23 Oct, 2000



Ms. Jane Garvey - Administrator
FAA National Headquarters
800 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20159

VIA E-MAIL, FAX AND CERTIFIED DELIVERY

Dear Ms. Garvey:

I have previously written to you seeking your intervention in the corruption involved in my violation history and requesting that you inquire as to the reality of the current FAA safety role in the airline industry. It shouldn't be my place to again remind you that pursuant to Federal law, the FAA mission is to first promote safety, then competitive commerce. I previously illustrated to you why I'm convinced that the broad reality of blatant FAA corruption is worthy of both FAA and criminal investigation. The associated documentation in the accounts you were sent should have left no doubt in your mind or anyone else's.

I illustrated to you that in the background of the first letter, I was intimidated by the FAA Southwest Region into settling on a sham violation in 1997. The violation came at the hands of a deliberate misquotation of FAR 122.543. The allegations were fraudulent in no uncertain terms, qualifying for Federal prosecution under 18 USC 1001.

That matter involved crew fatigue and negligent oversight of maintenance by the FAA.

I solicited your assistance in the clearing my airman's record, attending to the safety matters discussed in that letter and the prosecution of the individuals responsible. The documentation was extremely clear. It is nothing less than irresponsible and indecent that you couldn't as much as reply to the request.

I made it a point to present you with thorough documentation, leaving my opinion to a minimum.

I assume you are also aware that while I presented the same documentation with appropriate complaints to the various investigative bodies, including the Inspector General, no investigation was completed, having been politically killed.

Ms. Garvey, I addressed the issues from both personal experience and outside information as I described my personal experience, the events at Alaska Airlines and ProAir. All of these were and still are worthy of close scrutiny by your office, referencing FAR 13.1, FAR 13.23 and Title 18 of the U.S. Code. You were well advised of my resolve to see appropriate corrective action taken as opposed to tolerating political convenience being effected. That resolve has obviously not changed.

As you are keenly aware of by now, in my personal case with the FAA, I was the captain involved in an emergency over Hong Kong in 1997. While I applied all the tools necessary and brought the flight to a safe conclusion, I was subsequently battered by the FAA. The treatment was typical of a cover-up; the underlying issues are still unclear. The event involved serious mechanical deficiencies, overlooked by the FAA; and chronic crew fatigue. During the incident, the dynamic application of Crew Resource Management effected a safe landing. The incident should have served as an example of what went right, given a bad situation.

Instead, ultimately, I was intimidated by the FAA into a settlement of a sham violation, fearing the kangaroo court which the FAA has become so famous for. The facts of the Hong Kong flight were criminally modified to suit the FAA Southwest Region's purposes, however obscure. Given that I was on the union safety committee with knowledge of such blatant FAA sanctioned violations as the crew rest issue, among others, I'm left to guess it was a 'silencing' move on their part. We may be certain that they will never disclose their motive.

At the time of the violation settlement, the FAA Southwest Region was on notice that I was medically disabled did nothing less than take advantage of the situation with Al Gore hypocritically pleading on the behalf of the disabled in the same time frame.

1. The flight was Continental Air Micronesia Flight CS-985, as opposed to Continental Airlines flight 985, cited by the FAA in the violation proceedings. Continental Air Micronesia is a partially owned corporation, not subject to a "same carrier" treatment. The aircraft and crew were "wet-leased" to Air Micronesia, however, the flight was filed as CS-985, operating under the certificate of Continental Air Micronesia, evidenced by the dispatch records and the international flight plan. The FAA selectively chose to ignore these important facts.

2. By any normal standard, Air Micronesia should have been the reporting entity, as opposed to Continental Airlines, Inc. No reports are known to have come from "Air Mike." That matter is highly worthy of investigation. As a minimum, Air Micronesia should have filed reports as a matter of procedure. In further evidence was the Captain's Irregularity Report, appropriately submitted on an Air Micronesia form.

Please refer to 18 USC 1001 and 2071 - fraud, falsification and concealment.

