Airline Hit with $4.855 Million Fine for Failing to Properly Train Pilots

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has proposed a $4,855,000 civil penalty against Evergreen International Airlines of McMinnville, Ore., for allegedly using pilots on 232 revenue flights who had not been trained in accordance with an FAA-approved training program.

The flights were made between Feb. 19 and July 9, 2009, on aircraft equipped with a new flight management system (FMS) that was different enough from the prior system that it required a specific training program for pilots who were flying the aircraft. FAA alleges Evergreen did not complete its FAA-approved training for pilots before assigning them to fly revenue trips using the new FMS.

“We put rules and regulations in place to keep air transportation safe and we expect airlines to comply,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

FAA alleges Evergreen line pilots received ground training and a check ride on the new FMS, but that the company did not provide required familiarization flights supervised by the company’s check pilots despite being told to do so by FAA. The familiarization flights are part of the FAA-approved training program for Evergreen aircraft equipped with the FMS. Evergreen also failed to distribute copies of the required system manual to crews who would be using the FMS.

Subsequent to these improperly conducted flights, Evergreen has ensured that its pilots are trained in accordance with its FAA-approved training program and continues to operate under an FAA-approved training program.

“Even though Evergreen now complies with its training program, this penalty is appropriate because requiring operators to complete required, approved training is the only way to make sure crews are fully qualified to operate the equipment and systems to manage flights safely,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Evergreen has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s civil penalty letter to respond to the agency.

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