Inspector Gave Unauthorized Check Rides

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Teterboro-based aviation safety inspector Harrington Bishop, 63, entered a guilty plea in a federal court Thursday on charges of receiving illegal gratuities in exchange for what court documents allege were hundreds of unauthorized pilot check rides. Bishop had been assigned to the Teterboro FSDO. On available days off, weekends, and holidays, from May 2004 to February 2011, he allegedly took pilots on check rides at Cave Flight School at Flying W Airport in Medford, N.J. Pilots who flew with him on those occasions ultimately numbered in the hundreds. None of the flights were authorized, each one illegally paid Bishop, and in almost every case a certificate was granted to the tested pilot.

Pilots were allegedly tested for anything from private to airline transport pilot certificates. Bishop allegedly collected tips that amounted to $300 per flight on average from the hundreds of pilots he managed to fly with over seven years. This, in spite of the fact that while acting in an official capacity, Bishop was not allowed to accept payment from pilots in exchange for his services. By Bishop's own account, he passed almost every pilot who flew with him on those occasions. Each pilot then became officially certificated by the FAA as a result of Bishop's work. The official charge against Bishop was one count of receiving illegal gratuities while acting as a public official. He now faces a maximum potential fine of $250,000 and up to two years in jail.