US Airways is facing a major fine over a wide range of safety and maintenance violations on its airplanes. The one that caught my eye was a plane in December 2007 that returned to Denver with a low oil-pressure warning. Mechanics appear to have lost the caps for the oil sump so they just stuffed towels in the openings.
While this is roughly half of the fine of Southwest airlines last year, it reaffirms concerns among passengers that airlines are skimping on maintenance as they cut back on virtually every other comfort in air travel. It could also prove a legal problem in any air accident for the company. A report of this kind invites expanded discovery in a torts or criminal case.
US Air is accused of missing inspections and flying nearly 1,700 flights on eight planes that were not in compliance with FAA regulations from May 2008 to January 2009.
It appears that sticking towels in engine parts is not an FAA-approved maintenance technique.
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