FORT WORTH — The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing a $450,000 civil penalty against Dassault Falcon Jet Corp. and its completion center in Little Rock, Ark., for improperly plating certain parts and installing them on airplanes. Installation of improperly plated parts made the aircraft not compliant with Federal Aviation Regulations.
The FAA alleges that after receiving a warning notice on this issue in January 2008, Dassault Falcon approved 18 airplanes for return to service between March 2008 and April 2009. Those aircraft were outfitted with hundreds of parts electroplated by the company or its contractors, but the companies did not have the required FAA rating to perform such work. The electroplated parts included both decorative pieces and structural parts.
Electroplating uses electric current to deposit a thin coating of precious metal on the base metal of a particular part. Because of the precision and quality required, repair stations or their contractors must have a specialized service rating to perform the work. If the process is not completed properly, the base metal might be weakened by “hydrogen embrittlement,” a condition that might lead to catastrophic failure of a part at stresses well below the metal’s normal strength.
“All those performing maintenance on an aircraft must have the appropriate skills and credentials,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.
Dassault Falcon has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.