According to a Report from the FAA’s Office of Inspector General, a Florida airman was recently convicted on charges of making false statements on his applications for his 2002 and 2004 airman’s medical certificates. Apparently the private pilot indicated on his medical application that he was not taking any prescription drugs when, in fact, he was receiving workers compensation from the U.S. Postal Service and was taking prescription medications. As a result of the conviction, the airman was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and serve three years probation, with the first six months on home confinement.
The airman’s prosecution and conviction, in and of themselves, are not particularly newsworthy. Airmen have been, and likely will continue to be, prosecuted for making false statements on medical applications. From that perspective, this case should hopefully serve as a warning to airmen, and as a deterrent, to refrain from intentionally omitting requested information from their airmen medical applications.
However, this case is interesting from another perspective: the circumstances of the case make me wonder how the FAA discovered the airman’s omission. Was this case similar to the Operation Safe Pilot investigation in which the FAA cross-checked its medical certification database with the Social Security Administration’s disability database (in this case the FAA would have been working with the U.S. Postal Service)? Or did the FAA discover the airman’s omission through some independent means?
If the former, then my prediction that investigations such as Operation Safe Pilot would expand has come true. Unfortunately, the OIG’s report doesn’t provide suffiient information to answer these questions. We will have to continue with the “wait and see” approach before we can determine if my prediction has actually come true.