According to a Summary on the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General website, a pilot in Virginia recently pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Norfolk, Virginia, to one count of knowingly operating an aircraft after the FAA had revoked his Commercial Pilot Certificate. The Court sentenced the pilot to twenty days in jail, assessed a $100 fine, and placed him on probation for one year. Additionally, the pilot is not allowed to fly an aircraft or conduct flight instruction while he is on probation.
The Summary indicates that he pilot’s commercial pilot certificate was suspended for 120 days for giving flight instruction in an un-airworthy aircraft. While his certificate was suspended, the airman then flew as PIC on nine occasions. When the FAA found out about the nine flights, it then revoked the pilot’s commercial pilot certificate. After the revocation, and after his CFI certificate was expired, the pilot then flew as PIC and CFI on two occasion. On the second occasion while the pilot was providing dual, the aircraft’s propeller struck the runway.
Not surprisingly, and as is often the case, this type of situation only comes to light after an accident or incident. In this case, the prop strike put the pilot’s actions on the FAA’s radar. However, based upon these facts, it definitely appears to me that this pilot has no learning curve. Under these circumstances, I don’t necessarily disagree with the FAA’s actions, although I am a little surprised that the pilot was prosecuted criminally, rather than being assessed a civil penalty. I suspect that the pilot’s giving flight instruction to a student had a significant influence on the decision to prosecute. In any event, this is certainly an example of what you shouldn’t do if your certificate is suspended or revoked.