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Press Release

Steuben County Man Sentenced For Making A False Statement

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.- Acting U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Brian Woodhams, 40, of Wayland, NY, who was convicted of making false statements to a federal agent, was sentenced to time served and one year supervised release by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary C. Baumgarten, who handled the case, stated that since October of 2015, the defendant held a student pilot license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  Such license permitted Woodhams to fly an airplane with a flight instructor or by himself.  Under the license, if Woodhams flew with a passenger, then a flight instructor also had to be on board the airplane. 

On October 31, 2015, the defendant was involved in an accident while landing his Piper Cherokee 140 airplane at the Perry-Warsaw Airport in Perry, NY. The airplane veered to the right, and Woodhams over-corrected and hit the brakes, causing the nose of the plane to go into the ditch off the runway. At the time of the accident, there was a 15-year old boy on board as a passenger, but no flight instructor. 

On November 2, 2015, FAA Aviation Safety Inspectors viewed the defendant’s airplane at the Perry-Warsaw Airport. During a telephone conversation, Woodhams told inspectors that he had sustained a bloody nose and hurt his shin during the crash. The defendant also stated that he was the only occupant in the airplane at the time of the accident but that his son approached the aircraft immediately after the crash and slipped and fell as he climbed up the flap, hitting his nose and causing a bloody nose. 

Woodhams met with inspectors in person on November 4, 2015, and stated once again that he was the only occupant of the aircraft at the time of the accident and that his son arrived at the crash scene later. The defendant was told that a witness reported seeing his son in the aircraft but Woodhams again denied this fact. 

On November 10, 2015, the defendant submitted a Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident/Incident Report to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and failed to report that there was a passenger on the plane who was injured during the accident.

On January 10, 2017, Woodhams was interviewed by a Special Agent of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, and FAA inspectors and stated once again that he was the only person on the plane at that time. When questioned concerning evidence developed during the FAA investigation that there was a passenger in the plane at the time of the crash, defendant denied that there was a passenger in the plane and he gave an alternative explanation that was untrue.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Department of Transportation, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Douglas Shoemaker and the Federal Aviation Administration, Rochester Flight Standards District Office, under the direction of Office Manager Carl Kohl. 

Updated November 2, 2017