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Chip R
03-11-2008, 04:22 PM
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/bus/stories/031108dnbussouthwest.3b2e20a.html?npc

Southwest Airlines, FAA accused of falsifying safety reports

House panel releases report that states Southwest, agency falsified safety records

01:49 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 11, 2008

By DAVE MICHAELS / The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON – Officials for Southwest Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration "falsified the report" that said the airline had come into compliance with rules for crucial safety inspections for jets, according to records released by a U.S. House committee.

That allegation appears in more than 90 pages of documents that suggest a culture of cronyism compromised the FAA's oversight of Southwest Airlines in Dallas. Two whistle-blowers said FAA supervisors and colleagues undermined their efforts to get Southwest to comply with federal directives.

The FAA has fined Southwest $10.2 million for continuing to fly more than three dozen jets that were 30 months late for safety inspections and should have been grounded until the work was done. But the agency hasn't fired any employees over the incident, which has embarrassed the FAA and called into question its partnership approach to regulating airlines.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters suggested Monday that more disciplinary actions could be handed down.

"If any inspector failed in his or her responsibilities to the traveling public, they will be dealt with swiftly and severely," Ms. Peters told a conference in Washington. "There is simply no margin for error when it comes to the safety of our aviation system."

A Southwest spokeswoman said the carrier hasn't reviewed the specifics of the whistle-blower complaints and couldn't comment on the allegations.

Southwest first reported its failure to perform fuselage inspections on March 15, 2007. In a report approved by an FAA official in Irving, the airline said it had come into compliance – meaning it had stopped flying jets that required inspections.

In fact, the airline continued to fly most of the jets for another eight days.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistle-blower complaints, reported allegations in December that Southwest's regulatory official "falsely stated" and an FAA supervisor "falsely accepted" the airline's statement.

"For them to indicate in a report that the carrier had grounded their airplanes until they finished their inspections, only for someone else to find out that they continued to fly, is a very serious situation," said Linda Goodrich, regional vice president of Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, the union representing safety inspectors.

Failure to confirm

Peggy Gilligan, the FAA's deputy associate administrator for aviation safety, said the FAA supervisor failed to confirm that Southwest had grounded the jets, but the agency hasn't determined whether he knowingly misled anyone.

"All that is under review," Ms. Gilligan said.

The FAA supervisor who approved the form, Douglas T. Gawadzinski, later told FAA investigators that "there was never a concern with the airworthiness of the aircraft," according to an April 18 memo from FAA investigators.

Those investigators concluded that Mr. Gawadzinski's statement was absurd because six of the jets were found to have cracks – some as long as 3.5 inches. But they couldn't conclude that Mr. Gawadzinski allowed Southwest's jets to keep flying to "provide relief to schedule the inspections at the airline's convenience," according to the memo.

Mr. Gawadzinski, of North Richland Hills, declined to comment. The FAA has transferred him from the office overseeing Southwest Airlines.

According to one of the whistle-blowers, Mr. Gawadzinski stopped being strict with Southwest after a former FAA colleague, Paul Comeau, joined the airline. Previously, the whistle-blower said, the FAA had forced jets needing inspections to stop flying.

'Cozy relationship'

"His position directly interfaces with our office on a daily basis in regard to regulatory compliance issues," the whistle-blower, C. Bobby Boutris, wrote. "It is obvious that the cozy relationship between Gawadzinski and Comeau played a contributing factor ... and allowed 47 aircraft to fly paying passengers with a known unsafe condition."

Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, has largely supported the inspectors' claims.

Mr. Oberstar, D-Minn., will chair a congressional hearing about the FAA's partnership approach to oversight in early April.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D- Dallas, said Monday that she's concerned the FAA "has been pretty derelict to not follow their guidelines." Southwest hasn't directly contacted her, although the airline has spoken with her staff, Ms. Johnson said.

"Anytime that the relationship [between carrier and regulator] is such that it could subject passengers to unsafe conditions, it's time for something to be done about it," said Ms. Johnson, who chairs one of the committee's sub-panels.

At a news conference Friday, Mr. Oberstar said he might propose a law prohibiting FAA inspectors from going to work for the airlines for a year or two. He also called for inspectors to be rotated between assignments "as a countermeasure against developing a cozy relationship" with airline employees.
Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly said last week that the self-reporting system is beneficial because it encourages carriers to disclose problems without fearing punishment.

"You need to have an environment where you can be honest and not have to fear retaliation or intimidation," Mr. Kelly said. "If errors are suppressed by fear, that is a far, far worse result in the safety environment."

