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FAA proposes more than $1 million fine on United Airlines over preflight safety checks

The FAA alleged United removed a fire-system warning check from its Boeing 777 checklist. The agency said the carrier operated more than 100,000 flights that didn't meet airworthiness requirements. United has 30 days to respond to the FAA's enforcement letter. The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is proposing a more than $1.1 million penalty against United Airlines for allegedly failing to perform required fire system safety checks on its Boeing 777s. ( More...

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Mike Bogue 19
"The carrier said that it changed its preflight checklist in 2018 "to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777" and said that was reviewed and approved by the FAA at the time." If found to be true, someone at the FAA's going to be out of a job and the organization will have some 'splaining to do.
adainv 12
They will not be out of a job, they will be promoted! Screw up, move up!
Chris Cotter 4
Classic failing up
Alejandro green 1
Your 200% right on that.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

srobak -3
1mooneymite 10
"The inspection is required in the maintenance specifications manual." That explains the omission. An operational check required in the maintenance manual was dropped out of the operations manual.

This sort of thing happens because of the two separate manuals. We saw this on a bizjet I flew. For several years the pilots were unaware there was a restriction to starting the APU while fueling because it was in the maintenance manual, not in anything the pilots were issued. It wasn't until a mechanic questioned why a pilot started the APU during fueling the issue came out and the restriction was added to the pilot manuals.

Happily, there were no mishaps from starting the APU while fueling.

Better FAA oversight while approving (not just "accepting") manuals would have caught this type of error.
Torsten Hoff 9
So about $11 per flight? That will come out of petty cash.
Paul Ipolito 5
It will come out of the loose change found in the couches in the employee lounge at Headquarters
Alejandro green 2
Alejandro green -1
Its about time the FAA comes down on them they get away with countless fines but trust me they have powerful people with in the FAA and judges who look the other way in these types of matters. I can guarantee you that, and they will work something out amongst them selves and make it all disappear there experts at getting out of these situations. I personally know of a reported safety violation reported to managers with 100% evidence but when questioned they were dishonest only to cover up for them selves and save there employment ,the aircraft flew approximately 76-100 cycles before the FAA found out and ordered the safety violation inspect. The FAA did not issue any type of public fine or warning all was silent the evidence didn't count .
Unfortunately There is nobody to go to as mentioned above in these situations who can over power these very powerful individuals. Remember they will always come out on top no matter what. These people do not want to be held accountable much less have bad press and publicity because they loose the customers almighty dollar and that's the bottom line.
avionik99 9
1 million fine? Thats like us being pulled over for speeding and fined 50 cents.
Alejandro green 0
trust me this will all be smoothed over and nothing will happen.
Stephen Dyczko 2
The Lawer's always win...
Alejandro green 0
greg cotten 2
The best way to shorten the life of a light bulb is to turn it on and off just to see if it is working!

I honestly can’t imagine a FMECA output of that circuit stating it was so unreliable we need to check it every 24 hrs.
Philip Lanum 1
10-1 it was a LED.
There goes your tungsten lightbulb analogy.
David Purtz 3
From the article:

"The carrier said that it changed its preflight checklist in 2018 "to account for redundant built-in checks performed automatically by the 777" and said that was reviewed and approved by the FAA at the time."

If the FAA approved it as stated, it seems to be a problem at the FAA. With the current attitude and actions of the government since January 2021 it has become impossible to trust that said government is acting in the best interests of the citizens of the USA. In watching the Southwest senate hearings I have zero faith in the governments' ability to tell the airlines how to do their jobs in light of their failure to do their own effectively and efficiently. God help us as we pray.
mike Renna 5
not to get political... it's the same for all parties / administrations. And I am not a fan of overregulation, but what are we paying for with government.

9/11 - FBI / CIA et al didn't share info / missed red flags

china balloon - NORAD and others didn't know of previous balloons?

SEC - missed madoff flags for years

Challenger - not sure how accurate, but the guy at Thiokol who wanted to postpone the launch brings
up the o ring issue the night before? How the issue from a previous launch wasn't known as a no go situation at low temps by nasa (or not ignored) is disappointing

FAA - Boeing Max plane approvals

IRS - seems if you have very complex tax returns, you get less attention on audits. Easier to hassle loads of simple returns.

People in gov't leaving and getting jobs from the companies they oversaw when in gov't

In general, the answer seems to be to throw more money at a situation to try to fix things that govt was oblivious was broken.

And my vote is that person will still be at the FAA years from now.
Alejandro green 3
Right on...
Alejandro green 1
right on...
Alan Glover 1
This times a million.
Leander Williams 1
My question is why only United? Has anyone from the FAA checked other operators of the Boeing 777 to see if anyone else did the same thing? There are a lot of triple 7's in the sky.
Rpger Jones 1
If the allegation is true, triple the fine
adainv 7
The change was approved by the FAA, prior to it being done. Read the article.
Alan Glover 2
I presume this will be mentioned in the airline's required response to the allegation.

One would hope if the contention that the FAA approved the change is true the outcome would be a no-brainer...But we're talking bureaucrats here so...
srobak 1
the outcome should be a gutting and re-alignment of the faa
ewrcap 1
This is a non-story as usual. Years ago, we used to get in the cockpit and check everything. This was done every time there was a crew change. After a while, they realized we were wearing out systems just by constantly running checks and the checklists were trimmed. Now that the system is electronically checked and monitored, a manual check is totally unnecessary.
srobak 3
in the industry - we call this last sentence "complacency". and it is deadly. good luck!
jim powell 0
Short cuts as usual.......
Kerry Moore 0
Boeing 777 Maintenance Planning Data (MPD) in Section 9 has a listing of Certification Maintenance Requirements (CMR's). Of note is 31-CMR-01 copied below:

31-CMR-01 * 31-100 OP Interval 24 Hrs
ALL ALL Operationally check FIRE WARNING SYSTEM using the Fire/Overheat Test switch
(if not checked by crew).
INTERVAL NOTE: Under exceptional operational circumstances the interval may be
extended beyond 24 hours (elapsed clock hours) but not exceed 48 hours (clock time).

FAA Cannot "Approve Elimination of CMR's". Below is information regarding CMR's again from the Boeing 777 MPD.

As defined by AC 25-19, a CMR is a required periodic task, established during the design certification of the airplane as an operating limitation of the type

I think UAL and quite possibly the FAA are a bit confused!!
chrisswr -3
$1.1m is chump change... should be more like 1.1bn...
Alan Glover 2
Let's not be more cavalier with someone else's money than we would be with our own. ;)
Mark Kortum 2
Milton Friedman
srobak -4
you do realize that money actually _is_ our own, right? I think chrisswr's point was to put them out of business - or at the very least severely in check and get them out of their comfortable autonomous zone.


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