What the IFENGuy2000 Said- The Certificate Report
In October of ’99, just a little over one year after sr111 mysteriously crashed into the sea killing all 229 passengers, IFENGUY2000 showed up on the sr111 board and brought with him some interesting information. The members of the (sr111) board were discussing the supplemental type certificate (STC) around that time and were shaking their heads in disbelief over the manner in which it was issued to permit the installation of the IFEN (entertainment system). For a little background and explanation regarding the STC, I think the following information from Air Safety Week gives a very good explanation of how this energy consuming system came to be wrongly installed on the MD-11 aircraft at all.
From Air Safety Week:
In-Flight Entertainment System Installation Found Deficient
Sep 13, 1999
Special Review Finds Oversight Lacking in Supplemental Type Certificate Process
Satisfying the regulations and meeting the minimum standards did not prevent the installation of a system that was incompatible with an airplane's design philosophy. This is one of the central lessons emerging from the Swissair Flight 111 tragedy, and one that has put the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the spot -- reacting to rather than having prevented what appears to be an embarrassing lack of rigorous oversight.
It was the FAA's imprimatur on the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) that authorized the installation of a high-powered interactive in-flight entertainment network (IFEN) in Swissair's 16-plane fleet of MD-11 jets. After the Sept. 1998 crash of one of those airplanes, burned wires associated with the IFEN were pulled from the wreckage and the company immediately disconnected the power from the IFEN systems on its remaining aircraft.
Last week, Swissair filed a lawsuit against the three companies involved in the IFEN fiasco: Interactive Flight Technologies Inc. (IFT), which supplied the system, Santa Barbara Aerospace, which certified it, and Hollingshead International, whose technicians installed it. Earlier, IFT issued a lawsuit against Swissair, claiming it had relied on SR Technics, the carrier's maintenance arm, to ensure proper integration of the IFEN in Swissair's MD-11's (see ASW, May 24).
The dueling lawsuits are part of the larger picture that begs the question: should the system have been installed the way it was in the first place? Further, was regulatory oversight sufficiently rigorous? The answers, at this point, seem to be "no" and "no."
The FAA plans to issue an airworthiness directive (AD) to prevent further use of an IFEN the Swiss authorities have already banned. The forthcoming action is based on a special certification review the FAA conducted after the Swissair MD-11 crashed.
Indeed, according to Ronald Wojnar, deputy director of the FAA's aircraft certification service, that fleetwide review of MD-11's was launched within hours of the Swissair accident. "We started, actually, at (Boeing's) Douglas Products Division, by looking at the systems in that cabin area so see what was up there (in the burned area). We looked at airplanes in production. We looked at airplanes undergoing heavy maintenance, and we also found that this particular airplane (the accident airplane) had this supplemental type certificate (system) installed." The STC was issued November 19, 1996 by Santa Barbara Aerospace in its capacity as an FAA-approved Designated Alteration Station (DAS).
The report of the FAA's self-initiated review of this particular STC process represents a mixture of candor offset by hedging rhetoric. Yes, there were deficiencies, but never at risk of compromising safety. Among the June 14, 1999 report's principal findings:
ï¿½ The IFEN's electrical power switching was not compatible with the MD-11's design concept. Instead of connecting the system to the cabin bus, it was hooked to an essential bus. As a result, the installation did not "provide the flightcrew and/or cabin crew with the ability to remove electrical power" by any means other than pulling the system's circuit breakers. The installation "circumvented flightcrew procedures for responding to a smoke/fumes emergency by connecting the IFEN system to an electrical bus that is not de-energized when the CAB BUS switch is activated," according to the certification review team's report.
ï¿½ Certification procedures were sloppy. The bill of particulars includes a failure to adequately inspect the installed IFEN systems. "The DAS inspector found non-conformities after the applicant (Santa Barbara Aerospace) stated that inspections had been performed and the installation was in conformance to design data."
ï¿½ There were failures in FAA oversight. The special review team found gaps in FAA documentation requirements and procedures to ensure that the IFEN was properly installed.
ï¿½ Training standards were inadequate. If Designated Alteration Station (DAS) staff are going to be approving/certifying installation of systems like this IFEN, they need better training in the design philosophy of the airplane and the carrier's operational procedures, the certification team concluded.
Even though deficiencies in design and installation were found, the report insisted that the discrepancies did not "adversely impact safety." The testing included an AC to DC short circuit test, in which a single-phase 115-volt ac power supply input wire was shorted directly to the 48-volt dc output of the power supply. The circuit breakers tripped, the fault was removed, IFEN power was restored, and the system booted up and operated normally.
Nevertheless, Wojnar conceded, "We've seen instances in those airplanes where they didn't use good industry practices for the installation of the wiring."
Regarding system de-activation, Wojnar said, "We don't know exactly what the crew knew regarding the function of the cabin bus switch. Since Swissair had inserted an item in their 'parking' checklist to pull the circuit breakers to shut down the IFEN system, the crew would have known that this was the only way to shut down the system in a non-emergency scenario."
The review team said flatly the IFEN needs to be connected to, or controlled by, the cabin bus switch. That recommendation seems to have been overtaken by events. Wojnar said an AD will be issued to prevent the reactivation of these IFEN systems. "The STC is no longer valid, and we'll issue at least an AD which of course will go out to the world....It will cover our airworthiness concerns," even though, he added, "we don't have proof that (the IFEN) caused the accident."
In addition, steps will be taken to better educate DAS and FAA officials. "This wasn't the best understanding of the original manufacturer's system design philosophy, and we're going to come up with new policies on what was needed in those areas," Wojnar asserted. (Note: the full text of the interview with Mr. Wojnar is on our website: www.aviationtoday.com FAA, tel. 202/267-3461
Gaps in the Process
Special Certification Review Team Report of Swissair MD-11 In-flight Entertainment System
ï¿½ Electrical power switching is not compatible with the design concept of the MD-11 airplane...In addition, (it) does not provide the flightcrew...with the ability to remove electrical power by a means other than pulling the system's circuit breakers.
ï¿½ The STC (supplemental type certificate) applicant and DAS (Designated Alteration Station) holder did not follow proper certification procedures.
ï¿½ The FAA failed to ensure that problems identified...were corrected.
ï¿½ Non-conformities between installation drawings and the actual installation were identified, and a number of installation drawings were found inadequate. However, these discrepancies were minor and do not adversely impact safety.
ï¿½ FAA should require that any organization having DAS authority provide formal training (including): the airplane manufacturer's type design, design practices, operational assumptions and operator procedures.
ï¿½ Initiate an effort to determine if the findings of this special certification review are representative of the DAS industry as a whole.
