Operations
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Operations Captain Roger Cox Identity of the Operator Revenue passengers on board No one claimed to be operator Multiple entities involved in initiation, authorization, and operation Entities Involved Southwest Orthopedic - airplane owner Owner’s pilot / airplane manager

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Operations

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Operations l.jpg

Operations

Captain Roger Cox


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Identity of the Operator

  • Revenue passengers on board

  • No one claimed to be operator

  • Multiple entities involved in initiation, authorization, and operation


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Entities Involved

  • Southwest Orthopedic - airplane owner

  • Owner’s pilot / airplane manager

  • Interstate Helicopters - Part 135 helicopter operator

  • Accident pilot

  • Second pilot

  • Passengers - United Engines


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Relationship of Entities

Southwest Orthopedic

(Airplane owner)

Second Pilot

Pilot

Accident Flight

Airplane Owner’s Pilot

Interstate Helicopters

United Engines

(Customer)


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The Pilot

  • Accident flight conducted outside his regular employment

  • Chief pilot at another company

  • Qualified to fly Cessna 500 as single pilot under Part 91


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The Second Pilot

  • Accident flight outside his regular employment

  • Normally flew piston twin, ran flight school

  • No record that he was trained on or current in Cessna 500


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Pilots’ Qualifications

  • Neither pilot employed by Part 135 operator

  • Neither pilot trained under Part 135

  • Neither would have been able to fly a clearly identified commercial flight

  • Crew awareness of commercial nature of flight unknown


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Southwest Orthopedic (Owner)

  • Received hourly rate when airplane used by others

  • Believed airplane was “dry leased”

  • Could not explain “dry lease” or “operator”

  • Had no written or verbal lease agreements


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14 CFR 91.23: Truth in Leasing

  • Apply to airplanes more than 12,500 pounds

  • Expanded use of airplanes weighing less for charter operations

  • May operate without FAA knowledge of lease agreements


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United Engines (Passengers)

  • Believed accident flight was commercial charter

  • Stated that they did not lease

  • Had used Interstate Helicopters for airplane flights multiple times

  • Stated that Interstate Helicopters’ prices were cheaper than other airplane charter operators


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Interstate Helicopters

  • Part 135 helicopter operator

  • No airplanes on certificate

  • “Put the [accident] flight together”


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Interstate Helicopters

  • Invoiced United Engines for airplanes as “lease” and “sales demo” flights

  • Paid airplane’s owner for use of airplane

  • Invoicing disguised flights, circumvented operating certificate


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Recommendation Areas

  • Responsibilities of each of four main entities involved in accident flight

  • FAA oversight


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FAA Oversight

  • OKC FSDO reported staffing issues, inspector turnover

  • FAA ramp checks were rare

  • OKC FSDO investigated complaints about Interstate, found no basis


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FAA Oversight

  • Special Emphasis Inspection

    • Purpose: Detect improper operations

    • No major issues found at Interstate


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FAA Enforcement Action

  • Interstate Helicopters’ Part 135 certificate revoked September 2008

  • Interstate Helicopters reached settlement with FAA, gained new Part 135 certificate in January 2009


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