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Old 10-26-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
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Default Avantair Furlough

Can anyone confirm that Avantair is dissolved as of 10/26/2012? Or is this just a short Furloughed due to the mx problems and the FAA?
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Old 10-26-2012, 03:47 PM   #2
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All pilots furloughed starting tomorrow as on going m/x inspections take place. They say they hope to get running again very soon and everyone back in a few weeks. We hope so! Please rename this thread "Avantair furlough" or something. Might need to change it back in a few weeks but for now all hope is not lost. Also, if your companies are hiring pilots please keep us in mind! Thanks

Last edited by Gators; 10-26-2012 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:59 PM   #3
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What Happened?
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:14 PM   #4
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Clearwater's Avantair voluntarily grounds its fleet of planes for safety reasons - Tampa Bay Times
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:25 PM   #5
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Thanks Bud
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Not surprised a bit about the maintenance. They've always had bad maintenance. Most of the pilots there don't know it. I've spent enough time in the shop and dealing with the maintenance side of the house to have seen it, though. I've personally seen falsification of maintenance paperwork on numerous occasions at Avantair, as well as pressure to fly unairworthy aircraft. Improper repairs. A gear door that was falling off. Two occasions of lightening strikes and electrical discharges in which the crew was ordered to fly the aircraft (and refused)...on one of those occasions the Chief Pilot came out and flew it instead. The engines had to be removed and torn down, the propellers needed overhaul, the airframe needed degaussed, and holes were burned through the airframe all over.

I once picked up one of their airplanes from maintenance, flew it on a short leg, and landed with sixteen major squawks. The company accused me of performing "shirt-pocket maintenance." I asked what that meant, and I was told I'd obviously been flying the airplane for a week, and hiding all the squawks. When I pointed out that I picked up the airplane at one maintenance base (after completing an inspection and being released as airworthy) and flew it on one leg to another maintenance base, where I grounded the airplane. They tried to make the paperwork disappear.

I found one of electrical tape hiding an annunciator that was illuminated full time, with a bogus MEL sign off. The FAA got hold of that one, threatened to yank the company 135 certificate. The mechanic who signed it off got fired, and the base closed. The Director of Operations quit (reportedly had a nervous breakdown), and the Director of Maintenance, who wasn't qualified, was replaced.

I was threatened with termination twice for "flying through thunderstorms" that resulted in "lightening strikes," although neither time did we go near a storm. Turns out that the company had the airplane repainted and didn't bother bonding the control surfaces, nor were the discharge wicks bonded to the airframe. Same airframe both times. The company blamed me...I didn't find out about it until later, when talking with someone in maintenance.

I was in the shop one day when the police arrived to take away one of the senior mechanics, in handcuffs.

We had an airplane get so hot due to a bleed leak that the passenger, a wealthy owner, took off his clothes and lay on the floor to escape the heat. All of his christmas gifts melted. I grounded the airplane. The company demanded I fly it. That happened twice.

When I went through FSI, the instructor asked if anyone in the class had experienced any emergencies. Every person replied yes, and we took a list of what we'd collectively experienced...every emergency and abnormal in the book, just in that small group, in a one year period. I had an engine failure, rapid depressurization, gear failure, brake failures, total electrical failures, and a host of other issues.

I was fired for trying to bring a union on the property...and I didn't know anything about the union...didn't find out about it until later, when Santo himself offered me my job back...and instructed me to make sure everyone knew it had nothing to do with the union. First time I'd heard about a union. They fired four people, me one of them, over that...and got the wrong people. They were so hot to trot over it that they fabricated a list of seventeen false charges (my favorite was that I'd "bent a flap in half over a GPU"--didn't happen, like all the charges). Complete fabrications. it's the way they operate, though.

Their training bond, offered after people had already quit their other jobs and were in class for initial...very poor form. Eighteen grand and not even a type rating?

Refused a flight once due to level 5 thunderstorms in a wide meso complex and squall, and received threatening calls from the Chief Pilot every 15 minutes thereafter pressuring me to take the flight, demanding I prove why I didn't, etc.

