ValuJet Crash

From:         msb@SEI.CMU.EDU (Mark Bell)
Organization: Software Engineering Institute
Date:         24 Jun 96 12:24:54 
Followups:    1
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>From the Valley News Dispatch (Pittsburgh PA), Tuesday June 18, 1996 :

Start Quote :
   "A Gannett Newspapers analysis of internal FAA documents found that
ValuJet has been an airline with a troubling pattern of sloppy
operations and maintenance long before the May 11 crash.
    While no single incident proved ValuJet was unsafe, it was a pattern the
FAA quitely was investigating without telling the public of its
concerns.  Among the incidents :
    * A leaky fuel tank grounded a ValuJet plane in April 1995 at
Washington's Dulles International Airport.  But instead of fixing the
leaky center tank, mechanics wired the tank shut so that nobody would
put fuel in it.
    * The airline flew a plane with a leaky hydraulic system for almost a
month in the fall of 1994.
    * After calls to an anonymous employee hotline, the FAA investigated
ValuJet's drug-testing program and found the airline wasn't
adequately testing employees.
   "This was obviously an airline out of control", said aviation
consultant Michael boyd.  "The FAA had its agenda to keep it
quiet so as not to embarrass the secretary(Pena)" "
End Quote.

Now, the biggest aircraft I've ever flown is a Skylane, so I'm
obviously not knowledgable about the first two examples cited above.
My question is would these two conditions actually ground a DC-9,
or were the fixes within flight standards ?

The last example about the drug-testing, combined with Mr Boyd's
statement, looks like they're setting ValuJet up for some big
lawsuits regardless of what actually caused the crash (suprised ?).

Mark PP/ASEL/IA C-170A N3850V




Mark S. Bell                           412-268-7925 (Voice)
Software Engineering Institute         412-268-5758 (Fax)
Carnegie Mellon University             ** These are my opinions,
4500 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh PA.,15213      not those of the SEI or CMU **