FAA Grounds Operator Of Ditched 737-200


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.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. I did a fair amount of flying in Hawaii. It’s the Wild West of aviation, or if you prefer, a flying museum.

    Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is debatable. Most of the routes are over water, so of minimal risk to residents. If operating costs are jacked up, expect less flying, and less competition.

    My favorite was watching the new owner of a used high-performance single replacing the marine hoses with approved ones. Doubtful if Evinrude has any PMAs!

    I will note that the members of this aviation forum likely have an average age older than the 737 that ditched, at 45 years old. 🙂

    • Some of Pacific Western’s B737-200s had a high number of cycles. Well maintained in their service, including engines.

      This one I do not know of, some of PW’s first were scrapped. (One is now an artificial reef off the east side of Vancouver Island, not far from the Nanaimo-Comox stretch. I saw it stripped outside a hanger, from a hundred feet away it appeared to have corrosion judging by paint stripping and other artifacts.)

  2. TransAir apparently also operates a passenger service, which was not affected by the FAA action. I would hazard the guess that small cargo operations in general are fertile ground for inspectors seeking something to write up.