3. The FAA Southwest Region also altered the date and grossly distorted the facts of the event.

4. An FAA Freedom of Information response letter from the Western Pacific Region claims that they had no reports on the incident. This matter deserves investigation both in terms of why they received no reports, in addition to the matter that once informed of the incident, the Western-Pacific Region should have conducted an investigation of their own accord, as the incident happened in their jurisdiction.

5. The incident was both a crew fatigue incident and a maintenance incident. Given the FAA mandates evolving out of the ValuJet 592 accident, the FAA oversight of contract maintenance (out-sourcing) was clearly negligent as it pertains to direct oversight of the primary carrier and oversight of maintenance out-sourcing in Guam and Hong Kong.

6. Given the FAA complicity in the incident, the FAA Southwest Region should never have been allowed to assert or maintain jurisdiction, as I'd complained to Washington D.C. FAA National Headquarters about the FAA matter, identifying the problem areas.

These areas clearly identified FAA complicity. I had also formally requested a jurisdiction change. The request was refused without valid cause.

It since has come to light that Tom Stuckey from the Southwest Region was on temporary assignment to Washington National Headquarters. Despite the criminal fraud being obviously perpetrated and an obvious conflict of interest, he conveniently received my letter and assigned the 'investigation' to his immediate subordinate in the Southwest Region.

7. As I've previously informed you, during the investigation of my original complaint to Washington D.C., clear and undeniable wrong-doing , qualifying as wire fraud, had been conducted by the FAA inspector which was criminally concealed by the Southwest Region. This needs to be examined in reference to criminal code, 18 USC 1341, 1343, 1346, 1001 and 2071 as a minimum.

8. During my informal conference with the FAA, one inspector cited his "rumor" that I only had approximately 75 total hours flying time in the DC-10, questioning my claim of having flown 105 hours flown in the previous 30 days. He in fact was testifying to the fact that his 'rumor' should have led him directly to an investigation of Continental, as the flight time "rumored" would have made me illegal to fly into Hong Kong. Hence, he was admitting that he selectively evaded an investigation of Continental and was giving preferential treatment to the company - in the presence of FAA attorney Tim Duff.

9. Given the equipment failures cited in the violation proceedings, a search should have been made for sufficient factual information to lead the FAA to a set of missing Service Difficult Reports, required by FAR 121.703, hence a felony for non-reporting.

I'm sure that you are also aware of the industry's elective filing of SDRs as opposed to the standard required by FAR 121.703 / 705.

I also previously informed you that the FAA was aware that FAA violations had actually occurred in the periphery of the incident, independent of any action on my part. Thus, the violation matter should be examined in regard to 18 USC 1512. The FAA, as a consequence, also failed to enforce; or attempt to enforce FAR 13.1 and FAR 13.23(b).

In the violation against me, the FAA Southwest Region utilized a portion of a sentence as though it was an independent regulation; a clear violation of 18 USC 1001 and 2071.

It is moot that a portion of a sentence does not constitute a regulation. I repeatedly reminded the FAA of that fact. Despite my requests for their standard for constructing the legal pleadings in violation matters, they replied that they didn't know of any. As a minimum, common sense and the fraud statutes should have been enough to compel honesty and integrity. The FAA General Counsel in Washington failed to respond to my FOIA request on the subject - received by certified mail.

While at the time I was unable to cite the specific laws, I challenged my attorney to hold the FAA accountable. He in turn solicited a response from the FAA which clearly identifies their knowledge of the obvious matters.

The FAA's written response further concealed material facts and extended the fraudulent actions. This history is an undeniable violation of 18 USC 1001 and 2071. As a consequence of my attorney failing to hold the FAA accountable, there was no doubt in my mind that I was being betrayed by the union itself and two union attorneys. Hence, it was obvious that I could expect no support in any matters before the FAA or the NTSB. As a consequence of the obvious pattern of betrayal, I elected to accept the FAA's settlement offer, being under duress, as clearly indicated in my acceptance letter.

I assume the FBI will be soon advising you of another set of felonies in that regard.

