Obama signs Pilot's Bill of Rights

August 3, 2012

AOPA commends President Barack Obama for signing into law the Pilot’s Bill of Rights on Aug. 3. The legislation guarantees pilots under investigation by the FAA expanded protection against enforcement actions via access to investigative reports, air traffic control and flight service recordings, and it also requires the FAA to provide the evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action.

The legislation, championed by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska), co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, passed the Senate unanimously on June 29. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), co-chair of the House GA Caucus, and GA Caucus member Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) shepherded the measure through the House, which passed on July 23.

“This law is good news for pilots,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “Having access to all available information, including FAA data, is critical for pilots who find themselves under investigation or whose certificates may be in jeopardy. We are pleased that the President signed this measure and commend Senator Inhofe and all of the bill’s supporters for taking action to protect the freedom to fly.”

AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association have long supported this bill and its effort to improve communication between GA and the FAA. In addition to improved enforcement measures, the bill will call for an advisory committee to reanalyze the notice to airmen (notam) procedures, as well as a committee to review medical certification. Pilots will also, for the first time, be able to appeal decisions in federal courts and the National Transportation Safety Board is given greater oversight in reviewing enforcement cases.