Hard to believe, but the media got it wrong. Again. Despite some news reports to the contrary, the FAA has not issued any action against the pilot of the Cessna 150 that wandered into the country's most restricted airspace on Wednesday. Not yet.
In an exclusive interview, the FAA's spokesman, Greg Martin, told AOPA: "The seriousness of the incident merits the most thorough and careful examination possible of all pertinent information related to this incident. Once that has been completed, we will take all appropriate steps with respect to enforcement action."
On the basis of that, it sounds like just a matter of time before the pilot, Hayden Sheaffer, will be served with the papers indicating the FAA's intentions regarding his flying privileges. AOPA has received a very high volume of calls and e-mails regarding the incident. By far, the vast majority of the sentiment favors the strongest possible action against the pilot.
Martin indicated that the final outcome is likely to occur next week. The most serious action the FAA could take would be an emergency revocation of Sheaffer's certificate. In that case, he could appeal the emergency revocation to an NTSB administrative law judge, or he could apply for a new certificate in a year, which would only be issued if he passes knowledge and practical tests. (For more information on certificate actions, see AOPA's An Overview of FAA Enforcement.)
May 13, 2005