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Mon, Jul 13, 2009

Whistleblower Charges An FAA Cover Up In Chalk's Accident

Former Inspector Says Mechanics Were Not Properly Trained, Corrective Programs Terminated

According to former FAA Inspector Gabe Bruno, at least one of the mechanics that worked on a Chalk's Ocean Airways Grumman Mallard which went down shortly after takeoff from Miami in 2005 was unqualified for the work, and the FAA is covering up the mistake.

Gabe Bruno told The Washington Examiner that the mechanic in question was tested an licensed by Anthony St. George, who was convicted and sentenced to prison for essentially selling licenses.  The 58-year-old G-73T lost a wing shortly after takeoff and fell into the water in sight of beachgoers in Miami, killing all 20 on board.

Bruno told the Examiner he had instituted a retesting program for mechanics licensed by St. George.  About 300 of the more than 2000 mechanics were retested, with a failure rate of over 75 percent. But the program was cancelled by former assistant Administrator Nicholas Sabatini. And when it was reinstated, “it was a rubber-stamp sham, with nobody assigned to monitor the results,” Bruno said.

File Photo

Now, The Examiner reports that Bruno has asked the Office of Special Counsel to refer the Chalk's Ocean Airways accident to the Department of Justice to file numerous charges, including manslaughter, criminal negligence, and a cover up by FAA officials. “At one time, FAA was the gold standard in the world,” Bruno told the paper. “But for the past several years, there’s been a lot of disregard for the standards” of aviation safety.

FMI: www.whistleblower.org/content/press_detail.cfm?press_id=1625

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