Maintenance record of downed jet shows problems
May 12, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Service records for the ValuJet DC-9 that crashed in the Florida Everglades Saturday show that the plane experienced at least eight incidents since 1994 which required the aircraft to abort a takeoff or make unscheduled landings.
ValuJet President Lewis Jordan said the list of problems showed nothing "abnormal or shocking."
"If ValuJet had any reason to believe one of our airliners was unsafe, we would have voluntarily grounded it," said Jordan who defended his airline's use of DC-9 planes that are often more than 25 years old.
The safety record of the 27-year-old plane reveals the following problems:
While on a Dallas-to-Atlanta flight, the plane "had to divert to Memphis due to cabin de-pressurization" on May 10, 1995, according to the service records for ValuJet N904.
During an Atlanta-to-Tampa flight on January 3, 1995, the plane returned to Atlanta "due to a number one CSD overheat and the CSD would not disconnect." The CSD is a drive that connects the alternator-generator to the engine.
During an Washington-to-Atlanta flight on January 20, 1995, the plane "experienced a left system hydraulic low pressure light," records said. The flight returned to Dulles International Airport for repairs, and the hydraulic pump for number one engine was replaced, it said.
During a takeoff from Philadelphia on January 4, 1996, a takeoff warning light sounded as the crew advanced the throttles and the plane was moving at about 15 knots. The takeoff was aborted and mechanics determined it was a false warning.
On October 18, 1995, the jet was climbing after takeoff from Philadelphia when a warning sounded indicating a problem with the aft stair doors. The plane returned to Philadelphia where it was checked and found to be normal.
On May 29, 1994, a warning light indicating low oil pressure forced the jet to make an unscheduled landing in Atlanta. On the ground, a loose oil cap was found and the plane was low on oil.
On September 30, 1994, the plane experienced both an aborted takeoff and an unscheduled landing in two separate incidents. A takeoff was aborted that day in Atlanta when the takeoff warning horn sounded, but it was determined to be a false warning. Also that day, a high temperature light indicated a heat system problem forcing the pilot to return to Atlanta.
Two DC-9 pilots, who do not work for ValuJet, reviewed these incidents for CNN and said only the cabin de-pressurization was serious but none would appear related to Saturday's crash.
ValuJet bought the reconditioned plane from McDonnell Douglas, which had repurchased it from Delta Airlines. Its owners last gave it an annual inspection in October, an intermediate inspection in March and a routine inspection four days before it crashed.
Despite the crash and alarm over ValuJet's safety record, the airline has maintained its regular schedule over the weekend.
ValuJet, which is headquartered in Atlanta, has grown rapidly since it was founded three years ago. It now has 3,500 employees. Its 51 planes fly to 31 cities in the United States, with plans for further growth later this year.
CNN Correspondent Brian Cabell contributed to this report.
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- Federal Aviation Administration
- ValuJet Homepage
- Miami International Airport
- United States Coast Guard Home Page
- The US Department of Transportation
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