The records unveiled Monday suggest that other inspectors' attempts to investigate Southwest were compromised.

An internal investigation into the way Mr. Gawadzinski handled Southwest's violations was leaked to the airline, according to a second inspector who spoke with congressional investigators.

Mr. Boutris was removed from his oversight position after an anonymous complaint was made to Southwest about him; Mr. Boutris told investigators that the inquiry lasted seven months and resulted in no discipline.

Ms. Goodrich said Mr. Oberstar's investigation, as well as an earlier investigation into similar problems at Northwest Airlines, have caused more inspectors to come forward with claims that supervisors have quashed or limited their investigations.

"We have had people literally come out of the woodwork saying I have a similar issue," said Ms. Goodrich. "I think we are going to be hearing other people coming forward."

Ltlabner
03-11-2008, 05:14 PM
Uhh.......opps.

Unassisted
03-11-2008, 06:03 PM
Speaking of cozy, isn't there a very large airline headquartered in Mr. Oberstar's state that might like to see people stop flying Southwest? That's something to keep in mind if his committee holds a splashy hearing over this issue.

Southwest has a pretty good explanation for not doing the inspections it was supposed to. The software that keeps track of all of those inspections was programmed incorrectly and the FAA people doing the oversight (who had joined the FAA after stints at Southwest) simply overlooked the issue instead of calling it to the attention of people at the airline who could correct the problem. Even the FAA admits that there was no evidence of a coverup or attempt to deceive on Southwest's part. The only question is whether there remained a connection between the airline and Gawadzinski.

MasonBuzz3
03-11-2008, 11:26 PM
flying Southwest from cleveland to phoenix in a few weeks......they should be on top of their game now though

remdog
03-11-2008, 11:47 PM
flying Southwest from cleveland to phoenix in a few weeks......they should be on top of their game now though

MasonBuzz3: :lol:

Rem

remdog
03-12-2008, 02:01 PM
Well, this gives me something to look forward to for my flight tomorrow. Just as we enter the 'spring break' period when the planes are packed. Oh boy, can't wait. :rolleyes:

Rem


http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/080312/faa_southwest_airlines.html


Southwest Grounds 41 Jets
Wednesday March 12, 1:35 pm ET
By David Koenig, AP Business Writer
Southwest Airlines Grounds 41 Jets After Missing Required Inspections for Structural Cracks


DALLAS (AP) -- Southwest Airlines grounded 41 planes overnight -- about 8 percent of its fleet -- in the wake of its recent admission that it had missed required inspections of some planes for structural cracks.

Southwest shares fell 4 percent in midday trading.

Southwest spokeswoman Christi Day said Wednesday that the move to ground 41 planes resulted in some flights being canceled, although she didn't have a precise figure.

The company said it had 520 Boeing 737 jets at the end of last year. Nearly 200 of them are older models, the Boeing 737-300, that were supposed to undergo extra inspections for cracks in the fuselage.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 07:25 PM
I'm not defending Southwest, but if people really new about the maintenance situation on most jets in the US fleet they'd likely never fly again.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 07:54 PM
I'm not defending Southwest, but if people really new about the maintenance situation on most jets in the US fleet they'd likely never fly again.

Until flying becomes demonstrably less safe than driving, I'll have no second thoughts hopping on a plane.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 08:44 PM
Until flying becomes demonstrably less safe than driving, I'll have no second thoughts hopping on a plane.

And when there are as many airline flights as automobiles on the highway at any given time then such a comparison will make sense.

I love to fly, do it all the time. Would never consider not flying. Have an extensive library on commerical airliners and what causes them to stop doing what they do so well.

But if the average flyer knew the average age of the fleet, the huge number of things that can go wrong on any given aircraft, and how maintenance procedures can sometimes get very "creative" I think it would give people pause.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 08:53 PM
And when there are as many airline flights as automobiles on the highway at any given time then such a comparison will make sense.

There are generally only two ways to get somewhere that's a long distance away: drive or fly. One has to decide between the two. So the safety comparison makes plenty of sense.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 09:01 PM
There are generally only two ways to get somewhere that's a long distance away: drive or fly. One has to decide between the two. So the safety comparison makes plenty of sense.

No, actually it doesn't.

You are comparing the accident rate of cars where there are hundred of millions of cars on the road to commerical air travel where there are several thousand of flights per day.

You can't compare the numbers of each because there are literally hundreds of millions of more chances for auto crashes. Of corse it's going to come out as being "less safe". That doesn't change the fact that flying is still a dangerous proposition that doesn't take much for a crash to take place.

