American Eagle Airlines fined $155,000 for safety violations

August 10th, 2011 - 10:37 pm ICT by BNO News  

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BNO NEWS) — The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has fined American Eagle Airlines more than $150,000 due to several safety violations last year, the FAA said on Wednesday. It is the airline’s second fine in two months.

The FAA said its inspectors observed 12 American Eagle flights arriving at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on December 28 and December 29 last year. In eight instances, loading documents for checked luggage did not match observations made by the inspector.

The FAA said American Eagle’s approved weight and balance program calls for the use of an automated Electronic Weight and Balance System (EWBS) to make sure aircraft are operated with correct weight and balance information. However, accurate data must be entered for the EWBS to function properly.

Operators may not exceed an aircraft’s weight limit when loading the plane and the weight must be distributed so that the aircraft remains in balance during the flight. There have been accidents involving overweight aircraft in the past, most notable Air Midwest flight 5481.

Flight 5481 crashed into a U.S. Airways hangar at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 8, 2003, killing 21 people. A subsequent investigation revealed the aircraft was overweight and this was ruled a contributing factor, in addition to improper maintenance.

The FAA alleges American Eagle entered inaccurate data in the EWBS and then operated the aircraft with incorrect weight and balance information. As a result, the agency has proposed a civil penalty of $80,000.

In addition to the fine of $80,000, the FAA has also proposed a civil penalty of $75,000 due to American Eagle’s alleged use of improper procedures to repair an engine on one of its Embraer 135 regional jets. According to the FAA, a mechanic signed off as ‘complete’ on work he had not performed. As a result, American Eagle operated the aircraft on 34 flights between September 11 and September 17, 2010, when it was not in compliance with regulations.

American Eagle Airlines, a regional affiliate of American Airlines, was also fined $77,500 last month after the airline’s line maintenance contractor in Virginia was found to use uncalibrated tools to test the anti-freeze used for de-icing aircraft. American Eagle Airlines was fined more than $5.7 million last year by the FAA.

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