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Fairness for Pilots Act Expands on Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2
July 22, 2017 - Last July, third-class medical reform, the cornerstone of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, was signed into law, and on May 1, 2017, those reforms officially took effect. These reforms have been a game-changer for pilots across the country — and they would not have become law and fully implemented without the strong and consistent advocacy of the general aviation community.
We cannot forget about the additional provisions of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 that still need to be enacted. These provisions address many other injustices and challenges facing the general aviation community. Each year at Oshkosh, and at other aviation events around the country, I continue to hear directly from pilots about issues they face dealing with the federal bureaucracy. I am committed to enacting legislation to provide needed relief to airmen.
Earlier this year, I introduced the Fairness for Pilots Act (S. 755). This bill contains all the provisions of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 that were left out of last year’s FAA bill. These provisions include enhanced due process for GA pilots by empowering them with the right to appeal an FAA decision through a new, merit-based trial in federal court. In this trial, the FAA bears the burden of proof, enshrining a pilot’s constitutional right of being considered innocent until proven guilty.
The Fairness for Pilots Act increases transparency for airmen subject to an FAA enforcement action by requiring the FAA to share with an airman the specific activity that triggered the FAA investigation and provide specific documentation (such as Enforcement Investigative Reports) relevant to its investigation. Airmen should know why they are being investigated and have the appropriate documentation to prepare a proper defense so they can respond to the FAA from an informed position. This transparency also extends to situations involving re-examination. The FAA would have to provide detailed information describing the basis for requesting the re-examination.
The Fairness for Pilots Act also requires the FAA to designate a sole source repository for notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and certify their accuracy, while providing key information including the effective duration of temporary flight restrictions in NOTAMs. This is all to ensure pilot safety and easy access to all relevant information before flying. It gives airmen increased access to flight data, so that information is available for pilots to use in their defense during an enforcement action proceeding. Finally, my bill ensures the FAA has flexibility to resolve enforcement cases with warning notices or letters of correction at all stages of an investigation, preventing airmen from unnecessarily facing formal legal action in court.
The Fairness for Pilot’s Act was crafted with direct input from the general aviation community. In fact, this legislation is the genesis of forums I hosted at past EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in conventions. I look forward to once again hearing your feedback on issues facing the general aviation community and what general aviation priorities can be best addressed legislatively. This is my 39th consecutive year attending Oshkosh, and I look forward to seeing you here!
BOX: Mark Your Calendar
Congressional Forum With Sen. James Inhofe
Saturday, July 29
10 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Forum Stage 6