February 21, 2003
The Honorable James M. Loy Under Secretary of Transportation for Security Transportation Security Administration 400 Seventh St., SW, 10126 Washington, DC 20590
Dear Admiral Loy:
I am writing to follow up on our phone conversation last week about the recent TSA rule to revoke pilot licenses. I am still very concerned that the rights of pilots may be adversely affected if the rule is implemented as currently written.
This rule was issued without notice and comment. It is hard to understand why more than 16 months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks it was suddenly necessary to issue this rule. If there is new intelligence that indicates that pilots are a greater threat, I would like to hear about that from you.
Of greater concern to me is there does not seem to be any meaningful avenue of appeal. A pilot whose license is revoked by TSA for security reasons may be told the reasons for revocation are classified. Therefore, the pilot will be unable to defend himself or establish grounds for appeal. Even if he could learn the reasons for the revocation, any appeal would evidently be heard by TSA, the very same agency that revoked the license in the first place. This is unfair and probably unconstitutional.
While I am certainly aware that some of the 9/11 hijackers had taken flight training, they boarded the planes as passengers, not as pilots. It was the failure of our intelligence, immigration, and perhaps airport security systems that allowed them to board those planes and commit terrorist acts. This does not justify taking away the rights of U.S. citizen pilots more than 16 months after the fact.
A few months ago, TSA staff approached this Committee and asked us to consider legislation that would allow the emergency revocation of pilot licenses. However, the security legislation that was subsequently approved by the Aviation Subcommittee (Title III of H.R.5506) did not give TSA this authority. Additionally, such authority is not encompassed by the Aviation and Transportation Security Act.
I would urge you to reconsider this rule. First, I suggest you give the pilots affected an opportunity to comment. Second, and more importantly, I urge you to provide a reasonable right to appeal.
Under current law, the Federal Aviation Administration may immediately revoke a pilot's license for safety reasons. However, pilots are informed of the reasons for the revocation and have the right to appeal to an independent third body, the National Transportation Safety Board. I suggest you adopt a similar procedure for pilot revocations by TSA. If not, I will have no alternative but to explore a legislative solution to this problem.
DON YOUNG Chairman
February 20, 2003
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN NEAR YOU!
SHARE YOUR PASSION. VOLUNTEER AT AN AOPA FLY-IN. CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
VOLUNTEER LOCALLY AT AOPA FLY-IN! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>
BE A PART OF THE FLY-IN VOLUNTEER CREW! CLICK TO LEARN MORE >>>