According to a report by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, on July 10, 2009 the FAA issued an emergency order revoking a mechanic’s certificate for falsifying records at the maintenance school from which the mechanic allegedly graduated. Apparently the mechanic admitted that he systematically breached the school’s computer database and falsified grades and FAA regulated attendance records while he was a student at the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) of West Mifflin, PA.
The mechanic’s hacking allowed him to fraudulently receive a graduation diploma from PIA, which in turn met the prerequisite for the mechanic to test for an FAA Airman Mechanic Certificate. Not content to simply ensure his graduation, the mechanic also inflated his grades to the degree that he was named the class valedictorian. Of course, when PIA learned of the mechanic’s actions, it revoked his degree, repealed his completion certificate, and nullified his status as valedictorian of his graduating class.
One of the interesting aspects of this case is that the airman actually passed the FAA examination and was issued his FAA mechanic certificate. He must have known enough, or learned enough in school, to be able to pass the test. As a result, it is unclear to me why he would need to hack the school’s computer, at least with respect to his grades. I suppose that class attendance, or lack thereof, may have prompted his actions, at least in part. But to also make oneself class valedictorian? Makes me wonder what the airman was thinking. Unfortunately, what appears to me to be the airman’s greed, has now cost him his career.