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Sen. James Inhofe Introduces Fairness for Pilots Act
Includes non-medical reform provisions from 2016 Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2
March 20 2017 - U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a longtime EAA member and pilot, on Wednesday introduced the Fairness for Pilots Act (S. 755), which includes most provisions of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 not related to aeromedical reform. The medical reform provisions were included in a separate measure signed into law last July that led to the FAA’s new BasicMed process that becomes effective on May 1.
“The Pilot’s Bill of Rights and the implementation of third-class medical reform have been great victories for the general aviation community, addressing the concerns brought to my attention by pilots across the country,” Inhofe said. “There remains more work to be done. Building on my past efforts, the Fairness for Pilots Act increases due process protections for pilots, ensures greater transparency in dealing with FAA, and reduces the unnecessary bureaucratic barriers preventing pilots from flying. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and the general aviation community to get this bill through Congress and enacted into law.”
Among the sections of the Fairness for Pilots Act are:
- Expansion of the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, including the ability for a pilot facing FAA investigation to appeal to a federal district court; requirements for the FAA to specify the activity that began enforcement action; and mandating the FAA to provide a copy of releasable portion of the Enforcement Investigative Report.
- Limits re-examination of covered certificate holders.
- Expedites updates to the NOTAM program, including a fully maintained internet database that is searchable and includes temporary flight restrictions.
- Access to covered flight record data maintained by contract towers, flight services stations, and controller training programs.
- Increases flexibility to resolve enforcement cases when new information is brought forward.
"We greatly appreciate Sen. Inhofe's efforts on behalf of general aviation pilots with the introduction of the Fairness for Pilots Act," said Jack J. Pelton, CEO and chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association. "Today, more than ever, it's essential to recognize and preserve the rights of individuals who seek to pursue the freedom of flight. This legislation is an excellent step in that direction."
Inhofe sponsored the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights that was signed into law in 2012. In 2014, Inhofe came to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and sought input for his draft Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. EAA and its legal advisory council also assisted with language for the bill, which included medical reform language and was passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate in December 2015.
The new legislation is scheduled to go before the Senate Commerce Committee next week.