The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #54366   Message #841540
Posted By: GUEST,JohnB
05-Dec-02 - 12:45 PM
Thread Name: Parody Urged:Fixing planes w/ DUCT TAPE!
Subject: RE: Parody Urged:Fixing planes w/ DUCT TAPE!
I work in the aicraft industry, received the following from a friend this morning. Probably explains eveything in a bit more detail than most people want. Never mind anyhow.

Improper Use of Tape to Fix Wings May Lead to FAA Fine for United

By Don Phillips
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 4, 2002; Page E01

The Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday that it proposed an
$805,000 civil penalty against United Airlines, which is struggling to avoid
bankruptcy, for making improper wing repairs with tape on three Boeing 727s.
United said it will dispute the fine.

In an Oct. 7 letter to United, the FAA said the three aircraft were operated
for a total of 193 flights before being permanently repaired. At a maximum
$11,000 per violation, United would be subject to a fine of $2.1 million,
but the FAA said that "having considered all the circumstances in this case,
we would be willing to accept an offer in compromise in the amount of
$805,000 in full settlement of this matter."

United spokesman Joseph Hopkins said the airline will contest the fine
because "this is not an airworthiness issue." The planes were not unsafe and
no passengers were ever in danger, he said.

In each case, mechanics on March 2 used a special tape called "speed tape"
to repair holes in ground spoiler panels -- flat panels on the wings that
are raised into the wind stream as a plane lands to help keep the plane
solidly on the runway and to assist in braking.

While it's routine to use speed tape to make temporary repairs, in two cases
the holes being repaired were slightly larger than allowed by the United
maintenance manual, and all three were closer to the edge than allowed. The
manual allows use of the tape with holes no larger in diameter than 2 inches
and no closer to the edge of the panel than 3 inches. The three holes
measured 2.6 inches, 2.5 inches and 1.75 inches in diameter and were located
2 inches, 2.25 inches and 2.125 inches from the edge of the spoiler.

It is rare for an airline to pay a full fine in such cases. Usually, the
amount is negotiated down in consultation with FAA officials.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company