View Full Version : Per Mafia ad Astra

Few Cloudy
30th Jan 2002, 19:23
The companies Panaviation and Meridiana in Italy, are being investigated by the Italian Police. Amongst other airlines, Panaviation had been delivering American Airlines with parts fraudulently declared as 'New'.

These companies had been selling stolen and secondhand parts with false part numbers, as new and also bribing companies with kick backs, to take their parts. One source of Airbus parts has been a group of used Alitalia aircraft in Rome.

The FBI is now involved in connection with the Queens case which also interests the Italian authorities, as does the crash of a Minerva Dornier 328 in 1999.

The news has been surfacing in middle Europe these last two days...

30th Jan 2002, 19:32
As seen on CNN’s Q&A yesterday 29.01.02.<a href="http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0201/29/qa.01.html" target="_blank">CNN Q&A</a>

Few Cloudy
31st Jan 2002, 12:30
I'm surprised that the forum members are not scandalised by this news - talk about sawing at the roots of safety...

31st Jan 2002, 12:58
Few Cloudy,

We are scandalised as we have always been over the years. 'Rogue' parts trading has been going on for decades with the authorities continually attempting to stamp it out. Eradicate one criminal source and there are others waiting in the wings happy to make profits at the expense of public safety.

Lock em up and throw the keys away!!

. .Regards. .Exeng

Kerosene Kraut
31st Jan 2002, 13:53
Admitting, I'm not too much involved in that maintenance stuff. I wonder how major airlines could get affected by this crime. It should be easy to track all their parts sources and their financial états for parts to determine the technical quality. And if a company buys several worn out widebodies does nobody check if the same company suddenly appears with like 80000 "airworthy" parts for sale on the market? Who could buy that crap officially and who installs it "without knowing"?

31st Jan 2002, 13:56
Airlines should be forced to purchase new spare parts from the manufacturer. If they cannot afford genuine parts, then perhaps they shouldn't be flying at all. I guess there are some parts that do not affect the airworthiness of an aircraft, such as toilet seats, toilet paper dispensers etc, which is why each and every manufacturer should specify which parts must be purchased new, and which parts can be bought from third party sources.

I do realise, however, that operators of L1011's and other old equipment, may have to rely on second hand parts.

Few Cloudy
31st Jan 2002, 22:16
It's OK to use second hand parts, provided they are logged as such and the cycles and hours are tracked to be within overhaul/exchange limits.

What has been happening here is a misrepresentation of the parts as New - sort of declaring thin ice on your pond to be thick load-bearing stuff and waiting for the accident.

Absolutely callous.

Greg Baddeley
31st Jan 2002, 23:32
Charterguy - the problem with the manufacturers is sometimes they can't supply an item from stock; it can be anything up to 180 days' leadtime.

This is where the "independents" can help out; brokers and stockists, many of whom have inventories purchased as surplus from airlines and manufacturers. The reputable suppliers will only stock items with a proven history; these are, by and large, the more well-established vendors. After all, the aircraft you're flying in is second-hand.

The bad guys are most often sole traders, or companies with one director and 2-3 employees, like the one I used to work for. I left when it became apparent that the director had no interest in where the goods came from, as long as the price was good. I wanted no part of that, told him so, and walked away. I'm very glad I did, as I know he had bought goods from Panaviation in the past.

David Hurst
1st Feb 2002, 00:25
An engineer once told me that when an aircraft is scrapped after around 25 - 30 years of flying, probably only 10 per cent of it is the same bits that left the factory on day 1.

Cisco Kid
1st Feb 2002, 05:31
Wasn´t there a scam ,exposed some years ago, that "fake" i.e not second hand or genuine used parts were finding their way onto the market?

Rather like buying a fake watch,outwardly appears genuine but made of very sub standard materials,I recall it was reported the chinese manufactured complete bogus PW engines for the B707,complete with appropriate forged paper work..is this sort of criminal activity still occuring? if so it creates a whole new horror scenario, or was the story manufactured? anyone know?

Greg Baddeley
1st Feb 2002, 17:07
Woodman - certainly possible on the components side; major structural assemblies would be original.

Cisco - who knows what they're capable of? The Chinese certainly have reverse-engineered aircraft and engines before; a JT3D would be an amazing feat, but their capabilities are tremendous. If such an item were to find it's way out into the West, it would no doubt be discovered as a fake quite quickly. The biggest danger is not really from complex mechanical items, but the parts within, such as bearings, springs and bolts. These are easy to reproduce, and look like the real thing. It's only once they're in use that their pedigree, or lack of it, manifests itself.

Many 'suspect' parts in circulation are good ones, it's just their lack of provenance that makes them technically worthless. If you have a 200 dollar bolt with no paperwork, it's just a lump of metal. The temptation is to make up an Airline Tag declaring it's good. Some outfits do this on a regular basis, which is why it's best to use only the Manufacturer, or an Approved Supplier with a good Quality Assurance department.In the same way as you guys know which Airlines are safe from a point of view of Operational integrity, those of us on the Engineering side can tell a good aftermarket supplier from a bad 'un, mostly by their reputation.

Few Cloudy
2nd Feb 2002, 20:00

That is very candid stuff. Might I suggest that is exactly what the investigators would like to hear? How about a call?

Greg Baddeley
4th Feb 2002, 17:27
It's pretty widespread knowledge in the spares industry, and I should think the investigators know it as well; the shady operators usually move in different circles, because the larger customers for spare parts have Quality departments who can sniff out a supplier with insufficient standards.

Panaviation have caught a lot of people out, I think because most of their stuff was good, and legally theirs to sell. The problem seems to have been with the stuff that was (allegedly) stolen back in '95, and the six A300's -worth of used items that they were passing off as new. It's very difficult to establish the provenance of non-traceable items like nuts and bolts, because they don't carry serial numbers, like the larger parts do.

If an item's been purchased in good faith, under the regulations in force at the time, then suppliers should have nothing to worry about. They may have to refund their customers' money if it can be proven that a part is not what it is claimed to be, but if someone's daft enough to pass off an obviously (to the naked eye) used part as new, then they deserve all they get.

Believe it or not, standards are immeasurably higher than they used to be!!!