A federal grand jury in Sacramento today returned an indictment charging an Anderson aircraft mechanic with fraud involving aircraft parts.
According to court documents and documents obtained by the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2010, Randy L. Thompson, 65, an aircraft mechanic who operated under the business name “Thompson Air,” was hired to overhaul an aircraft engine for a customer in Pennsylvania. As part of the overhaul, Thompson installed an engine crankshaft on the customer’s private plane.
Before the installation, Thompson had twice sent the same crankshaft to Federal Aviation Administration-certified repair stations. In both instances, the repair stations had returned the part to Thompson with a tag documenting that the crankshaft was cracked and no longer suitable for use on an aircraft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. But Thompson allegedly installed the crankshaft and falsely certified that he had performed the engine overhaul in compliance with the FAA regulations and the engine manufacturer’s specifications.
After approximately 90 hours of operation, the crankshaft failed in flight, and the aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing in a field, officials said. No one was injured.
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The case resulted from an investigation by the federal Department of Transportation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.