WASHINGTON, July 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Metropolitan Aviation is in the clear, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. A comprehensive investigation triggered by an OSHA Whistleblower complaint filed in August 2010 has exonerated the premium charter and management firm of allegations that the FAA has deemed unfounded. The final FAA report states:
The FAA has completed its investigation of the safety allegation contained in your complaint. The safety allegations were not substantiated. This investigation has not established a violation of an order, regulation or standard relating to Air Carrier Safety. The FAA has closed this investigation.
"We are happy, but not surprised," said CEO Alan Cook. "We take safety and the regulations very seriously, and recognize that the investigation was a necessary precaution even though it was based on erroneous claims."
The claims that Cook is referring to were filed by a former employee who was hired by Metropolitan Aviation in April 2010 but was terminated 90 days later due to a series of poor performances that Cook and his Chief Pilot Tim Sax agreed posed an unacceptable risk to their aircraft, crew and clientele.
"This individual was hired as a lead captain," says Cook, "but it became evident in a short timeframe that he was unable to perform his duties at a level commensurate with that position. He was released in the interest of everyone's safety, including his own."
This disgruntled employee was terminated by Metropolitan Aviation with full pay and full benefits, both of which ceased upon his efforts to collect up to $750,000 in exchange for not reporting Metropolitan Aviation to authorities for alleged safety violations. Cook reported these actions immediately to the FAA. OSHA which was in charge of this action enlisted the FAA to investigate the safety and termination issues which led to the investigation and ultimate dismissal of all safety claims made.
Cook, 54, has been a professional pilot and aircraft manager for over 30 years, maintaining a flawless safety record within the FAA that is accident, incident, and violation free. In 2009, the FAA designated him a Check Airman -- a high-honor in aviation granted only to select individuals -- charging him with the responsibility of evaluating pilot knowledge and ability.
Now that investigations of Metropolitan Aviation have been concluded in the company's favor, Cook admits it's been a bit of a bumpy ride. While Cook was focusing on cooperating with officials, the disgruntled employee was circulating his story in the press and online. At one point, a YouTube video of a Channel 9 news story featuring this person (thinly veiled under a dark shadow) was inserted on Metropolitan Aviation's website and circulated to the company's owners, brokers, and charter clients.
Fortunately, Cook's extensive and loyal customer base knows firsthand that he's a pilot who can weather any storm.
"Metropolitan Aviation is committed to the safety, comfort, and service of our clientele," says Cook. "It's the reason we're so successful at what we do."