Back to Squawk list
  • 57

Mechanic says he was fired for refusing to sign off on faulty jet

Bosses at charter-jet service Pro Pilots LLC didn’t want to hear mechanic Dennis Portalatin’s concerns about the nine-seat Dassault Falcon 20, which had eight “discrepancies,” including a leak in a wing and the fuselage, he charges in New Jersey federal court. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

IF he had stamped off the 8 discrepancies he found and there was a problem during flight, he would be held responsible for he stamped it off. That is the problem, if you stamp off a known problem then you are responsible for the end results. When I worked on government aircraft I only stamped off the work I did.
Should have taken pictures of the problems.
ffrcobra1 22
If you are going to print a pic with the story, why not print one of a Falcon 20 instead of a 737 with the cowling open? Little things like that make me crazy, and are an indication of how much effort went into the story.
alan curtis 6
And what looks like a southwest airlines plane into a story about Pro Pilots LLC? If I was Southwest I'd be hopping mad...
This is bad PR for Southwest... not very nice.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Glen Horton 9
This is not the place for these comments guys.

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

joel wiley -2
Assuming the Russian involvement, it was not 'theft', but either a purchase or rental action given the expenditures.
btweston -7
Not for nothing, but the New York Post is read by brain dead children who voted for Trump.
Fran Turner 1
Then I'm blissfully brain dead. Oh, and deplorable, too!
Highflyer1950 12
Pretty simple if the mechanic did a log entry and memorialized the defects. If the squawks were not covered by a MEL/MMEL then the aircraft would be considered unairworthy until repairs carried out and signed off. Not many documented cases of fuel leaks and the aircraft gets to carry on. More info required.
cessna210g 6
He should have told management if they though that it was OK then they should have signed it off. I'm not going to risk my A&P. If that was me I would have ASAP with the FAA.
Wingrat 6
The mechanic is correct. The company is being a bad actor. So firing the mechanic makes the leaks safe. By what standard does this exist under? And if one wants to play "what if" there is no end to bad scenarios.
joel wiley 5
Link to the case docket if one is interested. Registration required.
joel wiley 2
Pro Jets attorneys filed for dismissal under the grounds that the mechanics actions affected airline schedules. Under the Deregulation Act, such actions are addressed by the FAA and not the State or Federal Courts.
Another example of straining at gnats and swallowing camels. The court has not ruled on their filing.
Wayne Hubbs 3
How the Hello, did we go from the subject of a mechanic / fuel leak, to Trump bashing.
James Carlson 4
The link goes to the mechanic's court case. Not sure what you're rambling on about.
joel wiley 2
'We' didn't. You did.
Dave Mathes 2
...probably has no other venue left to vent on....
bbabis 8
Only 8 discrepancies on an old Falcon20? That bird is maintained pretty good. Obviously the location and size of the leaks determine if it could be "let go." Its not uncommon for a wing fuel bay inspection plate to weep a little before it finally has to be opened and resealed. With Teterboro already in the news, this is an old story dredged up and an important looking but unrelated picture attached to it for effect. This sounds like a pissing contest that had probably gone on long enough and now its moved onto the courts.
James Fritz 4
These kinds of court cases are often very hard to win but if the mechanic had one or more creditable witnesses, was well known as being a good citizen with a clean record, was known as an exemplary aircraft mechanic with no prior job fault claims in his work record and a top aviation attorney, then and only then would he possibly have a realistic chance of winning his case. Even if it was proven that the mechanic was totally right and on the up and up it would not be very hard for his former employer to come with a seemingly believable story with their own supposed expert witnesses who would swear under oath that he was let go for a different reason(s). Hope the results of this case gets reported by Flight Aware in he future.
sparkie624 6
This company needs to be held accountable.... If the plane(s) are in that bad of situation, then they should be grounded. I know that I have put planes on the ground and I have never gotten slack from the company... They of course desire a quick return to service, but they never applied pressure to me to get the job done.
Dave Mathes 3
....if he believed that aircraft was unsafe, he had every right to make that call...but 8 bitches?...
Derek Ferris 5
Safety is spelled $afety in the aviation world. Get that mech a beer
patrick baker 2
this company will soon be in so much trouble, and the bad publicity cannot help their charter business .
209flyboy 2
The picture is a SW Jet and has nothing to do with this story. Once again the stupid media distorts the truth. I'm getting sick of this crap. I think the mechanic stood up to the bean counters.
sparkie624 1
LOL... I don't know about that... After their record setting fines for not doing inspections... I did not pick up on that being an SWA A/C but it sure is... I am still LMAO!
Jason Bell 2
Airplane mechanics in the US really are superb pros. Go get'm Dennis P.
Fran Turner 1
Brings to mind faint memories of Alaska Airlines, was it?
That's appalling
skylab72 1
There are CYA protocols for mechs. If pilots are suicidal they will kill themselves anyway with some other boneheaded decision. If he just fills out the paperwork correct and timely, stupidity can be its own reward.
Marty Flagg 1
I think i9n life, loet alone this, if you see a problem and say nothing, aren't you also a part of the problem? Pilots know better than I..BHut, If I have a bad tire on the van, a fuel loeak, I am getting itfixed before I take a trip. Again, just a thought.
lynx318 1
SNERK, If an SR71 didn't leak fuel on the ground then it was out of fuel.
sparkie624 1
Yup.. and required refueling immediately after take off...!
captoscar58 1
I believe the mechanic he refused to sign off an aircraft that is potentially unairworthty. Management need the plane no matter what, just let it go, worry about that later. Money is the factor, airlines are routinely fined by the FAA for letting it go, worry about it later. What would have happened if he subjected to the pressure and signed it off and the aircraft had an incident? Who's ass would be on the chopping block? Not only with the company but with the FAA also. There are no secrets the truth will come out, he did the right thing and it will be proven in court.
Martin Mann 1
After the Court makes a final decision, that will be the appropriate time to make comments. Until then, you are just entertaining yourselves, especially those of you who have managed to inject politics into a case with these limited allegations.
Ron Nash 1
If that story was reported properly, those guys in the hi-viz jackets peering at the jet engine, should have a pile of nothing but big hammers and chisels lying on the ground around them - along with a pile of buckled engine parts. Poor journalism at its best. They could have at least had the guys peering into a big radial. Now, there's leaks for ya!
sparkie624 1
That reminds me years ago working on Fokker F28 aircraft.... there is only one reason an F28 would not leak Hydraulic Fluid... If it did that means it ran out and needs serviced :) - Oh the good ole days....
bbabis 5
We had to keep the hanger floor clean so when you did a walk around in the morning you knew exactly how much leaked overnight. The classifications were; 1 ragger, 2 ragger, or should have set a bucket. Zero tolerance meant zero aviation. The good ole days also had something called common sense.
sparkie624 3
Yeah... But common sense has long since died! as well as a lot of his friends... Others of his family has also died horrible deaths... To name a few:

