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United Airlines Becomes Third Airline with Fake Engine Parts

United Airlines has become the latest airline to have sketchy engine parts in its aircraft. On September 18, Bloomberg reported that UK-based supplier AOG Technics provided fake engine parts to the airline. United is not the only carrier with this issue: Virgin Australia and Southwest Airlines also received counterfeit parts from AOG Technics. ( More...

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M.F. LaBoo 12
"Despite these accusations, the parts will not significantly affect aircraft operations since they are small parts...
One small malfunction is enough to create a major incident or safety issue."

Two antithetical claims separated by just a couple of sentences. Not impressed with the writing/editing. Anyone familiar with that old saying, "For lack of a nail..." will know which claim I subscribe to.
If the parts weren't important, they probably wouldn't put them in the engine. There are plenty of critical parts squeezed into and engine without adding the cost, weight and design effort to put unimportant parts in.
Joe Keifer 3
Wasn’t it a ten cent part that caused the fire in the capsule of Apollo One that killed the three astronauts?
captwright 3
That, and pumping the thing full of 100% oxygen under pressure.
James Simms 2
Same thing happened to the Russians, although the rest of the world didn’t know it until much later. Cosmonaut barely survived initially, only place to put a intravenous needle were the soles of his feet. Didn’t last much longer after that.
James Simms 2
Changing Contractors didn’t help matters. McDonnell had pretty much perfected guidelines w/the Mercury & Gemini programs. North American won the Apollo portion, & ignored McDonnell’s procedures & production QC going their own way.
btweston 20
This is actually very bad.
matt jensen 17
Fire the buyers and prosecute the sellers
flyUSX 6
How do we know the airlines knowingly bought these counterfeits?
EMK69 23
As an IA and QA, it's our responsibility to know where the company (s) are buying their items and from whom. This is why we get paid the big bucks to ensure that quality and traceability come with every item on an Aircraft.
Jim Allen 7
Agreed. I used to work for a defense contractor when they had ethics. Cradle to grave tracking.
flyUSX 5
Interesting, I didn't know that. Then yes, someone at United should have found it out/refused to install it earlier.
avionik99 2
They most likely did not know.
21voyageur 9
If they did not know, they should have known. Incompetence or a flawed QA process is not an excuse. Regardless of the size of the airline.
Tim Dyck 1
Counterfeit parts have found their way into the supply chains of several other industries so it was only a matter of time before they hit the airline industry. There are people making millions, maybe billions off this scam so they will find a way to keep their money coming in.
C J -3
Brilliant analysis.
So the automotive industry has finally reached aviation. I've been wondering when this was going to happen. We've been dealing with this crap for all of a decade now in the automotive world. Nothing like doing the job a SECOND time, for FREE, because your new parts are junk! This is part of the reason I just closed up shop after 14 years. It's getting ridiculous out there. As if the vehicles aren't difficult enough to troubleshoot and repair accurately alone ... then throw bad "new" parts in the mix.

The running joke in automotive circles is, NEW means, "Never Ever Worked".
djames225 7
Except more often than not, it isn't a joke. Not just doing the job a second time because this "name brand" part is a pile of crap, having it break and causing issues. Add to that it is happening more and more and it does "p***" folks off.

