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American Grounding

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American Grounding

Old 15th Apr 2008, 19:34
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American Grounding

This is from Americn ..

American Airlines MD-80 Fleet Inspections

Background: : In 2004, American Airlines was the lead airline working with Boeing to develop a Service Bulletin to correct wiring exposure and chafing in the MD-80 auxiliary hydraulic pump wire bundle. The concern was that exposure and chafing could cause fire in the wheel well. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) was issued in September 2006, giving MD-80 operators, including American, 18 months to address this issue. American completed the Service Bulletin in November 2006, followed by adjustments deemed necessary by American's structural engineers to comply with the AD well ahead of a March 2008 deadline.

In recent weeks the Federal Aviation Administration significantly increased its emphasis on monitoring the adherence to Airworthiness Directives that apply to various U.S. airlines. With respect to American Airlines' MD-80 fleet, we had a detailed issue that we believed had to be addressed immediately to remain compliant with the FAA; if found in non-compliance, we would have been instructed to stop flying our airplanes.

What is the specific nature of the issue?
The issue surrounds questions raised by the FAA about the way American implemented the Engineering Change Order (ECO) addressing the MD-80 auxiliary pump wiring Airworthiness Directive (AD). American fixed the item well within the specified AD timeframe. The work being done now centers on a need to change the way in which American complied with the AD regarding such items as the spacing of the ties on the wiring bundles and the direction of the retention clips and lacing cords. We are highly confident that this is not a safety of flight issue because the wire bundle is secure. It is a matter of how the work was done, not whether aircraft were protected from the threat of wire exposure and chafing that could cause fire.

Why ground the entire MD-80 fleet?
It became clear based on the number of questions the FAA raised that there would be a high percentage of aircraft that would not be found to be in full compliance of the Airworthiness Directive. Working with the FAA we were unable to find an alternative solution to regaining compliance for example, a multi-day period to rectify the issues so we had no choice but to ground the aircraft. While it has been a major disruption to AA's operation, everyone recognizes the need to ensure that the MD-80 fleet is in complete compliance and is working to restore the MD-80s back to service as quickly as possible.

Who is completing the work and why is it taking longer than the previous MD-80 inspections?
There are three levels of American employees accomplishing the work. American has assigned a team of employees aviation maintenance technicians, quality assurance inspectors, and engineers to inspect the aircraft and ensure full technical compliance, as well as to make any additional adjustments. As our aircraft return to service, the FAA is inspecting those aircraft to ensure compliance.

What is the airline doing for customers?
We are doing everything possible to take care of our customers as expeditiously as possible while facing the fact that our resources have been stretched to their limits. We are extremely sorry for the inconvenience and know that this kind of interruption of travel plans is unacceptable. While customers are dislocated we are providing meals, hotels and ground transportation; for those stranded overnight, we will offer vouchers for future travel on American Airlines. Customers who were inconvenienced with overnight stays can go to AA.com where a link will guide them to instructions on how to receive compensation.

What is the company doing to make sure it doesn't happen again?
American plans to contract with an independent third party to review American's compliance processes. This work will help ensure that all procedures strictly adhere to the technical elements of every directive so American can avoid this type of schedule disruption in the future.

Part two:

Lest we forget - The most frightening words a businessman can hear is: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you!"

Here's something you won't see or hear on American TV about the true facts of the issue
American Airlines MD80 wiring issue

(Sorry photo didnt copy but I think it is self explanatory!)

This is a photo of the wiring bundle that has grounded so many AA flight the past several days. The FAA came out with a maintenance directive over a year ago that stated the wire ties must be one inch apart. The AA maintenance managers determined that AA's MD80's were close enough to 1 inch as shown in the photo and did not change the spacing of the wire ties.

Some MD80 did come from the factory with wire ties spaced 4-8 inches apart and that prompted the FAA directive that warned of possible chaffing and a potential fire hazard. The deadline to comply with this directive was last week.

The FAA says no way to the above spacing and grounded our entire MD80 fleet.

We operate over 300 MD80's and have canceled 700-1000 flights a day!

The FAA was really beat up in a congressional hearing last week by several FAA inspectors who told congress that they were forced by their supervisors to ignore discrepancies they found on Southwest Airlines B737's. The inspectors were from the same regional office that inspects American Airlines and so now the FAA is proving that NOTHING will get by their inspectors.

So, the FAA inspectors are grounding planes that have spacing of anything more than +/- 125!!!

I honestly do not think this is a safety issue but simply revenge from the FAA from being so embarrassed on Capital Hill. There is just no way that the spacing of the wire ties in the above photo would be more of a fire hazard than wire ties spaces 1" apart but................

MY Comment !!:ugh:
Asking an FAA inspector to inspect technical work is like asking a blind man to help you across the road !!
They do not have to have type courses on the aircraft they inspect !!
GotTheTshirt is offline  
Old 15th Apr 2008, 22:00
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Sorry but you do not need a type course to measure 1 inch, l don't know what the schools are like in the USA, but here in the UK you learnt in the old days how to measure 1 inch and nowadays we can measure in mm as well.
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Old 15th Apr 2008, 23:53
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Asking an FAA inspector to inspect technical work is like asking a blind man to help you across the road !!
They do not have to have type courses on the aircraft they inspect !!
Sadly I have found this to be the case.

When operating an OZ registered A300-600 out of JFK a few years ago, we found some of them (not all of them) were next to useless.

One guy one night wanted to ground us because the shade of red in our emergency exit lights (normal shade in OZ) was a different shade of red to what he was used to.

Another one on the line one morning just prior departure snagged a crack in a main wheel I had only changed the day before, it was a brand new wheel directly from BF Goodrich in NJ, the "crack" was just a seam in the heat shield (NOT a crack at all obviously). It was just so stupid I tried to show him, but the Company didn't want to upset the almighty FAA, so we changed it for a similar wheel prior departure.

Cannot tell you here what BF Goodrich said when they got this brand new wheel back under warranty because it was cracked. We refered them to the FAA expert.
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Old 16th Apr 2008, 06:06
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Mr Spotty,
Cable ties and support distances are generally refered to in inches and do not normally call for an in date calibrated micrometer
American obviously thought that this was a ludicrous grounding reason as would anyone involved in cable installations and strapping.
As you will see Boeing could not get it right to the nearest couple of inches let alone mm
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