Members of the House aviation subcommittee yesterday grilled FAA Administrator Marion Blakey about the new federal rule allowing the Transportation Security Administration to order the revocation of a pilot's certificate, if TSA determines that pilot is a security risk. Under the rule, a pilot's only recourse is to appeal the TSA's decision to the TSA itself. AOPA has argued in comments to the TSA that a third-party appeal must be provided.
During a hearing about FAA plans for its future operations and airport funding, Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), a pilot and AOPA member, told Blakey the new TSA rule is "onerous and impractical" and doesn't accomplish much for the burden it creates. Fellow pilot and AOPA member Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) told the administrator, "We should have learned something from the Hoover debacle," referring to famed pilot Bob Hoover's long effort to have his medical certificate reinstated after it was pulled for questionable reasons. Pearce encouraged Blakey to examine the possible repercussions of TSA's pilot certificate revocation rule.
At a later meeting with Pearce, AOPA President Phil Boyer praised the congressman for raising the issue and said, "We're glad to have another pilot on board the aviation subcommittee to help fight this rule."