Have you ever been involved in a near miss in the traffic pattern or on the runway? Or have you ever busted Class B airspace? If you have been involved in any situation that could lead to an FAA enforcement action, there are some steps that you should take to protect yourself and help enhance the safety of other pilots.
First, you should consider filling out an Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) form, or "NASA form." This allows you to share the incident and safety-related information with other pilots. It cannot be used against you by the FAA, and if you file it within 10 days of the event, it can prevent you from having to serve the enforcement action (days of suspension, for example) imposed by the FAA. (However, you can't intentionally violate the regulations and expect a "get out of jail free" pass.) You can mail in the form or fill it out online through AOPA.
Then, if you are enrolled in AOPA's Legal Services Plan, contact AOPA before you talk to the FAA, law enforcement officials, or your insurance company, when possible. AOPA can help walk you through the process and tell you the forms and information you likely will need to present to the officials involved.
June 12, 2006