February 15, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The FAA has pronounced itself satisfied with remedial pilot training taken by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and will not pursue enforcement action against him in the case of landing on a closed runway last October in Port Isabel, Texas.
The FAA notified Inhofe, 76, by registered letter that he had provided evidence of “satisfactory completion” of remedial training. The training consisted of four hours of ground instruction and three hours of flight instruction in numerous preflight, planning, and piloting tasks, and aeronautical decision making.
Inhofe agreed during discussions with the FAA in December to take the training “as a substitute for legal enforcement action,” said the Jan. 4 letter from Aviation Safety Inspector Robert J. O’Keefe. The record of the incident will be expunged from Inhofe’s record after two years, it said.
AOPA reported Nov. 4 on the incident, in which Inhofe was operating as pilot in command when his Cessna 340A landed on a runway marked as closed at Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport.
In an interview published Feb. 2 in the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe, who holds a commercial pilot certificate and has been a pilot for more than 50 years, maintained that he had done nothing wrong. The article also reported an eyewitness account describing the landing as a scary incident that, in the witness’s opinion, put passengers and workers on the closed runway in peril.
The FAA letter constituted “neither an admission nor an adjudication of a violation. We appreciate your cooperation in this matter and expect your full compliance with the regulations in the future,” it said.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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