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.