What does the FAA’s action against Pacific Coast Airlines mean?

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Press Release – FAA Proposes $150,000 Civil Penalty Against Pacific Coast Aviation of Brookings, Ore.

Case in midst of Transition to Compliance Philosophy

More facts needed to synthesize the Application of new Policy

Why fine if inadvertent? 

A recent announcement by the FAA about a $150,000 civil penalty highlights the difficulties in implementing a new policy. The transition to  Compliance Philosophy will take time. The metes and bounds of what should be treated as a “compliance’ case and what should be treated under the enforcement process are explained in N8900.323 and highlighted in this quote:

The track of cases over the last few years are not susceptible to easy determination of the precise meaning of the N8900.323, such as demonstrated by these posts:

Compliance Policy would benefit from more transparency in Enforcement Cases

Fine against United = FAA Enforcement or Compliance; transparency?

FAA Compliance Policy — two confusing cases; what’s up?

FAA’s proposed $892,000 sanction against Air Methods will be a Mark on the Compliance Policy Trend Graph

The Pacific Coast Airlines[1] facts add to the confusion. Because the matter is still being “litigated”, the statement of the facts are circumspect, at best. To really understand the meaning of this Civil Penalty, it would be helpful to know whether

Did PCA discover the failure to replace the fuses?

Why did it take PCA six months to replace the fuses?

Does PCA have an SMS system?

Was this error discovered by PCA’s internal SMS systems?

Did PCA report an “inadvertent error” to the FAA?


Were there discussions between PCA and its ASI about the fuses?

Was the failure to act a matter of legitimate misinterpretation?

Other questions?

Without such added details, it is difficult for those responsible for their SMS systems and counseling about the FAA’s Compliance Policy to fully comprehend the FAA’s intentions here and other similar fact situations.

[1] Google searches did not result in learning anything about PCA other than its address in OR.


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