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Mississippi Pilot Sentenced for Operating an Aircraft and Providing Flight Instruction Without a Valid Airman’s Certificate

On August 2, 2018, Charles B. Phillips was sentenced in U.S. District Court, Oxford, Mississippi, for operating an aircraft and providing flight instruction without a valid airman’s certificate. Phillips was sentenced to 6 months’ home confinement, 3 years’ supervised release, 100 hours of community service, and $200 in court fees. As part of the sentence, Phillips is prohibited from working in the aviation industry in any capacity.
In October 2009, FAA invalidated Phillips’ airman certificate for medical reasons. However, between March 2013 and October 2015, Phillips piloted airplanes, and between May 2014 and April 2016, he provided flight instruction. At the time of his sentencing, Phillips surrendered his airman's certificate, and FAA announced that it would seek a lifetime denial of future certificates due to the seriousness of Phillips’ regulatory and criminal violations.
DOT-OIG initiated this investigation after one of Phillips’ flight students and five passengers were killed in an airplane crash in August 2016, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It conducted the investigation with assistance from FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.