Southwest Flew A Plane With A Minor Maintenance Issue On More Than 1,000 Flights

The FAA has proposed a $US325,000 civil penalty against Southwest for operating a plane with a minor maintenance issue on more than 1,000 flights.

In April 2011, maintenance personnel incorrectly installed a switch that lets flight crews test the windshield heater on an AirTran Boeing 717.

Southwest is merging with AirTran, so it’s the one now facing the penalty.

According to the FAA press release:

Proper installation of the switch would have allowed personnel to isolate the windshield anti-ice system that was causing a warning that the windshield heater was failing. Instead, the center and left windshield warning systems were reversed.

The right windshield warning system continued to operate properly. The aircraft was operated on 1,140 passenger flights before the problem was corrected.

In a statement, Southwest said it is “actively working with the FAA on a resolution,” and the “installation error did not result in a Safety of flight issue,” because the primary notification system remained effective. The modification was made to the aircraft after delivery, as a safety enhancement.

The error was “rectified immediately upon discovery,” Southwest said.

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