A person going by the name of IFENGUY2000 appeared on the site in ’99 for a short time and posted some interesting information. It was fairly obvious that he probably worked for the FAA as you will see from his posts. He mentions a report that hadn’t even been released to the public ‘Special Certification Review Team Report’. I thought it might be worth the effort to put these posts all together on the new board.
The following messages were not edited except the names of the posters were left out:
This was a question posed by one of the sr111 board members:
“I have been following the SR111 IFES topic in the
other board (Stuart's). Can someone explain how
it is that a company can certify (issue an STC) for
its own product?? That would be like letting me issue
myself a private pilot certificate without taking the
tests or the chekride (which is shedueled for next
Thursday, by the way). I've been surfing through the
board today, noting the discussions. Similair to what
has been discussed on other boards, but this one
actually has people who lost loved once to the
tragedy. I can post some of my observations on the whole
thing based on what I know. Don't get me started on the
JFK Jr. thing, however.”
Here was Ifen_guy2000’s first post:
“The IFEN (In-flight Entertainment Network) was
certified for only the MD-11. In fact it was only approved
for installation on the MD-11's in the Swissair
fleet. By the way "IFEN" specifically identifies the IFE
(in-flight entertainment system)developed by Interactive
Flight Technologies. So, IFEN is not a generic term like
The same poster’s response to IFEN_Guy2000 was:
“That is kinda what I figured about the STC for the IFEN. Can you say major
conflict of interest problem.”
He also posted:
“Another thing on the STC for the IFEN. Why would
it need an FAA STC. Does the Swiss govt. not issue a
TC to the MD-11, or do they just accept the FAA TC?
How does that work?? I know it is a US made airplane,
but it is registered to a non US airline.If
Canada makes a jet, the Canadaians will issue an TC, but
so will the FAA for the USA. Does it work
differently for Switzerland??”
“The Swiss aviation authorities, Federal Office
for Civil Aviation (FOCA) did certify the IFEN system
on the MD-11's. Thier certification was necessary
before Swissair could legally return the airplanes to
service after the IFEN system had been installed. The
FOCA's basis for approving the IFEN system was the US
FAA STC. A very common practice. The FAA would do the
same, in most cases. Say a system was certified in
France, the FAA would contact the French DGAC in order to
obtain certain information about the approval. The FAA
could use the French approval to help them make
findings of compliance to the US FAR's (Code of Federal
IFENGUY2000 knew a lot about the FAA and procedures! Here is his response to the above poster who thought that it was a little suspicious for the company that applied for the STC to also do the approval.
“Conflict of interest? It's not that black and
white. Did you know that many airlines are authorized to
issue STC's? For example United Airlines is a
Designated Alteration Station (DAS)(which mean they are
authorized to issue STC, with certain limitation). They can
do this because they have demonstrated that they
meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 21 Subpart M.
Companies that have DAS authorization undergo regular
audits performed by the FAA. Granted the system may need
some tweaking, and I understand that the FAA is in the
middle of improving their oversight of the DAS industry.
That's not to say there are major problems with the DAS
industry. Unfortunatley Santa Barbara Aerospace (SAB)
appeared to have been a bad apple. I don't think they are
represenative of the other DAS companies.”
Well he obviously didn’t work for SBA but he certainly was familiar with FAA jargon and how the system worked.
Another comment from IFENGUY2000:
“Well the FAA does giveth and does taketh away.
You are aware that after the special certification
review conducted by the FAA, Santa Barbara Aerospace
surrendered thier DAS certifcate to the FAA (I think if they
didn't it would have been taken away), they have
returned the STC's (there was one for the MD-11 and one
for the 747) to the FAA, and they have filed for
Chapter 11. The FAA doubly ensured the IFEN system would
never be installed on another MD-11 by issuing the AD.”
My response to him was:
“I hope you don't mind if I rudely add that the
FAA issued that AD to cover their own horrific
mistake to make it appear to the public that they are in
fact doing their job. As John Sampson so wisely
states,"Who can honestly ever see any airline, let alone
a reputable one, ever getting into bed with the likes of IFT,
Hollingsead, Santa Barbara etc ever again?" As far as I'm
concerned, the FAA and all the other responsible parties
took away.....229 lives...forever, if the cause of the
crash is determined to be related in anyway to that
IFENGUY2000:”Why rudly add the remark???? Anyway the FAA took
action in November of 1998 regarding Santa Barbara and
the IFEN system. Although it might not have been
public knowledge their was much activity going on
regarding this system and DAS begining when the wire bundle
associated with the IFEN system was recovered. To say that
the FAA issued the AD to cover themselves is a
statement that is not based on facts.”
Mark’s response to IFENGUY2000:
“It is my understanding that Santa Barbara
Aerospace "surrendered" the STC for the IFEN. Wasn't the AD
therefore redundant? If so, what was it's purpose other
than to make a "political" statement? Had the FAA
revoked the STC or otherwise sanctioned SBA, they would
have in effect have been accepting a certain amount of
responsibility themselves, since SBA acted as their agent as the
issuer. Rather they allowed SBA to "surrender" the STC,
then issued the AD to avoid criticism for not taking a
strong enough position. Perhaps this is a cynical
interpretation, but I think it does fit the facts. It's hard
to know motives with certainty, but I have trouble
understanding why the FAA bothered issuing the AD without
supposing the motives were political. Perhaps our
culture has become so litigous that it's no longer
possible for anyone to stand up and say, "We made a
mistake here and we're going to take every possible
measure to make sure it never happens again." If so, then
I guess it's left to us to translate the
“Actually SBA did surrender their DAS, but what
does it matter whether it was taken from them or they
(SBA) read the tea leaves and "voluntarily" surrender
it? Note that they surrendered their DAS authority in
Novemer 1998. Not that long after this tragic accident. I
would say that the FAA was very aggressive in their
actions. Sure, the FAA needs to make improvements in their
oversight of DAS's. If you have the chance to read the
special certification review team report regarding SBA
and the IFEN system, you will find that the FAA team
conducting the review was not only harsh on SBA, et.al., but
also on the FAA. The report critisized the FAA for
problems with internal procedures, DAS oversight,
including audit follow-ups and more. The reason the
AD was issued was not for cya reasons. An AD, once
public, becomes public record and is published in the
Federal Register. Issuing an AD is a way the FAA
officialy informs other Aviation Authorities, and the
public, that the FAA has found an unsafe condition, and
the action they have taken to correct it and/or
prevent it from reocurring. Issuing this AD was a way
that the FAA could positively ensure that this IFEN
system would not be installed on another MD-11. It is
conciveable that some one who had possesion of the STC data
(engineering drawings, test reports, installation
drawings/instructions, etc) could approach an FAA office that was not
aware of recent events and with it claim it was
previously approved data and therefore use it as a basis to
seek approval for installing it on an airplane. The AD
prevents this (this is explained in the AD preample).
