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Colgan FAA Inspector speaks out

Old 06-10-2009, 12:53 AM
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Default Colgan FAA Inspector speaks out

Sorry if you have seen this already, but a pretty key piece of info I think.

The Associated Press: FAA inspector warned of safety problems at Colgan

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal safety inspector assigned to the airline involved in an air crash that killed 50 people in upstate New York in February warned of safety problems at the airline a year before the accident.
An attorney for Federal Aviation Administration inspector Christopher Monteleon said he reported problems with the flight testing program at Colgan Air of Manassas, Va., for its newly acquired Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s in January 2008. That's the same type of plane that crashed Feb. 12 near Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Among the problems Monteleon reported was that the Colgan test pilot exceeded the permissible speed limit for the Dash 8 and had difficulty properly landing the plane.
Test pilots typically are an airline's most skillful pilots and are expected to train other pilots on how to fly new aircraft.
After Colgan, a regional air carrier, complained to the FAA about Monteleon, his FAA supervisor reassigned him to desk work and ordered him to have no further contact with the airline, his attorney, Debra Katz, said.
When Monteleon continued to press for action on safety concerns at Colgan and what he alleged was a cozy relationship between the agency and the airline, he was transferred or reassigned three more times, Katz said.
In March, Monteleon had a confrontation with an FAA attorney and was placed on administrative leave by the agency, Katz said. Monteleon told The New York Times, which first reported on his complaints Wednesday, that agency officials accused him of menacing the attorney. Katz said in a draft letter to FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt that it was Monteleon, 64, a former pilot and 40-year veteran of the aviation industry, who felt threatened.
Monteleon has filed a complaint with the federal Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistleblower complaints, Katz said. He has also been interviewed by the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General, the agency's internal watchdog, Katz said. Brian A. Dettelbach, a spokesman for the inspector general, declined to comment.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown declined to discuss personnel actions taken involving Monteleon. She said his complaints about safety violations at Colgan were investigated by a special FAA team, which found some record-keeping and other problems but no violations of safety regulations.
"The bottom line was they didn't find any major regulatory issues," Brown said.
A spokesman for Colgan didn't return a phone call from The Associated Press late Wednesday.
Monteleon has been barred from entering any Transportation Department building or property and has been unable to retrieve documents in his office computer at the FAA that support his allegations, Katz said.
Monteleon first raised safety concerns about record-keeping and other problems at Colgan in 2004 when he was the principal inspector assigned to the airline, Katz' letter said. He was later reassigned to a runway safety office, where he also complained about the way the agency was recording safety incidents. He subsequently was demoted and reassigned to Colgan to keep tabs on their new aircraft program, the letter said. It was after that that Monteleon accompanied Colgan pilots testing the Dash 8.
"This is years of raising concerns about Colgan, from the training program to a failure to document maintenance problems," Katz said. "I think this a classic case of shoot the messenger."
Aviation safety consultant Jack Casey said that if Monteleon's complaints about the testing of the Dash 8 are correct — especially if a pilot significantly exceeded the aircraft manufacturer's specified speed for the plane — they are very serious.
"It's not unusual that you have a few little teething problems (when testing a new plane), but what he's describing goes way beyond that," Casey said.
The National Transportation Safety Board held a three-day hearing last month into safety issues raised by crash of Continental Express Flight 3407, including pilot training and fatigue. Testimony at the hearing showed Colgan, which operated the flight for Continental, didn't provide pilots hands-on training on a key cockpit safety system.
Testimony also indicated the flight's captain and co-pilot made a series of critical errors as they neared the Buffalo airport. The Dash 8 experienced an aerodynamic stall that sent it plunging into a house below. All 49 people aboard and one man in the house were killed.
The board hasn't reached a conclusion on the cause of the crash.
Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by nwa757 View Post
Sorry if you have seen this already, but a pretty key piece of info I think.

The Associated Press: FAA inspector warned of safety problems at Colgan

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal safety inspector assigned to the airline involved in an air crash that killed 50 people in upstate New York in February warned of safety problems at the airline a year before the accident.
An attorney for Federal Aviation Administration inspector Christopher Monteleon said he reported problems with the flight testing program at Colgan Air of Manassas, Va., for its newly acquired Bombardier Dash 8-Q400s in January 2008. That's the same type of plane that crashed Feb. 12 near Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Among the problems Monteleon reported was that the Colgan test pilot exceeded the permissible speed limit for the Dash 8 and had difficulty properly landing the plane.
Test pilots typically are an airline's most skillful pilots and are expected to train other pilots on how to fly new aircraft.
After Colgan, a regional air carrier, complained to the FAA about Monteleon, his FAA supervisor reassigned him to desk work and ordered him to have no further contact with the airline, his attorney, Debra Katz, said.
When Monteleon continued to press for action on safety concerns at Colgan and what he alleged was a cozy relationship between the agency and the airline, he was transferred or reassigned three more times, Katz said.
.
Try to remember that Monteleon is a BAD APPLE himself.

