West Miami-Dade

The flight school in two-plane crash had 26 FAA incident reports in the last 11 years

Dean International Flight School on Tuesday afternoon.
Dean International Flight School on Tuesday afternoon. dgoodhue@MiamiHerald.com

The South Miami-Dade flight school that owns the planes in Tuesday’s midair crash that killed four people has had 26 FAA accident/incident reports, over two per year, since 2007.

But this resulted in only eight FAA enforcement actions for Dean International since 2004 — three of which resulted in administrative actions and two of which cost Dean a $15,000 fine. Three of those discipline hits were for using planes that hadn’t received proper inspection.

The school’s planes were involved in five accidents from 2007-2017, resulting in two fatalities.

The planes in Tuesday’s crash were a 1979 Cessna 172N, a fixed wing, single-engine airplane, and a 1973 Piper PA-34-200, a fixed wing multi-engine plane. The Cessna’s last certification, December 2005, was set to expire Feb. 28, 2019. The Piper’s last certification, Sept. 26, 2007, was set to expire June 30, 2021.

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The FAA provided the data on accident/incident reports and enforcement actions, but wouldn’t say how Dean International’s numbers compare to other certified organizations. As far as degree of discipline, administrative actions such as Letters of Correction or Warning Letters are less serious than fines or certificate actions (suspensions or revocations of FAA certification).

None of the discipline actions involve the 26 accident/incident reports or the two fatalities in those 26 reports.

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The FAA found no violation after investigation in three of the eight enforcement actions. Dean’s violations:

Nov. 9, 2004 — A Warning Notice for violating FAA rule 141.3: “No person may operate as a certificated pilot school without, or in violation of, a pilot school certificate or provisional pilot school certificate issued under this part.”

July 1, 2006 — A Warning Notice for violating two FAA rules, 91.411(a)(1) and 91.413(a).

The former rule reads, “Within the preceding 24 calendar months, each static pressure system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been tested and inspected and found to comply with appendices E and F of part 43 of this chapter.”

The latter rule reads, “No persons may use an Air Traffic Control transponder that is specified in 91.215(a), 121.345(c), or §135.143(c) of this chapter unless, within the preceding 24 calendar months, the ATC transponder has been tested and inspected and found to comply with appendix F of part 43 of this chapter.”

Sept. 18, 2009 — A Letter of Correction for violating FAA rule 91.409(b): “No person may operate an aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) for hire, and no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection and been approved for return to service in accordance with part 43 of this chapter or has received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter....”

March 9, 2010 and May 12, 2010 — These two incidents were punished together with one $15,000 fine for violations of the aforementioned FAA rule 91.409(b) and 91.7(a), the latter of which reads, “No person may operate a civil aircraft unless it is in an airworthy condition.”