Sorry you had to close.
Thanks. I'm actually relieved, and my stress level has dropped 98%. It was time. I'm just not built for diagnosing over-engineered rolling Tupperware clad in beer-can sheetmetal. I sold my '07 Silverado and bought a '93 W250 with a Cummins and a 5-speed. Life is good again. :)
SkyAware123 -7
sucks if you can't keep up with technology. Staying up w technology actually makes it easier to diagnose... Ignore technology and become obsolete. Being good w scanners and scopes and logical thinking actually reduces diagnostic time. Most shops have no clue. But this isn't just in automotive, it's everywhere. Skilled people are impossible to find. Most shops are nothing more than part-swappers-till-it-works.
James Simms 6
Part of the problem is having to deal w/proprietary software & equipment. Way it is, you have to take it in to the dealer only where they’ll raid your wallet unmercifully. Not just automobiles & trucks, farm equipment, phones, etc.. Thankfully there’s a movement to end that practice
Yep, exactly. Then throw in bad new parts right out of the box, and it's a recipe for HIGH stress! I've had to buy 5 dealer parts at times before I got a GOOD one. It's insane ...
I kept up just fine with technology. IT SUCKS! It bled me my customers dry! Thousands of dollars in tooling that becomes obsolete in 5 years or less. Updates that cost over $1,000. Service info that costs thousands over the course of a year. J-boxes, laptops, subscriptions to automakers, not to mention basic hand tools. What other profession requires this kind of cash outlay just to do your job? Then everyone expects everything for free, or next to free. There's much easier ways to make a living.
SkyAware123 -1
Expecting things for free doesn't mean you have to give it. With what car shops charge these days you should be able to afford it.
Well, I can see you know ZERO about business, especially in the Northeastern USA.
SkyAware123 -1
uhuh, that's how I run several SUCCESSFUL businesses, and make money with it, and don't cry like a baby about it on a forum when I can't make it.
I made it fine for 14 years. Time for something LESS STRESSFUL! I see your reading comprehension is about on par with your business acumen. LOL
Tim Dyck 2
It's been more then a decade. We discovered counterfeit lifting shackles back in the 80 after a near fatal accident.
It just wasn't as widespread as it is today. These days I'd wager one out of every 3 auto parts are counterfeit. Probably worse than that, actually.
Joe Keifer 6
Catch us if you can!
macclad1 1
Mike G 3
Dang, it's starting to look like most of the authentic parts are being diverted to Russia.
hwh888 7
Just another example of corruption at the highest level. Someone, somewhere knew exactly what was happening within the company. I’d venture to guess upper management. Parts at a cheaper cost = higher profits. It would be interesting to know if the parts can be traced back to point of origin? That may tell the real story.
Bill Overdue 0
Of course they knew what they were getting!
sparkie624 5
They probably will not be the last... Glad this issue was found.. Now it all has be be taken care of... People who produce these parts should be charged and pay for all the Damage!
tsberry901 2
Guaranteed to eventually cause an accident.
Paul Ipolito 2
Does ANYONE know what are the actual parts in question?
John D 2
If/when the leasing companies ever get their hands of all the jets Russia is holding on to, I expect they’ll have to scour every inch of those planes to root out any counterfeit parts.
avionik99 5
Real parts fake documentation. Parts come with documentation stating it conforms to all specs. If the documentation is forged by the company or its supplier one would never know until a whistleblower exposes it. So it seems that the articles are stating Fake Parts when that is not necessarily true but it makes for a better headline than "real genuine parts are not being certified properly"
djames225 10
""real genuine parts are not being certified properly"" You do not know if they are real genuine. "The agency believes that AOG Technics used false documentation for engine parts of unknown origin." They could have been used/not properly vetted parts, parts from a 3rd party supplier that don't conform at all, maybe real parts that had been sitting and not gone through proper evaluation.
Hence until a part is properly certified, it is considered a "counterfeit/fake" part.
sparkie624 3
That is correct... and many times when when we order parts AOG, we get the Certs and make sure everything looks correct and is installed on the A/C. These people certifying uncertifiable parts are very talented and many times hard to spot.
djames225 4
It has happened many times with myself. I have caught it beforehand but agree. The forgers are talented and not all the parts are real or genuine.
Heck I have come across parts stamped "Made in ***" yet know damn well they are fake. Another reason I disagreed with avionk99..more like fake parts and even faker documentation.
EMK69 3
Even though I get an 8130-3 or C of C I still ensure parts are valid and that companies that we deal with are valid, in 99% of the cases they have an FAA Certification. Lives depend on the IA/QA to ensure that any parts are from a respectable company. When and If I see a possible cheaper brand or a company that I have never dealt with they are required to fill out a vendor audit even if they have a valid FAA Certificate.

I agree with your second sentence we can't be sure if they are fake or if they are not certificated correctly.
Paul Ipolito 1
How do you ensure parts are valid? Do you test them to destruction? Do you x-ray them (Not 100% accurate, 100% of the time) Do you validate material composition? I'm not sure you can "ensure parts are valid" without destructive tests.
Jim Allen 3
That’s BS. If you’re paying for genuine parts you know the doc is supposed to be part of it. Could the manufacturer be substituting 3rd party parts? Yes, but it’s a very shortsighted move because if it’s serialized it points right back to them. Unserialized… nothing would surprise me anymore.
Mike G 2
Yes, also possible the parts are lightly used, genuine, and being resold as new. This, obviously, is also not good.
who are the criminals at AOG and have charges and lawsuits been filed???
flanneryb 1
This is the new normal. If you think this is bad, think about component parts that are used for other systems like avionics. It is a major issue for the defense community. Supply chain security has become a big deal to the chip suppliers that supply assemblies companies, let alone maintainer companies. The way this should be delt with is simple - Ban and prosecute AOG Technics. Seize and release IP related to the companies technologies, so that other companies can quickly manufacture related parts to make up for the shortage. Almost overnight the company will disappear.
William Owens 1
WHO can you trust anymore???
Bill Overdue 1
It's highly unlikely they "didn't know" the parts were fake, 3rd rate trash!
Fred Sewe 1
It’s annoying that in this day and age, companies of repute can take delivery of fake parts.

The culprits should be blocked from further dealings
Alan Cordery 4
No, they should go to jail.
sued out of business....
Bill Overdue 0
Hmm, maybe they ordered fake parts because they were cheaper?
What is the world coming to? Next we’ll see eatery passenger will be given a list of all parts replaced in the aircraft he’s flying with their certification. And BTW Blood alcohol content of pilots just prior to boarding and their license continued validation of pilots.
Jim Allen 4
Lawyers would eat that up.
Bror Monberg 0
'Blockchain' requirement for parts...I hate the concept of outsiders (Gvt) micro-managing your business...but it's probably coming to this.
Kevin Webb 2
Unfortunately “unhackable” Blockchain has been hacked (link below). Introduced as the ultimate fail safe, immediately thought how many months will it take before hackers turn it into a play toy.

Once spent $1K+ fixing a Mercury outboard. 2+ months, 3 master mechanics only to find 2 different pairs of $4 dealer-supplied OEM spark plugs were counterfeit. 3rd pair finally worked. Finally discovered very subtle differences in product printing on plug and bought genuine-genuine plugs.

Certainly smaller stakes than aviation but dangerous if on the lake or ocean and pop-up storm comes out of nowhere and you have no power. From sunshine to hell in 10 minutes, I got stuck in a 50mph white-out with 3 feet visibility. Nearly struck broadside 3 times by a-hole idiots going 40 knots. All for $8 worth of bad parts.


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