I'm not anti-comerical aviation. It's a pseduo-hobby and passion of mine. But to fall back on the "Flying is the Safest Way to Fly" tripe misses the point that commerical aviation is, in fact, much more dangerous than it appears. That there aren't airplanes falling out of the sky is a testiment to the pilots and mechanics, but to think everything up there is hunky-dory is pollyanna.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 09:14 PM
I'm not defending Southwest, but if people really new about the maintenance situation on most jets in the US fleet they'd likely never fly again.

Here's what you said. In fact, until planes start falling out of the sky, most people really wouldn't stop flying, because no matter what the maintenance situation is, flying is still many times safer than driving.

Unless you think people are irrational morons (probably true in many cases), people would keep flying until it's no longer much, much safer than driving.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 09:18 PM
By the way, here are the stats:

If we ignore property and bodily damage and focus on fatalities only, we
should look at fatality rates per passenger mile traveled. This require some
research. You can go to the National Transportation Safety board website
(http://www.itsasafety.org) to do some research or look at a summary table
here (http://hazmat.dot.gov/riskcompare.htm). According to the latter, each
year in the US 1 out of 6800 drivers dies in an auto accident. The rate for
airline passengers is 1 in 1.6 million.

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/gen99/gen99845.htm

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 09:20 PM
Here's what you said. In fact, until planes start falling out of the sky, most people really wouldn't stop flying, because no matter what the maintenance situation is, flying is still many times safer than driving.

Tell you what, take the current US commercial fleet, and have them make as many flights per day as there are automobile trips per day. Same number of pilots, same number of mechanics, same maintenance schedules, same air traffic control system, same number of flight paths, same weather conditions, etc.

Now explain to the us how the airline safety record isn't going to get worse and how the safety records compare....

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 09:25 PM
Tell you what, take the current US commercial fleet, and have them make as many flights per day as there are automobile trips per day. Same number of pilots, same number of mechanics, same maintenance schedules, same air traffic control system, same number of flight paths, same weather conditions, etc.

Now explain to the us how the airline safety record isn't going to get worse.....

Well, since that's not reality, why would we worry about that? You said people would stop flying if they knew what was currently going on. Since in the current situation flying has been shown to be safer than driving, I just think you're wrong that most people would just all of a sudden give up flying to drive long distances. I guess some people might forgo trips they otherwise would have taken....

Raisor
03-12-2008, 09:30 PM
We wouldn't have this problem if we all had the FLYING CARS WE WERE ALL PROMISED 8 YEARS AGO!

I WANT MY FLYING CAR!

paintmered
03-12-2008, 09:32 PM
Until flying becomes demonstrably less safe than driving, I'll have no second thoughts hopping on a plane.

For this to happen, a fully loaded 747 would have to crash more than once every other week.

Far too many people die on our roads.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 09:37 PM
Well, since that's not reality, why would we worry about that? You said people would stop flying if they knew what was currently going on. Since in the current situation flying has been shown to be safer than driving, I just think you're wrong that most people would just all of a sudden give up flying to drive long distances. I guess some people might forgo trips they otherwise would have taken....

Sigh....

I switched gears from my original comment about maintence to discuss the comparison between flying and automobile travel after you brought up that tired old line. If you can't understand the sillyness of comparing hundreds of millions of trips versus thousands then I don't know what to tell you.

Yes, the rate is very nice looking. However, just as it doesn't tell you squat about a baseball player if he has just one at bat with a hit (ie. a perfect batting average) compared to a major leaguer with 15 years of experience (say "only" at .310 life time BA), it makes no sense to compare airline to auto travel and magically proclaim one is safer than the other either.

And yes, I argue that if the average flyer really knew about the maintence issues of the american commerical aviation fleet, they would serriously reconsider their options. The convience and speed of commerical air travel makes for a wonderfull opium against the cold realities of air travel for those not currious enough to investigate further.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 09:41 PM
Yes, the rate is very nice looking. However, just as it doesn't tell you squat about a baseball player if he has just one at bat with a hit (ie. a perfect batting average) compared to a major leaguer with 15 years of experience (say "only" at .310 life time BA), it makes no sense to compare airline to auto travel and magically proclaim one is safer than the other either.



Sigh....

I'd say the sample size for flying is plenty large, and I think the deviation between the flying and driving safety results is PLENTY large to trot out "that tired old line".

If you don't understand basic statistics, I don't know what to tell you.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 09:47 PM
For this to happen, a fully loaded 747 would have to crash more than once every other week.

