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Thu, Jul 27, 2006

NTSB Fears Rules Don't Apply To Aging Planes

Exemptions May Let Fatigued Planes Slip Through

The NTSB wants to know... what good is a rule if you don't apply it? Case in point: aging aircraft like that Grumman G-73T Mallard... the one that crashed off Government Cut in Miami last December, killing all 20 people on board.

Although the NTSB final report is still in the works... it looks like stress fractures in the airframe may have contributed to the crash... cracks that become more prevalant with age.

The Chalks Ocean Airways Mallard was built in 1947. So the NTSB wants the FAA to order closer and more frequent inspections of older planes... looking for age-related issues.

But under FAA rules enacted last year... planes with fewer than 30 seats, and aircraft built before 1958, are exempt.

In a statement released by the NTSB this week... the safety board blasted those exemptions... saying those exemptions would have allowed the Chalks Mallard to get by without the very inspections that might have uncovered critical airframe issues like those that may have contributed to the Government Cut crash.

The FAA promises to look at the NTSB recommendations and get back to the safety board as soon as possible.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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