“It's good to hear there's no CYA going on
here. I guess then, that the report that came from the
internal FAA review, is publicly available. Can you
refer us to a link, or source where we can obtain a
copy of that report?”
**Note that report wasn’t released to the public for well over a year after this post by IFENGUY2000, and nobody seemed to know about it except him. This was the first time that we had heard about it.*
“Are you suggesting that an internal review by the
FAA, issuing an AD, and improving some processes is
all that is needed to patch things up? What
about an investigation, perhaps even a criminal one?
Remember that 229 people died. What if documents
had been falsified? Frankly I don't give a hoot that
the internal review was 'critical' of SBA and the
FAA's own procedures. Something really stinks
here, and all I know is, that a lot of the people
involved have either vanished or gone out of
business. Let's not allow this to be another 'police
investigating themselves' case. And while I'm here, you
seem to be fairly knowledgable about this stuff, I
have a question for you. Santa Barbara
Aerospace is listed on the FAA Van Nuys FSDO website (they
look after Repair Station authorizations), as having
AF-3, AF-4, L-PP, and L-SS
know which of these rating gave them
authority to issue STC's for modifications such as the
IFEN? Appreciate the answer if you have it.”
“It's not as simple as patching a few things up.
What I am saying is that I know the FAA is taking this
very very seriously (the DAS situation). From what I
know it is being driven from the McSweeny level with a
lot of energy behind it, with no resource
limitations. I don't know anything about a criminal
investigation. Maybe that's called for? But what would the FAA
investigate? Also, as far as I know there is no evidence that
the IFEN system had anything to do with this tradegy.
I wish I had answers as I would glady share them
with the world. But from what I know the IFEN system
was very well designed, a very roboust system. If
there was a weakness is sounds as if it came with
integrating the system with the MD-11 and how it was
installed. What do you mean a lot of people invovled with this
have "vanished"? Can you provide details? I don't
subscibe to conspriacy theories, but if there is evidence
then I am all ears. As far as SBA going out of
biz, well they did that to themselves and from what I
can see they deserved it. Unfortunate as I am sure
there were many people working there who have strong
morals and values, unfortunately it doesn't appear they
were the people running the show or holding the purse
“I don't think it has been published in the Fed Register or anything like that.
I know there are copies in circulation. And there is always the Freedom of
**He is referring to the internal FAA review regarding the certification of the IFEN. Furthermore at the time he wrote this the document was NOT available to the public.
A poster’s response to IFENGUY2000:
“I'll agree with you that there is no evidence so
far to tie the IFEN system to the accident and I am
certainly not one to sign up to conspiracy theories either.
BUT, regardless if it was the cause or not, isn't it
ironic that the amount of details surrounding the system
are cropping up as "less than scrupulous"? Just the
fact that it was wired into the essentials buss ALONE
is enough to start a credibal case, isn't it. It
would be nice to ask the pilots of the sister ships if
they new it was wired to their essentials buss before
this accident took place. I'm betting they were wiping
their brow when this all came to light and it was
disconnected from further use. I do have one item that has
bothered me for some time and seems to have been forgotten
regarding the conspiracy theory though..............is it a
coincidence that offices in both Zurich and Canada regarding
this investigation were broken into within weeks of
each other and computers were stolen? There is a
pretty good summary regarding the business relations on
Stuart's sight (yahoo aviationsafety) message #3410 that
some might find interesting to say the
Here is the url to message #3410 from the Aviation & Safety Board:
Now here is the first post I could find that IFENGUY2000 posted on the Aviation @ Safety board though I may have missed some:
“SBA was a bad apple - very bad. However, I don't beleive they represent the DAS industry as a whole. If you are alarmed that a company like SBA can be both STC applicant and STC issuer, then you must also be alarmed that companies like United Airline, American Airlines, USAir, Learjet, Gulfstream, and Boeing also areauthorized DAS's. While I know that the industry is motivated by profits, I also know there are a lot of dedicated people out there who really want to do the right thing - put safety first. Unfortunately, sometimes it may appear that they don't get their way. From what Iknow, the FAA has taken very agressive actions following the Swissair accident (yes I know - Tombstone agency story). I am not saying that action shouldn't have taken place before hand - it certainly was needed with regards to SBA. Hopefully some good will come out of this tradegy. Hopefully the FAA will follow through will all they say they are going do. I beleive they will. A real shake-up in the way the FAA oversees their DAS's will occure (my prediction). In fact, in addition to the efforts underway post SR111 there are prototype programs regarding the oversight of DAS's,SFAR36, DOA, etc...these programs were started beforeSR111. I take that as a recognition by the FAA that they understand improvements are necessary.”
Obviously IFENGUY2000 was quite a spokesperson seemingly for the FAA and though not a spelling star, he certainly knows a great deal about regulations etc.
A sr111 board poster:
"I don't know anything about a criminal
investigation. Maybe that's called for? But what would the FAA
investigate?" I'm not asking the FAA to investigate anything. They
are the wrong ones to be doing that - because they
were part of the problem. Yes, they are at full
liberty to review their processes and fix their system
any time they like. But I'm suggesting that
there be an independant investigation into the testing
and subsequent approval of the this IFEN in Swissair
111. And that should be entirely separate from looking
at the cause of the crash. If you review my
earlier post, you'll see I never even suggested that
there was something wrong with the IFEN. You could be
right that it's a well designed system. And we both
know that the TSB investigation will determine if it's
design was a factor in the crash. Is the TSB
going to look into the STC that was issued? Or to see
if anyone at SB Aerospace, FAA, Swissair, or
Hollingsead falsified documents? If we're not going to
ask the questions, then who is?”
Another board member posted:
“Regarding your question about the break-ins at the 2 Swissair offices, see
Message 5860 on this site. Is this all a coincidence???
Now I know this is getting confusing because IFENGUY2000 is now bouncing back between the sr111 board & the Aviation & Safety board but here is another message for the A&S board:
Ah! But that WAS the problem, although the IFEN
system was a very complex system it appeared to have
been treated just like an airphone, or airshow system
installation. There is a big difference between the IFEN system
and an airphone system!!!! Also I can't
imagine an operator such as Swissair would just turn over
their airplanes to the HI folks without having thier
own folks (SR Technics) there to support the
installation and ensure that the companies quality standards
were adhered to (especially since the mods were
accomphished at Swissair facilaties).