Exactly. Of course, it might just be a statistical anomoly based on lack of sample size that this has not started happening.

remdog
03-12-2008, 09:54 PM
I'm not concerned so much about safety as much as the angst of flying with WN. The general decline in the service and the increase in cost has been staggering of late.

Herb Kelleher, who started the airline with notes scribbled on a cocktail napkin, has given way to Gary Kelly who is the 'beancounter'. Herb knew the value of keeping the customer happy. Gary knows the value of...well, beans! (For some they will see Gary Kelly and John Allen as one and the same.)

SW should change its' ticker symbol from LUV to MOO---as in the cattlecar airline they run. :p:

Rem

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 09:58 PM
I'd say the sample size for flying is plenty large, and I think the deviation between the flying and driving safety results is PLENTY large to trot out "that tired old line".

You win.

Please continue to fly the friendly skies. There's absoultely zero maintenance issues with the US airfleet. Maintenance issues have never caused an airline crash. Agining airliners are a snap to fix up, even with the reduced maintenace staffs and highly competitive markets. Heck, go ahead an merge all those big airlines with aging and diverse equipment types...I'm sure nothing at all could go wrong there. There's not a single other commerical airliner out there with cracks somewhere on the airframe. Nope. Heck, I'll bet there hasn't even been a crash of a commerical airliner within days after a maintanince check either! Everything is hunky-dorry. Why, I'll bet some of those new shiney planes are the safest around.

All is well.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 10:06 PM
Never said any of that. But I bet there are plenty of drunk drivers on the very Boston roads I am going to brave tonight. Also probably some semis with some brakes that are ready to go or drivers close to dozing off. Doesn't mean I won't drive.

I'm sure there is plenty of room for concern in airline safety. My only beef is with your contention that people would never fly again in the face of overwhelming evidence of airline flight's superior safety record.

Redhook
03-12-2008, 10:09 PM
Much ado about nothing really.

Southwest is a very safe airline, probably the safest in the US. They have a great track record with very few accidents.

All of the planes that were taken out today were older smaller models. Most planes used are 737's for SW. I believe SW will come out fine from all of this.

By the way, my wife is a flight attendant for Southwest and neither of us are worried at all about this. Once again, much ado about nothing.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 10:25 PM
My only beef is with your contention that people would never fly again in the face of overwhelming evidence of airline flight's superior safety record.

As I said, the average flyer has no idea what really happens in the world of commerical aviation. They see people get on a plane, get off in Disney world, and viola! Flying is safe. The average flyer can't even tell you what equipment they are on, let alone whether the plain is well maintained or if the aircraft was on the verge of a crash on the flight they just left.

Ask the manufacturers of the DC-10 and Comet what happened when they experienced several hi-profile crashes early on. Hint: Passengers lost confidence in those aircraft and started avoiding flights on them.

Ask yourself why the NTSB went bannans for several years trying to figure out the cause of rudder reversals on two crashes of the 737 (one the most prolific airliner in the skies at the time). Yes, only 2 out of thousands of airframes and probably millions of flights. Geee...could it be that they were fearfull the flying public would suddenly tag the workhorse of the US airfleet with the "unsafe" lable and begin avoiding it?

Why did Value Jet collapse as an airline? Well, it was because of several maintenance gaffes and a horrific Everglades crash of a DC-9 due to....wait for it........poor maintenance practices. The flying public dropped Value Jet like the plague and the FAA yanked their ticket.

Why do airlines black out the logo's on the tails of a crashed airliner? Could it possibly be because the flying public will tag that airline as "unsafe" and it could hurt business?

Avation has become markedly safer compared to itself 10 or 20 years ago and the advances in safety have been staggering. But as evidence by these examples, rattled off the top of my head, there is a history of the flying public avoiding a particular aircraft or airline when they feal said aircraft/airlines are "unsafe".

So yea, if the flying public could see what really goes on behind the curtian in the entire industry, I'd contend there'd be a lot less fliers.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 10:30 PM
Much ado about nothing really.

I agree totally. By itself this incident means little really to Southwest or commercial avation.

My comments only have to do with the fleet as a whole and the public knowing what's really going on behind the sceens.

But taken by itself....just another day in the airline business.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 10:34 PM
But as evidence by these examples, rattled off the top of my head, there is a history of the flying public avoiding a particular aircraft or airline when they feal said aircraft/airlines are "unsafe".

Of course they chose alternative airlines that they thought were more safe. That only makes sense. Only stupid people (or people just naturally afraid of flying) saw those incidents and decided to drive instead of fly somewhere.