Truth and Trust (His parents
his wife: Discretion
his daughter: Responsibility
and his two sons: Diligence and Reason.
joel wiley 2
Getting wide of the original topic but,
sparkie624 1
Yeah.. Saw that one... It is amazing how many things out there that totally defy common sense and people just can't understand it.
indy2001 -2
Unless someone can prove or disprove the mechanic's allegations or demonstrate a similar pattern by the company, there's no way to tell who is right in this case. The company could be flouting the regs or the mechanic could have been fired for other reasons. As it stands right now, this is weak journalism.
Ryan Jorgenson 10
Uhh, the point of the story was that a mechanic is seeking someone to "prove or disprove" allegations. In this case that someone is a US Federal Court. It also states that these are the mechanics claims, and the reporter cited reaching out to the defendant, his former employer. So I'm not sure how this qualifies as "weak". Also, there's a public record of the filing you can go and read?
linbb -4
Uh prove or disprove? Should be no question if the mechanic found anything that would ground an AC. When I was an A&P if I saw something on an AC walking along the ramp that would be a hazard to flight I could tag the AC and ground it. But you better be right or you will be on the wrong end of a lawsuit. Also same for one employed by the airline or operator of it as causing it to be grounded for no reason could cause unemployment.
Dave Mathes 1
...jeez man, solid observation.........
zuluzuluzulu 0
An aircraft mechanic making 90K at a charter service? That can't be true.
Paul Smith 1
90k... now that is FAKE news!
sparkie624 0
LOL.... And I was starting to get envious!
David Shealy -2
This is exactly why privatizing ATC would be a bad decision
Roger Curtiss 3
This situation has absolutely nothing in common with privatizing ATC.
David Shealy 3
Unless I missed something the mechanic worked for an LLC as in private and his decision was over ridden. I'm just saying if ATC was run by a private company the same thing would occur. Safety first over $$$ not the other way around
bbabis 5
Calm down. Now my eyes hurt.
Dave Mathes 1

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.