Again, I remind you, the FAA Southwest Region withheld information from me, which was requested first under the Privacy Act, later under the FOIA law. I trust that you are aware of the 1993 White House and Justice Department memos mandating the release of information under the FOIA law, itself.

While I have previously appealed to both President Clinton and Vice President Gore for intervention in my own matters, there has been no response. I am astounded that Vice President Gore, in particular, can be indifferent to aviation safety, particularly in light of the well documented evidence which was presented to his office.

From my previous correspondence, you also know that I talked to two NTSB investigators and an NTSB Administrative Law Judge about the Hong Kong affair and the FAA violation response. It staggers my imagination that they didn't intervene or report the obvious violations / felonies to the appropriate agencies themselves. I am, however, grateful for the material they mailed me on the crew fatigue issue.

It sickens me to think that the FAA's failure to seize on my Hong Kong incident as a major safety indicator led directly to the eleven dead in Little Rock and eighty-eight more dead in Alaska 261.

As you know, the industry reality became worse since my first letter to you.

As I previously reminded you, the FAA is on record as refusing to promote the scientifically and empirically proven safety tool of Crew Resource Management (CRM) at the local POI / cockpit level, contrary to the pleadings of the NTSB in the "NTSB Recommendations to FAA and FAA Responses Report Number A-97-6."

The FAA final position was that they had published an Advisory Circular and that was all they intended to do. It is no secret that extremely few pilots ever see these Advisory Circulars. This refusal is contrary to the safety mandate of federal law; the FAA rationalization of the matter directly endangers the public. The recent fatalities glaringly attest to that fact; such is not a function of personal opinion or any form of bias.

I'm sure you are also aware of the Government Accounting office report on the same topic.

It takes only one directive letter to effect such safety changes at no cost. The spineless plea, "...but our intentions are good and we're trying.." doesn't meet the test of the responsibilities of the American Government or your office, in particular.

In my previous letter to you, I illustrated that locally, Alaska Airlines had three events within 60 days, starting with 88 fatalities on AK-261. All three of these events had the common trait of Crew Resource Management (CRM) failings. These events epitomized the very fears and predictions of the NTSB as to imminent disaster. In the background of the Alaska Airlines events were numerous other events involving CRM failings which foretold the impending disaster of AK-261. The FAA cannot claim surprise, given both the NTSB warnings and the GAO report.

Depositions of the FAA in the AK-506 matter indicate that no change was made to the CRM standard as a consequence of the obvious message in the AK-506 incident.

I reminded you that one such similar event was the crash of American Airlines flight 1420 - eleven dead. The FAA was previously well aware of the crew rest and CRM threats to safety; yet did nothing. Even today, the FAA is not known to have initiated any significant action to correct the CRM situation. The attached documentation in my previous letter clearly demonstrated that point.

Prior to that crash was another crash of a B-737 in Guadalajara, Mexico on 16 September 1998. That crash was a nearly perfect precursor to AA-1420, less the fatalities. It is also interesting that the NTSB didn't investigate that crash, even though it was an American airline. I don't find it anything less than politically convenient that without being advised where to look, the typical person is oblivious to that accident and the Southwest FAA Region failings (CRM) which it also represents evidenced by what little information is available on the accident.

The 1996 DC-9 belly-in accident in Houston was also cited by the NTSB as a crew fatigue and CRM crash. In the background were the crew rest violation protestations of the union to the FAA. All on the show of the Southwest Region - again.

I'm sure you'll also recall the CRM failings in the Southwest Airlines Burbank accident. Hello, anybody home??

I reminded you that approximately three weeks after the AK-261 accident (which demonstrated gross CRM failure), a disturbed passenger was boarded on Alaska flight 259, the identical flight as AK-261 from Mexico to San Francisco. Early in the flight, the passenger became known as a safety / security risk. In an identical fashion as AK-261, that crew also violated elementary CRM principles when they also overflew airports at which they could have landed and deplaned the passenger. The passenger ultimately broke into the cockpit, nearly causing the aircraft to crash. There is no known action by the FAA to either hold Alaska Airlines or any employees accountable for the incident.

