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Flying Unauthorized Aircraft

by John M. White |

Have you ever wandered around a small airport and found a hangar full of partial airplanes which the owner is working on. He knows he will get to all of them, it just takes time - and parts - and money! Usually they are similar airplanes, some older and some newer. Did you ever wonder what he did with all of those airplanes? Or whether they would ever fly again? Then later on you see him flying one of the airplanes, and you come back some months later and he is flying a different aircraft. You might even be envious of him, and wish you had all of those choices, all of those parts, all of the airplanes from which you could choose. Well, the FAA found one man who did all of this.
One small problem, however. William E. Spafford, a private pilot from Cortland, NY had a number of airplanes in his hangar that he owned. As he would cannibalize one aircraft and restore another he would simply switch the registration and serial numbers from one aircraft to another. Well, that sure saved a lot of grief, eh? Never having to send in all that paperwork, get all of those sign-offs from the local AI, the money, time - you certainly can understand, right? And when the local FAA came to take a look-see Spafford told them what they wanted to hear, and they left. But not for long. This month Spafford plead guilty to providing false statements to the FAA and received a fine: Twenty Grand! $ 20,000! Twenty Thousand Smackaroos! I guess the FAA folks don't have much of a sense of humor! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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