According to a Summary on the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General website, a pilot in Virginia was recently convicted of falsifying aircraft maintenance records. The pilot was then sentenced to 30 days in jail followed by a 12-month period of supervised release.
Apparently the pilot, or an aircraft sales and management company owned by the pilot, sold an aircraft to a buyer and represented to the buyer that the aircraft had received an annual inspection per FAR 91.409. However, when the aircraft was delivered it did not contain any logbook entries or records reflecting the completed annual inspection. The pilot then instructed his company’s director of maintenance to create false maintenance record entries showing that the annual inspection was completed by one of the company’s former mechanics. The pilot then delivered the fraudulent maintenance records to the buyer.
This is an interesting case because the pilot wasn’t the person who actually created the false maintenance records. Granted, he authorized his employee to create the records and then passed them off as originals to the buyer. I suspect that the FAA probably revoked the the director of maintenance’s airman certificates since his or her conduct violated FAR 43.12. However, I wonder if the FAA took any enforcement action against the pilot. After all, he didn’t actually make the false entries. Unfortunately, the Summary doesn’t say anything about FAA enforcement actions.
In any event, this is, yet again, another reminder that false or fraudulent entries in aircraft maintenance records can result in both criminal and civil consequences. In the end, it just isn’t worth it.