Ltlabner
03-12-2008, 10:44 PM
Of course they chose alternative airlines that they thought were more safe. That only makes sense.

Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner.

So why is it such a big strech to contend that if the American flying public was exposed to the real truth about commercial avation, especially realted to general maintenance issues, they would lose confidence in the industry as a whole?

They chose safer alternatives relative to one segment of the industry so expanding that to the entire industry isn't that big of a leap.

In addition to speed, and relative cheepness, the American commercial airline industry depends on the confidence that it is safe to survive.

BTW: Keep in mind I'm talking about average fliers here, not your everyday business guy, or world hopping jet-setter. Those folks are going to fly, period.

Boston Red
03-12-2008, 10:48 PM
I don't think it's a stretch. I just don't think there's a safer alternative for them to choose. Certainly not trains as long as Amtrak exists. I think airline travel might decrease. I think a few dumb (or maybe merely ignorant) people might choose to drive as an alternative to flying, but I don't think there would be a widespread abandonment of air travel. People still need to get home to see grandma at Christmas, and as long as flying is the safest way (though maybe not AS safe as they once thought), most people would still fly when they need to travel long distances IMO.

Ravenlord
03-13-2008, 02:12 AM
I don't think it's a stretch. I just don't think there's a safer alternative for them to choose. Certainly not trains as long as Amtrak exists. I think airline travel might decrease. I think a few dumb (or maybe merely ignorant) people might choose to drive as an alternative to flying, but I don't think there would be a widespread abandonment of air travel. People still need to get home to see grandma at Christmas, and as long as flying is the safest way (though maybe not AS safe as they once thought), most people would still fly when they need to travel long distances IMO.

i'd fly if i could afford it...but on the plus side, i LOVE to drive.:thumbup:

macro
03-13-2008, 08:37 AM
Tell you what, take the current US commercial fleet, and have them make as many flights per day as there are automobile trips per day. Same number of pilots, same number of mechanics, same maintenance schedules, same air traffic control system, same number of flight paths, same weather conditions, etc.

Now explain to the us how the airline safety record isn't going to get worse and how the safety records compare....

I think the one factor you're omitting with that scenario, Ltlabner, is the distance traveled in those trips. The average car trip is only a few miles, while the average air trip is hundreds of miles.

Trip for trip, I'll take your word for it as described in the quote above. But mile for mile, I would suspect that air is safer.

macro
03-13-2008, 08:40 AM
We wouldn't have this problem if we all had the FLYING CARS WE WERE ALL PROMISED 8 YEARS AGO!

I WANT MY FLYING CAR!

They'll be here in seven more years, Raisor. Seven more years...

http://www.badmouth.net/content/uploads/2007/03/bttf-delorean.jpg

paintmered
03-13-2008, 09:13 AM
They'll be here in seven more years, Raisor. Seven more years...

http://www.badmouth.net/content/uploads/2007/03/bttf-delorean.jpg

2015 did seem so far away back in the day. We don't even have Mr. Fusion yet.

Sea Ray
03-13-2008, 11:52 AM
And yes, I argue that if the average flyer really knew about the maintence issues of the american commerical aviation fleet, they would serriously reconsider their options. The convience and speed of commerical air travel makes for a wonderfull opium against the cold realities of air travel for those not currious enough to investigate further.


Yeah and if the average diner knew what went on in a Chinese Restaurant he'd never eat Chinese. So what?

If the maintenance is so poor on commercial American airplanes why aren't we seeing them falling out the sky? Seems to me the maintenance is doing what it's supposed to do--get passengers safely from point to point.

How many commercial airline deaths have we had since 9-11? I can't think of any. It must be very few. How can you expect the airline industry to improve on that record?

registerthis
03-13-2008, 11:54 AM
As I said, the average flyer has no idea what really happens in the world of commerical aviation.

I know people don't die in commercial aircraft. Well, once every few years they do...but I'll take my chances.

I'm flying this weekend, and am not giving it a second thought.

Gosh, do you think I'll make it to my destination alive? :scared:

RichRed
03-13-2008, 01:32 PM
I know people don't die in commercial aircraft. Well, once every few years they do...but I'll take my chances.

I'm flying this weekend, and am not giving it a second thought.

Gosh, do you think I'll make it to my destination alive? :scared:

I'm not superstitious but you're giving me the creeps. Quick, throw some salt over your shoulder or something. ;)

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 05:18 PM
I think the one factor you're omitting with that scenario, Ltlabner, is the distance traveled in those trips. The average car trip is only a few miles, while the average air trip is hundreds of miles.

