January 2, 2013
AOPA ePublishing staff
The NTSB’s rulemaking to implement the new Pilot’s Bill of Rights doesn’t go as far as the PBR intends in protecting pilots’ rights, AOPA wrote in response to the rule Dec. 17.
The Pilot’s Bill of Rights, enacted in 2012, is intended to make enforcement actions and appeals fairer to pilots, among other protections such as reviews of the notam system and medical certification. However, the NTSB procedural and evidence rules published Oct. 16, AOPA wrote, don’t change much for pilots appealing an FAA enforcement action to the NTSB.
The NTSB’s rule, which took effect immediately, tries to address the Pilot’s Bill of Rights’ requirement to conduct appeal proceedings “to the extent practicable” in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence that apply in federal courts. Using these rules is supposed to level the playing field for private attorneys, who are often unfamiliar with the less formal appeals process that has previously been used when the FAA suspends, revokes, or denies a pilot or medical certificate. AOPA has argued that the less restrictive administrative rules that have been used for evidence and procedure favor FAA attorneys, who routinely practice before the NTSB.
In comments to the general counsel of the board, AOPA counsel Kathy Yodice said the NTSB’s take on evidence runs counter to the language and intent of the law. “It is clear that the intent of the PBR (Pilot’s Bill of Rights) is to change the Board’s former rules on evidence, otherwise the legislation and the change are meaningless,” she wrote. The NTSB’s application of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights subordinates the rules that apply to federal courts by applying them only when they are inconsistent with the very general requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, she said. In AOPA’s experience, the NTSB has generally accepted virtually all evidence, she said; the NTSB’s application of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights could be interpreted to essentially change nothing in the way evidence is handled in NTSB hearings.
AOPA's first regional fly-in of 2014 kicks off April 26 in San Marcos, Texas. Here are 10 tips to look forward to the day of the fly-in.
Able Flight, the nonprofit organization that works to provide free flight training to individuals with physical disabilities, announced the awards of a record-setting nine scholarships in 2014.
Wisconsin’s governor has signed a bill adding aviation to an existing recreational-use statute.
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 >>>