Preliminary Report Points To Lion Air Safety, MRO Shortcomings
A preliminary report on the Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 (JT610) confirms that the aircraft involved was not airworthy on at least its last two flights, suggesting gaps in the airline’s maintenance practices and safety culture.
Much of the probe’s focus has been on how the JT610 flight crew responded to flight-control issues during an 11-min. flight that ended when the Boeing 737 MAX 8 dove into the Java Sea, killing all 189 onboard. But early findings by the Indonesia National Transportation Safety Committee confirm that mechanics with Lion Air subsidiary Bantam Aero Technic (BAT) tasked with correcting problems on the aircraft failed to do so. As a result, both the JT610 pilots and the crew that flew the aircraft’s previous flight, an Oct. 28 leg from Denpasar to Jakarta, were assigned an aircraft that never should have flown.
Pilots reported a series of technical faults with the three-month-old aircraft, PK-LQP, during four flights over three days before JT610’s fatal flight. Among them: angle-of-attack, altitude and airspeed sensor disagreements between the pilot’s and first officer’s instruments. Maintenance was done each night, and ground tests found the aircraft was airworthy.
While the probe is not complete, Lion Air has implemented a series of changes to address possible issues uncovered by investigators. The airline has instructed pilots to provide a comprehensive description of any technical defects to the engineering team. It also is revamping how BAT line-maintenance teams troubleshoot reported problems and verify that issues have been corrected. The airline also wants its maintenance teams to be more mindful of recurring problems that could point to larger issues with either hardware or the work being done on it.
UTC Closes Rockwell Collins Deal
United Technologies Corp. (UTC) closed on its record-making $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell Collins Nov. 26 and announced it will spin off non-aerospace business units Carrier and Otis Elevator Co. to become a pure-play, potentially $50 billion Tier 1 aerospace parts, engines and services provider.
Long expected by Wall Street, UTC’s breakup heralds the end of an era of industrial conglomerates participating in aerospace and defense, as Honeywell, General Electric and others have also sold off non-aerospace units.
UTC will now focus on aerospace and defense (A&D) with two surviving brands: Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney. Collins Aerospace is the new combination of UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell.
Envoy Air Launches Workforce Program for Military Mechanics
Envoy Air is looking to the military demographic to meet its growing aviation maintenance workforce needs by launching a new military transition program. The program combines accelerated training for an airframe and powerplant (A&P) license, a clear pathway to employment at the airline, plus a variety of perks valued at up to $11,000.
Jay Murray, vice president for maintenance at Envoy, says the push for new hires is in direct response to the airline’s growing fleet, which is preparing to welcome 40 new Embraer 175 two-class regional jets in the next 18 months. The new aircraft will nearly double the airline’s fleet by 2020.
The military transition program is open to any former or active military service members with aviation maintenance experience. The airline is working with an external company in Dallas to provide a two-week accelerated training course, which will prepare program participants to take the A&P licensing test.
Adria Tehnika won a Brussels Airlines contract for Airbus A320 maintenance at Ljubljana.
Airbus was selected by Wow Air to provide A320/A330 component support under its flight-hour-services program.
AJW Group secured a power-by-the-hour support contract from Azul Cargo Express, Brazil for its Boeing 737Fs.
CFM International secured an MOU from VietJet to provide long-term maintenance support for CFM Leap 1B engines for 100 Boeing 737 MAXs on order for delivery starting 2019; the rate-per-flight-hour agreement is valued at $5.3 billion, including spare engines.
C&L Aerospace renewed its contract from Japan Air Commuter for power-by-the-hour maintenance of its Saab 340s.
Lufthansa Technik was selected by Comair, South Africa, to provide Boeing 737 maintenance; it has initiated registration of an AMO (Approved Maintenance Organization) to move its new aircraft deliveries directly to LHT AMO as they arrive in South Africa.
MTU Maintenance won a seven-year CFM56-7 MRO contract from Regent Airways of Bangladesh for six 737s.
MTU Aero Engines and China Southern extended a joint-venture contract for MTU Maintenance Zhuhai by 20 years to 2051; the company is expanding its facility by 50% (the second time in less than 10 years) to handle 450 shop visits/year by 2021.
StandardAero was selected by the U.S. Navy to provide CFM56-7 maintenance for Boeing P-8As for a second year.
Turkish Technic extended a deal with Freebird Airlines of Turkey for A320 component pooling services.