The Federal Aviation Administration has announced the grounding of the small Honolulu-based cargo operator that crashed its Boeing 737-200 this month after discovering further maintenance violations.
Rhoades Aviation Inc., Transair’s parent company, was reported to have separate maintenance and safety issues upon further investigation into the 2 July crash.
The FAA has been investigating the company since last year and proposed the groundings on 13 June – a few weeks before the crash into Honolulu waters that almost killed two people.
The groundings were announced in an emailed statement, according to Bloomberg.
“The FAA has ongoing safety oversight programs to identify issues early and get ahead of them. This is what led the FAA to begin investigating the operator before the crash,” the press release said.
“On June 13, the FAA notified Rhoades Aviation that the agency intended to rescind the authority for the airline to conduct maintenance inspections due to deficiencies identified during the investigation.”
Rhoades had 30 days to challenge the proposal for reconsideration, but it declined to do so.
Effective midnight Hawaii time Thursday last week, the company cannot resume operations “until it complies with FAA regulations”.
The agency did not disclose details of the deficiencies it found but said the decision to ground the carrier from its operations was separate from the crash.
Transair is a small cargo airline in Hawaii, operating an all-cargo fleet of Boeing 737’s, and Bombardier SD3-60-300 aircraft daily since 1982.
In the early hours of 2 July, the 47-year-old Boeing 737-200F, operating Transair Flight 810, departed Honolulu at 1:33am local time headed for Maui’s Kahului Airport.
Shortly after take-off, the pilots were forced to turn back towards Honolulu, citing engine troubles, according to the FAA.
Within minutes, the pilots were forced to perform an emergency landing into the ocean near the coast.
According to air traffic reports seen by The Washington Post, the crew was struggling to divert the jet back to Honolulu’s Daniel. K Inouye International Airport.
“We’re going to need the fire department,” one pilot told an air traffic controller. “There’s a chance we’re going to lose the other engine, too. It’s running very hot.”
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, and found most of the aircraft’s remains last week using Side Scan Sonar surveying technology.
According to the FAA’s Service Difficulty Reports, a similar issue happened with the same N810TA jet in 2018 where the engine failed at take-off, and months later in 2019 it occurred again.
The 2018 issue was a broken shaft, and the 2019 issue disclosed less details, but reported to have an engine failure at 2,000 feet in air, noted AIN Online.