The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes a $161,500 civil penalty against Moab-based Redtail Air for allegedly operating an aircraft on more than 100 flights when it was not in an airworthy condition and for allegedly failing to perform maintenance on the damaged area of the aircraft.
The FAA shared the information in a press release posted to its website on March 8.
On March 22, Redtail Air Chief Pilot Larry Van Slyke said the problem has been mitigated.
“The aircraft is now air-worthy and it’s flying,” Van Slyke said.
On December 15, 2017, the FAA said it inspected a Redtail Cessna 207 and found dents on the horizontal stabilizer. The FAA said its inspector notified Redtail that the dents appeared to be excessive for safe flight and advised the company it should inspect the damage using the Cessna Service Manual.
Redtail operated the aircraft on three more for-hire flights until January 1, 2018, when the company inspected the damage, considered it to be “negligible” and approved the aircraft for return to service without performing any repairs, the FAA alleges.
On March 7, 2018, the FAA said it reassessed the damage to the horizontal stabilizer using the Cessna Service Manual and found it was badly damaged due to multiple dents that had displaced metal and were larger than two inches in circumference. The Cessna Service Manual considered damage of this size not to be “negligible” and required the skin to be replaced. The damaged skin made the aircraft unairworthy, the FAA said.
“They’re (the FAA) the ones that determine whether the planes are fit to fly,” Van Slyke said. “… undoubtedly, a rock was thrown up by the wheel and hit the horizontal stabilizer, and that’s likely where the dent came from. … That’s the likely scenario.”
The FAA alleges the company used the plane on approximately 137 for-hire flights between January 1, 2018, and March 8, 2018, when it was not in an airworthy condition.
Van Slyke said Redtail would never intentionally do anything that would have the potential to lose its business license or permit to operate and said, “Just because the FAA levied something on us doesn’t mean we agree with it.”
Redtail Air pilot says problem has been mitigated
“… undoubtedly, a rock was thrown up by the wheel and hit the horizontal stabilizer, and that’s likely where the dent came from.”