This was in response to the following comment:
On the Aviation & Safety Board IFENGUY2000 takes back his comment that SBA is a ‘bad apple’.
“Definitely a bad choice of words on my part. I
take them back. I guess what I mean is that alot seems
to have happened to SBA since the accident. No
longer a DAS, Chapter 11...A generalized term like "bad
apple" was "bad" on my part.”
Back on the sr111 board we were discussing that we had heard that Delta’s smoke/fire emergency checklist was reported to be about half as long as the one used by sr111.
“As in any accident there are many factors that
contribute to the accident. Blame cannot be put on any
single item when it comes to an accident. If the
checklist was invovled it was but one of many things that
contributed to the accident. Think of it as swiss cheese. The
cheese has many holes in it and rarely do they line up -
but when they do an accident or incident
happens. If the checklist was invovled I really doubt there
was anything malicous behind the development of it.
Until proven otherwise I beleive that the airline and
manufacturer developed the checklist to the best of their
ability at the time it was developed. Airplane safety is
an evoluntionary process. We make small steps
day-by-day. The accident rate has not dramatically
changed over the past 20 years at about 2 to 3 accidents
per million departures. However, over that same time
period the number of worldwide departures per year has
almost doubled, going from about 8 million to over 15
million. As traffic continues to grow more accidents will
occur each year unless the accident rate is
reduced. The FAA produced a report entitiled "The Interfaces
Between Flightcrews and Modern Flight Deck Systems,"
dated June 18, 1996. The report is an indepth look at
the role between humans and thier interface with
modern flight decks. It is great reading and it has
reshaped the way the FAA deals with human factors in
As many of the readers know, Swissair shortened their smoke/emergency checklist after the sr111 tragedy occurred.
IFENGUY2000 apologizes to a poster regarding the checklist:
“I didn't mean to imply that you said there was
anything malicous behind the checklist development. My
apologies if I came across that way. My point was that
things in avaition (as well as many other fields) are
evolutionary in nature. Hopefully they evolve towards the
better and don't slowly degrade over time. Please
take a look at the FAA Human Factors report. I will
post a link to it. The material in the report is not
exactly new, but it is the first time all these different
subjects have beem examined in this manner and complied
together in one report. It is a landmark report.”
The FAA report "The Interfaces Between
Flightcrews and Modern Flight Deck
Systems" can be found at:http://www.faa.gov/avr/afshome.htm
“Keep in mind its only the headline making
accidents and incidents that get all the press coverage.
Sure the FAA has to take into account public
preception and therefore they act in a public way following
big headlines. However, seemingly small incidents
also get detailed scrutiny within the FAA and aviation
industry. It is easy to put together statistics regarding
incidents and accidents - that is because these are events
that actually happen and get reported. What is not so
easy to measure is how many accidents and incidents do
not occur because of the work the aviation industry
and FAA does day-to-day. So I submitt that the
industry is doing a good job of keeping the flying public
safe - but of course there is need for continual
improvement. Advocay groups can help by raising public
awareness of the need for continued improvement.”
Why say it on a board where people are not thinking all that highly of the FAA because we knew just from the little bit of information we had, that they were a part of the reason we were/are all in such pain?
He added the following:
““Only the naive person would say that what the FAA
and industry are doing is "good enough." I am not
naive regarding this. Continual improvement is
necessary and it is happening in the aviation industry. One
needs to remove the emotions involved with this tradegy
and replace them with data driven theories, ideas,
suggestions, and opinions. Of course I realize that when a
loved one is lost that is a very tall order. Only God
knows how I would be had a loved one been lost in this
accident, so I am in no way discounting your intentions
behind your effort. I applaud what you are attempting to
do. Its a real David and Goliath situation. But it is
what is necessary if you really want to keep things
moving in the right direction and to even accelerate
safety initiatives. The tradegy can be the motivation
behind your (and others) efforts, but the emotion based
actions need to eventually be replaced with facts and
constructive criticism. Contuinual bashing of the FAA and
industry only goes so far. It will get the attention you
need to jump start your initiative, but beyond that it
will soon produce negative returns. I wish you
the best in your efforts and hope that I can help any
way I can. Let me know.”
This post was directed at someone that was starting an aviation safety group and who lost their husband in the sr111 tragedy.
Here are some more interesting remarks that IFENGUY2000 made on the Aviation @ Safety Board:
“ “The SBA STC was issued in Nov. 1996 and admended
5 time between then and August 1997. The connection
to the bus will not be hard to determine once you
get the requested documents (if you get them, my
guess the actual drawings may be considered proprietary
and therefore exempt from disclosure under FOIA).
This is the case with most actual design data produced
by a company. But since there was an accident
involved this may not be the case.”
Just as IFENGUY2000 showed up out of nowhere- no introductions as to who he was etc., he disappeared never to be heard from again. My last contact with him was by email. Mark and I said that we had some questions for him that we would like to ask him privately and he said he would respond if he were able to answer them. He said something about having to go off to his daughter's dance recital. That brought images of Tara and the many recitals we attended over the years. I never had the feeling that he understood the depth of the pain air crashes cause family members.
He never got in touch with us again. I thought it would be good to have all of his messages together in one place as they were somewhat informative.
If you've noticed IFENGUY2000 says that after the burnt cables were discovered by the CTSB during recovery of the aircraft a lot of activity began regarding the IFEN at the FAA. The truth is according to a journalist that spent a lot of time researching the IFEN (not van Beveren in this case) the FAA was looking at the certification to this system just hours after the plane crashed, long before they knew about the burnt cables in fact. He thought that was pretty strange.
IFENGUY2000 (Obviously an employee of the FAA-see explanation below) says the following:
ï¿½Well the FAA does giveth and does taketh away.
You are aware that after the special certification review conducted by the FAA, Santa Barbara Aerospace surrendered thier DAS certifcate to the FAA (I think if they didn't it would have been taken away), they have returned the STC's (there was one for the MD-11 and one
for the 747) to the FAA, and they have filed for
Chapter 11. The FAA doubly ensured the IFEN system would never be installed on another MD-11 by issuing the AD.ï¿½
When he says, ï¿½Well the FAA does giveth and does taketh away " (in reference to SBA's DAS status) he failed to mention (though he HAD to know this) that they first took it away (before the tragedy) then gave it back (?!) and then took it away again following the crash. We need to know WHY. So IFENGUY2000 why wasn't that information mentioned in the 'FAA's Special Certification Review Team Report on Santa Barbara Aerospace and Swissaiir MD-11 IFE System'? Pretty serious omission if you ask me.
From Stoller's USA TODAY article:
A month after SBA began certifying the entertainment systems on Swissair jets, the FAA's Western Pacific region office finally acted on its Van Nuys inspectors' findings and ongoing concerns about SBA. The office suspended SBA's operating certificate, according to FAA documents.
