Reuters is reporting the FAA has grounded Rhoades Aviation, whose Boeing 737-200 ditched off Honolulu July 2, and has also revealed that action against the operator has been in the works since last fall. The company, which operated the 737 cargo flight under the Trans Air name, was notified on June 13 that it was losing its maintenance inspection authority in 30 days. It continued to operate and did not appeal the decision during the 30-day administrative grace period. The FAA announced it had grounded the operator on Friday. The FAA reportedly said the action was the result of deficiencies in maintenance and safety uncovered during its investigation.
The 45-year-old 737 took off from Honolulu for a half-hour flight to Kahului when the pilots reported they’d lost an engine. On the way back to the airport they said the remaining engine was overheating and changed direction to a slightly closer small airport. The plane hit the water about two miles offshore and the injured pilots were taken to a nearby hospital. They were seriously hurt but both have since left the hospital.