Pilot’s Bill of Rights Gains Congressional Approval

Article By: Paul Lowe
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July 26, 2012, 4:20 PM

A bill requiring the FAA to inform pilots why they are being subjected to an enforcement action was passed by the House of Representatives on a voice vote and sent to President Obama for his signature. The Senate approved the measure in June.

The measure guarantees that pilots facing certificate action are provided access to ATC and flight service recordings, and requires the agency to provide the evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action. For the first time pilots would be able to appeal decisions in federal courts and the National Transportation Safety Board would be given a greater oversight role in reviewing enforcement cases.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a long-time general aviation pilot who ran afoul of the FAA when he landed his airplane on a closed runway in South Texas in October 2010, introduced the bill. Although the runway was marked as closed, Inhofe told investigators he didn’t see workers and trucks on the runway until it was too late to abort the landing. In the aftermath, the FAA ordered Inhofe to take remedial training. The senator complained he wasn’t treated fairly and felt powerless.