Cosy FAA Inspector Let Infractions Slide

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A government report says a longtime FAA inspector allowed unqualified pilots to fly for the U.S.’s largest airline. The report issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Transportation says that the 28-year veteran “seems to have been affected by his relationship with [American Airlines].”

The safety concerns—which only involved maintenance verification flights, not any flights carrying passengers—were originally brought to the FAA by the Allied Pilots Association (APA). After APA reported that its concerns had gone largely unanswered for 18 months, the Inspector General’s office stepped in to audit the FAA’s effectiveness in addressing the issue. In addition to finding that the FAA’s oversight of American “lacked objectivity,” the OIG report also pointed out issues with the FAA’s response method, which “ultimately routed [APA’s] letter back to the target of the complaint for response.”

The audit report (PDF) concluded with seven recommendations to improve program oversight and how the FAA responds to future safety concerns, including establishing criteria for evaluating correspondence and taking into account risk factors—such as the length of time inspectors oversee the same air carrier—when evaluating inspector objectivity. In response to the audit, the FAA said that it concurred with all of the recommendations as written and plans to implement all of them no later than June 2019. The inspector has since retired from the FAA and that American has put its flight test program under new leadership.

Comments (6)

... and once you consider all the aircraft damaged and lives lost because of .... what? wait, there were none?
Perhaps this speaks more to the necessity for the volume of qualification requirements than it does to safety .... just sayin' ...

Posted by: Samuel Cobb | July 13, 2018 9:18 AM    Report this comment

Well said Samuel! "unqualified pilots", unqualified how? I very much doubt AA would allow unqualified pilots to pilot their aircraft even for maintenance flights.

Posted by: Thomas Wiley | July 13, 2018 10:41 AM    Report this comment

I find it interesting APA is an American Airlines pilot union. As been stated previously, "unqualified pilots"...by what standard? American has their post maintenance check flights standards. It appears to me this is an internal squabble between union and employer rather than safety. Once again, as previously stated by Samuel...no accidents, deaths, or bent sheet metal.

Plus, i cannot dismiss emotional opening line to this article."
A government report says a long-time FAA inspector allowed unqualified pilots to fly for the U.S.'s largest airline." C'mon Avweb, I would have expected this from NBC,ABC,CBS, CNN, or Fox. This article should have opened with "The safety concerns--which only involved maintenance verification flights, not any flights carrying passengers--were originally brought to the FAA by the Allied Pilots Association (APA). After APA reported that its concerns had gone largely unanswered for 18 months,

Posted by: Jim Holdeman | July 13, 2018 1:52 PM    Report this comment

Shouldn't that be "Cozy"?

I had to look up the spelling before commenting. Although cosy is acceptable ouside of NA, this is American Airlines we're talking about.

Posted by: Mike P | July 14, 2018 7:41 AM    Report this comment

I'm sure unqualified means not meeting relevant FAA requirements or AA's internal requirements (which are then reviewed by the FAA and have the force of regulation). If you want more details, read the Inspector General report.

Certainly saying that no accident occurred doesn't mean the complaint lacked merit. Unsafe operations obviously don't result in crashes 100% of the time.

Posted by: Daniel Cope | July 14, 2018 5:47 PM    Report this comment

we should privatize so the airlines can have seats on the board....

Posted by: Kevin K | July 14, 2018 6:20 PM    Report this comment

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