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The original 80GB hard drive was failing.
The first drive sent would not partition and the tech at iFixit.com was extremely helpful and sent me a replacement hard drive. I received the second drive in two days. Outstanding tech support and customer service! I will use them in the future.
Super easy to install! Grounded my work space and replaced the damaged drive with the second replacement drive. I reassembled the hardware and booted from my external OSX system. I used Disk Utility to partition the internal drive and just for good measure, I did a 1 pass format to test the sectors before restoring my OSX dmg.
Once the dmg was restored, I rebooted and configured my new OS with the latest updates.
I was amazed at the different hardware versions of the MacBook Air. If possible, use the serial number to determine the exact model you have so the parts will fit. If possible, have an external OSX bootable USB drive and the dmg of your OS. The external OSX drive can also be used to test your hardware before ordering parts.