facebook
twitter
search
search

Report: Nev. state pilot cut corners

March 11, 2009 at 4:16 PM

CARSON CITY, Nev., March 11 (UPI) -- A pilot flying Nevada's state plane risked the lives of Gov. Jim Gibbons and others by flying with low fuel, a state hearing officer found.

Gary Phillips on one occasion had to land the state's 10-seat Cessna Citation at Carson City in bad weather because he did not have enough fuel to divert to Reno, the hearing officer, Bill Kockenmeister, found last week, the Las Vegas Sun reported. Phillips also took off carrying too much weight and allowed his 14-year-old son to take the controls, the hearing officer said.

Phillips has been demoted from chief pilot to pilot. His conduct came under scrutiny after another pilot, Jim Richardson, said he had been fired for raising questions about safety.

Kockenmeister ordered Richardson's reinstatement.

The Nevada Transportation Department plans to appeal Kockenmeister's findings.

Kockenmeister cited several instances where he said Phillips operated unsafely. He said that the pilot took off without enough fuel while carrying Gibbons and other state officials on a homeland security tour and landed with only 15 minutes of fuel left when returning from Texas with a prisoner.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Topics: Jim Gibbons
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Kurds plan to carve state out of Iraq after fighting stops, leaders say
Kentucky clerk sued for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses
Van hauling fireworks catches fire on I-15 near California-Nevada border
Sean 'Diddy' Combs avoids felony rap for attacking UCLA coach
Police arrest N.C. soldier with assault rifle headed to mall photo shoot