Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

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Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby GAHorn » Fri Nov 04, 2022 6:36 pm

In the other thread about dataplates and working with British Aerospace it was discussed making major repairs to a British “aeroplane”…. adversely to (ignoring) the mfr’s engineering approvals. This reminded me of another incident that involved “trust” between operators, authorities, and mfr’s.

The aeroplane was a DH-125-1A N450JD (I believe the serial (25120..) ..but have the N-number in my own logbooks in several places it turns-out.)

The mfr’s rep was, again, BAe field-rep and a man who became my personal friend Maurice Helmore.

I was sitting in the cockpit of the airplane in Dee Howard’s hangar at KSAT looking-over the records. It had undergone heavy maintenance/pre-buy inspection performed by Dee Howard and was being purchased by a Mexican national who had employed a furloughed AeroMexico pilot to fly it for him. They had been steered to me as a “training captain” for the AeroMexico pilot, Alejandro (Alex).

Alex was a qualified MD-80 pilot but had no Hawker experience and I was a designated DH/HS-125 PPE… anyway…. I was running thru the cockpit pre-flight checklist to bring the airplane out of heavy mx while Alex observed. As I went thru the logs I saw that Dee Howard had made some repairs to the lower wing skins near the wing root by adding doublers or “scab patches” to the lower skins after treating that wet-wing for internal corrosion due to fuel microbes.

Now, BAe (who acquired de-Havilland/Hawker-Siddeley the aeroplane mfr’r) has a factory repair scheme which can allow that sort of repair… the lower skins support a great deal of the aircrafts’ all-up weight and must be maintained to provide that strength…. which can be compromised by internal corrosion-pits caused by the microbes…. but BAe is very specific about how much, what shape, where rivets are utilized, how the corrosion is removed, how it is X-ray’d… etc etc…. and Reading thru the logbook entry made by the Dee Howard people… I did not see any reference to BAe engineering drawings or approvals, etc. and questioned the Dee Howard Inspector about it. (They had apparently simply decided on their own authority as to how to make this sort of repair based upon other Hawkers they’d observed.)
When they conferenced amongst themselves and got back to me they asked what I wanted to see and I replied that before I would fly the airplane I wanted to see logbook entries that indicated BAe engineering or field-rep agreement as to the repair method. I suggested they contact Maurice Helmore in Houston to pursue that approval.
The next day, their logbook entry included words to the effect that BAe Rep. Maurice Helmore had been consulted and that the repair met with BAe-approval for return to service.
After a test-flight, I took the airplane to Acapulco and spent a month training Alex in the airplane and he subsequently rec’d a Mexican Pilot License with HS-125 type rating.

OK…. three YEARS LATER … I was actually flying for BAe as a demonstration and production test pilot on HS-125 aircraft and had an overnight in Houston. Maurice and I had dinner and cocktails together and he happened to bring up an interesting problem of fraudulent logbook entries he’d been tasked with investigating on an older 125 which made claims he had participated in a repair scheme of-which he knew NOTHING ABOUT….. and was trying to figure out WHO had made the fraudulent entries.
I agreed with him it was shocking that some A&P somewhere would deliberately create pure FICTION and actually use Maurice’s NAME in an effort to hide improper and/or illegal repairs. Maurice said the airplane was sitting in the hangar across the street at Atlantic Aviation and we strolled over to take a look.

Imagine MY SHOCK to see it was a Mexican-owned DH-125… and registered as N450JD. 8O

Maurice said he was trying to find out WHO and WHERE that A&P was that had made the entry for Dee Howard and which stated that Maurice had approved the repairs to the lower wing skins!

I suddenly found that I WAS the person who could put the whole story together.

“Ahh…”, said Maurice,…”… the plot Thickens!…”

Well,I explained… “when I first saw the airplane with that wing-repair and asked them who had authorized it…. the Dee Howard people admitted they’d done it on their own…. and I told them that I would not fly the airplane unless BAe or someone in authority at BAe could authorize that repair “as performed” and recommended they call you, …Maurice for guidance. “

He said that his diary shows he rec’d a call from Dee Howard and that he had explained to the caller that BAe engineering would have to approve the repair scheme before “the Queen would bless it”. He never heard from them again. And now, here this airplane is sitting in a hangar across the street from his office and Atlantic Aviation had contacted him requesting the approved engineering drawings for that repair so they could perform the mandatory 3-year wing-skin X-rays which is part of the factory mx program.

We were both astonished that an outfit as well-reputed as Dee Howard would create a false record and came to the conclusion that it was unlikely that Dee Howard Aircraft had knowingly done-so…. that a few mechanics/inspectors in Dee Howards’ employ simply realized they’d screwed up by not seeking BAe engineering beforehand…and decided to “cover up” their mistake…after-all…the airplane was headed for Mexico and they thought it unlikely ever to be seen again.

