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Airline insecurity tale of the morning

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 18, 2009 09:01 AM

Well, this should make you feel nice and comfortable when you fly:

News 8 has recently revealed serious flaws in the way the FAA licenses mechanics who fix planes.

There is evidence of years of problems in testing these mechanics. There is also evidence that hundreds of mechanics with questionable licenses are working on aircraft in Texas.

Now there is evidence of repair facilities hiring low-wage mechanics who can’t read…

… There are more than 236 FAA-certified aircraft repair stations in Texas, according to the FAA’s Web site. News 8 has learned that hundreds of the mechanics working in those shops do not speak English and are unable to read repair manuals for today’s sophisticated aircraft.

Former FAA inspector Bill McNease told News 8 he regularly encountered applicants for pilots’ licenses who tried to pretend they could speak English — but could not.

“When I was based in Dallas, I had that happen every week,” McNease said. “It was not uncommon at all to have foreign flight students. We had mechanics, but I handled the pilot end of it…. and I turned down people every week because they couldn’t speak English.”

“There are people [where I work] who do not know how to read a maintenance manual as they are spelled out, because they don’t have a clue,” said one certified aircraft mechanic who works at a Texas aircraft repair station. He wished to remain anonymous to protect his employment.

To certify a part for flight or repair an engine, a mechanic must be licensed by the FAA as an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, known in the business as an “A&P.”

News 8 discovered that mechanics at one licensing center in San Antonio were being tested in Spanish as late as last fall. The FAA ultimately shut the facility down.

Celebrate diversity!

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