WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $3.8 million civil penalty against United Airlines for allegedly operating one of its Boeing 737 aircraft on more than 200 flights after the carrier had violated its own maintenance procedures on one of the plane’s engines.
On April 28, 2008, a United 737 returned to Denver after shutting down an engine due to low oil pressure indications. During teardown of the engine a week later, United mechanics found that two shop towels, instead of required protective caps, had been used to cover openings in the oil sump area when maintenance was done in December 2007. As a result of United’s failure to follow its maintenance procedures, between February 10 and April 28, 2008 it flew the aircraft on more than 200 revenue flights when it was not in an airworthy condition.
United’s maintenance procedures specifically require use of protective caps or covers on all components that could be adversely affected by entry of foreign materials.
United has 30 days from the receipt of the civil penalty letter to respond to the FAA.