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Press Release

Suburban Houston man convicted for falsifying aircraft inspection

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON – A 52-year-old Pearland resident has pleaded guilty to making false statements in an aircraft maintenance log, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Ronald P. Franklin admitted that on or about Oct. 9, 2020, he knowingly and willfully falsified an aircraft’s annual inspection records. Franklin had fraudulently represented himself as an Inspection Authorization (IA) holder and falsely certified he performed an annual inspection on an aircraft and determined it was in airworthy condition. The aircraft subsequently experienced an in-flight power loss leading to a crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates domestic aircraft and air travel. They require most U.S.-registered general aviation aircraft to undergo annual inspections to ensure they are airworthy which an FAA-certified mechanic must perform.  

Following an annual inspection, FAA regulations require an IA holder to make an entry in the aircraft’s log book certifying the inspection was properly completed and the furnished information is true and correct. IA holders must certify each annual inspection they perform using their unique FAA certificate number.

Franklin was not an IA holder and did not perform the inspection as he falsely claimed.

U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison accepted the plea and has set sentencing for May 24. At that time, Franklin faces up to five years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Franklin was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.

The Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian Latham and Jay Hileman are prosecuting the case.

Updated March 8, 2023