Senator Inhofe introduced S. 1335 to reform the FAA’s treatment of pilots in enforcement cases. That bill was quickly enacted by the House and Senate, P.L. 112-53. This legislation dramatically altered a number of rules that theretofore tilted the process in the favor of the government. Under the wording of the bill, all pilots, mechanics, aircraft dispatchers and air traffic control-tower operators will receive these protections.
One of the minor amendments was a requirement that the ATC tapes be preserved; so that the pilot could use the recording in her/his defense. The FAA’s ATO quickly set procedures to meet S.1353’s requirements.
Comes now the NTSB and it has issued new rules, as follows:
- Recognize the right to and set the procedure for appeals to federal district court,
- Establish that federal rules of evidence and civil procedure now apply to NTSB proceedings and
- Sets a procedure for a pilot to move to dismiss a complaint if the FAA fails to disclose its enforcement investigative report.
Good job, NTSB!!!
No action has been taken by the FAA Office of Chief Counsel and the Aviation Safety organization to adjust their policies and procedures to meet the Inhofe Pilots Bill of Rights. For example, revisions to Order 2150.3B – FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program and Order 8900.1, Volume 14 Compliance and Enforcement must be made to reflect the new Pilots Bill of Rights. These documents define how field safety personnel and regional counsel prosecute these cases; these now outdated Orders must be revised soon. These FAA Orders dictate how current cases are being handled, while P.L. 112-53 dictates substantively different rules.
Also, in reviewing these critical enforcement statements, the FAA Chief Counsel and Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety should consider the anomaly that the airmen individuals have more rights than non-individual certificate holders like airlines, repair stations, companies with TCs/PCs and others with FAA special authority. Equity would seem to indicate that extending these valuable procedural and substantive advantages should be extended to all persons/entities with the same responsibilities.
In any event, any certificate holder must recognize that the piece of paper issued by the FAA should receive the same level of preventative maintenance as the capital assets; before, during and after the FAA’s compliance with Sen. Inhofe’s Pilots Bill of Rights, a good Regulatory Affairs program is cost/benefit justified.Share this article: