Damaged TAT Probes On Nine Jets While Conducting 'Security
government... and remember, they're here to help. A bumbling
inspector with the Transportation Safety Administration apparently
has some explaining to do, after nine American Eagle regional jets
were grounded at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on
Citing sources within the aviation industry, ABC News reports an
overzealous TSA employee attempted to gain access to the parked
aircraft by climbing up the fuselage... reportedly using the Total
Air Temperature (TAT) probes mounted to the planes' noses as
"The brilliant employees used an instrument located just below
the cockpit window that is critical to the operation of the onboard
computers," one pilot wrote on an American Eagle internet forum.
"They decided this instrument, the TAT probe, would be adequate to
use as a ladder."
American Eagle confirmed to ANN the problem
was discovered by maintenance personnel,
who inspected the planes Tuesday morning... and questioned why
the TAT probes all gave similar error indications.
One Eagle pilot says had the pilots not been so attentive, the
damaged probes could have caused problems inflight. TSA agents
"are now doing things to our aircraft that may put our lives, and
the lives of our passengers at risk," the pilot wrote on the
Grounding the planes to replace the TAT probes affected about 40
flights, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances.
"We think it's an unfortunate situation," she told ABCNews.com.
TSA conducts routine spot inspections of aircraft parked
at commercial airports, according to agency spokesman Elio
Montenegro. "Our inspector was following routine procedure for
securing the aircraft that were on the tarmac," Montenegro said,
adding the inspector was attempting to determine whether someone
could break into the parked planes.
Pilots respond that agents are only allowed to check for
unlocked cabin doors... a clear security risk, that could indeed
compromise security. Indeed, regional airline Mesa Air Group notes
"48 percent of all TSA investigations involving Mesa Air Group
involve a failure to maintain area/aircraft security."
It's unclear whether that duty also allows an inspector to paw
around an aircraft, however.
This was an extraordinarily dangerous incident, folks. The TSA has
neither the mandate nor the knowledge to inspect any aircraft for
any reason. The stupidity of this matter is nearly unbelievable...
until you hear that the TSA is involved... then it becomes
understandable, though still tragic. And I can not tell you how
frustrating it is, to see them continue to hurt an indsutry that
they were created to protect.
The TSA has NO BUSINESS putting untrained personnel in a
position to damage aircraft. Their bizarre games, in the name of
security, do NOTHING to enhance security and do much to inhibit
safety. Aviation personnel -- pilots, A&P's, ground personnel
-- are all either licensed or supervised by licensed personnel and
this kind of tampering, had it been accomplished by anyone
else, would have subjected that person to criminal charges.
In this case, ANN strongly recommends and encourages the
criminal prosecution of this so-called inspector and his immediate
supervisors... it is a matter of time before one of these morons
does something stupid and gets someone killed... and with the way
these incidents are occurring, we believe it is a virtual certainty
that a TSA "Inpector" will hurt or kill someone in such a manner.
A few other notes.. ANN spoke directly to the TSA PAO in this
story, Elio Montenegro... a man who desperately needs to get his
stories straight. When ANN talked to him early Tuesday evening,
Montenegro first stated that no aircraft were tampered with, and
thereafter attempted to minimize the issue by stating that a
TSA Inspector "may have touched" the aircraft... which American
Eagle "sorta" objected to. He claimed that there was no
attempt to enter the aircraft, and when he was asked if TSA was, in
fact, authorized to attempt such an entry -- out of the
sight/knowledge/supervision of American Eagle personnel -- he said
that he thought that I had asked a good question, did not know the
answer, and promised to get back to me... in direct conflict with
other reported statements. TSA can not keep their stories
straight... and lying to the media... especially that part of the
media that actually knows a thing or two about airplanes, was just
plain foolish... if not a deliberate attempt to mislead.
Mind you, this is the same agency that now wants to step up
supervision and surveillance of the GA world. Would you trust these
kind of folks around your airplane?
I sure do not, and will not -- and the first time that I see a
TSA person attempt any interaction with any aircraft under my
control, I will call the cops and do my utmost to see
that person charged with a crime... TSA can not be trusted around
Air Transport airplanes... hell, TSA can not be trusted around
GA... and TSA has shown us little or no reason why they should be
trusted, in any way, with the security of the traveling public.
We're fed up with the incompetence of this organization... and
while it was simply 'annoying' when they were sniffing our shoes or
trying to rip off our laptops, it gets downright threatening when
they start tampering with our airplanes.
Yes... this is quite the rant and I admit to no end of
frustration with this organization... but I have to tell you, it's
time to scrap the TSA and failing that, it is WAY past time that
they be SEVERELY curtailed in their ability to harm others. Simply
put, it's time to reign in the TSA... before they kill someone...
if they haven't already.
Rant over... for now. -- Jim Campbell, ANN