The suspension should have halted SBA's operations, but the company continued to work on the Swissair project. On Dec. 16, 1996, four days after SBA's operating certificate was suspended, an SBA official wrote a letter to Hollingsead's quality-assurance director and authorized him to sign an FAA form stating that part of the project met federal regulations.
The following day, the FAA's regional legal office abruptly reversed itself, saying it had suspended SBA "by mistake" and restored its certificate, according to a Dec. 31 letter. FAA attorney Sam Frazer, who signed the letter, said the case against SBA was dropped because the inspector involved in the case had retired.
Keith Thompson, the now-retired inspector, says the case should not have been dropped because he left the agency. A suspension of an operating certificate and an immediate reversal is suspicious, he says, but he doesn't know why the FAA legal office acted as it did.
These are questions that the families (and the public) should have answers to as it is beyond the scope of the CTSB investigation to address these particular issues. This terrible story is far from over...
Interview with Ronald Wojnar, deputy director,
aircraft certification service, FAA
By David Evans, Air Safety Week
1 September 1999
Concerning: Certification/Installation of the In-Flight Entertainment Network on Swissair MD-11's
Evans: Ron, when a carrier or a manufacturer wants to put a major piece of gear into an airplane, sort of an after-market installation like this, what's the typical procedure they would go through?
Wojnar: The typical procedure is whoever wants to put after-market installations in an airplane have to show overall that the modification complies with the regulatory standards for that type of aircraft. That's a real high-level description of it but the modifications that are made to the aircraft have to comply with the same rules as the original aircraft and they have to demonstrate that. Somebody will come up with a design, somebody will develop a design and then at a point that they determine when they're ready for FAA approval, they'll approach the FAA and apply for approval. And show compliance with the rules by analysis and by testing, by reports, by installations; they'll demonstrate to the FAA that they'll comply with those rules.
Evans: For this IFEN system, I'm told it draws a pretty heavy load. I've heard figures that frankly range around the map but 50 amps was one number. Who would do the electrical load analysis?
Wojnar: The electrical load analysis is done by the designer of the system and it is presented to the FAA and the FAA reviews this.
Evans: Now, when I called Douglas, (the Douglas products Division) I asked them for a system like this that draws a lot of power, would you guys be involved? My inquiry to them was how do you know where you're pushing up on the capability of a certain bus? How much slack do you need in there? The answer I got from them was well, we wouldn't necessarily be involved. You've got to talk to the FAA. Then I talked to Mitch Barker at the FAA and I'm not putting him on the spot, because I know he went and talked to someone and just transmitted it back to me, but he said we wouldn't be involved, the manufacturer would be involved. So I've got all this going on.
Wojnar: I can clarify this. There's no requirement for a prime manufacturer like the Douglas products division to be involved in an STC modification. The only way they would be is if the modifier would seek (through contract or whatever) to have the aircraft manufacturers involved. So they'd be involved on a consulting basis. But the one who does the modification, actually the entity who applies for FAA approval of that modification through an STC, is the one that's responsible for showing compliance with the regulations. And they're the ones who are responsible for doing the electrical load analysis and presenting that to the FAA. And they're responsible to show that, for example, the power that's needed for a particular piece of equipment is available for a certain bus or whatever. They have to demonstrate that.
Evans: The players in this case would be IFT, who built the system, Santa Barbara Aerospace (SBA), and then we have Hollingshead, who actually put the thing in the airplane. So would actually get the STC?
Wojnar: In this case, well, let me back up a minute. You're correct. IFT was a manufacturer of the system components. Like the stereo components in your home or a CD changer. IFT did that. Hollingshead was the installer and the STC applicant. And SBA was the approval organization under their DAS (designated alteration station). So the STC applicant in this case is Hollingshead.
Evans: SBA was the approving authority. So that was....
Wojnar: Let me back up. They're the approving authority and the holder. Hollingshead was the installer, I stand corrected. Let me correct myself. IFT made the components, Hollingshead did the installation and SBA was both the STC applicant and the approving organization under their DAS.
Evans: The approving authority is the DAS?
Evans: So who did the test?
Wojnar: The testing was done...there are component tests, there are installation tests...the testing was done throughout. There were some tests done by IFT on the components, some testing done by Hollingshead, some tests done by SR Techniques, which is the repair station arm of Swissair. There were various tests done by various organizations that were all rolled up into the testing that was involved. There wasn't any one entity who was responsible to make sure that the testing was done. There was really the applicant, SBA, who was responsible as the applicant of the STC.
Evans: What you've just described, Ron, is that everybody has an interest in getting this thing approved. So where is the independent role brought in to do this testing to make sure that it gets a non-biased look?
Wojnar: By independent, do you mean where is compliance to the regulations found? Is that what you mean?
Evans: Well, not really. If you had this system, to give it to an independent testing agency, somebody else who doesn't have an interest in getting this thing approved. All these guys had a strong economic interest in getting the thing provided to the customer pretty quick. I guess the relevant question is, is there a requirement for independent testing and if not, what's the FAA's view for lack of a requirement for independent testing?
Wojnar: I was going to say that there is no requirement under the FAA regulations for independent testing or FAA certification. However, the FAA looks at the overall certification plan whether it's done through a DAS or whether the FAA does the STC directly. The FAA does approve a test plan.
Evans: Just to clarify that, Ron, would this be the DAS representative or would it be a guy with an FAA ID card? Who's looking for the FAA?
Wojnar: Who looks at the test plan? When it's done directly, the FAA does it. When it is done by a DAS, the DAS will approve the test plan.
Evans: So that would be the DAS.
Wojnar: There is a test plan that's generated to show compliance with the regulations. Some of the showing of compliance is done through engineering analyses, engineering reports, and there are always some aspects of an FAA approval on the design that are done by testing, as you know, flight testing in the case of a completed airplane and functional testing in the case of a system like this. So the testing is identified under the FAA certification process at appropriate points. And that varies with the type and complexity of the installation. And that varies from aircraft to aircraft, it varies from modification to modification. But there's a systematic showing of compliance to the FAA regulatory requirements to the design and certain aspects are tested.
Evans: How much of this thing did they test? We have this big system that's sort of woven up through the cockpit, back through the First and Business Class seats; originally they were going to go all the way back to Cattle Class, but they elected not to do that. This thing is woven throughout the airplane.
Wojnar: The entire system was tested. The entire system was tested. All the way from the bus connection all the way back through the in-seat components. So there was a functional test in the approval process for the entire system.
Evans: Let's run over that again, Ron.
