Company hit with $150,000 fine for unauthorized use of fixed-wing aircraft to transport patients
Interstate Helicopters, Inc. ("Interstate"), an Oklahoma corporation based in Bethany, Oklahoma, paid $155,000 to the United States to settle civil penalty claims arising from allegations that Interstate conducted unauthorized charter operations involving fixed-wing aircraft according to United States Attorney Robert J. Troester.
Interstate is the holder of an air carrier certificate which authorizes Interstate to conduct flights in helicopters, but not fixed-wing aircraft.
The United States alleges that from December 8, 2016, through April 17, 2017, Interstate conducted eleven fixed-wing charter operations ("Charter Flights") in violation of 49 U.S.C. § 40101, et seq. ("Act"), and the regulations promulgated under the Act. More specifically, the United States contends Interstate conducted the Charter Flights in violation of its operations specifications, and when none of the pilots had, within the previous 12 months, passed required knowledge, competency and flights tests, and had not completed required training.
The United States also alleges that the Charter Flights were conducted in a careless or reckless manner which endangered the life or property of another. To resolve these allegations, Interstate agreed to pay $155,000 to the United States.
In reaching this settlement, Interstate did not admit liability, and the government did not make any concessions about the legitimacy of the claims. The agreement allows the parties to avoid the delay, expense, inconvenience, and uncertainty involved in litigating the case.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General and the Federal Aviation Administration. It was referred for prosecution by the Enforcement Division of the Federal Aviation Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald R. Gallegos prosecuted the case.