Further, the cockpit door design was demonstrated as a security hazard, becoming a magnet to terrorists as a consequence of the publicity.

Since my last letter to you is the issue of the passenger being killed on a Southwest flight into Salt Lake City. Again, the cockpit door design served as a safety risk. Sufficient portions of the police report have been published on the internet to indicate that the FAA is so greviously neglectful of the sky-rage issue that a murder took place on the aircraft, even though the pronouncement of death took place after the body was removed. Sky rage is nothing new. However, as with the generic airport / aircraft / FAA Facility security issues being so well publicized, complete with Congressional hearings, there is no excuse for such.

I call your attention to the recent revelation of the AK-259 issue being a probable case of encephalitis, not criminal intent. The Salt Lake City incident remains to be determined as to cause, but the effect being murder is without excuse. It staggers my imagination that the government intends to continue prosecuting the AK-259 case with that history while walking away from the murder on the Southwest flight. The power infatuation just doesn't make sense in a country which regularly uses 'human rights' as an excuse to employ its full military assets in the fashion of a full blown war.

The events on Alaska 506 were AGAIN clearly the result of CRM failings, consistent with the NTSB pleadings for dynamic implementation of CRM by the FAA, not to mention the accuracy of the NTSB predictions. This was the third such event in a series; cause-and-effect cannot be denied. The company and the FAA are complicit.

No doubt you are aware that the pilots lost in the NTSB hearing. As the defense attorney pointed out, the pilots were led to believe that their obligation was to conform to FAA directives and 'accepted' procedures, only to be betrayed by the violation process when the incident occurred.

Judge Geraghty is famous for his rulings against pilots. While I do not disagree with the standard he cites, the FAA's facilitation of a lesser safety standard through the evasion of the lawful mission assigned to the agency is deplorable. Repeatedly, pilots are unnecessarily led to violations in utter ignorance of the legal standard required. Further, the FAA 's tolerance of its common and deserved reputation as being that of "Gestapo," is repugnant to excess.

From my experience, I offer no argument to the contrary of that reputation. It is my regret that I have to illustrate that image as reasonably accurate. My own medical disability received no help from the FAA office, in the fashion of Himmler, less the bullets.

The AK-506 case is a prime example. In ignorance of the political reality, the pilots 'self-disclosed' the incident, believing that a lesson would be learned and that no violation would follow, under the ASAP program. They did not realize that the self-disclosure was, effectively, disguised entrapment. When it's an obvious mistake to trust the FAA, something is sick, not just wrong!

For lack of clear guidance, the AK-506 pilots believed they had done the right thing in relying on the FAA approved checklist. In 20/20 hindsight, they now realize their mistake. In contrast, the AK-261 accident clearly shows that the pilots went well beyond the checklist when they should have landed at the closest airport. That cost 88 lives.

With the company and FAA providing no significant information or guidance for such instances, what are the pilots reasonably supposed to conclude? There is no reliable standard, as the FAA is so busy attending to the corporate profits that passenger lives are constantly being compromised with your personal full knowledge! The long term airport / aircraft / FAA facility security issue being another clear example, epitomized by the July 2000 GAO report and subsequent security related events.

To answer the obvious issue stated above, all it takes is the publication of a 'rule-of- thumb,' that whenever a checklist doesn't resolve a safety threat, land at the nearest suitable airport.

Pilots live with such rules-of-thumb. For example, "If it's not listed in the Minimum Equipment List, it's mandatory." The solution is just that simple.

The associated AK-506 statements, depositions and hearing also disclosed that the pressurization controller on the AK-506 aircraft failed to give the warning-to-activation 4,000 foot warning 'cushion'. Thus it is obvious that a design problem might exist with the pressurization controller as well.

Despite the mandated report of FAR 121.703, no Service Difficulty Report (SDR) can be found. Unless I'm mistaken, it's still a felony under Title 18 to fail to file a required report.

