2002-05-11 / Letters

Are We Safe On The Ground?

Are We Safe On The Ground?

Dear Editor;

I know after flight 587 Rockaway residents are still apprehensive about planes flying over us.

I would like to share some true fact why we should be. On September 4th, 2001, loaded with passengers, United Flight 9921 was preparing to leave Dulles International Airport for Boston. But for some reason the front passenger door on the Boeing 737 wouldn't close. Called to the tarmac, the mechanic removed the inner door panel and found the answer: the door was falling off. "I saw all these faces looking out the little windows, and I thought, what if this thing opened in flight," he recalls asking.

One of UAL's maintenance subcontractors had forgotten to connect all the bolts when the jet was overhauled the week before. "It was something that slipped through, that shouldn't have," says the vice-president at Triad International Maintenance Corp. TIMCO employees involved were disciplined, and controls were tightened. Both TIMCO and United, says the vice-president of Triad, told the Federal Aviation Administration, charged with regulating airline safety, about the problem – no fines resulted. But the FAA did levy fines in other episodes of maintenance and safety oversight.

After reading this story, and a few others I did not mention, are we really safe on the ground and is the FAA doing enough about the safety factor on airplanes? This is why as Rockaway residents we are striving to force the FAA to comply with it's re-routing of the aircraft over the Rockaways.


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