The curious case of FAA’s revocation of a major Hawai’ian cargo carrier almost a year later

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On May 24, 2022 FAA proposed to revoke the P121 certificate of Rhoades Aviation d/b/a Trans Air

Carrier’s plane crashed due to engine failure July 1,2021

Issues cited include correctable items and violations which would have justified emergency action

Airline was the #1 interisland all cargo carrier

The FAA has proposed revoking the Part 121 certificate held by Rhoades Aviation d/b/a Trans Air, one of two primary inter-island air cargo only carriers. As noted in this Hawai'i cargo charter growthchart by the state Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, Trans Air’s flights appear to provide an important service for the islands economy.

Moreover, Trans Air is the largest all-cargo charter carrier; so, its removal from operation will likely have a noticeable impact on theRhoades market share State.

Rhoades services

That said—the FAA CMO was  faced with an event which compelled action when  a Rhoades Boeing 737-200 cargo plane crashed two miles off West Oahu early July 1,2021, leaving one of the pilots onboard critically injured and a second in serious condition. Authorities said both engines on the plane apparently failed.

east of Maui water crash underwater and being removed

The notice of proposed revocation cited the following grounds for violations:

  1. “failed to maintain…;
  2.  address issues the FAA found…;
  3.  conduct proper safety risk management records…;
  4. provide revised manuals;
  5. provide safety-risk-management documentation when it submitted its administration manual.
  6. Operated two Boeing 737s more than 900 times after failing to add the aircraft to its maintenance and inspection program.
  7. Operated a Boeing 737 airplane on 33 flights when it was not airworthy due to engine compressor fan blades that did not meet manufacturer standards.
  8. Committed numerous violations related to its FAA-required Safety Management System program…
  9. Conducted improper maintenance work on engine compressor fan blades and failed to properly document the work.

Without access to the history between the CMO and Rhoades for almost a year, it is unclear what efforts were made to close, for example, items 1,2,3,4,5 and 8. The remedy to those problems are clearly within the capacity and competence of the carrier to correct them. DID RHOADES REFUSE TO RECTIFY THESE ISSUES?[1]

Here is the FAA policy on addressing such problems—

FAA order 2150.3C

On the other hand, items 6,7 and 9 seem to justify an immediate revocation, i.e., AS SOON AS THESE FACTS WERE DISCOVERED after the July 1,2021 crash. WHY WAS RHOADES ALLOWED THE PART 121 PRIVILEGES? Did the CMO think that the cargo airline could be trusted to fly up until the May 24 notice? Yes, sometimes processing such a recommended action involves delays, but if the airline had been operating with a history of flying with such safety risks, why wasn’t an emergency notice appropriate?

Trans Air ?

 


 

FAA Proposes to Revoke Rhoades Aviation’s Air Carrier Certificate

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Rhoades revoked

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed to revoke the air carrier certificate of Honolulu-based[2] Rhoades Aviation Inc. for numerous alleged safety violations. 

The FAA alleges that Rhoades:

  • SMSFailed to maintain Safety Management System records; address issues the FAA found with its general operations manual; conduct proper safety risk management when addressing discrepancies in its aircraft loading, weight and balance, and runway analysis manuals; provide revised manuals to the FAA; provide safety-risk-management documentation when it submitted its administration manual.
  • Operated two Boeing 737s more than 900 times after failing to add the aircraft to its maintenance and inspection program.Rhoades B-737s
  • Operated a Boeing 737 airplane on 33 flights when it was not airworthy due to engine compressor fan blades that did not meet manufacturer standards.
  • Committed numerous violations related to its FAA-required Safety Management System program, including failing to ensure that the program was properly implemented and performing in all areas of its organization.
  • Conducted improper maintenance work on engine compressor fan blades and failed to properly document the work.
  • rhoades compressor blade

Rhoades Aviation has 15 days to respond to the FAA after receiving the agency’s enforcement notice.

[1] Perhaps the FAA felt compelled to assert an SMS violation after the NTSB found fault in another Hawai’i case–
NTSB Lays Into FAA For Inaction On Safety Management System Mandate – AVweb

[2] NOTE: there are Rhoades Aviation, Inc’s also in Ohio and Texas- no clear connection between or among them.

TransAir display



 

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