FAA Revokes Xtra Aerospace’s Repair Certificate

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Hours after the Indonesian final crash report of a Lion Air 737 MAX, the FAA revoked the repair certificate of a Florida shop that allegedly improperly repaired the airplane’s angle-of-attack indicator. Xtra Aerospace was named in the Indonesian report, which said investigators could find no paper trail indicating the sensor had been properly calibrated.

Although the agency didn’t say the revocation was directly related to the Lion Air crash, the action was based on an investigation it launched in November 2018, immediately after Lion Air JT 610 crashed into the Java Sea on Oct. 29.

In its statement, the FAA said “Xtra failed to comply with requirements to repair only aircraft parts on its list of parts acceptable to the FAA that it was capable of repairing. The company also failed to comply with procedures in its repair station manual for implementing a capability list in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations.”

Xtra, based in Miramar, Florida, had a Part 145 certificate for the repair of instruments, radios and other equipment. According to the Lion Air accident report released by Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee, the aircraft’s angle-of-attack assembly was sent to Xtra for repair and was improperly calibrated and/or documented before being returned to service. The report found that the indicator was biased to erroneously show 21 degrees nose-up angle of attack.

The crash report said that erroneous data from the AoA system triggered the MAX’s MCAS background trim system to automatically feed in nose-down stabilizer trim. It faulted Boeing for using single-sensor data to drive the system and for failing to properly configure software to alert the pilots to an AoA disagree condition.

In a statement Friday, Xtra said it cooperated with the FAA’s investigation “and though we have reached a settlement with the FAA, we respectfully disagree with the agency’s findings.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Third party shops in South Florida have been rife with incompetence and cover-up for decades. I was personally involved in the Valu-Jet disaster aftermath, where the REAL culprit was also a contracted service facility, NOT the operator. Most not involved in the aviation industry get lost on such details, and simply resort to blaming operators.

  2. I completely agree with your assessment. South Florida is a hotbed for unethical aerospace companies. I’m very disappointed that this article (nor any other article I’ve read regarding Xtra) mentions that they are owned by Wencor Group. Wencor is ultimately responsible for the oversight of Xtra and the “punishment” for this incident does not seem nearly stiff enough. I’m my opinion, people should be going to prison for this.

  3. Connected businesses buy off politicians to push for less regulations in every industry. The republicans give them what they want. We get the corruption we voted for. They are the “Christian do gooders” that sit in the front of their corrupt churches on Sundays.
    Every department of our government is for sale.
    Land of the Free and Home of the Brave?

  4. I don’t understand why a 3 month old aircraft would be receiving a repaired angle-of-attack indicator in the first place. Surely the aircraft was still under warranty. Why did it not receive a brand new out of box OEM replacement part instead?

    • Thanks for asking that Tim, that’s one of my biggest questions. And in this case, how many other crucial devices are left to these types of companies instead of the OEM?

      Also, why doesn’t anyone say that no matter how “grilled” Muilenburg is by COngress, it was Congress that allowed the Boeing ODA idea because no one wants to fund the FAA more. Sorry, slightly off-topic but related.

      What’s really chilling here is what else is going on behind the smoking veiled rooms?