|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : msy|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||Medium Large Transport, Low Wing, 2 Turbojet Eng|
|Navigation In Use||Other|
|Flight Phase||ground : preflight|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 100|
flight time total : 10000
flight time type : 500
|Affiliation||government : faa|
|Function||observation : air carrier inspector|
|Qualification||other other : other|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : anomaly accepted|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
During an FAA line check from msy to dfw the inspector found a F/a seat that would not retract. Maintenance determined that 1 or 2 springs were broken. Technician issued a placard on the seat per MEL. The FAA inspector interpreted that the #1 F/a could not situation 12+' away from the door in the first row of the first class due to not being able to get to the door in 'essentially' the same time per MEL quote. After much deliberation and threat of violations he backed off issue and we departed, having met all requirements of MEL and my assurance that we had a safe operation. If the MEL has a gray interpretation, it should be made black and white, but not at the expense of my license. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter assured analyst that all placards required by the MEL had been complied with. The FAA inspector contended that the F/a could not reach the exit in 'essentially' the same time from her newly assigned seat some 12' from the exit. The reporter is disturbed by the fact that he is faced with interpreting the MEL. He thinks the MEL should be cut and dried and leave no room at all for interpretation. He said that, when faced with an angry station manager, flight crew and full load of passenger, the FAA inspector backed down and said that he would follow up through channels and that he would not consider a violation in this case.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: FAA INSPECTOR THREATENS ACTION DUE TO HIS INTERPRETATION OF THE MINIMUM EQUIPMENT LIST.
Narrative: DURING AN FAA LINE CHK FROM MSY TO DFW THE INSPECTOR FOUND A F/A SEAT THAT WOULD NOT RETRACT. MAINT DETERMINED THAT 1 OR 2 SPRINGS WERE BROKEN. TECHNICIAN ISSUED A PLACARD ON THE SEAT PER MEL. THE FAA INSPECTOR INTERPRETED THAT THE #1 F/A COULD NOT SIT 12+' AWAY FROM THE DOOR IN THE FIRST ROW OF THE FIRST CLASS DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO GET TO THE DOOR IN 'ESSENTIALLY' THE SAME TIME PER MEL QUOTE. AFTER MUCH DELIBERATION AND THREAT OF VIOLATIONS HE BACKED OFF ISSUE AND WE DEPARTED, HAVING MET ALL REQUIREMENTS OF MEL AND MY ASSURANCE THAT WE HAD A SAFE OPERATION. IF THE MEL HAS A GRAY INTERP, IT SHOULD BE MADE BLACK AND WHITE, BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF MY LICENSE. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR ASSURED ANALYST THAT ALL PLACARDS REQUIRED BY THE MEL HAD BEEN COMPLIED WITH. THE FAA INSPECTOR CONTENDED THAT THE F/A COULD NOT REACH THE EXIT IN 'ESSENTIALLY' THE SAME TIME FROM HER NEWLY ASSIGNED SEAT SOME 12' FROM THE EXIT. THE RPTR IS DISTURBED BY THE FACT THAT HE IS FACED WITH INTERPRETING THE MEL. HE THINKS THE MEL SHOULD BE CUT AND DRIED AND LEAVE NO ROOM AT ALL FOR INTERP. HE SAID THAT, WHEN FACED WITH AN ANGRY STATION MGR, FLT CREW AND FULL LOAD OF PAX, THE FAA INSPECTOR BACKED DOWN AND SAID THAT HE WOULD FOLLOW UP THROUGH CHANNELS AND THAT HE WOULD NOT CONSIDER A VIOLATION IN THIS CASE.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.