Repair Station Certificate Reinstated Following 75-Day Suspension
MONTROSE – A settlement agreement has been reached between the Federal Aviation Administration and the owners of the Montrose-based Western Skyways, Inc., effectively annulling the FAA’s revocation of the company’s repair station certificate and dropping fines adding up to more than $44,000.
The Aug. 21 agreement puts an end to Western Skyways’ appeal to the FAA’s June 3 decision to revoke its repair station permit for a number of alleged violations, including improper record-keeping and maintenance that caused in-flight engine failure. With two aircraft-engine remanufacturing facilities off the runway at the Montrose Regional Airport measuring over 130,000 square feet, Western Skyways is the largest aircraft rebuilding facility in the U.S.
The FAA’s decision to revoke Western Skyways repair station certificate stems from two incidents the FAA said occurred back in 2009 and 2010. First, the FAA alleged that Western Skyways personnel sold an engine that was described as “overhauled” after receiving maintenance, although no records existed describing what work had been done. Then, in 2010, the FAA alleges that the company sold an overhauled engine that failed in-flight, due to an improperly torqued connecting rod nut.
As investigations continued into both allegations, the FAA combined the two cases and, on June 3, issued an emergency order of revocation of its repair station permit. Throughout the investigation, Western Skyways officials denied the company had committed any violations.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the FAA agreed to withdraw the emergency order of revocation and, instead, issued a suspension order of Western Skyways’ repair station certificate for a period of 75 days starting on June 7, 2013 and ending Aug. 21, 2013. Western Skyways co-owner David Leis said he’s relieved to have the repair station certificate back.
“We are happy,” Lies said this week. “We are glad it’s resolved and we are very happy.”
Under the settlement, Western Skyways agreed to immediately withdraw its appeal pending before the National Transportation Safety Board and also agreed to forgo any and all rights to challenge the 75-day suspension.
The settlement also annulled FAA fines adding up to $44,547 that stemmed from two other alleged violations that include outsourcing work inconsistent with its Repair Station Manual and failing to follow the manual. Under the settlement, the FAA agreed to drop the fines, provided that Western Skyways fulfills a number of conditions. Those conditions include appointing a Western Skyways official to act as an “accountable manager,” responsible for and with authority over all repair-station operations, who serves as primary contact with the FAA.
The fines will also remain void so long as Western Skyways makes several revisions to its Repair Station Manual, acceptable to the FAA, within 45 days of the settlement. If Western Skyways fails to comply with the set of conditions, it will be pay a penalty not to exceed $30,000.
As stated in the settlement, the FAA formally acknowledges that the company has entered into the agreement in order to avoid the expense of a formal hearing and to have its repair station certificate reinstated.
Western Skyways has consistently denied, and continues to deny, that it committed some or all of the alleged violations.