FAA seeks to fine Hawaiian Airlines $547,500 for failing to inspect Boeing 767

How does Hawaiian Airline schedule its flight attendants and pilots? Photo: Wikimedia commons/Dylan Ashe.

The FAA wants to fine Hawaiian Airlines$547,500.  Photo: Wikimedia commons/Dylan Ashe.

The Federal Aviation Administration wants to fine Hawaiian Airlines $547,500 after the carrier failed to inspect a Boeing 767-300 in compliance with a July 2000 Airworthiness Directive, the agency said in a Monday in a release.

According to the FAA, the directive was designed to ensure that a portion of the thrust reverser would not come off during flight. Had this happened, the FAA said, there would have been a rapid decompression.

“The AD required initial and repetitive inspections of the components to detect damage and wear, and corrective actions if necessary,” the FAA said in the release. “It required replacement of the components with new and improved parts within four years of the AD taking effect.”

Hawaiian spokeswoman Alision Croyled emailed this statement. ”We don’t comment on pending litigation. Hawaiian’s first commitment is always to safety. We have requested an informal conference with the FAA to discuss the matter.”

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Department of Transportation slaps LAX for financial irregularities; Read the audit

The key is policing

Is Los Angeles International Airport overpaying for police? File photo.

Los Angeles International Airport may be violating federal law by spending some of its revenues on costs not vital to airport operations, a federal agency charged in an audit released this week.

I’ve got a full story on the problems found in the audit on our main website. But it’s pretty much inside baseball stuff. If you follow airports closely, you know that the FAA bans airports from using their revenues to pay for any costs not entirely related to airport operations.The idea is to ensure that airports don’t accept FAA grants for things like new runways and then go ahead and use their revenues to fund city projects — stuff not connected to the airport.

LAX got in trouble in part because it was paying the LAPD for work that was not connected with the airport. For example, LAX was funding a piece of the LAPD’s “Police Forgery Unit.” But it wasn’t clear to auditors why this was the case.

“LAPD charged LAWA $968,74222 for services by its Forgery Unit,” the auditors wrote. “This amount represents 20 percent of the unit’s personnel salary. However, LAPD did not provide adequate documentation, such as accounting records or tracking of airport-related and non-airport related time, to show that this charge was actually expended for airport-related work.”

Another problem? LAX paid $216,162 to fund a Lieutenant in the LAPD’s Gang and Narcotics Division. But during the period the Lieutenant was being paid, it wasn’t clear how the work was tied to the airport.

“The lieutenant stated that he conducted both airport and non-airport work, and LAPD charged the airport one-third of the lieutenant’s salary to the airport,” the audit stated. “However, according to division representatives, the basis of this rate is unknown, and the time spent on airport-related work is not tracked. As a result, the documentation does not support that the lieutenant spent one-third of his time for the benefit of the airport.

Remember, Los Angeles World Airports has its own police force, separate from the LAPD. So LAX is not only supporting its own police, but also paying for LAPD help. Some of this help is needed — the airport police is relatively small — but it’s not clear how much. The DOT doesn’t want LAX paying for any police it doesn’t need.

Here’s the full audit. Please let me know in the comments section if you see anything that is particularly interesting?

Lax Audit

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Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and others chide FAA on helicopter noise

Are you a Los Angeles-area resident tired of having helicopters hovering over your home?

The good news is that members of the area’s Congressional delegation, who know how important this issue is to quality of life, are fighting on your behalf. The bad news? The Federal Aviation Administration is not moving as fast to curb this noise as the Congressman and Senators would like.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as Reps. Henry Waxman, Alan Lowenthal, Karen Bass, Brad Sherman, Adam Schiff and Tony Cardenas, expressed their displeasure this week to FAA administrator Michael Huerta. You can find the 56-page helicopter noise report, which they cite in the letter, by clicking here. The production of that FAA noise report was supposed to be the first step is reducing helicopter noise around L.A.

FAA Helicopter Noise Letter

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FAA: Pilots cannot live Tweet your flight. Or use their phones for personal reasons.

FAA Final Rule

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday said airline pilots may not use Personal Electronic Devices — iphones, iPads and the like — during all phases of operations. The rule takes effect in 60 days, according to the FAA.

“This rule will ensure that certain non-essential activities do not contribute to the challenge of task management on the flight deck and do not contribute to a loss of situational awareness due to attention to non-essential activities.”

The rules give examples of a couple of cases in which the use of personal devices caused problems in flight.

“In one instance, two pilots were using their personal laptop computers during cruise flight and lost situational awareness, leading to a 150 mile fly-by of their destination,” the rule states. “In another instance, a pilot sent a text message on her personal cell phone during the taxi phase of the flight after the aircraft pushed back from the gate and before the take-off sequence.”

In a post last week, I credited a few pilots who use their phones to give Twitter followers a glimpse at what happens in the flight deck. They include Brad Tate, a major airline first officer who takes some great shots, using, I think, his phone. This is one of them:

My guess is we’ll see a lot fewer pictures like that in future, though I suppose it could still be within the rules for a pilot to snap a few photos and upload them post flight. What’s certainly true is we won’t see any live tweeting from the flight deck.

Here’s the main point of the new rule, in FAA legal lingo:

During all flight time as defined in 14 CFR 1.1, no flight crewmember may use, nor may any pilot in command permit the use of, a personal wireless communications device (as defined in 49 U.S.C. 44732(d)) or laptop computer while at a flight crewmember duty station unless the purpose is directly related to operation of the aircraft, or for emergency, safety-related, or employment-related communications, in accordance with air carrier procedures approved by the Administrator.

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LAX: Four-hour FAA ground stop impacts flights Wednesday morning

Air traffic control slowed flights to Los Angeles International Airport for about four hours Wednesday morning due to fog. We’re not San Francisco, but because the airport is right on the Pacific Ocean, this happens with some regularity.

Before noon on Wednesday, among large carriers, Fedex diverted two flights while Aeromexico diverted one. Among smaller regional airlines, Skywest diverted five flights and Compass diverted one. Skywest flies under the United Express, American Eagle and Delta Connection brands, while Compass flies as Delta Connection.

Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration based in Los Angeles, was kind enough to answer some simple questions for me about the ground stop via email.

How long was the ground stop? Looks like 5:55 to 9:20 a.m. (Update: Since Ian and I spoke, there was another ground stop between 10:25 and 11:30 a.m. For the latest information, try the FAA’s website.)

Were both arrivals and departures impacted? Some LAX arrivals were temporarily held at departure airports within approximately an hour’s flying time from LAX. A few airborne flights diverted to Ontario.

What changes during poor weather? Is there increased spacing? – Increased
spacing, some airlines have policies that don’t allow crews to land in the
worst fog conditions, some crews are not trained to land in the worst fog
conditions.

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