know, the less I want to fly.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 11:15 AM
a reply to: cosmania

You aren't the only one. The more ADs I read, the less I want to fly.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 02:10 PM
The snafus at the agency are typical. A morass always happens
when underpaid and overeducated people go about managing a
super complex and high tech endeavor. In our case it is the most
important function we are asking of the government - to ensure
our safety and at the same run efficiently. Airplanes need so much
to run the right way, logistics, traffic controllers, maintenance and
troubleshooting and to top it off it must move people effectively
and operate all of this at a reasonable cost.

The software required to perform the tasks asked of it are failing,
as all systems do, so new iterations of systems are required as the
first attempt always is deficient. When using incompetent workers
the second system will be no better or worse than the first. When
building roads if the engineering is deficient failing could kill

Who will we ask to perform the assignment of people to work on
these most important things? Incompetent relatives of the
bureaucrats. Failure of parts of the infrastructure
such as roads, structures and transportation has happened
recently. We should get used to queues and mistreatment by
the employees.

edit on 25-4-2016 by Drawsoho because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 02:57 PM

originally posted by: 727Sky
a reply to: Zaphod58
Several years ago there used to be a magazine called U.S. Aviator. A very large part of the magazine was devoted to FAA stupidity and corruption. There was finally some well funded lawyer who sued the magazine out of existence.

Have you any info on U.S. Aviator? I can find very little, just mostly edition examples for sale on the internet, but no content. That's pretty unusual. I'll keep looking anyway.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 03:22 PM
a reply to: smurfy

One linky

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 03:51 PM

originally posted by: Cohen the Barbarian
a reply to: smurfy

One linky

Thanks Cohen, I found that piece thanks to I-X Quick search, Google was throwing up nothing obvious, I also found out the lawyer's Florida suit...all that seemed to be happening around 1997 to1999-2000.
Anyhow, someone seems to have seen Jim Campbell as having a nefarious pedigree, with published e-mails etc.
Anyway I discovered that Jim Campbell now operates online with, Aero News Network, (ANN) they also do a daily/whatever news affair,

In the main, I am interested in what stories the now defunct U.S.Aviator was dealing with, that might be harder to find.

edit on 25-4-2016 by smurfy because: Text.

posted on Apr, 25 2016 @ 04:00 PM
A read this book a few years back.

Unfriendly Skies: 20th & 21st Centuries
By Rodney Stich
So I completely agree the FAA is in the airlines back pocket

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 02:53 AM
Extremely worrying. Great thread even though I won't be feeling as secure when I fly anymore. Thanks for that 😃

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 08:25 AM
Oh I have a whole heap to say on this Zaph. But it isn't just the FAA that needs a dose of salts through it, our regulator is just as bad if not worse. During one particular incident a year or so back a Senate inquiry into an at sea ditching of an an air ambulance flight a few years ago that led to a coverup had the director of the ATSB so angry with the head of CASA that upon his evidence the Senate committee recommended that criminal charges be laid against the director of CASA for having lied to them, providing false evidence and being complicit in concocting a story that the pilot was both negligent and a playboy which was released to the media, all of which was untrue. The result? Nothing.

I will get back to the rest later with some recent first hand accounts and examples of poor accountability, work and oversight of outsourced work (if that is what it is called) that is conducted in Asia with third party MRO's. And as for the Southwest Airlines problem, yeah that manager worked for us until about 18 months ago, his achievements were zero and I believe he is back stateside now.

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 11:11 AM
a reply to: thebozeian

That sea ditching sounds like good readin, got a link for me?

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 11:20 AM

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 12:59 PM
A certain political candidate was facing a huge fine from the FAA, because the registration of one of his aircraft expired on Jan 31st, and it was flown until late April, despite no registration.

So today the story came out that he sold the aircraft to himself, under a new LLC name. And the last three months magically never happened, and the aircraft has a new registration.

God bless the FAA.
edit on 4/26/2016 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 07:40 PM
a reply to: Bfirez
Sorry I actually got that a little wrong, thanks to Zaphod for finding that and correcting what I said. I forgot that it was also the ATSB that were found at fault. Although my recollection is that the ATSB were led down the garden path by CASA. The re investigation report is supposed to be due out now so it will be interesting to see what if anything happens. An apology to the character assassinated pilot would be a good place to start.

posted on Apr, 26 2016 @ 07:42 PM
a reply to: Zaphod58
Oh you have got to be kidding me! No actually, wait a minute that makes complete sense. Would the individual political candidate in question own a tower in NYC by any chance?

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