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General Aviation Safety
On June 4, 2007, about 1600 central daylight time, a Cessna Citation 550, N550BP, impacted Lake Michigan shortly after departure from General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (MKE).1 The two pilots and four passengers were killed, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was being operated by Marlin Air under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 and departed MKE about 1557 with an intended destination of Willow Run Airport (YIP), near Ypsilanti, Michigan. At the time of the accident flight, marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the surface, and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed aloft; the flight operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require all 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 and Part 91K operators to provide their customers, when a business agreement or contract is finalized, with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) contact information identified as specifically for use in expressing concerns about flight safety, thus providing customers with a clear means of communicating any safety concerns to the FAA.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Closed - Unacceptable Action
Milwaukee, WI, United States
Loss of Control and Impact with Water, Marlin Air Cessna Citation 550, N550BP
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Part 135, Records, Reporting
Safety Recommendation History
The Marlin Air flight was chartered by the UM hospital, which had a long-term relationship with Marlin Air to provide needed air transport services. We issued this recommendation because, during our investigation of the June 4, 2007, accident, UM personnel expressed that they had had increasing reservations regarding Marlin Air’s operations for a few years preceding the accident and were beginning to think that the operator was unsafe. UM personnel did not relay any of these concerns to the FAA before the accident because they were unaware of your Aviation Safety Hotline or ways to make their concerns known. Had you known of UM’s concerns, you could have responded with increased oversight or a formal investigation. The FAA’s initial response to this recommendation 5 years ago stated that you were assembling a work group to review the recommended changes. You now state that you did not assemble this workgroup or otherwise act because you decided that the hotline provides an adequate venue for reporting aviation safety concerns, and you found no compelling reason to impose an additional burden on Part 135 and Part 9lK operators. You believe that the contract between air operators and their customers is not a topic that merits the FAA’s attention. We agree with you that the Aviation Safety Hotline can be an effective mechanism for reporting safety concerns to you, but only if organizations and individuals with safety concerns (such as UM personnel) know of the hotline’s existence. We disagree with you that your lack of any action in response to the recommendation effectively addresses the safety concern. Because you have made it clear that you plan no action in response to Safety Recommendation A-09-127, it is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains an Aviation Safety Hotline, which functions as a well-established mechanism for any aviation customer or member of the public to report a safety concern to the FAA. The Aviation Safety Hotline provides a venue for members of the public to report issues involving aviation safety, violations of FAA regulations or policy, concerns involving FAA employees or facilities, maintenance issues, aircraft incidents, and aircraft accidents. Information on the FAA's Aviation Safety Hotline is prominently placed on the FAA's public Web site (http://www.faa.gov/contact/), and individuals can report concerns to the FAA by email or telephone. The Aviation Safety Hotline is administered through our Office of Audit and Evaluation, which refers safety-related reports to the appropriate FAA organizations for review and investigation. Upon conclusion of an investigation, the outcome is communicated to the reporting party through an Investigative Results Report. Since the Aviation Safety Hotline provides a venue for reporting aviation safety concerns, the FAA did not find a compelling reason to impose an additional burden on part 135 and 91k operators. Therefore, the FAA's work group, as stated in our letter dated April28, 2010, was not assembled to review the safety, legal, and financial aspects of the recommended changes. The contract between air operators and their customers remains within the scope of any business contract entered into by the two parties. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and consider our actions complete.
The formation of a work group to review the recommended revisions is a first step in responding to these recommendations. Pending completion of the recommended actions, Safety Recommendations A-09-127 and -128 are classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
Letter Mail Controlled 5/5/2010 12:17:19 PM MC# 2100167 - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: To address Safety Recommendations A-09- 127 and - 128, we are assembling a work group to review the safety, legal, and financial aspects of the recommended changes. Following this review, we will develop a plan to address these recommendations. I will provide an update on the progress of these safety recommendations by October 2010.
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