In this month’s Staying Legal article Retesting Nightmare, Steve Prentice discusses the retesting of mechanics who attended St. George Aviation. This retesting nightmare was brought about by an investigation of the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG investigation revealed that between Oct. 10, 1995 and Dec. 31, 1998, employees of Sanford, Florida-based St. George Aviation issued numerous fraudulent A&P mechanic certificates. The FAA felt it needed to retest mechanics who received their airmen certificates from St. George during that time frame. The FAA said this re-examination was necessary to “ensure safety.” So, it sent letters to affected mechanics in 2004 informing them that they would need to retest. The legal wrangling is still going on to this day.
The FAA justifies the retesting need by citing the need to “ensure safety.” Let’s assume that ensuring safety is the objective of the retesting requirement. Heck let’s just go ahead and assume that 100 percent of those mechanics fail the retest and their certificates are revoked. Has safety been ensured? I would say no. In regards to ensuring safety, a big question comes to mind — if a mechanic’s certificate is revoked, what happens to any aircraft that were inspected by that mechanic — 100-hour inspections a month before the certificate was revoked, for example? Are those aircraft now unairworthy? If the FAA’s concern is ensuring safety, wouldn’t it require the re-inspection of all those aircraft?
St. George Aviation was criminally negligent in failing to properly test their students. Should the mechanics have been required to retest just because they received their certificates from St. George Aviation? If so, and if it is a safety issue, should the FAA have gone further by requiring any aircraft inspected by mechanics who later had their certificates revoked to be re-inspected? What are your thoughts on this whole mess?
New Editor’s Blog
We have added a new editor’s blog on AMTonline.com titled Technically Speaking. This blog gives us the opportunity to discuss the latest topics that are of interest to aircraft mechanics in a timely manner. The great thing about this blog is that it is interactive. You have the ability to post your comments on any topic to share your thoughts, discuss concerns and offer insight on the issues that are important to us! Check it out at www.AMTonline.com.
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