Moral of the Story: Don’t make major structural repairs or modifications unless you have mfr’rs approval or the aviation-authorities’ approval BEFORE making the repairs. And DON’T EVER make fraudulent mx record entries….they WILL come back to bite you. (I was informed the Mexican owner got a large settlement from Dee Howard when the airplane was scrapped in Mexico.)

N450JD was once-owned by a wealthy Richard NIxon supporter and as “aviation is a small world”…. happened to also be the very same airplane I rec’d my Hawker type rating in from Flight Safety in Wilmington in 1980. It had been leased to FS at the time and it was a surprise to me in 1989 to see it again in SAT, then fly it in Acapulco for a month…then 3 years later see it again in Houston, still operating under an “N” number by a Mexican. (It’s another chapter in my book when I reveal the training schedules in Mexico and subsequent. That guy still owes me almost $12K.)

N450JD today is a Piper PA-28 in Florida….and demonstrates why SERIAL NUMBERS are important.
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
50th Anniversary of Flight Model. Winner-Best Original 170B, 100th Anniversary of Flight Convention.
An originality nut (mostly) for the right reasons. ;)
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby voorheesh » Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:23 am

Interesting story George. I guess trust but verify. I knew quite a few BAE reps back in the 80s and the name Maurice rings a bell. He may have visited us while we had the BAE 146s. I bet GhostFlyer would have loved those birds.
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby GAHorn » Sat Nov 05, 2022 5:13 pm

YEP.. I remember the FIRST time I heard the phrase “Aviation is a small world”… was during an early-career job-interview for my first corporate job. Many many times since that has proven to be true.
It was while conducting ground-school (in 2013-2015 ?)for the Citation-X as a CAE-Simuflite I.P. that I had a classroom of Flight Options and XO-Jet pilots …and as we traded war-stories during a coffee break, I believe it was one of the FO pilots that told a story of their “FAA/POI” that gave them hell over some operation they were doing…. this POI guy was named “Voorhees” …and he…….blah blah blah….

Me —— 8)

(I pretended to sympathize with them.) :lol:
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
50th Anniversary of Flight Model. Winner-Best Original 170B, 100th Anniversary of Flight Convention.
An originality nut (mostly) for the right reasons. ;)
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby ghostflyer » Sat Nov 05, 2022 11:28 pm

Thank you Voorheesh for upsetting my breakfast . You mentioned BAE 146,s . It’s some thing that i ran from and REFUSED to have any thing to do do with them . They had velcroed engines on them and the issue of hydraulic leaking over the avionics was a issue that gulped up man power and flight delays . I specialised in Boeing aircraft but loved Mc Donald aircraft due to their design especially their electrical systems . MD aircraft was designed by engineers for engineers and unlike Boeing that were designed by supermarket night packers. But Boeing aircraft paid me the big bucks.
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby voorheesh » Sun Nov 06, 2022 5:32 am

Never was POI for Flight Options and don’t recall giving anyone hell while I was with FAA. In fact, my recollections are of pilots and operators giving me hell. For a short time I was a POI for an operator in Bakersfield that had a HS125. I remember they did their simulator training somewhere in Texas. I had to remind them of their need to calculate performance for their Part 135 flights and they weren’t happy about that. Sorry about your breakfast Ghostflyer :D
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby GAHorn » Sun Nov 06, 2022 12:10 pm

voorheesh wrote:Never was POI for Flight Options and don’t recall giving anyone hell while I was with FAA. In fact, my recollections are of pilots and operators giving me hell. For a short time I was a POI for an operator in Bakersfield that had a HS125. I remember they did their simulator training somewhere in Texas. I had to remind them of their need to calculate performance for their Part 135 flights and they weren’t happy about that. Sorry about your breakfast Ghostflyer :D


The reason I used the term “FAA-POI” was to infer some position of authority w/FAA. I don’t recall the exact assigned position reflected in their story…. it was just another one typical of conflict with higher-authority….and I was amused when a couple pilots from some far-off operation I’d likely never have seen knew a name with which I had some familiarity via a completely different avenue .. It put a smile on my heart.

I might add that they thought they held the superior opinion in their story (the actual details of which are unremarkable and not memorable)… and as their sim-instructor following ground-school…they got the humbling experience they needed. :twisted:

The point was that “Aviation is a small world.”
'53 B-model N146YS SN:25713
50th Anniversary of Flight Model. Winner-Best Original 170B, 100th Anniversary of Flight Convention.
An originality nut (mostly) for the right reasons. ;)
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Re: Aircraft Mfr’rs responsibilities and such

Postby voorheesh » Sun Nov 06, 2022 5:33 pm

No worries George. Ancient history. Some are sensitive to our reputations, that’s all. :oops:
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