ValuJet Crash Claims More Victims

August 1996

Valujet Crash Claims More Victims

Reverberations from the May 11 crash of ValuJet Flight 592 in the Florida Everglades have shaken the carrier, the airline industry and, perhaps most of all, the agency that regulates it.

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded ValuJet June 17 because of "serious deficiencies" in its maintenance program. Special inspections conducted before and after the crash showed that ValuJet planes flew repeatedly with bro-ken, defective or improperly installed equipment.

The airline's grounding embarrassed Transportation Secretary Federico Pena and FAA chief David R. Hinson, both of whom had insisted after the crash that ValuJet was safe.

The day after the grounding, the FAA announced that Anthony J. Broderick, associate administrator for regulation and certification, would resign.

Broderick said he was leaving in part because Hinson was considering separating the certification and inspection functions previously joined under Broderick's command. More changes and personnel shuffling appeared likely earlier this summer. Some could result from a 90-day study of agency organization by FAA Deputy Administrator Linda Hall Daschle. But FAA's very foundation could tremble if Congress accedes to Pena's request to alter the agency's mission, set in 1958, of both regulating and promoting the airline industry. Pena seeks a single mission for FAA: air safety.

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