Where is the FAA concern for safety? What is any reasonable person to conclude? Returning to the pilot crew rest issue, the recent Los Angeles Times account and the "60 Minutes" account demonstrate the FAA's selective enforcement methodology to the extreme of being blatantly criminal.

It defies anyone's imagination that your own spokesperson would tell "60 Minutes" that serious consideration was being given to enforcing a safety regulation which had a well documented history of killing people. The FAA enforces or it doesn't. The first mission of the FAA is safety, not to exercise the power to build empires or destroy lives and companies.

I would like to hear your personal explanation why the selective enforcement of safety regulations in known histories such as this should not be considered tantamount to murder, per the Federal definitions.

The FAA has known about the seriousness of the fatigue issue for too many years! The regulation has been there, pilots and unions have protested, legal interpretations have been issued, people have died as a consequence of FAA politics overt he sanctity of public safety; what does it take? How many more have to die???

Arrow Air - Gander 256 dead

KAL - Guam - 220 dead

AA-1420 - Little Rock - 11 dead

Need I go on? Ms. Garvey, these are hard facts with a well documented history; they are not convoluted logic nor rationalization!

I suspect that you are aware that the crew rest issue is far more involved than I describe. If not, I suggest dynamic inquiry, you may otherwise get quite an unpleasant surprise from the hands of your staff.

Add to the above facts that the BBC recently did a similar documentary on crew fatigue. These issues cannot be considered as mistakes and inadvertent oversights.

No doubt you are also aware of the NASA studies by Dr. Rosekind, including the DC-8 crash in Cuba. This is all a function of history and scientific proof, not speculation or opinion.

All the clever verbiage in the world doesn't alter the reality of people dying with the FAA refusing to get involved. Worse, more deaths are assured at the hands of the FAA's elective neglect.

Following the Alaska flight 506 incident, the copilot openly testified that he couldn't answer as to the captain's actual conversation with the flight attendant over the interphone. He and the captain stated that they relied on the input of the flight attendants, per the interphone conversation. Both pilots cite the fact that the company puts the pilots through 'social' exercises in the fashion of diversity / CRM training. The intent is to teach reliance on the other crewmember to do their job as a professional, as opposed to resorting to the traditional distrust of the Chauvinist / redneck mentality.

In contrast, at the NTSB hearing, the flight attendants described at best only 'passing comments/ questions' as opposed to citing their knowledge of a crisis to the pilots. All three flight attendants claimed that they went to the cockpit without describing the passenger cabin reality. Assuming their testimony was factual, can you see the CRM failure in that situation?

While the copilot appropriately asked the captain if he wanted to return to Portland, the captain made the decision to continue; hence, the copilot was compelled by the captain's decision, as he had no information other than what the captain gave him. In enforcement matters, this additionally imposed the NTSB 'reliance' precedent. Except for sudden emergencies such as an impending midair collision, the copilot is required to defer to the captain's judgement, per FAR 91.11.

I reminded you that the incident was hushed-up for two months, until the media exposed the event. While the FAA jurisdiction - per the 8400.10 manual - was that of the Western-Pacific region, based on the first point of landing, the Seattle FSDO asserted jurisdiction, even though that office was complicit in the event. The enormity of that complicity is found in the fact that the FBI was already investigating the Seattle FSDO, independently of the Oakland maintenance matters.

Simultaneous with the media exposure, two months later, the FAA initiated action and the company started termination proceedings. Only one conclusion is possible to a reasonable person.

In pursuing enforcement uniquely against the pilots, the Seattle FAA office has not only failed to effectively address the CRM failings, but also facilitated the financial position of the company in an extremely biased manner, through their evasion of the obvious causal foundation of the incident. That foundation being composed of insufficient regulation knowledge, minimal CRM training and an unacceptable corportate culture, repeatedly described by employees in the media as being an atmosphere of intimidation, wherein minimum or sub-standard safety standards are rationalized to the benefit of corporate profits.

Three-and-a-half months after the fact, the Seattle FSDO issued the Emergency Revocation order on the AK-506 pilots' certificates.

