The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US is planning to fine Air Methods Corp. of Colorado, US, $892,500 for allegedly operating an EC135 helicopter on flights when the craft was not airworthy.
According to the FAA, an inspection by the agency on 4 November 2014 in Tampa, Florida found that the pitot tubes, used to measure an aircraft’s speed, on the helicopter were ‘severely corroded’. The FAA said it notified Air Methods of the damage, but that the company continued to use the helicopter in question on 51 passenger-carrying flights between 4 November and 11 November 2014 without making any repairs.
The FAA alleges: “…because of the corroded pitot tubes, Air Methods operated the helicopter when it was not airworthy; in violation of its operations specifications; after it failed to correct a known defect in the aircraft; and in a careless or reckless manner that endangered lives and property.”
“Operators are expected to respond appropriately when FAA inspectors alert them to airworthiness concerns,” said FAA administrator Michael Huerta. “It is imperative that all operators address those concerns before operating their aircraft.”
Air Methods has 30 days to respond to the allegations.