Wojnar: From the connections to the electrical bus, all the way back through the in-seat components end-to-end.
Evans: Was that an in-airplane installation? Was that a laboratory or bench, if you will.
Wojnar: Both. Both in the airplane...ultimately in the airplane, that's usually the final type of test. But there were component tests also. And this is a passenger convenience system. This is not a required system in the aircraft. So while it was tested, it was tested mainly for function, to see that it performed the intended function, and there's a safety-of-flight function on this system. And to see that it did not present any hazards to safety of flight systems on the airplane.
Evans: We ran some photos of the system installed in Air Safety Week. Photos of the racks in the overhead and the wiring going through, and some of the wire experts that I've talked to reacted strongly to what they saw were deficiencies in the wiring. I'm getting ahead of myself. These photos indicated a lack of support and the mixing of wire types. One could say, ˜gee, this stuff may wind up arcing on you someday.' What testing was done to explore the robustness of the airplane if this system was experiencing arcing?
Wojnar: This type of system that the testing or the design requirements would be such that the wires are properly fabricated, there are no bare wires, the terminals are properly installed, the wires are properly routed, the wires are properly supported, the bend radii are sufficient, there is no chafing, and so forth and so on. That would be the protection against arcing in this type of system.
Evans: In the testing of this system, did they power it up? Did they test it in a fully-powered mode against arcing to see what would happen and its impact on the other aircraft systems?
Wojnar: I don't know that they tested by...I don't think but I don't know for sure if they tested by actually chafing wires or baring wires. Where I'm going is there would be an analysis right in the basic component design. Maybe some testing to see what the effect of some shorts in some of the boxes would be. When it comes to the wires, that is analyzed and tested on the components. When it comes to the wires, what we preserve is the integrity of the wires. The original installation, the integrity of the wiring. There isn't any requirement, to my knowledge, that the wires actually be knicked or cut and then see what happens. That would be done in the boxes internally but as far as actual testing of chafing, arcing in the wiring, that's not a requirement.
Evans: Pat Cahill (from the FAA Tech Center) talked about this ticking fault thing. And there are various terms for it. They say that you can have this "tick-tick-tick-tick" sound along the way and it never really trips the circuit breaker. And I've seen some bench test demonstrations of arcing where the breakers don't trip even when you get the "flash." So how do they validate that this system when it goes in, if there is an arc, will in fact, trip the breakers so you don't have this thing causing a problem?
Wojnar: The way the FAA regulations approach this kind of system is to design to prevent the source of the arcing. In other words, we protect against the arcing. And in not having any bare wires in the first place, the routing, the clamping, etc. The philosophy of the FAA regulations are to design, to prevent the arcing. And I want to be clear on that. The components, the failures of the components, in other words, the boxes, the TV screens, the power supplies, things like that. That is designed, that is tested for what happens when the boxes short out. To make sure that there aren't any problems there. What I'm talking about there not being any specific criteria for an arcing is only in the wiring. There are tests and analyses done on the components throughout the airplane as far as internal failures. But I want to be real clear when I say there aren't requirements to test for arcing. It's strictly in the wiring. And again, we approach it from a standpoint...we make sure that the wiring harnesses are fabricated, installed in such a manner so they don't degrade in any way to make them arc. And they're separated. In other words, alternating current bundles separated from direct current bundles were necessary to prevent induced voltages and things like that. So that's the philosophy that we take. External to the various components and boxes, that's the philosophy we take. We make sure that the design is such that it guards against arcing.
Evans: They went through a fairly elaborate process to install this in the Swissair 111 aircraft. As I understand it, this same system was installed earlier on an Alitalia MD-11. Was the FAA involved in that certification process given they fly to the States?
Wojnar: It wouldn't be exactly the same system. It would be the same components. The Alitalia installations, I'm not familiar with, I can follow up with you on that.
Evans: I'm just sort of wondering why Swissair would come back and go through the whole STC process at some expense.
Les Dorr (FAA Public Affairs): The way I remember it, it wasn't the same system, it was a different system.
Wojnar: I'll have to check. If it was a different applicant, even if it is an MD-11, a different applicant can have a different method of installing the boxes. Different physical locations, different wiring, things like that. I'll check on that. (Follow-up provided the following: An IFEN was installed on some Alitalia MD-11's under an STC issued to Elsinore in 1995. This was an earlier version of the IFT system, which covered only about 30 passengers. They were eventually removed due to contractual issues)
Dorr: Some differences in aircraft configurations itself...
Wojnar: That can vary from airplane to airplane, even the 16 Swissair airplanes. I'll check on that to see and I'll find out what are similarities and what are differences. I'll only say, without checking into that, there can be certainly different STCs and different methods of installing the same component boxes in the same airplane type by different agencies. I'll follow up on this.
Evans: One of the things I've heard is that when this thing gets powered up, it generates a lot of heat, as you well know on any electrical component. And that Swissair was having some problems maintaining cabin temperature from the heat; when you get all these First and Business Class passengers queuing up on the system after having their welcome aboard drink and all that, does that square with your knowledge that this thing was generating heat causing some cabin air temperature problems and what does that imply in terms of how do you cool this system to keep all of those electrons happy?
Wojnar: I don't know that that was related to any cabin temperature problems.
Evans: I don't have documented evidence of that. But I've heard from reliable sources that they had temperature problems with it and that was one of the concerns Swissair had.
Wojnar: Any electrical components will generate some heat and I don't know of any direct connection between heat from this IFEN system and any problems that Swissair had.
Evans: Okay, I've got a fleet of MD-11s. And is it fair to say they've all were getting the same IFT system and was the installation configuration for all of these airplanes the same or were there differences among all the airplanes?
Wojnar: There were 16 airplanes involved. There may have been some minor variations between the airplanes because in any given airplane design like the MD-11, even the same carrier has different interior configurations, things like that. And so there may have been some minor differences like that.
Evans: Would that mean they'd have to get another STC or would the one have enough slack to accommodate minor variations?
Ron: Normally, there'd be enough flexibility in an STC between the one operator's MD-11 models. Especially if you're only talking 16 airplanes, normally there'd be enough flexibility in the STC to accommodate that.
Evans: Now these 16 are all the MD-11s or does that include the Swissair 747s?
Wojnar: I'm talking about the 16 MD-11s. But I'm talking in generalities and I'd need to know if there are any specific differences. I don't know if there were any differences in the Swissair airplanes, the Swissair MD-11s that were anything of significance that would've caused the STC to be amended.
Evans: The systems are installed. The documents I have indicate they were under a significant time pressure to get the work done. Hollingshead sent teams out, airplanes are down, open them up, put the stuff in. Who would check to make sure when all the engineering and installation drawings are there, who checks to make sure as it is going in and after it's in that this is all according to the system that's tested, approved and in the drawings? Who signs off on the system that's properly installed?