In the Emergency Revocation order, the language was both false and misleading, contrary to NTSB procedures and criminal law. Under DOT procedures, the act of affixing a signature to a document certifies the accuracy of its contents and that the information is neither false nor misleading. Further, the language in the revocation orders conceals known mitigating facts.

In order to use the Emergency Revocation procedure, the FAA has to establish that an open threat to the public exists, per the Compliance and Enforcement Program manual, FAA Order 2150.3a.

The pilots had been grounded for 3 1/2 months. After 3 1/2 months, where was the threat / emergency? There was none. Given the FAR requirement for a background check, the pilots are unable to find another flying job.

Further, the Administrative Procedures act 5 USC 558 (c) cites that safety requirements must compel the emergency authority - safety didn't compel that action, pursuant to 5 USC 558 (c) the action was consequently unlawful.

The exuberance of FAA attorneys and the apathy of the courts doesn't diminish the fact that the rights of a pilot have been reduced below the Consitiutional dignity of a bus driver.

Under DOT rules, the signature on the revocation order was a legal certification statement having the effect of sworn testimony. How could anyone sign such a document, when the facts were so obviously wrong? Further, Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1001 prohibits the presentation of known false or misleading information. Normally the Emergency Revocation is used when the airline intends to support a pilot and continue using him/her, pending the violation outcome. This can often take years. In these pilots' case, they'd been grounded and terminated by the company. There was no valid basis for the Emergency Revocation, whatsoever. Again, another airline couldn't hire them if they wanted to, because of the background check requirement of the regulations. There was no emergency.

As a minimum, the Ethics In Government regulations and the basic rules of the DOT and the policies of the FAA itself dictate a far greater magnitude of ethics. The First Officer of Alaska 506 filed an independent violation complaint in the 506 matter with the FAA Western-Pacific region, pleading that jurisdiction not be transferred - again, it was - to the Northwest-Mountain Region which sponsored the conditions.

The Seattle Times shocked the local community when they documented that the FAA prejudicially facilitated the re-writing of the Alaska Airlines manuals - PRIOR to making the public announcement that the manuals were to be scrutinized. The local FAA had set the stage for success, PRIOR to the announcement of the alleged 'imminent' scrutiny. The illusion escaped no one.

In stark contrast to their biased actions in favor of Alaska Airlines (repeatedly documented by the Seattle Times and the Seattle P-I), the same FAA office harassed ProAir, Inc. with repeated inspections and obvious distortion of facts and false allegations against former FAA inspector, Mary Rose Diefenderfer, the Director of Safety and Regulatory Compliance for ProAir. This action is in clear violation of the FAA's second mandate to promote competition in the industry.

Preferential treatment of individuals and corporations is also prohibited by Federal standards.

Again, with no responsible investigation and without responsibly ascertaining any valid safety threat, the ProAir certificate was revoked.

No doubt the names, LorAir and Sun Pacific additionally come to your mind.

Ms. Garvey, I am again appealing to you as a government official and as a human being; please intervene in these matters. I remind you that your office steadfastly refused to hear the long-standing pilot crew rest issue until eleven more died people in Little Rock. Crew Resource Management also failed to be employed in that crash. The victims are yet to be informed as to why they were injured. The families of the deceased are equally ignorant of the horror that their loved ones didn't have to die.

I again appeal to you to take all appropriate action. It is a foregone conclusion that another disaster is waiting; it doesn't have to happen. This is your show.

Again, I am soliciting your assistance in clearing my airman's record, attending to the safety matters discussed herein and prosecuting the individuals responsible for their actions.

The FAA actions in my case have been previously reported by myself to the FBI. Given your apparent disinterest, to date, I will follow up on the progress of that FBI investigation, adding the new information previously mentioned in this letter.

Again, copies of this letter and associated documentation have been or will be distributed to the appropriate agencies, organizations, individuals and institutions, including the media, to include the internet.



Yours truly,


Ralph W. Omholt
Captain

| HOME |