Tue, Nov 09, 2010
OSC Determines The Findings "Appear Reasonable"
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) late last week sent
reports to the President and Congress detailing the DOT's response
to a whistleblower’s allegations that the FAA failed to
provide effective oversight of American Airlines, and to address
the air carrier’s noncompliance with inspection and
The whistleblower, Mr. Andrew G. Blosser, an FAA Aviation Safety
Inspector assigned to the American Airlines Certificate Management
Office (CMO), in Fort Worth, Texas, alleged that CMO officials were
unwilling or unable to obtain positive corrective actions from the
air carrier and that the failure to enforce inspection and
maintenance requirements has resulted in a poorly maintained fleet
that represents a safety concern for the flying public. Mr. Blosser
identified six areas of concern regarding American Airlines’
- Maintenance procedures.
- Minimum equipment list (MEL) deferrals.
- Required inspection items (RII).
- The repair station training needs assessment (TNA).
- The Continuing Analysis and Surveillance System (CASS).
- The fuel tank system (FTS) maintenance program.
The report and a supplemental report submitted to OSC by
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood substantiated Mr.
Blosser’s allegations that the CMO failed to ensure that
American Airlines complied with requirements in four of the six
areas identified above; specifically, maintenance procedures, MEL
deferrals, RII requirements, and CASS requirements. The
investigation found that at the time of Mr. Blosser’s
disclosures, CMO Actions to ensure compliance were not effective.
In addition, the investigation found that inaccurate and untimely
FAA guidance for the review and approval of the air carrier’s
FTS maintenance program most likely contributed to inspector
confusion and uncertainty as to whether the program met federal
regulations and AD requirements.
In response to the findings, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt
pledged to take corrective action, including improving policies and
procedures within the CMO. In addition, FAA removed or reassigned
managers and noted that American Airlines replaced several senior
level personnel. FAA further indicated that it plans to have an
outside office provide oversight of the CMO to ensure corrective
actions are taken. By March 2011, inspectors from outside the
region will conduct an independent audit to assess the
effectiveness of the corrective actions,and in July 2011, the
FAA’s Flight Standards Quality Assurance Division will
conduct an independent Flight Standards Evaluation Program
evaluation of the CMO.
OSC determined that the agency’s report contains all of
the information required by statute and the findings appear
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