|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : bhm|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
|Operator||common carrier : air carrier|
|Make Model Name||MD-80 Series (DC-9-80) Undifferentiated or Other Model|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 121|
|Navigation In Use||Other|
|Flight Phase||ground : parked|
ground : preflight
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : captain|
oversight : pic
|Qualification||pilot : atp|
|Affiliation||company : air carrier|
|Function||flight crew : first officer|
|Qualification||pilot : instrument|
pilot : commercial
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : less severe|
non adherence : far
non adherence : published procedure
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified|
|Resolutory Action||none taken : unable|
|Consequence||faa : assigned or threatened penalties|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
Flight was fully loaded and in the final boarding process when FAA inspector presented himself and his credentials at the jet bridge. I informed him we were about 5 mins prior to departure. He said this won't take too long. He checked cockpit license and medical, flight attendant manuals and then went through full aircraft to inspect light bulbs. He had me turn on emergency lights and then told #4 flight attendant to have me come to aft galley. He showed me the exit light and said, 'if you can make this work you can leave.' I took this as an approval to do whatever to fix the problem. I am a problem solver. I made a PA to the passenger and clearly stated the reason for the delay was for a light bulb that the government inspector had found inoperative and that it would have to be fixed prior to departure. I probably said other comments to deflect blame off company and onto the FAA. Anyway, the passenger now armed with this information proceeded to berate the FAA inspector and he and I exchanged some rather heated words. Later, a mechanic, not company, arrived on scene and attempted to isolate the battery pack dedicated to that door light. I also assisted him with tools, advice and calls to company technician. Outside the aircraft I had another exchange of words with another FAA inspector whom I deem to be a supervisor. He was not pleased with me either. A few curse words were said, but not directly toward either government employee. I am a former military combat pilot and I tend not to mince words when the mission is going south. I do, now, apologize to those guys if they thought I was offensive. In summary, the flight was canceled for the light bulb, 139 passenger were totally upset and their travel plans ruined. The FAA inspector informed me he was taking action against me because I did unauthorized maintenance before the mechanic arrived. I found out later he spoke to the mechanic and forced him to sign a statement against me regarding maintenance procedures. I have assembled statements from all other crew members and they shall be informed through appropriate channels. We ferried aircraft to maintenance hangar. I respectfully request the right to insert additional remarks at a later date when I am more composed. Supplemental information from acn 376277: the FAA says that if you can get it to come on so I can see it, I'll let you go. I go back per the captain's request. The FAA follows me. He says maybe you can jiggle the light bulbs and they'll come on. The entire crew did an exceptional job. Captain did his best to take care of the passenger and try to get the aircraft out. He pointed out to the FAA he felt like he should have shown up prior to boarding. It is not very professional to show up and ground an aircraft with 130+ passenger on board. The FAA also requested us to see if we could get the light to work and watched us both pull the plastic cover off. The captain once again trying to help speed up the process unscrewed 4 screws to help the mechanic with an overhead panel. The mechanic was 1 ft away. The mechanic was forced by the FAA to sign a statement stating that mechanical work was done on the aircraft. The mechanic told me that the only reason he signed it was because he was afraid if he didn't comply with the demand that action would be taken against him. In summary, I feel like the FAA should have shown a little more consideration for company and its passenger by showing up on time. If he had not found anything wrong with the aircraft we would have still been at least 20 mins late. To me, that is very unprofessional and should be addressed appropriately. That was the only problem I feel the captain had about the whole situation. In a show of power the FAA called the captain out on the jet bridge and pointed out that he observed the captain unscrewing an overhead panel. As a witness, I feel like the FAA brought this up as a point of intimidation. FAA inspector did suggest to both the captain and myself to get the light working and just because the captain assisted maintenance in unscrewing 4 screws he decided to threaten a violation.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: FLC OF S80 HAS FAA INSPECTOR BOARD THE ACFT 5 MINS PRIOR TO DEP WITH PAX ON BOARD. INSPECTOR FINDS AN EMER EXIT LIGHT BURNED OUT. ANNOUNCEMENT TO PAX AND ATTEMPT TO REPLACE THE LIGHT BULB ARE UNSUCCESSFUL AND FLT IS CANCELED, PAX REMOVED. CONFLICT BTWN CAPT AND ACI.
