In a recent Summary on the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General website, a Florida mechanic was recently sentenced to three years probation and a $300 special assessment for falsifying the overhaul of a Bell Helicopter main rotor hub assembly and for falsifying the 100 hour inspections on two Bell Helicopters. According to the Summary, the A & P mechanic apparently signed off that he overhauled a main rotor hub assembly, a compressor assembly, a turbine assembly, and a gearbox assembly with new parts when the parts he used were removed from a crashed helicopter. The mechanic also admitted that he signed off on two 100 hour inspections when he hadn’t completed proper inspections of either helicopter.
In order to avoid a criminal trial that could have resulted in a conviction and some significant prison time, the mechanic agreed to the plead guilty to the falsification charge and accept the sentence. However, as a condition of the plea and sentence, the mechanic also agreed to permanently surrender and forfeit his mechanic certificate and to not reapply for a mechanic certificate upon completion of his sentence.
Although permanent surrender seems like a severe condition, it is hard to say based upon the minimal facts that are provided in the Summary. Perhaps the case involved aggravating circumstances not disclosed in the Summary (e.g. an accident involving the helicopter that resulted in injuries or fatalities). In any event, this isn’t the first time that a judge has imposed such a condition in connection with a criminal sentence. Certificate holders should be on notice of the severe consequences that may be imposed in falsification cases.