Called once after being debriefed by the last crew to fly the airplane, to enquire about the squawk: brakes failed and an unreliable engine, and a prop that wouldn't feather. The response was the Director of Operations on the line, saying "we don't need people like you flying the airplane." He called back the previous crew, one of them who was on his way out of the country to get married, and demanded that he fly the airplane to a maintenance base. I was told to ride in back and let the previous pilot fly the airplane single pilot. That sort of treatment wasn't unusual.

We lost an engine leaving Greenville, after a total loss of oil pressure. We notified ATC that we were returning. ATC made a declaration of emergency for us, without our request, and rolled the rescue trucks. I was admonished by the company for rolling the trucks and told not to do it again.

During training in the airplane, while IMC, on an approach, the check airman shut off the generator on one engine then failed the other engine, leaving us without power. V1 cuts in a Part 23 airplane, direction to use full reverse in a crosswind on one engine following a single-engine approach, and other gems were viewed multiple times during training.

On more than a few occasions I turned in squawk lists and made photocopies. When the airplane was released from maintenance, I compared the paperwork and found it doctored.

Just the tip of the iceberg. The Piaggio was a fun airplane to fly, and I met some great guys out on the line, but I wasn't at all impressed with the "dispatchers" and schedulers, and wasn't one bit impressed with the maintenance.

I saw engines pulled off the airframe and laid on the floor (no stand), crushing oil tubes. I participated in the shop in inspections, and was told I didn't need maintenance publications, and was dressed-down for requesting to see the microfiche or mx pubs on a disc. I requested a torque wrench, and was told I didn't need one; I was told to use a "calibrated elbow," and that since I would fly the aircraft, I ought to use whatever torque I felt comfortable using "because it's your butt."

When handed a 100 hour kit once, with all the seals, filters, and o-rings for one engine, I was told to perform the inspections on the left engine. I laid each seal in it's wrapping out, and finally obtained an illustrated parts catalog for the engine. I checked off each seal, and wrote on the wrapper it's application. Then as each seal was removed from the airplane, I matched it against the new one, and lined it up along the table; one off, one on, each accounted, each verified by part number and comparison. I was told they'd never seen that done.

I saw tool boxes full of tools piled in each drawer. No shadowing of boxes. No tool accountability. I didn't see calibrated tools, and I didn't see very good tools, either.

I'm sorry for those who have been furloughed, and I hope they find something quickly. I'm not at all surprised that Avantair has found themselves in this position. It's a shame, too, because there's no reason why the aircraft can't be better maintained and better managed. The Piaggios are actually quite fragile aircraft...small wiring, lots of wires ganged into single terminal ends, far more splices in wire runs than allowed in US produced aircraft, no antiskid, etc...the aircraft need more maintenance than they've had in the past, and the FAA has come calling more than once before. I know...they've called me for details when I got stuck with the company's failings or falsification.

Hopefully Avantair will get their act together and fulfill their obligation to the clients and to the employees as soon as possible.
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Old 10-27-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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Very interesting Mr. Burke, the FAA is going to latch onto Avantair now that this information has become public.

as far as the company is concern, the financial mess that will come out of this is going to be great, but that won't be their biggest problem. The bad PR is going to be even worst. Their brand has been tarnished

A change at the top would give their owners some much needed confidence in the company
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Old 10-27-2012, 04:40 AM   #8
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That's amazing. But you see that type of crap almost everywhere just not that bad.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Turns out that the company had the airplane repainted and didn't bother bonding the control surfaces, nor were the discharge wicks bonded to the airframe. Same airframe both times. The company blamed me...I didn't find out about it until later, when talking with someone in maintenance.
Wouldn't you notice this on preflight though? It isn't terribly high up?

In any case, I hope all the above information was shared with the FAA or documented in ASAP/ASRS, this is the kind of stuff that NEEDS to be in there for the safety of the public to protect from an operator that is compromising safety to a huge extent.
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Old 10-27-2012, 06:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesNoBrakes View Post
Wouldn't you notice this on preflight though? It isn't terribly high up?

In any case, I hope all the above information was shared with the FAA or documented in ASAP/ASRS, this is the kind of stuff that NEEDS to be in there for the safety of the public to protect from an operator that is compromising safety to a huge extent.
If you decide to share this type of information with the Federales, you are then considered a "whistle blower". It's gonna be hard to get a job in this industry with that label on you, and its definitely a tough step to take

But you are right, protecting the flying public should be the first priority
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