4:34 PM

Smoke and Mirrors
Will Not Make You
Any Safer


Hallelujah choruses were rising up from the flying public this day as they read in the MSM that your FAA is responding to the Southwest Airlines inspection oversight debacle by ordering a boatload of new Airworthiness Directive inspections for all U.S. carriers.

Generally, the news out today reads much like this story from Reuters:

"U.S. aviation inspectors were ordered on Tuesday to review maintenance records at all domestic airlines to ensure carriers have complied with safety orders and other directives. The unprecedented but one-time step by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stems from alleged oversight lapses at Southwest Airlines that led the agency to propose a record fine of $10.2 million on March 6. Over the next three months, the FAA wants a snapshot of safety compliance with an array of safety directives issued over the years that required inspections or other maintenance work. Regulators do not suspect there are problems at other carriers similar to the ones uncovered at Southwest, but believe a broader review is merited as a precaution."
Great you say...it's about time. But remember, this is Bushie's FAA, so all bets are off as to whether they'll handle these new inspections with a high level of accuracy, or tell the media one thing while doing quite another:
This is what is being widely reported: "The agency wants an initial report from the field by the end of the month and a more complete set of findings by the end of June. The goal is for inspectors to eventually cover compliance rates for 10 percent of the U.S. fleet."

But in an email letter from FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nicholas Sabatini – found here on FAA's own web site – this is actually what the FAA has told the carriers:

"To validate the effectiveness of your system, inspectors will audit a sample of AD's that applies to your fleet. By March 28, 2008, they will complete review of 10 AD's per fleet. In total, they will complete a review of 10% of the AD's applicable to your fleet."
Yes, you read that correctly...ten percent. Now I can easily admit to not being a algebra ace, but even I can count these beans. Doesn't 10 percent of ADs inspected mean that ninety percent of the carrier's ADs won't be inspected? Do you feel safer knowing that NINE out of every ten ADs that a carrier might be slipping under the rug is not important enough to actually get inspected by the FAA?

I sure don't.

Again and again, we see this kind of thing out of present-day Washington, D.C. An administration so full of themselves, they think they can blow this kind of hogwash by us. It's the same sort of "heckuva job" Good 'Ol Boy mentality that has ruined their GOP brand, and it is why no matter what comes out of their mouths, it is not to be believed.

So when the FAA says publically "we have asked our Principal Maintenance Inspectors to begin an in-depth review of [air carriers] program for compliance with airworthiness directives (AD's)", their definition of "in depth review" is...

Ten percent.

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