Trip for trip, I'll take your word for it as described in the quote above. But mile for mile, I would suspect that air is safer.

Good point. Then again, the average flyer makes a trip per year, or very few, anyway. While they drive nearly every day some distance.

There's all sorts of ways to measure "safety" and you can compare the safety of flying to riding a horse or taking a buss. Doesn't mean that it gives you any usefull data.

Commercial airline travel is indeed a very safe process when everything is averaged out. It's just a very thin razors edge between safe and unsafe when all the variables are honestly looked at.

I didn't realize so many people would get riled up by making a comment that hurling 350 people through the air in an aluminum tube at 500mph suspended by suction was actually, like you know, dangerous or something. Doesn't mean I wouldn't fly, or I lose any sleep over it (as noted in several of my posts), but IMO you have to be pretty nieve to think the American public's perception of "safe" can't be squewed by several news reports. Hell, Ralph Nader wiped out a entire car line with one book.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 05:31 PM
If the maintenance is so poor on commercial American airplanes why aren't we seeing them falling out the sky? Seems to me the maintenance is doing what it's supposed to do--get passengers safely from point to point.

I've never said maintenance is so poor that airliners are ready to drop from the sky. In fact, I've commented several times that commercial aviation has gotten safer at a staggering rate since the 1960's.

My main point, all along, has been that airliners are very complex pieces of equipment that operate in a demanding environment. There's already lots of things that can fail and ultimatley bring an aircraft down. Add to that the aging aircraft fleet (you do realize that an older aircraft requires more maintenance resources than an old one right?). Add to that increasing pressure on maintenance staffs to do more with less. Add to that an industry where most major players have been in/out of bankrupcy at least once. Add to that the talk of continued mega-mergers and the complexity of merging two airlines with diverse equipment.

Can an intellectually honest person actually say, "nope, no increased risk of problems there"? IMO, no. And we've not even discussed the agining air traffic control system.

I'm not saying people shouldn't fly. Heck, I just booked a flight to Las Vegas for work. I love to fly. Nor am I suggesting people should be gripped with fear about flying. The american public are like sheep, however, and given the right shepard they can easily be steered away from particular activites.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 05:31 PM
Gosh, do you think I'll make it to my destination alive? :scared:

Yes. You should be gripped with fear and cling to your woobie.

Sea Ray
03-13-2008, 09:19 PM
I've never said maintenance is so poor that airliners are ready to drop from the sky.
My main point, all along, has been that airliners are very complex pieces of equipment that operate in a demanding environment. There's already lots of things that can fail and ultimatley bring an aircraft down. Add to that the aging aircraft fleet (you do realize that an older aircraft requires more maintenance resources than an old one right?). Add to that increasing pressure on maintenance staffs to do more with less. Add to that an industry where most major players have been in/out of bankrupcy at least once. Add to that the talk of continued mega-mergers and the complexity of merging two airlines with diverse equipment.


You did give the impression that they're ready to drop from the sky:


I'm not defending Southwest, but if people really knew about the maintenance situation on most jets in the US fleet they'd likely never fly again.

If recent events are effecting airlines (age, bankruptcies, mega-mergers) then why are they safer than ever? I can't recall the last maintenance related crash. Most are either weather or driver error like the Comair one in Ky a few years ago. You accurately described the principles of flying (in a thin metal tube at 500mph) and the fact that there are so few incidents is a compliment to the air transportation system.

How many of us have been delayed due to mechanical problems? Probably every single one of us.

You're deriding the industry and I think they should be commended for their record.

Ltlabner
03-13-2008, 10:12 PM
You did give the impression that they're ready to drop from the sky

No, my point was that there is razor thin line between safe & non-safe and if the general flying public knew how close to the line the industry is, the herd mentality would lead them to chose other forms of transportation.


If recent events are effecting airlines (age, bankruptcies, mega-mergers) then why are they safer than ever? I can't recall the last maintenance related crash.

Again you are missing the point. All I am saying is that there is a small margin of error between safe and non-safe in commerical airlines. Those events you mentioned mearly push the airlines closer to that edge, not necessarly over it. Will the airlines and technology push the ballence away from the edge? Likely they will, but that doesn't change the fact that a whole bunch of issues can effect the safety of an airliner. You'll also note that I've said those events would "increase the risk" not "those events will definatley lead to planes falling out of the sky".

I've not said that the airlines are unsafe, in fact, several times have said the advancements is safety have been huge and that airlines are signifcantly safer now than they were in the 1960's. I also commented that the improvements are mostly testiment to the men and women who fly and maintain the aircraft.

