New Compliance Philosophy includes ENFORCEMENT
“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Emergency Order of Revocation against Kornitzky Group LLC, doing business as AeroBearings LLC, of Arlington, Texas, for improperly overhauling and repairing turbine engine bearings”
For old school observers of the FAA, this revocation seems routine. For those current on the new approach, this is a significant announcement.
Administrator Huerta (now retired) issued, on June 26,2015, a National Policy on Compliance, which shifted the FAA’s focus from ENFORCEMENT to COMPLIANCE as its philosophy. This Sea Change was driven by a number of collateral factors but was justified by the cooperative/collaborative approach. The FAA inspector corps was populated by staff whose careers were measured by and the promotions based on the old ticket-writing function. There was reason to believe that the field would resist this transition. Organizational changes were initiated to minimize this forecast revolt against the new policy.
The disbelievers must take some comfort from this ENFORCEMENT ACTION. However, the lines of demarcation between the collaborate/cooperate/compliance segment of the spectrum and the certificate holder’s actions meriting suspend/amend/revoke/fine FAA actions.
With that background, the emergency revocation of AeroBearings’ Part 145 certificate is significant. All of the doubters of the new philosophy, “no teeth and industry will ignore us”, now see that severe sanctions will be utilized when appropriate.
Since all that is known about the facts comes from the Press Release, here are the relevant text:
The FAA alleges that AeroBearings routinely disassembles, inspects and overhauls turbine engine bearings without possessing the data necessary to perform key aspects of this safety critical work. The FAA further alleges that the repair station intentionally falsified documents certifying that these repairs were accomplished in accordance with appropriate data and federal safety regulations. The FAA began its investigation of AeroBearings in 2016 after receiving two Administrator’s Hotline complaints from customers who reported quality problems with bearings overhauled by the company. During its investigation, the FAA found that AeroBearings conducted work that exceeded their available data on bearings for a variety of aircraft engines, including those manufactured by General Electric Co., Pratt & Whitney, and CFM International. The FAA alleges that AeroBearings disassembled engine bearings for overhaul, even though some manufacturers specifically prohibited disassembly. The FAA also alleges that during these overhauls, AeroBearings removed material from critical internal bearing surfaces without having the requisite design data to verify the overhauled parts would fit and function together as designed. The FAA further alleges that because AeroBearings did not possess the necessary approved data to determine that the overhauled engine bearings met original manufacturers’ design specifications, AeroBearings could not determine they were airworthy.
These allegations, as-of-yet not proven, are most serious. Words like “safety critical work… intentionally falsified documents… surfaces without having the requisite design data… could not determine they were airworthy.” Not as explicit, but clearly inferred, is that the FAA began investigating AeroBearings in 2016; the implication is that the company should have realized that there were concerns about the absence of data and continued to exercise the authority of its P145. NOT GOOD.
In 2010, “AeroBearings was founded as an aviation MRO with a single-focus on mission-critical high-value ultra-precision bearings. Founded by a team of veteran Engineers and business professionals AeroBearings provides a high-value option to customers worldwide in the area of bearing inspection, repair, and overhaul.” Its webpage is well designed and reviews its competences. The repair station is the d/b/a entity for the Kornitzky Group LLC and Mr. Kornitzky lists a BS and a MS in Chemical Engineering from MIT plus 16 years with Lockheed.
As of March 7, 2018 (3pm EST), AeroBearings still showed their P145 certificate as fully effective; whereas, by operation of law, it should look like this:
One internet wag quoted the FAA allegations and commented that the AeroBearings tagged parts are exactly not what you want in your turbine engine!!!
 the company will contest the FAA’s findings- http://aviationweek.com/awincommercial/faa-repair-station-odds-over-alleged-violations
 If that assumption is correct, which may not be true, did AeroBearings release unairworthy bearings over the 2 years Did the FAA allow this to happen?
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