Bankruptcy hearings for Avantair held last month in Tampa, Fla., brought some needed good news for share owners of the 56 ex-Avantair Piaggio Avantis who are hoping to return their aircraft to the sky. During one of the hearings, the Italian aircraft manufacturer unveiled a Service Bulletin (SB) that provides a path for owners of these Avantis to regain their airworthiness certificates, which were revoked by the FAA in late July and August.
Last month, I wrote about preventing whistleblowing: how do you keep employees from blowing the whistle? My short answer was to listen to what employees are saying about safety problems, investigate and take appropriate actions.
The trustee overseeing Avantair’s involuntary bankruptcy is seeking a halt to a class-action lawsuit brought against the company on behalf of former employees alleging Fair Labor Standards Act violations for failure to pay for work performed or provide proper termination notification.
Owners of fractional shares in Piaggio Avanti twin turboprops operated by Avantair are trying to take possession of their aircraft in the wake of the August 16 court hearing that put the Clearwater, Fla.-based company into involuntary bankruptcy.
The assets of Clearwater Fla.-based Avantair will be sold and the company liquidated after it failed to meet an August 13 deadline to contest an involuntary Chapter 7 filing in the Florida Middle District U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa. Judge Catherine McEwen signed an order during a hearing on August 16 authorizing the case to proceed under Chapter 7.
FAA enforcement cases tend to focus on the front-line employees, usually pilots or mechanics, who allegedly violate federal aviation regulations. Occasionally other certified airmen, such as aircraft dispatchers, parachute riggers or air traffic controllers at contract towers, face enforcement action.
A year ago, Laminar Research, the maker of the popular X-Plane flight simulator software, was sued by a company called Uniloc, which accused Laminar Research of infringing a Uniloc patent entitled “System and method for preventing unauthorized access to electronic data.” Uniloc is seeking a jury trial and wants agreement that its patent has been infringed, payment for damages and costs, post-judgment royalties and pre- and post-judgment interest.
On Tuesday, the judge overseeing the Avantair bankruptcy case approved a motion for trustee Beth Ann Scharrer to begin examinations of Avantair CEO Steve Santo, CFO Bret Holmes, president David Haslett, associate general counsel Tom Palmiero, executive vice president Kevin McKamey and executive vice president of finance and operations Stephen Wagman “to obtain any and all documents in [their] possession related to the assets, liabilities and business operations of [Avantair].”
FBO operator Saker Aviation Services filed a lawsuit against its landlords at Wilkes-Barre Scranton (Pa.) International Airport, claiming contract violation when the airport board failed to renew its lease and awarded a 15-year lease on the property to Aviation Technologies. According to Saker, the airport awarded the contract to Aviation Technologies without Saker’s ever being informed of the specifics of the competing offer or being given the opportunity to match it, which it says is required under the contract terms.
A U.S. District Court in Jacksonville, Fla., on August 1 sentenced Tyler Pennywitt to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service for deliberately shining a laser pointer at a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office helicopter in June last year.