BTW - the most recient domestic maintenance related crashes include a Northwest Airlines CRJ in 2004 due to engine failure, US Airlines Commuter B1100 in 2003 due to misrigged aerlons after a maintenance check and American Airlines A300 in 2001 after the vertical stabilzer broke off the aircraft.

The 1990's had a raft of maintence related crashes, but you are correct that it's been a long while since one, and a greatly reduced number at that. (Then again, many of those maintenance/mechancial related crashes did involve the older aircraft types of the time...funny...almost like the point you keep missing).


You're deriding the industry and I think they should be commended for their record.

If you want to call pointing out the obivous deriding, so be it. I agree that the industry should be commended for the record (as I have stated a few times now and you continue to ignore) but that really has no relation to any of the points I have made.

Sea Ray
03-14-2008, 12:22 AM
BTW - the most recient domestic maintenance related crashes include a Northwest Airlines CRJ in 2004 due to engine failure, US Airlines Commuter B1100 in 2003 due to misrigged aerlons after a maintenance check and American Airlines A300 in 2001 after the vertical stabilzer broke off the aircraft.

The 1990's had a raft of maintence related crashes, but you are correct that it's been a long while since one, and a greatly reduced number at that. (Then again, many of those maintenance/mechancial related crashes did involve the older aircraft types of the time...funny...almost like the point you keep missing).



If you want to call pointing out the obivous deriding, so be it. I agree that the industry should be commended for the record (as I have stated a few times now and you continue to ignore) but that really has no relation to any of the points I have made.

The points I tend to "ignore" are the ones I agree with and you're right, we do agree for the most part. I don't waste people's time pasting points you made that I agree with generally.

I do disagree that the AA flight in 2001 was a maintenance issue.


The National Transportation Safety Board has found that pilot error was the probable cause. Sharply criticizing American Airlines Advanced Aircraft Maneuvering Program, the Board said that American Airlines' pilot training included a simulator exercise which could have caused the first officer to have an unrealistic and exaggerated view of the effects of wake turbulence, erroneously associate wake turbulence encounters with the need for aggressive roll upset recovery techniques and develop control strategies that would produce a much different -- and potentially surprising and confusing -- response if performed during flight.

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/2001/2001-57.htm

It doesn't sound like the 2004 flight you mentioned was a maintenance issue either:


...PC: The pilots' unprofessional behavior, deviation from standard operating procedures, and poor airmanship, which resulted in an in-flight emergency from which they were unable to recover, in part because of the pilots' inadequate training The pilots' failure to prepare for an emergency landing in a timely manner, including communicating with air traffic controllers immediately after the emergency about the loss of both engines and the availability of landing sites and the pilots' failure to achieve and maintain the target airspeed in the double engine failure checklist, which caused the engine cores to stop rotating and resulted in the core lock engine condition. Contributing to this accident was the engine core lock condition, which prevented at least one engine from being restarted, and the airplane flight manuals that did not communicate to pilots the importance of maintaining a minimum airspeed to keep the engine cores rotating.

Unlike the 2003 crash you mentioned, this report mentions nothing about maintenance issues.


Suffice to say I feel much safer traveling by air than I do trying to merge into busy traffic on I-75. Perhaps that feeling is misguided.

Ltlabner
03-14-2008, 08:34 AM
I do disagree that the AA flight in 2001 was a maintenance issue.

It doesn't sound like the 2004 flight you mentioned was a maintenance issue either

The AA flight in 2001 is a source of heated, on-going debate. One side of the coin is the pilot-error crowd (and the NTSB) while the other (which I agree with) contends that vertical stablizers should not seperate from the aircraft when the ruder is moved. Keep in mind, my comments early on mentioned both maintenance and mechanical issues. So I'd definatley include that crash on the list.

I got the 2004 one from airdisaster.com which just gives a breif synopisis rather than the prob cause. So yea, take it off the list.

Of corse, in searching the NTSB database I've found 11maintenance/mechancial related incidents in the last 15 months that did not result in fatalies (a testiment to the skill of the particular men & women behind the controls). Again, maintenance/mechancial issues that the average flyer knows nothing about.

This continues to support my claim that if the average flyer knew what was going on "behind the sceens" (since most of these are not reported nationaly) they'd be less likely to fly. 11 events in 15 months. If the news bleated about these incidents nearly once a month, you really think that wouldn't impact the average flyer?

For those of you bored here are snipits from NTSB preliminary reports (these are only prelim reports).


