Aviation student pleads guilty to bribing FAA test examiner

A would-be airline mechanic has pleaded guilty to bribing a Federal Aviation Administration test examiner for a passing grade, federal prosecutors said.

Frank A. Jalion Amaro, 21, was an aviation student in Las Vegas, preparing to take an exam for people who want to perform maintenance on commercial aircraft, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a news release Tuesday.

Using a fake name and phone number, he offered payment in exchange for a passing score to an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner in the Atlanta area in November, the news release stated.

The examiner immediately reported the bribe, authorities said, and agreed that Amaro would take the test in Duluth, Georgia. Amaro sent the examiner $500 through a mobile payment service, and then paid the examiner $2,000 on the day of the test, Dec. 16, the statement said.

Amaro was charged with bribery in March. His potential sentence isn’t clear.

The FAA requires mechanics to complete 1,900 hours of training and pass tests covering 43 technical subjects before they can be certified to perform maintenance on commercial aircraft and approve their return to service.

Todd Damiani, a special agent with the Department of Transportation’s inspector general’s office, praised the examiner and others involved for preventing the “aircraft maintenance certification of an unethical and ill-qualified individual.”