Govt. Requests Records of Company in N.J. Plane Crash

March 11, 2005

A federal judge has granted an order to show cause requested by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which is seeking to have the operator of a jet that crashed last month at Teterboro Airport (New Jersey) comply with a subpoena issued as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s investigation, U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie and FAA Chief Counsel Andrew Steinberg announced.

Also, this week, the FAA issued an emergency cease and desist order to Platinum Jet Management of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., requiring the company to stop operating as an air carrier.

Platinum Jet Management has reportedly refused to turn over to the FAA certain records, including, among others, training records, duty time records and pay records for pilots and mechanics employed by or paid by the company, according to filings by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in federal court in Newark.

On Feb. 2, a Platinum jet – a CL 600 aircraft with the identification number N370V – crashed during takeoff on a flight from Teterboro to Chicago Midway Airport, causing personal injuries, damage to the aircraft and buildings near the airport.

U.S. District Judge Jose Linares signed an order to show cause, requiring Platinum Jet representatives to appear in court on March 14 at 11 a.m. to explain why it should not be required to turn over those records. The company complied in turning over other records requested via subpoena, but said, in part, that there is no statutory requirement that it maintain some of the records sought by the FAA and that release of certain records would be an unwarranted invasion of privacy of the persons involved.

“The flying public, whether on charter or commercial airlines, should expect that carriers are in full compliance with all FAA training and safety regulations,” Christie said. “That is what we and the FAA are seeking to accomplish through this court action. Stone-walling on such matters will not be tolerated.”

According to findings of a preliminary FAA investigation by the Teterboro Flight Standards District Office, Platinum Jet does not hold an air carrier certificate as required under Federal Aviation Regulations for companies flying passengers for compensation or hire. As such, Platinum Jet is reportedly not authorized to conduct operations under that part of the FAA regulations.

The flight that crashed was being operated by a flight crew employed by Platinum Jet, pursuant to an agreement between Platinum Jet and another company, Darby Aviation (doing business as Alphajet). Darby does have an air carrier certificate.

The FAA investigation found that the Platinum Jet flight was arranged through Blue Star Jets LLC, an aircraft broker. Blue Star reportedly contacted Platinum Jet to arrange the flight on behalf of Kelso Investments Corporation for the eight passengers.

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