Photo: Mark Wagner

FAA Revokes Florida Charter Operator’s Certificate

Universal Flight Services surrendered its passenger-carrying certificate after the Federal Aviation Administration alleged it had conducted illegal flights

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued an emergency order revoking Universal Flight Services' (UFS) passenger-carrying certificate, alleging that the Sarasota, Florida–based company had conducted illegal charter operations for nearly five years, the agency has announced. UFS received its certificate for passenger operations in March 2019, but the FAA alleged it had operated 26 such flights between October 2015 and February 2019 at airports including Sarasota-Bradenton International, Key West International, Florida Keys/Marathon International, and Witham Field.

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After obtaining certification, the company conducted flights between September 2019 and September 2020 using unauthorized pilots and/or aircraft, the agency additionally alleged. On two of those flights, the pilot did not have the required medical certificate, did not pass a flight check for flight in instrument conditions, and was not current in instrument conditions, according to the FAA. On two other flights, the company used aircraft that had not undergone the requisite inspection.

On all of the UFS flights conducted from October 2015 to September 2020, the agency further alleged, “the pilots had not passed required written and oral tests, competency checks, and flight checks in the type of aircraft they operated during this time.”

UFS surrendered its certificate as called for in the emergency order but is appealing the order to the NTSB. The company is not commenting at this time.