HONOLULU INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (Hawaii News Now) - A pilot's bad judgement has put him in trouble with the Federal Aviation Administration.
He's been grounded in connection with an accident at the airport."
And he's not just a pilot, but an Oahu flight instructor.
On May 25th, a Piper Aztec with 3 people on board flew from Honolulu to Hilo. While taxing at the hilo airport, the plane hit this parking sign.
The collision tore a sizeable dent in the right wing.
Despite the serious damage, the pilot flew back to Honolulu with his family.
"Our investigation determined that plane was not airworthy and should not have been flown in the condition it's in," said Ian Gregor, FAA spokesman.
The FAA found the pilot was "reckless as to endanger the life and property of another."
"In my opinion it is very, very poor judgement on the pilot's part," said Wayne Wakeman, a former F-15 and Aloha Airlines Pilot.
We showed pictures of the damaged wing to Wakeman.
"With this damage ,if you can see if there's air flow here it actually interrupts the airflow which causes a loss of lift and increases drag on the airplane."
Wakeman says there's no question the pilot had a hard time flying the plane.
"His wing is not creating lift so his right wing is probably dipping down to the right so he needs to correct that by turning the aircraft to the left and when you do that your losing lift and creating more drag. It boggles my mind that a pilot of that stature would do something like this."
So who's the pilot? He's a certified flight instructor and the owner of Flight School Hawaii Timothy Thrasher.
We contacted Thrasher for his side of the story but he refused to comment on what he called "a minor incident. But the FAA didn't consider it minor. Saying he failed to exercise care, judgement and responsibility, it suspended his license for 200 days.
"A 200 day suspension is really quite a significant amount of time to have your license suspended and I think it reflects that we think this was a very serious offense," said Ian Gregor.
The story doesn't end there.
We've also learned airport sheriff's have opened a criminal probe. They're investigating whether Thrasher filed a false report.
Law enforcement sources say he told authorities that after landing in Honolulu, he left and when he came back, the Piper was damaged.
What Thrasher didn't realize is someone in Hilo saw the incident.
It was that witness who contacted the FAA.
Thrasher told the FAA he flew the plane because after 28 years as a pilot, he didn't think the damage was in issue.
His 200 day suspension begins when he sends his pilot certificate to the FAA.
The suspension does not affect the running of Flight School Hawaii.