Owner Blames Overzealous Inspector, Disgruntled Employees
Southwest Aviation Specialties LLC
of Tulsa, OK is back in business, after the company reached a
settlement agreement last month stemming from a March 17 revocation
by the Federal Aviation Administration of its repair station
certificate, air charter certificate and the mechanic certificate
of owner David Guzman.
The April 12 settlement with the FAA reinstated the repair
station certificate and Guzman's mechanics certificate according to
the Tulsa World Monday. The company charter certificate
remains suspended until training and submission of a procedural
manual is completed.
"We don't do that much chartering anyway. Most of our business
is maintenance, acquisitions and leasing. There is also a huge
market overseas for acquiring planes, selling planes and in the
service market in Russia, India, Far East and Middle East," said
FAA action stems from an investigation between September 27,
2006 and October 10, 2006 conducted by the Oklahoma City Flight
Standards District Office (FSDO) of the maintenance practices of
Southwest Aviation Specialties. The FSDO was acting on allegations
of unapproved parts usage on aircraft repairs by the company.
Investigation records showed work orders claiming on August 4,
2006, the company performed work on an attitude gyro, that the
company was not rated to work on.
According to FAA records, a week later Southwest performed
maintenance on an air-speed indicator that the company should not
have worked or returned to service on August 11, 2006. Earlier
records also showed the company performed maintenance on February
16, 2006 of an emergency power supply that it was not rated to
The FAA action noted: "A certificate holder such as (Southwest
Aviation) that repeatedly instructs unauthorized persons to make
false entries on records required to be kept, and that performs
maintenance without holding the required rating and subsequently
approves components and/or parts for return to service that were
not properly inspected and/or maintained, contrary to regulatory
requirements, demonstrates a disregard for regulatory compliance
that threatens aviation safety and is contrary to the public
"I never falsified a record and I never instructed anyone to
falsify a record," Guzman said to the Tulsa World. "It was our
belief that we had the authority to do the work we were doing based
on the instructions from the FAA."
After spending an estimated $50,000 battling the FAA, Guzman
feels the FAA action was lead by an overzealous inspector who used
unfounded claims by former employees as the basis of the
"Nothing like this has ever happened
to us before," Guzman said. "This investigation was driven by an
out-of-control inspector who listened to disgruntled, former
employees. I kept saying if someone will truly listen to the facts,
this will go away and someone did and it did go away."
In an affidavit submitted by Guzman to the Tulsa World, former
Southwest Aviation employ Cristi Yates, a receptionist, states she
was contacted by inspector Billy Risley and questioned about
Southwest Aviation Specialties. Risley is an inspector with the
FAA's Oklahoma City FSDO.
"I wrote a letter to Mr. Risley with the Federal Aviation
Administration," the affidavit states. "I wrote it after he and I
had a phone conversation where he told me what he needed me to put
in a letter and told me what to say."
Though Guzman said Yates is not a disgruntled former employee,
he mentioned at least three former employees talked to the FAA. The
US Department of Defense is currently investigating the company,
based on the FAA action and the fact Guzman's FAA-certified repair
station works on altimeters that could end up in government
Guzman said he has turned over documents to the DoD in
connection with similar claims that his company used unapproved
airplane parts for planes that were serviced at his repair
The Defense Department would neither confirm nor deny an
investigation of Southwest Aviation Specialties.
Guzman said he is confident the investigation will yield no
wrongdoing on his part.
"We were told that if we had done anything wrong that it could
be criminal," Guzman said. "Everybody is pretty sure that with the
destruction of the FAA case, there is really no case."