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Virginia State Police aircraft mechanic will plead guilty to lying, false inspection

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 18:04:35-05

ABINGDON, Va. -- A Virginia State Police aircraft mechanic will plead guilty to lying about properly inspecting a helicopter.

Michael William Smith has entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors and will admit to making a false writing or document.

Prosecutors say that back in April, Smith traveled from Chesterfield to Abingdon to perform a 50-hour inspection on a state police chopper.

Part of that inspection required Smith to check the condition of the air conditioning compressor belt with a belt tension gauge.

But prosecutors say Smith left the gauge in chesterfield, so he instead checked the belt with his hands, but later wrote in the official logbook that he had completed the required maintenance.

The plea agreement states that condition of a helicopter’s air conditioning compressor belt is critical… because failure could result in, quote “catastrophic damage to the aircraft, affecting its ability to remain aloft.”

Smith faces a possible five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced.