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Tue, Jul 31, 2007

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations For Airline Maintenance Practices

Says FAA Failed To Detect Errors At Chalks Ocean Airways

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended the Federal Aviation Administration take additional steps to verify the maintenance programs of commercial aircraft operators include stringent criteria to address recurring or systemic discrepancies, including, if necessary, further analysis of the discrepancies through a comprehensive engineering evaluation.

The recommendations -- available in full at the FMI link below -- stem from the December 19, 2005 downing of a Grumman G73-T Turbo Mallard operated by Chalks Ocean Airways. The NTSB investigation of that accident revealed numerous fuel leak discrepancies involving the accident airplane.

"Minutes from the July 2005 continuing analysis and surveillance system (CASS) meeting showed that the accident airplane had a fuel leak from either the left or right wing near the fuel tank six times during a 5-day period," the NTSB writes. "Also, the minutes from the September 2005 CASS meeting showed that the accident airplane had a fuel leak in its right wing dry bay for 3 consecutive days. The repair methods used to address these fuel leaks involved removing and replacing the sealant on the fuel tank."

The NTSB states the continued fuel leaks on the right wing "were repeated indicators of structural damage inside the right wing" -- which should have tipped Chalks employees to the looming structural failure that later brought the aircraft down in Government Cut, near Miami, FL. All 20 persons onboard the plane were killed.

FMI: Read The NTSB Recommendations (.pdf)

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