The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an emergency order of revocation against Air America of Carolina, Puerto Rico, which was involved in a fatal crash last year in San Juan.
The FAA accused the charter operator of using an unqualified pilot, using a pilot who had received inadequate rest, operating aircraft that were overweight and improperly loaded, and failing to turn over pilot records.
“Air America’s actions were careless and reckless, and its numerous violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations pose a threat to safety in air commerce or air transportation,” the FAA said earlier this week. Air America has surrendered its air carrier certificate, the FAA added.
The FAA said Air America’s director of operations “falsely recorded that he had provided required ground and flight training to a new pilot, when he had, in fact, not provided that training.” Because the new pilot had not received the training, he was not qualified to serve as pilot-in-command (PIC) for Air America; nevertheless, he acted as PIC on at least eight passenger-carrying flights between April 23 and June 3, 2017, including the June 3 accident flight, the FAA said.
The FAA added that the unqualified pilot incorrectly calculated airplane weight and balance on three flights and that, “consequently, the aircraft were overweight and improperly loaded.”
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said in its final report on the June 3 loss of control–in flight accident that, in addition to the fatality, two other passengers in the Piper Aztec PA-23-250 were seriously injured and the pilot received minor injuries.
The probable causes were “the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed, properly correct for left yaw, and his exceedance of the airplane’s critical angle of attack during initial climb, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall and subsequent uncontrolled descent into water,” the NTSB report said.
The FAA also alleged that the director of operations had served as PIC on passenger-carrying flights in March and June of 2017, when he had not received the required amount of rest, and that Air America was unable to provide pilot flight and duty records that were requested by an FAA inspector in June 2017. The records had not been provided by February 2018, the FAA said.