Thu, May 28, 2009
Poor Regulation Of Examiners Cited
In a development that could have far
reaching effects, The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV have been
reporting that hundreds of mechanics may have received licences
without proper testing, and that many continue to work in the
commercial and general aviation industry.
There are about 300 certified testing centers for mechanics
across the country, and they are given a lot of latitude in how
tests are administered.
Bill McNease, a pilot and former FAA inspector told the WFAA
reporters faulty testing "is very difficult to uncover, unless an
FAA inspector walks in while it is happening." He said the outcome
of shoddy testing can be deadly, "A mechanic can cause an airplane
to crash just as much as a pilot can."
Some examiners have developed a reputation for being "diploma
mills." The report indicates some centers generate virtually
all their income from testing, and that fees can vary widely. The
FAA's difficulties in regulating these examination centers, and the
mechanics that receive certificates, may be a major safety concern
for anyone who flies, according to government whistle-blowers
including some former FAA employees.
16 year ago, a USDOT audit uncovered a number of problems with
examiners, concluding the "FAA cannot be assured that only
qualified applicants were certified as aviation mechanics."
The FAA, responding to written inquiries by WFAA-TV, said " the
agency maintains adequate testing and licensing oversight under
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