He couldn't even pass the Colgan Q400 PC. He was fired for landing at the wrong airport when he worked for CC Air and he was fired for flight safety issues at his corporate job.

He has no credibility as far as I'm concerned.

And the speed, the VMO changes dependant on altitude, therefore the guys were flying around at 240 at 8,000 and they'd hit a bump and beep- overspeed warning. FAR from a safety issue.
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by DMEarc View Post
Try to remember that Monteleon is a BAD APPLE himself.

He couldn't even pass the Colgan Q400 PC. He was fired for landing at the wrong airport when he worked for CC Air and he was fired for flight safety issues at his corporate job.

He has no credibility as far as I'm concerned.

And the speed, the VMO changes dependant on altitude, therefore the guys were flying around at 240 at 8,000 and they'd hit a bump and beep- overspeed warning. FAR from a safety issue.
Agree, I dont see how overspeeding an airplane briefly is a big deal whatsoever. If an FO sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means he has to buy the captain a beer. If the captain sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means the FO has to buy him a beer. Setting off the overspeed clacker appears to be a great deal!
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:24 AM
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Overspeeding the Q400 is not just a problem at Colgan and it that airplane I dont think it's the pilot's problem at all. Talk to any Horizon guy that fly that plane (Line pilot, management or Check Airman) and they will tell you how many time it happens.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DMEarc View Post
Try to remember that Monteleon is a BAD APPLE himself.

He couldn't even pass the Colgan Q400 PC. He was fired for landing at the wrong airport when he worked for CC Air and he was fired for flight safety issues at his corporate job.

He has no credibility as far as I'm concerned.

And the speed, the VMO changes dependant on altitude, therefore the guys were flying around at 240 at 8,000 and they'd hit a bump and beep- overspeed warning. FAR from a safety issue.

Just to let you know Vmo never changes, it's sort of like Vne on a smaller aircraft. it's Mmo that changes with altitude and variations in temp. Just thought I let you know.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Convairator View Post
Agree, I dont see how overspeeding an airplane briefly is a big deal whatsoever. If an FO sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means he has to buy the captain a beer. If the captain sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means the FO has to buy him a beer. Setting off the overspeed clacker appears to be a great deal!
Hilarious! I thought that was our thing. I didn't know it was an industry standard!

I think the key to the definition of Vmo is that it may not be DELIBERATELY exceeded in any flight regime.

Last edited by 1900luxuryliner; 06-10-2009 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by hi208 View Post
Just to let you know Vmo never changes, it's sort of like Vne on a smaller aircraft. it's Mmo that changes with altitude and variations in temp. Just thought I let you know.
The barber pole on the 1900 indicates Vmo. It changes its position based on altitude and temp, and I believe it's correct name is "Vmo pointer". Our books even list Vmo as changing with altitude. This means a change in the indicated airspeed Vmo occurs at.
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by hi208 View Post
Just to let you know Vmo never changes, it's sort of like Vne on a smaller aircraft. it's Mmo that changes with altitude and variations in temp. Just thought I let you know.

Limitations EMB 145:

VMO: Maximum operating (KIAS)
-up to 8,000 MSL 250
-between 8,000 and 10,000 increases linearly from 250 kts at 8,000 ft to 320 kts at 10,000 ft.
-above 10,000 ft. 320

MMO:
-Sea Level .50
-10,000 to 37,000 .78
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Convairator View Post
Agree, I dont see how overspeeding an airplane briefly is a big deal whatsoever. If an FO sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means he has to buy the captain a beer. If the captain sets off the overspeed clacker, it just means the FO has to buy him a beer. Setting off the overspeed clacker appears to be a great deal!

While it's still too early to know, I wonder if the Air France guys had the same attitude flying in the ITCZ in turbulence? I doubt it, but gee, guess it would have been OK, huh?

Nice to know that you seem to think it's OK to do it. I'm guessing that if you hit turbulence at the same time, you would make your own determination about whether or not to write it up?

Thanks. Remind me to not fly your bird after you. Or let you fly mine. I love surprises too, but not the ones that can bite me or others in the ass unwittingly.

And we wonder why the media rags on us.........
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Old 06-10-2009, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ATCsaidDoWhat View Post
While it's still too early to know, I wonder if the Air France guys had the same attitude flying in the ITCZ in turbulence? I doubt it, but gee, guess it would have been OK, huh?

Nice to know that you seem to think it's OK to do it. I'm guessing that if you hit turbulence at the same time, you would make your own determination about whether or not to write it up?

Thanks. Remind me to not fly your bird after you. Or let you fly mine. I love surprises too, but not the ones that can bite me or others in the ass unwittingly.

And we wonder why the media rags on us.........
It's usually unexpected turbulence that sends the indicated airspeed a few knots above Vmo, and then only for a second or two. I've had cases where I was 20 below the pole, hit a patch of rough air, and was instantly sent above the pole. It called for an immediate power reduction, obviously. It's never to be deliberately exceeded, but it can happen, unexpectedly. Really, the only way to avoid it would be to fly 50 knots under the pole, all the time. That's not too efficient, in my opinion.
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