CHICAGO, IL—The U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $110,000 civil penalty against Air Evac EMS Inc., of West Plains, Mo., for operating a Bell BHT 206 helicopter that was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.
The FAA alleges a company mechanic installed a chin bubble window on the aircraft without following the manufacturer’s instructions, and then failed to document the installation in the aircraft’s maintenance logbook. The window is located at the front of the helicopter, near the pilot’s feet, and allows the pilot to see below and forward of the helicopter. As a result of the improper installation, the aircraft was not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations.
The company, which provides air medical services, returned the aircraft to service and flew it on eight passenger-carrying flights. On Sept. 4, 2012, after only 7.3 flight hours, the chin window fell off during cruise flight, resulting in a precautionary landing.
The FAA alleges Air Evac operated the aircraft in a careless manner that endangered the lives of people on the aircraft and on the ground.
Air Evac has been in communication with the FAA about this matter.