Investigations

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Two OK Firms and Two Officials Fined $448,000 for Using Unapproved Parts in Aircraft Repairs

Thunderbird Propellers, Inc. (TPI) and Thunderbird Accessories, Inc. (TAI), both of Bethany, OK, were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Sherman, TX, for using counterfeit and unapproved parts in repairs of aircraft propellers and an aircraft turbo charger and then falsifying the certificates of repairs. A twin-prop private aircraft fitted with one of the propellers crashed in 1994, resulting in a fatality. It is not known whether the unapproved propeller caused the crash. TPI was fined $350,000 and ordered to pay $23,670 in restitution for using counterfeit and unapproved parts on 18 propeller repairs. TAI was ordered to pay a $73,189 fine and $1,695 in restitution sentenced for using unapproved parts in the turbo charger repair. Both firms were also was placed on 5 years’ probation. The companies have filed for bankruptcy.



In a related case, TAI’s President Paul D. Finefrock and Chief Inspector and Repairman Marvin D. Thurman each agreed to pay $100,000 in March 2002 to settle a civil suit for their role in falsifying aviation repair certificates. Finefrock also agreed to lifetime forfeiture of his FAA certificate. The case of Johnnie L. Henry, a former TAI repairman, is awaiting trial in Oklahoma City on allegations of falsely certifying aircraft repairs. The investigation was conducted jointly by OIG and the FBI with assistance from FAA.