Aircraft Rebuilt With Damaged And Defective Parts
owner of a western Missouri helicopter salvage and repair operation
was sentenced in federal court this month for fraudulently
reselling improperly repaired aircraft.
US District Judge Gary A. Fenner fined Robert A. Schlotzhauer of
Lee's Summit $550,000 plus $63,854 in restitution to Rainbow Air
Inc. The court ordered the liquidation of any and all assets
involved in the maintenance, repair or rebuilding of aircraft by
Falcon Helicopter Inc., and Lee's Summit Turbine, LLC,
Judge Fenner also sentenced Schlotzhauer, 68, to 12 months' home
confinement, ordered the surrender of his FAA repair certificates,
and forbade him from further participation in the business of
maintaining, repairing, or rebuilding aircraft, the Lee's Summit
"Schlotzhauer recklessly jeopardized the lives of pilots and
passengers through this fraud scheme," said John F. Wood, United
States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
"In order to boost his own profits, he flouted federal
requirements for inspecting and repairing the damaged helicopters
that he sold," Wood said. "He now faces a stiff fine and the loss
of his business, but we are just thankful there were no injuries or
fatalities as a result of this scheme."
Schlotzhauer's scheme involved purchasing damaged helicopters,
then repairing and rebuilding them with parts that were not
properly inspected or certified to FAA standards.
In 2001, Schlotzhauer purchased two wrecked McDonnell Douglas
369E helicopters for a total of $65,650, installed parts from one
into the other, and then sold the rebuilt aircraft for $450,000 to
Rainbow Air, who used the helo for sightseeing flights at Niagara
"The sale of engine components damaged beyond repair for reuse
on an aircraft is unconscionable, as it jeopardizes public safety -
not only of those in the sky but also those on the ground - for
personal financial gain," DOT special agent-in-charge Michelle
"Working with the Federal Aviation Administration and our
prosecutorial colleagues, we will continue our efforts to uncover
unapproved parts fraud and seek punishment of those who compromise
the integrity of DOT's safety programs."