Nevada’s chief state pilot faces investigation
August 13, 2008
CARSON CITY – The Nevada state attorney general and transportation officials are investigating whether the state’s chief pilot let his teenage son fly a state plane, and whether he violated safety rules by flying the governor without spare fuel in aircraft tanks.
Transportation Department spokesman Scott Magruder said Tuesday that the agency took “very seriously” allegations of unprofessional behavior by Gary Phillips.
Phillips, reached by telephone Wednesday at work, declined comment.
Robert Chisel, assistant director of administration, and the attorney general’s office were conducting the inquiry to determine whether disciplinary action should be taken, Magruder said.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday that it received copies of allegations made against Phillips by another state pilot, Jim Richardson.
Among the allegations were that Phillips let his 14-year-old son take off, fly and land the state’s Cessna Citation jet on a trip from Reno to Carson City.
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Phillips also was accused of flying then-Gov. Kenny Guinn between Carson City and Las Vegas on Oct. 29, 2006, and landing with only eight to 12 minutes of fuel remaining.
Pilots are supposed to have enough fuel to reach an alternate airport and then be able to fly for another 45 minutes at normal power, according to the complaint.
In addition, Phillips is alleged to have failed to complete an anger-management course.
The plane is one of two that the transportation agency owns and operates to fly the governor, state officials and transportation executives around the state.