Airbus Industrie A319-114, registration: N349NB
On January 9, 2008, at 0749 eastern standard time, an Airbus Industrie A319-114, N349NB, operated by Northwest Airlines as flight 853, experienced an engine cowling separation while on approach to land on runway 27R at the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW), Detroit, Michigan


On November 25, 2007, at 0042 mountain standard time, a Boeing 737-832, N3744F, registered to and operated by Delta Air Lines, Inc., of Atlanta, Georgia, and operating as flight 430, sustained minor damage when the tread on the right outboard wheel came off and struck the airplane during takeoff from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona


On September 28, 2007, at 1316 central daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-82 (MD-82), N454AA, operated by American Airlines as flight 1400, executed an emergeny landing at Lambert-St Louis International Airport (STL), St. Louis, Missouri, after the flight crew received a left engine fire warning during departure climb from the airport. Upon receiving the left engine fire warning during climb, the flight crew discharged the aircraft engine fire bottles into the affected engine. During the visual return and single-engine approach to the airport, the nose landing gear did not extend.


On May 13, 2007, at about 11:30 pm local time, a Delta Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, registration N863DA, took-off from Tel Aviv, Israel for a flight to Atlanta, Georgia. After the airplane took-off, pieces of the #8 tire assembly were found along the departure taxiway and runway. An aerial search was done in Tel Aviv along the departure flight path to try and locate the #8 wheel and tire. It was not located. On landing in Atlanta, it was discovered that the #8 tire assembly was missing.


On May 2, 2007, about 1106 eastern daylight time, a Mc-Donnell Douglas DC-10-30, N270AX, registered to Omni DC-10 Leasing LLC, operated by Omni Air International, Inc., as flight "Reach 370", experienced a malfunction of the horizontal stabilizer during a normal descent, and landed uneventfully at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. Preliminary examination of the airplane revealed that a shear pin/bolt in the horizontal stabilizer chain drive unit (P/N AJH7337-507) was fractured. The horizontal stabilizer chain drive unit was retained for further examination.


Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Frontier Airlines, Inc. Incident occurred Sunday, April 22, 2007 in Atlanta, GA. The mechanics failure to follow procedures and directives in securing the lower engine cowling after maintenance, and the failure of the first officer to follow the checklist to ensure the engine cowling was secured during the walk around inspection resulting in the separation of the right lower engine cowling during initial take off climb.


On April 18, 2007, about 1652 eastern daylight time, a Beech 1900D, N46AR, registered to CSC Applied Technologies LLC, operated by Gulfstream International Airlines, Inc., experienced a loss of engine power from the right engine while applying power to takeoff from the Marsh Harbour International Airport, Marsh Harbour, Bahamas


On April 7, 2007, about 2123 eastern daylight time, a Canadair CL-600-2B19 (CRJ), N77181, operated by Mesa Airlines as flight 7264, was substantially damaged when the thrust reverser translating cowling separated from the left engine during cruise flight and struck the horizontal and vertical stabilizers


On April 1, 2007, at 0645 cdt, Air Wisconsin Flight 3714, a Bombardier CRJ registered as N419AW, experienced a stabilizer runaway nose-down trim event shortly after departure from Milwaukee, WI (MKE).


On March 29, 2007, about 1616 eastern daylight time, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9-83 (MD-83), N877GA, registered to Boeing Aircraft Holding Company and operated by Allegiant Air as flight 758, a Title 14 CFR Part 121 scheduled domestic passenger flight from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Sanford, Florida, landed with the nose gear retracted at the Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB),Sanford, Florida. It was discovered that a "B" nut on a hydraulic pressure line had backed off from the rudder hydraulic shut-off valve, located in the right hand side of the aft airstair well, which is operated by the right hydraulic system. Fluid residue was present in the area. The line and "B" nut were removed from the aircraft for metallurgical examination.


Air Carrier operation of MESA AIRLINES INC. Incident occurred Thursday, January 25, 2007 in Cripple Creek, COWhile climbing through FL 240, the No. 1 engine experienced a fan disk separation, which resulted in the separation of the inlet, fan rotor assembly, the fan containment case, and portions of the thrust reverser. A fatigue fracture, which resulted in the separation of the No.1 engine fan disk. Contributing factors in the accident were the operators' maintenance personnel lack of training to be able to detect arc-out damage on the fan disk, and the fan disk manufacturer's inadequate electro-chemical etch match marking process of the fan disk to forward fan shaft that allowed for the initiation of a fatigue point that was undetected at the time of original manufacture.