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Maintenance at Elstree - Beware

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Maintenance at Elstree - Beware

Old 26th Oct 2010, 20:59
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Maintenance at Elstree - Beware

Very disturbing stuff been going on with the maintenance of our aeroplane.

It's being put right at significant expense elsewhere.

Would advise PM'ing me for information before taking your aircraft there.

J.
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Old 26th Oct 2010, 22:16
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Very good......................you have made all the maintenance company's as Elstree "suspect" of malpractice even those who have never seen your aircraft.

Have the guts to say what you mean and don't blacken the reputation of those who have done you no harm.
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Old 26th Oct 2010, 23:02
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Julian

I wish you luck with the libel suit
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Old 26th Oct 2010, 23:10
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There is only one unless you include CABAIR and it's NOT them . . .

Our aircraft (a pretty tidy Diamond Katana) has been maintained by these guys for the last five years and after having had some doubts about the way in which it was being maintained, decided instead to take it to Diamond Aircraft at Gamston for its annual.

As it turns out, out we were right to have concerns.

Diamond have identified that NO AD's or SB's have been complied with in the last five years, lifed items were not being replaced (for example the rudder cables were four years overdue for replacement), when the engine was changed it was rewired illegally with automotive grade electrical connectors (like you would buy from Halfords) - and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I have a multi page report from Diamond itemising just how negligent these guys appear to have been. It's pretty damning reading.

Essentially the aircraft has repeatedly been released to service in an un airworthy condition and flying illegally for over five years. One of the turn buckles on a rudder cable was really badly corroded. Reckon it might have been quite exciting had that snapped in flight.

Neither the manager nor the directors at at this company dispute what we claim. In fact, I telephoned one of the directors this evening and he offered me £2,000 'to go away quietly'. Not really enough when the bill for putting right their mess has come to over £12,000. He told me that they are on the brink of insolvency (yes I recorded the call) and that if I sue him for more and win, then it will push them under.

So if you have an aircraft, think carefully about where you maintain it!

I wish you luck with the libel suit
Something is only libellous if it's untrue. I only wish that this WERE untrue.
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Old 26th Oct 2010, 23:44
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In that case it will be interesting to see how the CAA deal with things. They are quick enough to jump on pilots when we screw up.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 06:33
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The CAA will do nothing. They would shut down much of UK maintenance if they took interest in this kind of stuff.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 07:34
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I attended a CAA Safety Evening some years ago at which one of the speakers was a CAA Surveyor. He talked about his work and how they found exactly the sort of things described by Julian. I stuck my hand up

"So you found aircraft that had Certificates of Release to Service that should not have been issued because the aircraft were not airworthy?"

"Yes, that's right."

"What action did you take against the persons who had signed the Certificates?"

"Airworthiness is the responsibility of the operator."

Sad but true.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 08:13
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Thats better !

At least you have cleared Cabair from responsability for your problems.

I would be carfull about the "it was rewired illegally with automotive grade electrical connectors (like you would buy from Halfords)".

This sounds like some one is spicing thing up a bit as it is some times very hard to tell the diffence between automotive and aviation hardware simply because it is the same thing with a very diffent price tag. Just one look at a Robin electrical system will illistrate the point.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 09:18
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it is some times very hard to tell the diffence between automotive and aviation hardware
I'm not an engineer and almost certainly couldn't tell the difference. I can only really go by what the guys at Diamond are telling me and I'm happy enough that THEY can tell the difference.

Diamond also found that the oil pump housing had been damaged and that "someone had gone mad with some sealant" to stop it leaking. (Remember that the guys at Elstree replaced the engine and nobody else has worked on the aircraft since).

So pretty much anything is possible . . .
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 09:50
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Not again

I am going through exactly the same thing, different maintenance lot. IO540 spot on in that the CAA will do NOTHING.

I had a conversation with senior at Gatwick last week, who hinted it is all my fault, the second time this has been insinuated.

Best of luck, if owners actually knew what was going on, and took an interestthen all hell would break loose. Problem appears that a lot of them are just glad to get the aircraft back in the air, at cheapest cost, illegal or not.

Dont think this is libel
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 09:52
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Don't think this is libel
Stating something which is true, is not libellous.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 10:24
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So let's get this straight - a less than honest organisation could claim and charge for,say, a zero-timing of your engine but not carry out the all of the work or use correct parts.

As an owner it is my fault if there are things wrong that appear later and it is down to me to sort out the court case.

Our regulator, who we pay for through taxation and various exorbitant charges, is not prepared to take action or help, but considers we have the responsibility, even though we are not qualified to do so.

Scandalous, and, I expect, would not stand up in court
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 10:45
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Something is only libellous if it's untrue.
Successful actions for libel have been brought where only the truth - or the claimant's version thereof - was stated. A lot depends on the reasons for publication and the extent to which the information was disseminated.

That said, if you feel that your facts are correct, I don't think you have much to fear from stating them, but your statement above as it stands is not bulletproof.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 10:50
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A lot depends on the reasons for publication and the extent to which the information was disseminated.
I think that the aviation community has a moral responsibility to protect its members from people like these guys, before they end up killing one of us.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 11:01
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I agree, but we are moving into the realm of subjective opinions, rather than facts.

Because there's a cool breeze off the sea and I'm sitting outside with no shirt on, I feel cold. That does not validate me stating : "It is f**king cold here today."
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 13:33
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While the operator is responsible for the airworthiness of aircraft CAA is responsible for licencing engineers, so if they had the bottle they could revoke the licences.

Meantime if you have solid evidence of a trader persistently failing to meet obligations of fitness for purpose then to Trading Standards you should go.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 13:50
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Capetonian

I think that problems Julian Storey is complaining about are not subjective at all; either an AD has been observed, or it hasn't. Either specified maintenance has been carried out or it hasn't. Either lifed items have been replaced or they haven't. There is no grey area in the middle or room for alternative interpretations of a maintenance schedule.

This is not a case of someone arguing over whether the weather is hot, cold or normal as, in this instance, there is no qualitative measure of performance - the measure is quantitative.

I think that Julian Storey has done the right thing in going public on this; what is depressing is how unlikely it would seem that the CAA is to do anything about such dangerous practices.

Last edited by wsmempson; 27th Oct 2010 at 13:52. Reason: illiteracy
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 13:53
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So if an aircraft has been signed off “considered to be airworthy at the time of the review”, let's say 1 April, this need no longer be the case on 2 April when
Airworthiness is the responsibility of the operator.
This may well be
Scandalous, and, I expect, would not stand up in court
However, once I have been killed in a non-airworthy aircraft it will be a matter of extreme indifference to me whether the case stands up in court.

If our regulator is not prepared to take action then maybe the time has come to restrict PPLs to aero engineers, fully qualified to sign off the ARC.
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 14:34
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Pianorak

Actually that is pretty much the case with the class 2 medical and also my MoT - only valid on the day. But my garage does give a warranty for the work it does on my car. I'm not sure if that is the case with the maintenance organisation. It's certainly not the case with my doctor!!
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Old 27th Oct 2010, 15:18
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Stating something which is true, is not libellous.
Might help by heeding newsanchors, if you're unsure of anything preceed it with 'allegedly'
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