Wojnar: It is the applicant's responsibility first of all, to ensure that all of that is complete. Then it is the approving authority's responsibility (the FAA in this case) and leverage through the DAS.
Evans: So would that be the DAS at Santa Barbara who would physically inspect the installation as the FAA's designated representative?
Wojnar: Well, it may be...they'd physically determine that the substantiation is complete. All of it. All the testing, all the physical installations. They'd be the one that would make sure that everything comes together. The applicant will do that...and it is not unusual to have several aircraft involved in a prototype installation. Whether it is a complete airplane, for instance, Boeing flew several 777s to get the type certificate. In this case, since these aircraft were in revenue service, there were certain aspects installed and tested progressively on certain airplanes as they were available. But then it was all, in the end, integrated into a complete substantiation into a particular design. So SBA was the one responsible.
Evans: Now, Swissair documents indicate that they were relying very heavily on the fact that the FAA had given its stamp of approval to this whole thing and they really weren't questioning how this thing was going in. I think there may have been a little resentment among the Hollingshead and SR Technics guys about who's doing this work. That to me is not as important as when I looked at the photographs of the actual installation, I saw clear evidence and had it confirmed by some of the country's top wiring experts that there were inappropriate bend radii, improperly supported bundles of wire, not supporting the right type of stays that you'd like to see; just lots of bad juju in the installation. And I looked at that as sort of a novice and I said to myself, ˜well, whoever approved this didn't know what he was looking at.' Or, ˜they didn't do it in accordance with an expertly designed installation plan.' Because it is clear to me, and I didn't react as strongly as the wire experts. I had guys who'd been writing standard wiring practices manuals for the US Navy and for the commercial fleet their entire adult life. What I gave them is a sampling of about four photographs of the thing. What was SBA doing to make sure this stuff was going in exactly in accordance with the criteria with you said ˜don't bend the damn stuff and properly support and keep it away from sharp edges.' That clearly didn't happen.
Wojnar: You're correct in that. We've seen instances in those airplanes where they didn't use good industry practices for the installations on the wiring. Was there a direct safety hazard? No. We didn't find any evidence of any instances where those practices bore a direct safety hazard. So SBA didn't insure that good industry practices were used in all cases for installation. And they were the ones that were responsible for ascertaining that the systems comply with the rules and that the data was all complete and the proper inspections were done.
Evans: When did FAA technicians or experts look at the sister ships? Was it after the accident?
Wojnar: The actual FAA employees or representatives looked at the system under the approval process under the DAS. Now we have people that are designated for doing inspections during that process but the actual FAA examination for the sister ships was after the accident.
Evans: When? One month? Two months? Two Days?
Wojnar: We'll follow up on that. (Follow up provided: The first FAA inspections of the sister Swissair MD-11's began in early October 1998)
Evans: Now one of the things some of the pilots started laying on me early on (MD-11 captains) was: okay, I've got a cabin bus and I've got these three other independent electrical systems. And this system was apparently connected to one of these primary systems and not the cabin bus. On what basis was this done?
Wojnar: They evidently wanted to power the system off of a bus that would be adequate for the system.
Evans: So they did not have enough extra amps on the cabin bus so they needed to go elsewhere?
Wojnar: They chose another bus because of the power available.
Evans: Hmmm. Now for troubleshooting, was that compatible with the design philosophy with this airplane?
Wojnar: It wasn't compatible with the design philosophy of this airplane.
Evans: So how did it get approved?
Wojnar: There aren't any specific criteria that dictate where these types of components need to be powered in the aircraft system. So there was an adequate source of power on that bus. There may have been even an adequate source of power off of a cabin bus, I don't know if there was or wasn't. At any rate, the fact that they powered that system off of the bus that they did is not a problem as far as regulatory compliance.
Evans: Did the crew then know that...did they know this? Because on their checklist, when you get in the smoke, fire and all that, item one is hit the cabin bus. Then you can start working through that multiple position switch. But did they know in Swissair or even the guys at Delta flying this bird, that if you hit the cabin bus in that checklist, you're not going to kill the power to this IFEN system? Did they know this at the time?
Wojnar: We don't know exactly what they knew.
Wojnar: But they probably didn't know that wouldn't disable the IFEN system by hitting the cabin bus.
Evans: Did they know from what you can determine post-hoc that the only way the can kill this system was what? Pull the circuit breakers?
Wojnar: Pull the circuit breakers. Again, we don't know what they knew. The flight crew probably wouldn't know that the circuit breakers needed to be pulled. (Follow up provided: We don't know exactly what the crew knew regarding the function of the Cabin Bus switch. Since Swissair had inserted an item in their ˜parking' checklist to pull the circuit breakers to shut down the IFEN system, the crew would have known that this was the only way to shut down the system in a non-emergency scenario).
Evans: Wow. So how would they be able to shut down the system? Would they just have to sort of go by guess and that 3-position troubleshooting smoke/fire of unknown origin switch? They clearly didn't know it was on 1 or 2 or 3. I guess. Okay, we've got installation documentation and all this other stuff. What about in terms of the training manual or the maintenance manual for the airplane, the airplane's operating manual and the minimum equipment list documentation...were all of these things, which are part of the whole package, were those needs satisfied in the process by which this installation was approved?
Wojnar: Yes they were and for this type of installation of passenger convenience system, there's not a requirement for an MEL, there's not a requirement for a pilot's operating manual on this particular type of system. So in other words, they did satisfy the requirements because they were not required. They didn't exist because they were not required.
Evans: Why don't we go back to the wiring. I don't want to get into the controversy over Kapton. What I understand is that the accident airplane's general purpose wiring was Kapton. It is my understanding and correct me if I'm wrong, that the wiring used on the IFEN system (the general purpose wiring) was Tefzel. I have read documentation that suggests (and I think the FAA's own AC of 1991), that it is bad juju to mix wire types because of the toughness and all that. So again, we are coming back to...did the mixing of the wire types...how does that appear in retrospect and does that satisfy the FAA's regulations? I know an AC isn't binding but how about the regulations?
Wojnar: It satisfies the FAA's regulations. The regulations do not specify wire types. And again, any differences in flexibility or any concerns would be addressed in the original approval of the system and how it's routed and everything. There are not any problems there as far as mixing wire types as far as the FAA is concerned. The rules do not specify wire types.
Evans: Yet, Boeing had a problem on its 747-400 where the seats mated with the floor and apparently this is a real problem, not just the 747 but with everybody...when you connect that stuff, they had Tefzel and Kapton going in the same bundle and they had problems and they generated a note to all their operators to get the stuff out and fix it. I think they even went to an optical connector.
