FAA Fines North Dakota Over Maintenance

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The FAA is proposing $75,000 in fines for alleged maintenance violations on the state of North Dakota’s three aircraft, including its King Air B200 that’s regularly used to fly the governor and other dignitaries. The Bismarck Tribune says North Dakota is fighting the assessment and contends that the aircraft are properly maintained although it did “voluntarily” ground its Piper Cheyenne for more than two weeks last year when it was shown that unspecified engine tests hadn’t been carried out. On the King Air, inspectors allegedly discovered that an air data computer had been replaced without the required calibration and testing. A damaged prop and oil leak were found in the rear engine of the state’s Cessna 337. "We see all these events as serious events," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Tribune. However, the state, so far, sees them as “allegations” and has hired a lawyer to fight them. Ernest Anderson, the Grand Forks lawyer handling the case for the state, says he’s asked for documentation so he knows what tack to take. Meanwhile, Gov. John Hoeven has said he has confidence in the airworthiness of the planes and has never had cause to doubt it. The FAA claims it also found lax procedures in administration and pilot certification. Last spring, the state’s chief pilot resigned after his certificate was suspended by the FAA.