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Pilot Jailed For Flying Aircraft Without Proper Licensing And Lying To The FAA

April 1, 2015, - Paul Douglas Tharp was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Charlotte, North Carolina, to 60 days incarceration, three years of probation, and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, for serving as an airman without an airman's certificate and providing false statements to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigator.

Tharp was also ordered to sell his airplane and not enter an airport, unless to fly commercially as a passenger, for three years.

The investigation determined that while Tharp held a pilot certificate with a single engine rating, he falsely represented himself as a pilot with a multi-engine rating and as a mechanic who held an FAA mechanic certificate with an Airframe and/or Powerplant (A&P) rating.


In or around 2011, Tharp was hired by Warriors and Warbirds, a group based in Monroe, NC, to work as a mechanic to repair and refurbish a multi-engine C-46 airplane. To earn fees from the group as a mechanic and pilot, Tharp told a representative that he was an A&P mechanic.

Tharp also acted as the second in command pilot on a March 4, 2011, flight from Midland, Texas, to Monroe, North Carolina. Because the C-46F is a multi-engine airplane with a required crew of two, Tharp, who held a single engine pilot certificate, lacked the proper authorization to fly this airplane.

On June 5, 2011, Tharp represented to an FAA inspector that he was an A&P mechanic in order to obtain a ferry permit for the C-46F and provided the inspector with an A&P certificate number belonging to someone else. Tharp again acted as second in command of the multi-engine C-46F on the June 5, 2011 trip even though he should not have been flying this aircraft.


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