According to a Summary published by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (“OIG”), a mechanic pled guilty to making a false statement related to a false entry in an aircraft logbook. The mechanic admitted he made a false entry in the logbook for a Bell L-1 helicopter which stated that he completed and signed-off on an annual inspection when in fact he did not complete a thorough inspection of the helicopter and the helicopter was not airworthy. In connection with his plea, the mechanic agreed to permanently surrender his Airman and Mechanics certificates with Aircraft and Powerplant (A&P) ratings and Inspection Authorization (IA).
The mechanic is scheduled to be sentenced on October 28, 2010 and it will be interesting to see what type of sentence is imposed. Perhaps the sentence will be similar to a 2007 Alabama case in which a court barred a mechanic guilty of similar charges from working in the aviation industry during his 5 year probation period, although the mechanic’s permanent surrender of his certificates in connection with his plea probably has the same effect.
The summary does not discuss whether any FAA enforcement action was taken against the mechanic’s certificates prior to entry of the plea. However, it is safe to say that this case is yet another example of how a mechanic may be exposed to criminal liability in addition regardless of whether the FAA pursues any enforcement action. In any event, the mechanic presumably had the help of a criminal defense attorney, and hopefully an aviation attorney, to defend himself and to protect his rights.