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North Carolina Pilot Pleads Guilty to Operating Aircraft without Proper Licensing and Providing False Statements to FAA

On May 15, 2014, Paul Douglas Tharp pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Charlotte, North Carolina, to serving as an airman without an airman's certificate and providing false statements to an FAA investigator.

Tharp operates at an airport in Davidson County, North Carolina. He held a pilot certificate with a single engine rating but he did not hold a mechanic certificate. However, Tharp falsely represented himself as a pilot with a multi-engine rating and 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, North Carolina, 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. Additionally, Tharp acted as second in command 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 or about 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.