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On January 8, 2003, about 0847:28 eastern standard time, Air Midwest (doing business as US Airways Express) flight 5481, a Raytheon (Beechcraft) 1900D, N233YV, crashed shortly after takeoff from runway 18R at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2 flight crewmembers and 19 passengers aboard the airplane were killed, 1 person on the ground received minor injuries, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Flight 5481 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Greer, South Carolina, and was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121 on an instrument flight rules flight plan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Modify (1) appendix G of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 23 and appendix H of 14 CFR Part 25 and (2) 14 CFR 121.369 to require that the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness and air carrier maintenance manuals, respectively, include a complete functional check at the end of maintenance for each critical flight system.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action
Charlotte, NC, United States
Loss of Pitch Control During Takeoff Air Midwest Flight 5481, Raytheon (Beechcraft) 1900D, N233YV
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Acceptable Alternate Action)
Maintenance, Procedures, Procedures: Maintenance
Safety Recommendation History
On July 1, 2005, the FAA issued Order 8110.54, “Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Responsibilities, Requirements and Contents,” which provides guidance and information about what maintenance procedures must be included in the ICA, are furnished to each aircraft owner, and are made available to any person required to comply with them. The order addresses a functional check of all critical flight systems after completion of maintenance. Paragraph 4-4(a)(6) specifies that aircraft maintenance manuals must contain a description of the functional check of the flight control systems to be conducted upon completion of maintenance activities. Although the FAA did not modify the specific regulations in Parts 23, 25, and 121 that are detailed in the recommendation, issuance of Order 8110.54 will achieve the same result in an alternate manner. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A-04-6 is classified CLOSED -- ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE ACTION.
Letter Mail Controlled 8/31/2009 10:38:20 AM MC# 2090544: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration issued FAA Order 8110.54, Instructions for Continued Airworthiness Responsibilities, Requirements and Contents dated July 1, 2005 (copy enclosed). The order provides guidance and information on what maintenance procedures must be included in the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness which are furnished to each aircraft owner and made available to any person required to comply with them. The order addresses a functional check of all critical flight systems after completion of maintenance. Paragraph 4-4(a)(6) of the order addresses the description of the functional check of the flight control systems upon completion of maintenance activities.
The FAA's June 18, 2004, letter stated that its aircraft certification offices will ask aircraft manufacturers to provide functional testing requirements for critical flight systems after completing maintenance and will take appropriate action after determining which airplane models are at risk. The FAA also reported that (1) a draft order is being developed that will provide guidance on Instructions for Continued Airworthiness, which will address functional checks following maintenance on critical flight systems and (2) an FSIB will be issued instructing inspectors to review and, if necessary, modify maintenance manual procedures to ensure that a functional check of each critical flight system is performed after maintenance. The Safety Board notes that the FAA is asking aircraft manufacturers for functional testing requirements to determine which airplane models are at risk. The Board believes that all aircraft have systems-not limited to flight controls-in which the failure of one or more of its components could be catastrophic. Because all aircraft have these critical flight systems, this recommendation applies to all airplanes operated under Part 121. The Board appreciates the FAA's actions on these recommendations and requests an example of a critical flight system identified in its activities in response to Safety Recommendation A-04-07 and the associated functional testing requirements provided by a manufacturer. Although the Safety Board appreciates the FAA's positive actions including (1) proposed development of a draft order that will provide guidance on Instructions for Continued Airworthiness and which will address functional checks following maintenance on critical flight systems; (2) the issuance of an FSIB instructing inspectors to review and, if necessary, modify maintenance manual procedures to include functional checks for critical flight systems; and (3) asking aircraft manufacturers to identify functional testing requirements for critical flight systems, the Board notes that these actions were scheduled to be completed by September, October, and December 2004, respectively. Status inquiries from Board staff to FAA staff have revealed that none of these activities have been completed. The Board requests copies of the draft order and FSIB when they are issued. Pending identification of critical flight systems and the appropriate procedures for a complete functional check of these systems after maintenance and subsequent development of a draft order and issuance of an FSIB as they relate to critical flight system identification, Safety Recommendations A-04-06 through -08 are classified OPEN -- ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 6/28/2004 3:14:12 PM MC# 2040357 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: The FAA is currently developing a draft order that will provide guidance on instructions for continued airworthiness, which will be the basis for an air carrier maintenance program. This guidance is directed at all certification personnel and includes information on what maintenance procedures must be included in the instructions for continued airworthiness documentation provided to each owner of an aircraft. This order will address the recommended functional check of the flight control systems upon completion of maintenance activities. The recommended check will specify a deflection check to ensure full travel of control surfaces. In light of this recommendation, the FAA will review the draft order to ascertain whether revised language is needed to ensure a complete functional check is performed following maintenance on critical flight systems. It is anticipated that the order will be issued by September 2004.
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