Former FAA Safety Inspector Sentenced To Jail

 - April 30, 2012, 4:25 PM

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) reported last week that Harrington Bishop, a former FAA Aviation Safety Inspector, was sentenced on April 18 in U.S. District Court, for accepting illegal gratuities. The court sentenced Bishop, who was once stationed at the Teterboro Flight Standards Safety District Office, to a year and a day in prison, a $5,000 fine, one year of supervised release and a $100 special assessment. As part of his sentencing, Bishop was also subject to a criminal forfeiture in the amount of $70,000. 

Bishop resigned from the FAA in October 2011, just prior to pleading guilty to a single count of accepting illegal gratuities as a public official. The former inspector pled guilty on October 27, 2011, to accepting tens of thousands of dollars for hundreds of unauthorized pilot check rides he performed between May 2004 and February 2011. 

The GAO said Bishop spent weekends, holidays, and other days of approved leave conducting a variety of flight tests. In exchange for these check flights, he routinely accepted $300 “tips” from the pilots (which some critics labeled as bribes), fully aware that he was not allowed to accept payment from pilots in exchange for his official duties. Bishop admitted that nearly all of the check flights resulted in the pilot passing the ride.


As a former attorney with the FAA for 15 years and in private practice for 12 years practicing exclusively in aviation law, have seen this behavior from both sides of the isle. It is my opinion that the NTSB, serving as the appellate review Board over FAA Inspectors' behavior over-deferred to the FAA as a general rule. Several FAA inspectors habitually misrepresent the truth at NTSB hearings the NTSB Judges consistently defer to the FAA.

Now the NTSB has a new Chief Judge who clearly needs additional training. In a recent case, he took a peculiar measure to hold the entire case in abeyance so he could read the transcript on a simple issue. The Administrative Appellate entity (Full NTSB Board) responsible for review of of the Judge's Order is run by a Chairperson, who stated in an investigation that her motive is more motivated by political upward mobility than aviation safety.

The background of one of the most influential people concerning aviation matters worldwide is limited to service on a Transportation Committee in Congress where her claim to fame was solely related to her knowledge of the child safety seat. Apparently, she also has a motorcycle license and knows how to drive large trucks.

To prevent the FAA from this type of criminal behavior, we need an NTSB with competent Judges and Board members who understand the issues and can hold the FAA in check when needed. Currently, we have an FAA that is out of control and will remain so, unless we put competent and experienced administrative review Judges who do not over-defer to the FAA. Further, we must discontinue selecting NTSB Board Members who are so politically motivated and otherwise inexperienced that it clears the way for large aviation companies (e.g., Sikorsky and General Electric) to control the investigation, and in one recent case caused the NTSB to change the original basis and probable cause of accident against the operator and change the basis in favor of General Electric and Sikorsky.

The case was heard in Court where experts from all parties testified. After hearing from every expert the Jury returned a Verdict over $70 million against General Electric.

Good Luck to those flying on aircraft where the FAA and NTSB have oversight of the operators and manufacturers.


You state you were an FAA attorney for 15 years and in the same paragraph allege that several FAA inspectors misrepresent the truth. One of two conditions exists. Either you are lying or you are unethical in that you knowingly represented perjured testimony. In short, either way, you fulfill the image that most people have of lawyers.

I'm going to bet he didn't report these "tips" on his federal/state tax returns...he deserves whatever punishment he was subject to in jail and when he gets out. He is not the stand up guy he is being portrayed as being.

His brother is a criminal, sent his mother to a nursing home to die while living in a cushy home in the suburbs of NJ, had an affair for a LONG TIME with a "bajan family friend" that everyone knew about and he is married!


If his sentence was just 1 year, he would have to serve it all. Since it is 1 year and one day, he qualifies for early release based on good behavior according to federal sentencing guidelines...Pathetic.

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