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Allegiant Air’s planes started failing more and more, but the FAA didn't crack down

Before the night was finished on June 25, 2015, five Allegiant flights had been interrupted in four hours, all because different planes had failed in midair. The Federal Aviation Administration collected records on all of the incidents. But it didn’t order a single corrective action. ( 更多...

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For the regulars, just a side note. The "silence" is golden.
joel wiley 6
I can live with the reduced comment count.
David Barnes 12
The article is a bit biased here, especially with reference to ValuJet 592. That aircraft crashed not because of maintenance or crew issues, but because of cargo handling practices.

While it's true that SabreTech was ValuJet's maintenance provider and was shipping maintenance parts (expired oxygen generators) back to Atlanta, the cause of the accident was not the maintenance done by SabreTech or with ValuJet's maintenance program.
djames225 6
I think the reference to the ValuJet crash was the fact the FAA did nothing before the accident and very little after...not so much the maintenance issues as it was the lack of properly "watching out for the public's best interest" when it knew ValuJet had bad safety record..that plus the fact Allegiant was started by a founder of ValuJet should have thrown some flags on the plays
Fair point, though it should be noted that different pieces of the FAA monitor different parts of an airline operation. Maintenance, cargo handling, flight operations, etc. are all overseen by different FAA inspectors.

It's definitely a cause for concern seeing the number of operational interruptions experienced by Allegiant, especially given their relatively small fleet size.

It is interesting, at least to me, that of the incidents cited in the article, it looked like each event was different. Yes, each was a maintenance induced failure, but finding a common cause (such as the Alaska Airlines 261 crash) that stems from cultural failures is a bit of a reach.
joel wiley 5
The Tampa Bay Times reported on allegations posed by Greg Marino, a retired US Airlines mechanic who worked briefly for Allegiant, that indicated a culture of less-than-stellar maintenance.
"This is Allegiant's culture," he said. "We're going to do it the way we want in order to get the plane in the air. It's their uncomfortable norm."

I believe the article was the subject of an earlier squawk but I didn't find it in a search.
djames225 2
I agree with you 100%...I also think that the FAA needs a bit more "communication" between its divisions... 1 department notices red flags popping on an airline, such as you pointed to maintenance, that all departments stick their perverbial heads in deeper to an airline.
When you purchase the leftovers from everyone .... It's one way to get into business and grow I guess but what side of the FAA isn't under suspicion by all pilots ?
linbb 3
Everything wears out and letting things run to TBO is a good way to push it to the point too many things at one time reach at or near TBO and fail. Then they have an accident resulting in the loss of plane and passengers.

It will happen but when is the issue right now if the FAA doesn't step in soon.
rmchambers 2
I'm not sure the airlines have the same kind of "TBO" that GA planes have. They have continual maintenance programs in place, continual inspection programs and some parts are life limited (that's kind of a TBO) as well as wear limits with detailed measurement instructions to determine serviceability or worn out. Deferring maintenance until it becomes necessary is a cultural thing not a mechanical thing. When your car is due for an oil change, you know it, and you get it done, you don't keep pushing it and pushing it because the oil level is still good. That's kinda what separates the tier 1 carriers from the low-cost squeeze every dollar from the asset carriers. Sounds like some of them were very lucky, the aborted takeoff on the MD80 would have been a HUGE black eye and perhaps bankrupted the company had the plane got off the ground and then stalled and crashed.
djames225 2
Very good analogy using the oil change synopsis except 1 thing..I am also an auto mechanic and Allegiant, and the FAA for that matter with its lack of inter-departmental communication, are those people who will push their oil changes past the due point...and believe me, there are a huge number of them out it known, Im sure Allegiant is not the only guilty airline.
Sam Johnson 1
I do not agree. TBO is is started low and adjusted up based on how the parts test after removal while stll leaving a margin of safety. Parts that are starting to wear are redesigned. After all of ther years in service they have a good handle on the DC9/MD80 series for aircraft. The item is NOT on its last legs at TBO.
I agree to a point. On condition engine maintenance with powerplants that barely make rated power should be of particular interest, especially in an engine out scenario.
Explain TBO.
joel wiley 6
Google is our friend: google < tbo acronym aviation>
scott8733 6
A good friend of mine commutes between Toledo and Orlando frequently. He sums up flying Allegiant the best- 'if I arrive alive, I save a few hundred bucks. If not, I die."
Trlank 1
Interesting article. Incident rate between Allegiant and comparable discount carriers like Spirit is significant. This indicates a problem. Sounds like it's Allegiant's problem, but it's up to the FAA to proactively fix it. It's amazing that Southwest is near the top with their low fares.
Steve Bower 1
Exactly! Competition regulates price. All airlines (and charter operators, etc.) look for opportunities and try to entice market share by their recipe of price, convenience and safety. We vote with our dollars. Maintenance and training are soft costs that can be manipulated to lower cost without visible effect...until problems start happening. Then the media, insurance companies and the FAA expose and seek to control the lower limits of quality and safety. By the way, the FAA is also constrained by costs and approval by Congress and has chronic under-staffing problems too.
When Allegiant started flying out of Punta Gorda, I thought it was great. Now I can fly up north to see my family without the hassle of the big airports. Then I started hearing that many flights had to be diverted or delayed because of mechanical problems. A lot more lately. Then they cancelled flights for this reason. No thank you. Frontier is now flying out of Punta Gorda, I just hope they fly into ORH, soon.
Wots new pussycat?
ADXbear 1
the fAA is well beyond asleep at the switch- they are comatose. These list of miscues at allegiant are plain and simple to analyze and fix: if one is in that kind of work, which the faa is supposed to be in and be doing, which all evidence points to the contrary. The quality of maintenance clearly is deficient, so compel the company to use a higher quality provider. If it costs more, that is not a reason not to do so. Allegiant has few aircraft, but plenty of diversions for inflight emergencies, so this company needs to be shut down- stand down for complete evaluation, aircraft released upon a satisfactory result. Otherwise there will be crashes and deaths, and little actions against the FAA.
They are cheap fare experts with accidents- waiting- to- happen aircraft.
Agree with Mr. Barnes, this article is biased, obviously written by someone who is promoting a reaction to sensational "news" and doesn't know much about the airline industry of the FAA. I work with FAA every day and find that almost to a person, the Feds are conscientious, knowledgeable, and very aware of their essential role in promoting and ensuring safety of flight. The author of this article seems to be suggesting that there should be a more adversarial relationship between the FAA and the airlines. Years ago, that is what we had. The safety record then was MUCH worse than it is now. I have not worked with Allegiant, but I do work with several major airlines (as a Designated Engineering Representative, authorized by the FAA to approve certain designs and repairs to airliners) and my experience with the folks at the FAA and at the airlines is that they are most conscientious about airline maintenance. The blame for at least two of the Allegiant problems is with the A&P mechanic who left out the cotter pins, and the inspector who didn't catch the omission. This is inexcusable, and he or she and his or her boss should be dismissed summarily. I am also an A&P mechanic with IA, and I know that a number of lives have been lost over the years because of omitted cotter pins or other safety devices. All airplane mechanics are very aware of the importance of little things like cotter pins. How these mistakes were overlook is impossible to explain.
joel wiley 7
It does appear that staff on the Tampa Bay Times are focusing on Allegiant Air and its problems. I don't thing a paper that has earned a dozen Pulitzer prizes for investigatory journalism is necessarily going for sensationalism. My impression from contact with State and Federal personnel in multiple agencies is that the professional staff are as you say "conscientious, knowledgeable, and very aware of their essential role... " and that is true across a broad span of agencies. The problem pointed out in the article regards a lack of management control above the working level staff.