Wojnar: It really depends on the specific installation. A lot depends on how it's routed, the bend radii, the voltages they carry, things what we've talked about. All that is a factor here. There's nothing that jumps out as one single factor that there's any problem at all and even when you mix in all that stuff, there may not be any problem at all with different types of wire installation.
Evans: The airplane goes down and the FAA details a special review team to look at the certification process for this installation. Would such a special review team have been assigned and detailed to take a look if the airplane had not crashed?
Wojnar: I don't speculate on that. There could've been other things that would've caused us to look at the STC. But the circumstances were that we heard very early in the investigation that some wiring was suspect. And to this day of course, the cause of the accident has not been determined. But in being responsive, we immediately within hours of the accident took all the clues we had. At that time, there were small pieces with evidence of wiring problems and that's what launched the SCR. We looked at any other systems in the airplane. We started, actually, at Douglas Products Division, by looking at the systems in that cabin area to see what was up there and we looked airplanes in production, we looked at airplanes undergoing heavy maintenance and we also found that this particular airplane (the accident airplane) had this supplemental type certificate installed.
Evans: Is SBA still a DAS?
Evans: When were they cutoff.
Wojnar: They cut themselves off by surrendering their DAS certificate.
Evans: When did they do that?
Dorr: They moved, didn't they? From Santa Barbara to Santa Monica or something like that?
Wojnar: They also moved. Even that would make it go away. I can get the date on that, I don't have that handy.
Evans: I understand they'd like to get re-certified as a DAS? Where does that stand in the process
Wojnar: First of all, when Les (Dorr) says they moved, even if they didn't surrender the DAS, that would've caused a complete re-examination even though it was a physical move. A physical move requires a complete re-examination. That's at ground zero because they did not re-apply for a DAS. So that's really nowhere right now because they haven't come to us and said that they are ready. (Follow up provided: Santa Barbara Aerospace surrendered the DAS on July 1, 1999. The latest status is that SBA has declared bankruptcy and shut the doors)
Evans: Now Hollingshead, as I understand, and I'm rapidly approaching my level of confidence, Ron, with all these acronyms flying around, but they had parts and manufacturing approval (PMA). Now does that cover...does that give them authorization to install the system? I'm looking at...here's SBA, they're the DAS and you guys sign off on the system, you give them the STC but does somebody else have to be authorized like Hollingshead to install the system and does the PMA cover that?
Wojnar: The PMA only covers the component parts. The PMA is the parts manufacturer approval. That's the FAA production approval on the components. Which would include the ˜black boxes,' the power supplies, the computers, seat components, even the wiring harnesses that could cover...so that's not the installation approval. The STC is an overall installation design approval.
Evans: Now as I understand it, in November, a month after this tragedy, the Swiss said that this STC may be out there issued by the US but it no longer applies for airplanes flying in Swiss airspace or words to this effect. They worded it for Swiss territory. Which prompted me to wonder is it still in effect in the US and does that mean that an airplane operated by say "Evans International Airways" could fly from Cairo, Egypt to the United States with that exact same system? Would that approved? Could I do that today?
Wojnar: Well, that STC has been surrendered. SBA surrendered that STC.
Dorr: So the bottom line is that the STC was for installation and MD-11s configured by Swissair...they surrendered that STC so there are no airplanes and no other airplanes could get the same installation.
Wojnar: Now let me go a little further. The STC wasn't necessarily limited to those 16 airplanes. What in fact happened, David, is that we know that that STC was only installed in 16 airplanes. And the STC has been surrendered and the data is no longer available for anyone else to make those installations. So the STC is no longer available for additional installations. So it's not going to be installed in any other airplanes because it has been surrendered.
Evans: Okay. Suppose the Swiss sold one of those MD-11s to a less-than-Swissair-quality operator. And that operator took that up. Could they fly to the States?
Wojnar: No. Well...(long pause)...the systems have been disconnected on those airplanes. Obviously, the FOCO, the Swiss counterpart to the FAA, will not permit that to be reactivated. And one of the things the FAA is doing to once and for all, render those STCs unusable is to issue airworthiness directives. An AD...I don't know exactly when the date will be. Right now, we know where those airplanes are and we're working with the FOCO and if we have any indication that those airplanes are possibly in other service in other countries or whatever or any potential to reactivate those systems, there's no FAA approval basis for that. The STC is no longer valid and we'll issue at least an AD which of course will go out to the world, regardless of who operates those airplanes. It would cover our airworthiness concerns and again, we don't have proof that that caused the accident, but since the STC has been surrendered, we want to notify the world that it's no longer a valid approval. If anyone tries to reconnect the system, they know that there's no FAA approval basis for that.
Evans: I guess one of the things to step back and look at this from the cliff, for the benefit of hindsight, is that there is tremendous economic pressure in the industry, a heavy marketing to attract high yield passengers...you guys are going to faced with other operators coming in to put amenities in the airplane to attract passengers. What sort of perception here with the benefit of having this review team going out and looking at all the interplay of the carrier, the manufacturer, the installer, and all these different companies involved, about the checks and balances and the adequacy of your guys to make sure that...the adequacy of the process is to make sure we don't have another system installed that is incompatible with the design philosophy of the airplane?
Wojnar: We're going to work with the DAS facilities to ensure that the people that approve these modifications do have knowledge in the future about the manufacturers design philosophy when it comes to the system. We're actually going to improve the FAA's policies (DAS) and that will be part of the policy and to make sure that not only are the people qualified to do what they're doing, which the SBA people were, they were found that they were definitely qualified to do what they were doing. This wasn't the best understanding of the original manufacturer's systems design philosophy and we're going to come up with new policies on what was needed in those areas.
Evans: It would seem that alarm bells would go off...this thing is obviously going in a cabin, you would think that it would go in a cabin bus, and if the load wasn't there, then once you're now hooked up to the systems, it would really affect the safety of flight and the potential interaction. Alarm bells would go off and the process would slow all this down given the anxiety to put this into the airplane. But that something would slow this thing down and if it is not going to a cabin bus, where is it going and what are the implications? It seems to me that it really changes...it isn't a difference in degree, it is a difference in kind in how the system was installed in the airplane.
Wojnar: It didn't not comply with any requirement. It wasn't inherently unsafe, although it wasn't understandable to the flight crew. It wasn't clear to them in an emergency situation.
Btw, Wojnar was NOT IFENGUY2000. We just wanted to make sure that this interview is still available to anyone that is interested in following the swissair 111 tragedy.
|Powered by Social Strata|