Former Pilot of Luxury Charter Jet Company Sentenced for Illegal Flights and Falsifying Safety Records
On August 22, 2011, Francis Vieira, former pilot and first officer for Platinum Jet Management (PJM), was sentenced in U.S. District Court, New Jersey, to six months incarceration, six months home confinement, three years supervised release and ordered not to fly during his supervised release period due to his role in a conspiracy to provide FAA with false records relating to aircraft weight, qualification of pilots, and other aircraft information required by FAA.
Mr. Vieira, along with other PJM co-defendants, was charged in a Superseding Indictment with conspiracy, false statements, and destruction of an aircraft. These charges stemmed from his role in events culminating in a 2005 jet plane crash at Teterboro Airport. Mr. Vieira pleaded guilty to one count of a superseding Indictment, charging that between approximately November 2002 and March 2005, Mr. Vieira had unjustly enriched himself by conspiring to commit wire fraud by repeatedly violating airline safety and regulatory requirements such as falsifying aircraft records while operating PJM as an on-demand domestic and international air charter service to brokers and individual customers. Mr. Vieira falsified pilot records to include rest time requirements and periodic knowledge, competency, and proficiency tests. He also falsified weight-and -balance reports that were used to calculate the aircraft's weight and center of gravity. Among other misleading reports, Mr. Vieira also loaded the aircraft with extra fuel where cheaper prices were available even though the extra fuel caused the aircraft to exceed its allowable maximum weight.