Case Analysis: Serious About Safety
Number of words: 709
Identity theft is a serious crime; it means using someone else’s information without their authorization and knowledge (Finklea, 2010). The Department of Transportation is carrying out the investigation of identity theft in falsifying aircraft maintenance records. An aircraft maintenance mechanic from Tennessee is charged with the forgery. However, the investigation is still underway. Two privately owned aircraft were due for an annual inspection to comply with FAA regulations. It is required to carry out the annual inspection by FAA-certified inspector only. The accused mechanic forged the signature of the FAA inspector on the annual maintenance logbook for these two aircraft. As a result, one out of two aircraft crashed due to in-flight engine failure (DOT, 2017).
In this case, the problem is breaching the code of conduct for the annual inspection procedure. The mandatory annual inspection of an aircraft according to FAA regulation was carried out by an aircraft mechanic without having a piece of knowledge and skillset for FAA regulations for annual maintenance, without FAA inspector certificate which is mandatory (Kroes, Rardon & Nolan, 2013), moreover, have no authorization to carry out the inspection procedure. All these acts of an aircraft maintenance mechanic have resulted in making aircraft unsafe for flying.
The significance of the problem
There are two significant reasons for recommending annual aircraft inspection by an inspector authorized by FAR 43.7. First, to check the airworthiness of an aircraft and the safety of the passenger. In this case, the safety of both aircraft and passenger were breached by aircraft maintenance mechanic by forging the signature of FAA inspector. The breach has caused a crashed due to in-flight engine failure. In addition, the mechanic’s specific activity has deteriorated the company’s image, which resulted in the loss of revenue as customers have lost trust in the services provided by the company.
Development of alternative actions
Aircraft and passenger safety has the utmost significance in the aviation industry (Kroes, Rardon & Nolan, 2013). Therefore, to avoid a similar incident in the company, the logbook should be checked periodically and verified during the periodic checks with the respective inspectors. This will help to authenticate the information and mistakes and frauds that can be detected as early as possible. In addition, employees and maintenance workers avoid misadventures like this case. However, this method is not foolproof; mistakes and misadventures can cause if the supervisor is not careful. Another alternative would be keeping the separate logbook for annual inspection and issuing it to only certified inspectors by the authorized department within the company after furnishing required documents. The advantage of this method is that the logbook will be in the hands of an authorized person; also, it will avoid any misadventures by employees. Although the additional SOP had to be created for the separate annual inspection logbook, people may avoid taking the responsibility of issuing the logbook due to its importance and previous instances of identity theft.
The technology is a tool that can be employed to avoid instances such as forgery. However, technology can also be manipulated, but it needs an expert, and it is not as easy as to forge a signature on a paper (Shumaker, 2007). The entire annual inspection process can be digitized and should be accessible to the authorized inspector only. Inspector can log in to the portal, complete an annual inspection report for a specific aircraft. If everything is according to the compliance, then issue the certificate to the owner of the aircraft online as well as the inspecting company for their records. The only disadvantage would be training the people on the new system and could be time-consuming for old school inspectors. The system could be costly at first; however, the cost can be justified over the long run, and chances of forgery could be eradicated.
DOT. (2017). Investigations | Office of Inspector General | U.S. Department of Transportation. Retrieved from https://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/35657
Finklea, K. (2010). Identity theft: trends and issues (pp. 2-3). Washington, D.C.: Congressional research service.
Kroes, M., Rardon, J., & Nolan, M. (2013). Aircraft basic science, eighth edition. [New York]: McGraw-Hill.
Shumaker, R. (2007). Virtual Reality. Berlin: Springer.