There are some indications that the management culture at Allegiant has a 'keep flying at all costs' attitude that places availability ahead of safety. I see that as the most serious problem.

The Times is saying FAA should be doing more.
That was also my impression of the article. It was like they were trying imitate the Daily Mail rather than a real news paper.
matt jensen 2
The Tampa Trib is light years ahead of the Mail - which is a rag by comparison. Tampa reporters are actually credentialed.
MikeZuhars 0
The Tampa Tribune was a great paper, R.I.P. This is the St Pete Times. Opposite in comparison.
Pete Marsh 1
It's like wrapping a present and then forgetting the tape.🤔
this is a giant red flag for everyone, including the color blind at the FAA. When anyone hears of cotter pins, engines being shut down, maintenance deficiencies, then authorities must act and stop these events from being over-prevelant. How you do this is the question to be answered to continue working as an FAA executive. I don't want to read some apologist writing here below about how safety conscious FAA is- prove it, compel Allegient to be more consistently safe and compliant.
so what that the incidents are covered by different faa inspectors- the problems of that airline are across a large enough spectrum of possible problems that the head of the agency - someone please wake him up now- ought to notice and act. That exactly means groundings of all aircraft until each individual aircraft has been certified fit to fly as of that moment, not waiting for the next scheduled inspection. That economic price of loss of revenue is small if it prevents the loss of an airliner with people on board, which is exactly where allegiant airlines is headed toward.Don't know when this accident will happen, but happen it must.
w1gba1 -1
Allegiant Air should be grounded and barred from flying until a bow to stern and keel to masthead inspection of each and every aircraft in its fleet is completed and all issues (especially those involving safety of flight)are corrected, period, end of discussion! Had this been done (and the proper oversight exercised)prior to the ValuJet tragedy in the Everglades this accident probably would not have happened. The current CEO of Allegiant, Mr. Gallagher was in the same position at ValuJet which tells me that his management of Allegiant needs improvement! He has blood on his hands from the ValuJet crash and God forbid that a similar tragedy should occur at Allegiant! I will not fly on Allegiant nor will I allow anybody in my family to do so! Safety MUST BE THE PRIME CONCERN in the aviation industry because the slightest slip up will be tragic!
Jim Nasby 1
As David Barnes pointed out above, maintenance had nothing to do with the ValuJet crash.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

That is, I believe, an excellent example of a first world problem.
scott8733 4
For sure. There's likely more clean running water on a MD-80 than all of what used to be known as Zaire.
Define "clean" please! :)
joel wiley 2
Maybe not definitions, but....
I had heard about this , but my question was not really serious.
scott8733 1
Nor was my reply. Just a tongue and cheek comment I suppose.
joel wiley 5
We *really* need that sarcasm font!
Meanwhile in Africa....
djames225 1
The WiFi satellite antenna was adjusted to give Allegiant better signal strength???
I'm thinking what you meant was "I didn't like the airline. My family flew to Florida and the plane had no WiFi. Bad experience." Punctuation isn't just nice, it's important.
So, you should like the airline, since they had no bad wifi experience...
djames225 2
! would assume you would like an airline if it had a no WiFi bad experience..Id be upset if it had no WiFi and a bad experience


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