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General Aviation Safety
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: Require 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 air carriers that use contractors to perform required inspection item (RII) maintenance tasks and inspections to have air carrier personnel who are physically present when a substantial amount of the RII planning, tasking, maintenance work, and inspections are performed and are readily available when they are not physically present and who ensure that the processes and procedures used by contractors to perform RII maintenance tasks and inspections are the same as those used by air carrier maintenance personnel.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Acceptable 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 Action)
Safety Recommendation History
The October 29, 2010, revision to FAA Order 8900.1 discussed above also included a new subsection 3-3886, paragraph P, recommending that the certificate holder assign a qualified and authorized employee at the inspection site to oversee the performance of required inspections by other persons and, in cases when the assigned air carrier employee cannot be physically present, that there be a method of contacting that employee. An FAA inspector uses the guidance provided in Order 8900.1 when approving an airline’s maintenance program, and current regulations require that a certificate holder comply with its approved maintenance program. Because the new paragraph in revised Order 8900.1 indicates that an acceptable program should include the requirement specified in this recommendation, and because the certificate holder must comply with its approved maintenance program, the October 29, 2010, revision to Order 8900.1 satisfies Safety Recommendation A-04-10, which is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: Current sections 121.369 and 135.425 contain a list of items an operator must include in its manual. Specifically, the manual must include the following: • The method of performing required inspections and a designation by occupational title of personnel authorized to perform each required inspection (sections 121.369(b)(3) and 135.427(b)(3)). Furthermore, sections 121.371 and 135.429 state that: • No person may use any person to perform required inspections unless the person performing the inspection is appropriately certificated, properly trained, qualified, and authorized to do so (sections 121.371(a) and 135.429(a)); • No person may allow any person to perform a required inspection unless, at that time, the person performing that inspection is under the supervision and control of an inspection unit (sections 121.371(b) and 135.429(b)); and • Each certificate holder shall maintain, or shall determine that each person with whom it arranges to perform its required inspections maintains, a current listing of persons who have been trained, qualified, and authorized to conduct required inspections. The persons must be identified by name, occupational title, and the inspections that they are authorized to perform. The certificate holder (or person with whom it arranges to perform its required inspections) shall give written information to each person so authorized describing the extent of his responsibilities, authorities, and inspectional limitations. The list shall be made available for inspection by the Administrator upon request (sections 121.371 (d) and 135.429(e)). We maintain that the existing regulations meet the intent of this recommendation. However, to clarify this issue, we included sub-section 3-3886, paragraph P in new Section 2 of FAA Order 8900.1. This new paragraph P recommends that the certificate holder assign a qualified and authorized employee at the inspection site to oversee the performance of required inspections by other persons. In cases where the assigned air carrier employee cannot be physically present, there should be a method of contacting the employee. This change to the Order was issued and became effective on October 29, 2010. I believe the current regulatory requirements in parts 121 and 135, and the additional guidance provided in Order 8900.1, satisfactorily address the issues identified in Recommendations A-04-09 and -10. Therefore, I consider our actions complete.
The FAA's June 18, 2004, letter notes that required inspections must be performed in accordance with procedures as detailed in the air carrier's manual and that the air carrier is primarily responsible for ensuring the airworthiness of its aircraft. The FAA also noted that an air carrier's CASS program is the vehicle for ensuring that methods, procedures, and requirements for RII functions are properly performed. The FAA indicated that it plans to issue an FSIB to review air carriers' RII procedures for personnel training, authorizations, and methods of performing RIIs. The FAA's action is not responsive to this recommendation. The intent of Safety Recommendation A-04-10 is to ensure that air carrier personnel (emphasis added) are physically present when a substantial amount of the RII planning, tasking, maintenance work, and inspections are performed and that the air carrier personnel are readily available when they are not physically present. The FAA has responded that current regulations mandate that air carriers and contractors with whom the air carrier arranges to perform its required inspections maintain a current listing of personnel who have been trained, qualified, and authorized to conduct required inspections and that required inspections must be performed in accordance with the air carrier's maintenance procedures. This requirement does not address the recommended action of requiring the air carrier's own personnel (not contractor personnel) to be physically present at the site where the maintenance is performed. Pending the recommended action being taken, Safety Recommendation A-04-10 is classified OPEN -- UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 6/28/2004 3:14:12 PM MC# 2040357 - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: Current regulatory language requires air carriers, and contractors with whom the air carrier arranges to perform its required inspections, to maintain a current listing of persons who have been trained, qualified, and authorized to conduct required inspections. The required inspections must be performed in accordance with procedures as detailed in the air carrier's manual as required by 14 CFR section 121.369, and the air carrier is primarily responsible to ensure the airworthiness of its aircraft as required by 14 CFR 121.363. An air carrier's CASS program required by 14 CFR 121.373 is the vehicle for ensuring methods, procedures, and requirements for RII functions are properly performed and continue to meet the highest degree of safety. The FAA will issue a flight standards information bulletin to inspectors to review their assigned air carriers' RII procedures for personnel training, authorizations, and methods of performing RIIs. The bulletin will ensure that these functions are performed to the same level of standards by air carrier personnel and persons with whom the air carrier has arranged to perform its RIIs. It is anticipated that the bulletin will be issued by October 31, 2004.
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