March 18th, 2010
05:59 PM ET

FAA proposes fines against American Airlines

Federal aviation officials are proposing to fine American Airlines $300,000 for flying an airplane with a broken instrument on four occasions early last year in violation of Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

The proposed fine comes one week after the FAA proposed fines against the airline totaling $787,500 for three other alleged maintenance violations.

In all four instances, American Airlines said it is reviewing the information and will meet with the FAA.

The most recent FAA allegation is that American Airlines mechanics deferred maintenance in February 2009 on a MD-82 aircraft after noting that a warning light relating to the aircraft's pitot probe heaters was broken. Pitot probes are tubes mounted on the exteriors of aircraft to measure aircraft speeds, and the heaters prevent them from icing in certain conditions.

The next day, the FAA said, maintenance crews determined that the heater itself was malfunctioning, instead of the warning light. But because the mechanics logged the problem as an inoperative panel light, the airline operated the plane on five flights in violation of FAA regulations, the FAA alleges.

"We expect full compliance with all of our maintenance standards," said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said in a statement. "Safety is our top concern. Maintenance personnel must pay attention to every detail when they are working on an aircraft."

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. leann

    I was on an American Airline flight yesterday and after take off we smelled strong fumes and smoke in the cabin. They immediately turned the plane around and landed back at the airport and did not tell us what it was... just canceled the flight. I've NEVER been so terrified in my life!!!

    March 18, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mike

    Sounds like de-icing fluid in the ACM. (Air conditioning unit).De-icing fluid sometimes gets into the in take for the Air handeling unit. On takoff it gets really heated and then you get smoke in the cabin.

    If it was anything else you woud have known. That is, you would have been evacuated on landing and ended up outside by a big red truck.

    March 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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