SAFO tags fraudulent parts but delay in its issuance points to easy, well-advised research 

FAA SAFO heading
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Subject:

Fraudulent Documentation and Possible Improper Maintenance on Accessories/Articles by a Previous Employee of Aviatronics, LLC, Miami Lakes, Florida.

Purpose: This SAFO alerts aircraft owners, operators, air agencies, and maintenance technicians of fraudulent documentation and possible improper maintenance performed on a variety of aircraft accessories/articles approved for return to service after November 3, 2016, by an employee of Aviatronics, LLC. This repair station previously held Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certificate No. ZVNR690L.

Background: An investigation conducted by the FAA revealed that an individual previously employed by Aviatronics, LLC, continued to approve articles for return to service using Aviatronics, LLC, documentation even after the company surrendered its FAA repair station certificate on November 3, 2016. This individual signed and issued intentionally false work orders and approvals for return to service (FAA Form 8130-3, Airworthiness Approval Tag), which certified that Aviatronics, LLC, had:

  • Performed the maintenance in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 145,
  • Inspected the articles, and
  • Approved the articles for return to service under part 43, part 145, and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations as airworthy.

Depending on the specific article, safety and airworthiness concerns include lack of traceability, exceedance of time since last overhaul, exceedance of approved repair limits, and whether the actual work was accomplished, in addition to the intentional falsification of FAA Form 8130-3 and associated records produced by the individual.

Recommended Action: Aircraft owners, operators, manufacturers, maintenance organizations, parts suppliers, and parts distributors should inspect their aircraft, aircraft records, and parts inventories for any articles/parts approved for return to service by Aviatronics, LLC, after November 3, 2016.

  • Any such articles/parts installed on an aircraft should be removed and an appropriate approval for return to service inspection/action should be accomplished. SAFO Safety Alert for Operators U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration SAFO 20010 DATE: 4/24/20 Flight Standards Service Washington, DC Distributed by: Air Transportation Division
  • Any such articles/parts in existing aircraft stock should be quarantined to prevent installation until eligibility for installation is determined. If any articles/parts approved for return to service by Aviatronics, LLC, are found installed on aircraft or in stock, the FAA requests that a copy of the FAA Form 8130-3 and associated purchase documents be forwarded to the contact listed below. Contact: Questions or comments regarding this SAFO should be directed to Erik Lee, Aviation Safety Inspector, at the South Florida Flight Standards District Office, via mail at 2895 S.W. 145th Avenue, Suite 120, Miramar, FL 33027, or via telephone at (954) 641-6118.

aviatronics former offices

The former Aviatronics, LLC.


The FAA issues a whole cornucopia of advisory materials. Unlike the FARs, most of these informal actions are not technically binding. Here are a few of these informational documents:

Advisory Circulars

Orders and Notices

Handbooks & Manuals

Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS)

Information for Operators (InFOs):

Though low on the FAA HIERARCHY OF LAWS, FAA REGULATIONS, ORDERS, NOTICES, etc.[i], these communications to operators contain “important safety information and may include recommended action. SAFO content should be especially valuable to air carriers in meeting their statutory duty to provide service with the highest possible degree of safety in the public interest. SAFOs are maintained on a single database.”

FAA SAFO list

 

The use of a SAFO to warn certificate holders of a major SUP is the probably most efficient broadcast mechanism for the FAA.

[Curiously, the underlying fraudulent event began 4 years ago (ongoing?). It is unclear whether 
the rogue employee continued to issue illegal return to service tags. After a more than a decade, 
these parts may have passed through multiple owners- parts brokers, Part 145 organizations and air 
carriers.]
FAA Form 8130

The issuance of a SAFO for part tags issued by a Repair Station, which had surrendered its Part 145 certificate in 2016, suggests that the Quality Control organizations should check the FAA resources to see if the Authority listed on the Form 443 is/was valid. There is a webpage which searches for all active certificates:

part 145 webpage

There is another page which adds to the research resources:

Part 145 review page

This extra step is not required by the SAFO, but witness that parts were allowed to enter the system 4 years ago should motivate the QC experts to click on the above links to try to interdict Form 8130 issued by someone whose pen/signature is the only “basis” for returning to service.

repair station certificate

 

[i] HIERARCHY OF LAWS, FAA REGULATIONS, ORDERS, NOTICES, etc.

 

  1. Law – United States Code (49 U.S.C.), Subtitle VII, Chapter 447, Safety Regulation.

 

  1. Code of Federal Regulations – Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)

 

  1. AD Airworthiness Directives- 14 CFR 39

 

  1. Operating Certificate and Operations Specifications – 14 CFR 119

 

  1. Aviation Transportation Oversight System ATOS – Used for FAA Surveillance and may include Specific Regulatory Requirements (SRR’s), Ops Specs requirements and guidance contained in Orders, Notices and Advisory Circulars.

 

  1. Orders – Guidance for Inspectors (For example, 8900.1 Flight Standards Information Management System FSIMS, 2150.3B Compliance and Enforcement and 8020.11B Accident Investigation).

 

  1. Notices – Guidance for Inspectors. Used to update orders.

 

  1. Advisory Circulars – Advisory information for operators. Contain acceptable means of compliance, i.e. Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP).

 

  1. Safety Alerts for Operators (SAFO) – Recommended action (replace old Air Carrier Operations Bulletins) (A007)

 

  1. Information for Operators (INFO) – Recommended action. Same as SAFO but have a low impact on safety. (A007)


 

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