A Transportation Security Administration inspector grounded a plane the old-fashioned way: by damaging the plane itself. Yikes. Luckily airline mechanics noticed, avoiding a possible crash.
A bumbling inspector with the Transportation Safety Administration apparently has some explaining to do, after nine American Eagle regional jets were grounded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Tuesday.
Citing sources within the aviation industry, ABC News reports an overzealous TSA employee attempted to gain access to the parked aircraft by climbing up the fuselage… reportedly using the Total Air Temperature (TAT) probes mounted to the planes’ noses as handholds.
“The brilliant employees used an instrument located just below the cockpit window that is critical to the operation of the onboard computers,” one pilot wrote on an American Eagle internet forum. “They decided this instrument, the TAT probe, would be adequate to use as a ladder.” Officials with American Eagle confirmed to ANN the problem was discovered by maintenance personnel, who inspected the planes Tuesday morning… and questioned why the TAT probes all gave similar error indications.
One Eagle pilot says had the pilots not been so attentive, the damaged probes could have caused problems inflight. TSA agents “are now doing things to our aircraft that may put our lives, and the lives of our passengers at risk,” the pilot wrote on the forum.
Grounding the planes to replace the TAT probes affected about 40 flights, according to American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances. “We think it’s an unfortunate situation,” she told ABCNews.com.
Yes, unfortunate. Even more so that these morons even have jobs. Not only did this TSA employee destroy one plane’s gear looking to see if “terrorists could get into the cockpit”, but he did it eight more times!
Airline industry folks are understandably outraged:
This was an extraordinarily dangerous incident, folks. The TSA has neither the mandate nor the knowledge to inspect any aircraft for any reason. The stupidity of this matter is nearly unbelievable… until you hear that the TSA is involved… then it becomes understandable, though still tragic. And I can not tell you how frustrating it is, to see them continue to hurt an indsutry that they were created to protect. The TSA has NO BUSINESS putting untrained personnel in a position to damage aircraft. Their bizarre games, in the name of security, do NOTHING to enhance security and do much to inhibit safety. Aviation personnel — pilots, A&P’s, ground personnel — are all either licensed or supervised by licensed personnel and this kind of tampering, had it been accomplished by anyone else, would have subjected that person to criminal charges.