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General Aviation Safety
On March 15, 2012, about 0740 Atlantic standard time, a Convair CV-440-38, N153JR, operated by Fresh Air, Inc., crashed into a lagoon about 1 mile east of the departure end of runway 10 at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), San Juan, Puerto Rico. The two pilots died, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. The airplane was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1251 as a cargo flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight had departed from runway 10 at SJU destined for Princess Juliana International Airport, St. Maarten. Shortly after takeoff, the first officer declared an emergency, and then the captain requested a left turn back to SJU and asked the local air traffic controllers if they could see smoke coming from the airplane (the two tower controllers noted in postaccident interviews that they did not see more smoke than usual coming from the airplane). The controllers cleared the flight to land on runway 28, but as the airplane began to align with the runway, it crashed into a nearby lagoon (Laguna La Torrecilla).
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require check airmen who evaluate pilots under the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 125 lateral moves provision to use the operations specifications of the certificate holder employing the pilot who is receiving the proficiency check to ensure a proper evaluation of the pilot’s knowledge of those specifications.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
San Juan, PR, United States
Crash Following In-Flight Fire Fresh Air, Inc. Convair CV-440-38, N153JR
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
-From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: As we noted in our previous letter to the Board, dated January 30, 20 I 5, this requirement already exists within our current regulations. The proficiency check requirement is already an established procedure under part I 25 and associated guidance. Section I 25.287(a)(1) states that no certificate holder may use any person, nor may any person serve as a pilot, unless, since the beginning of the 12th calendar month before that service, that person has passed a written or oral test, given by the Administrator or an authorized check airman on that person's knowledge of the appropriate provisions of parts 61 , 91, and 125 of this chapter and the operations specifications and the manual of the certificate holder. This regulation requires a company check airman to conduct the evaluation using the operations specifications of the certificate holder employing the pilot undergoing a check. If a pilot utilizes the lateral moves provision, that pilot must meet the requirements of§ l25.287(a)(l) for each certificate holder as outlined in FAA Order 8900. l, Vol. 5, Chap. 2, Sec. l 0, paragraph 5-470(0). The lateral moves provision is only applicable to pilots that are employed by more than one part 125 certificated operator. A company pilot who is selected and trained as a 125 check pilot must adhere to the requirements of§ l 25.287(a)(1) and be trained and checked in accordance with§ 125.295. Order 8900. l , Vol. 3, Chap. 20, Sec. 3, paragraph 3-1457 provides guidance for the appropriate oral and flight tests for a 125 check pilot applicant. The oral and flight tests conducted by the Administrator ensure check pilots are appropriately trained in administering the provisions of§ l 25.287(a)(l) during initial and recurrent pilot testing, and when testing pilots that are utilizing the lateral moves provision. The FAA recognizes the Board's concerns that this policy may not have been followed by Fresh Air at the time of the accident, and therefore conducted our review of the manner in which we ensure an operator's adherence to this regulatory requirement discussed above. Based on the results of this review, and the fact that we revoked the company's part 125 certificate in 2015, we determined that the existing guidance and procedures sufficiently address the safety issues identified by this recommendation. Consequently, we do not plan to change our guidance and procedures. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed these safety recommendations and consider our actions complete.
In your letter, you reviewed the relevant findings from our investigation of the Fresh Air accident that support these recommendations. Your plan to review the practices employed by your field offices in their oversight of Part 125 certificate holders, including any needed revisions to FAA Order 1800.560, “National Flight Standards Work Program Guidelines,” will constitute an effective initial step in responding to these recommendations. Pending completion of the review and implementation of all needed revisions that you identify, Safety Recommendations A-14-110 through -112 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.
-From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA concurs with the Board's recommendation. This requirement is already an established procedure under part 125 and associated guidance. Section 123.287(a)( l) requires a pilot undergoing a check by a company check airman to use the operations specifications of the certificate holder. If a pilot utilizes the lateral move provision, that pilot must meet the requirements of§ 125.287(a)(l) for each certificate holder as outlined in FAA Order 8900.1 , Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 10, paragraph 5-470(0). Further, check airman are already required, by the rule and guidance, to test pilots on the certificate holder's operations specifications in§ 125.287(a)(l) and FAA Order 8900.1 , Volume 3, Chapter 20. Section 3, paragraphs 3-1457(E) and (F)(l). The FAA recognizes the Boards' concerns, specifically that this policy may not have been followed by Fresh Air at the time of the accident. While the policy and guidelines for effective oversight may be in place, there is some question regarding the efficacy of these procedures. The FAA’s response to the previous recommendations, specifically the review of our part 125 oversight methodology, will include a review of the manner in which we ensure an operator's adherence to this regulatory requirement. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by November 1, 2015.
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