Narrative: FLT WAS FULLY LOADED AND IN THE FINAL BOARDING PROCESS WHEN FAA INSPECTOR PRESENTED HIMSELF AND HIS CREDENTIALS AT THE JET BRIDGE. I INFORMED HIM WE WERE ABOUT 5 MINS PRIOR TO DEP. HE SAID THIS WON'T TAKE TOO LONG. HE CHKED COCKPIT LICENSE AND MEDICAL, FLT ATTENDANT MANUALS AND THEN WENT THROUGH FULL ACFT TO INSPECT LIGHT BULBS. HE HAD ME TURN ON EMER LIGHTS AND THEN TOLD #4 FLT ATTENDANT TO HAVE ME COME TO AFT GALLEY. HE SHOWED ME THE EXIT LIGHT AND SAID, 'IF YOU CAN MAKE THIS WORK YOU CAN LEAVE.' I TOOK THIS AS AN APPROVAL TO DO WHATEVER TO FIX THE PROB. I AM A PROB SOLVER. I MADE A PA TO THE PAX AND CLRLY STATED THE REASON FOR THE DELAY WAS FOR A LIGHT BULB THAT THE GOV INSPECTOR HAD FOUND INOP AND THAT IT WOULD HAVE TO BE FIXED PRIOR TO DEP. I PROBABLY SAID OTHER COMMENTS TO DEFLECT BLAME OFF COMPANY AND ONTO THE FAA. ANYWAY, THE PAX NOW ARMED WITH THIS INFO PROCEEDED TO BERATE THE FAA INSPECTOR AND HE AND I EXCHANGED SOME RATHER HEATED WORDS. LATER, A MECH, NOT COMPANY, ARRIVED ON SCENE AND ATTEMPTED TO ISOLATE THE BATTERY PACK DEDICATED TO THAT DOOR LIGHT. I ALSO ASSISTED HIM WITH TOOLS, ADVICE AND CALLS TO COMPANY TECHNICIAN. OUTSIDE THE ACFT I HAD ANOTHER EXCHANGE OF WORDS WITH ANOTHER FAA INSPECTOR WHOM I DEEM TO BE A SUPVR. HE WAS NOT PLEASED WITH ME EITHER. A FEW CURSE WORDS WERE SAID, BUT NOT DIRECTLY TOWARD EITHER GOV EMPLOYEE. I AM A FORMER MIL COMBAT PLT AND I TEND NOT TO MINCE WORDS WHEN THE MISSION IS GOING SOUTH. I DO, NOW, APOLOGIZE TO THOSE GUYS IF THEY THOUGHT I WAS OFFENSIVE. IN SUMMARY, THE FLT WAS CANCELED FOR THE LIGHT BULB, 139 PAX WERE TOTALLY UPSET AND THEIR TRAVEL PLANS RUINED. THE FAA INSPECTOR INFORMED ME HE WAS TAKING ACTION AGAINST ME BECAUSE I DID UNAUTH MAINT BEFORE THE MECH ARRIVED. I FOUND OUT LATER HE SPOKE TO THE MECH AND FORCED HIM TO SIGN A STATEMENT AGAINST ME REGARDING MAINT PROCS. I HAVE ASSEMBLED STATEMENTS FROM ALL OTHER CREW MEMBERS AND THEY SHALL BE INFORMED THROUGH APPROPRIATE CHANNELS. WE FERRIED ACFT TO MAINT HANGAR. I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THE RIGHT TO INSERT ADDITIONAL REMARKS AT A LATER DATE WHEN I AM MORE COMPOSED. SUPPLEMENTAL INFO FROM ACN 376277: THE FAA SAYS THAT IF YOU CAN GET IT TO COME ON SO I CAN SEE IT, I'LL LET YOU GO. I GO BACK PER THE CAPT'S REQUEST. THE FAA FOLLOWS ME. HE SAYS MAYBE YOU CAN JIGGLE THE LIGHT BULBS AND THEY'LL COME ON. THE ENTIRE CREW DID AN EXCEPTIONAL JOB. CAPT DID HIS BEST TO TAKE CARE OF THE PAX AND TRY TO GET THE ACFT OUT. HE POINTED OUT TO THE FAA HE FELT LIKE HE SHOULD HAVE SHOWN UP PRIOR TO BOARDING. IT IS NOT VERY PROFESSIONAL TO SHOW UP AND GND AN ACFT WITH 130+ PAX ON BOARD. THE FAA ALSO REQUESTED US TO SEE IF WE COULD GET THE LIGHT TO WORK AND WATCHED US BOTH PULL THE PLASTIC COVER OFF. THE CAPT ONCE AGAIN TRYING TO HELP SPD UP THE PROCESS UNSCREWED 4 SCREWS TO HELP THE MECH WITH AN OVERHEAD PANEL. THE MECH WAS 1 FT AWAY. THE MECH WAS FORCED BY THE FAA TO SIGN A STATEMENT STATING THAT MECHANICAL WORK WAS DONE ON THE ACFT. THE MECH TOLD ME THAT THE ONLY REASON HE SIGNED IT WAS BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID IF HE DIDN'T COMPLY WITH THE DEMAND THAT ACTION WOULD BE TAKEN AGAINST HIM. IN SUMMARY, I FEEL LIKE THE FAA SHOULD HAVE SHOWN A LITTLE MORE CONSIDERATION FOR COMPANY AND ITS PAX BY SHOWING UP ON TIME. IF HE HAD NOT FOUND ANYTHING WRONG WITH THE ACFT WE WOULD HAVE STILL BEEN AT LEAST 20 MINS LATE. TO ME, THAT IS VERY UNPROFESSIONAL AND SHOULD BE ADDRESSED APPROPRIATELY. THAT WAS THE ONLY PROB I FEEL THE CAPT HAD ABOUT THE WHOLE SIT. IN A SHOW OF PWR THE FAA CALLED THE CAPT OUT ON THE JET BRIDGE AND POINTED OUT THAT HE OBSERVED THE CAPT UNSCREWING AN OVERHEAD PANEL. AS A WITNESS, I FEEL LIKE THE FAA BROUGHT THIS UP AS A POINT OF INTIMIDATION. FAA INSPECTOR DID SUGGEST TO BOTH THE CAPT AND MYSELF TO GET THE LIGHT WORKING AND JUST BECAUSE THE CAPT ASSISTED MAINT IN UNSCREWING 4 SCREWS HE DECIDED TO THREATEN A VIOLATION.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.