June 30, 2014
Contact: Steve Hedges
Frederick, MD – A draft outline for a new Pilot’s Bill of Rights unveiled today calls for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to act on third class medical reform within 180 days of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act becoming law and would also limit Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) authority to stop and search general aviation (GA) aircraft unless there is reasonable suspicion of illegal activity.
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), author of the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, made a draft of the new bill public to solicit feedback before it is formally introduced in the U.S. Senate.
“We can once again thank Senator Inhofe for bringing key general aviation issues before Congress,” said Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Mark Baker. “This new version of the very popular Pilot’s Bill of Rights comes at a time when the GA industry is actively engaged in actions aimed at protecting pilots’ civil liberties and the freedom to fly.”
In addition to language around third class medical reform and placing limits on CBP stops and searches, the draft also includes provisions to expedite updates to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) program; limit the liability of aviation medical examiners, designated pilot examiners, and designated airworthiness representatives; make local airport authorities “the sole authority” on the use of privately built and owned hangars at airports that received federal funds; and a placeholder has been left in the draft regarding how to best add safety-enhancing equipment to the existing fleet of GA airplanes.
It further defines the applicability of Freedom of Information Act requests to contract towers and other FAA contractors, and includes several updates to expand the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights.
"The Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 will continue and expand on the improvements that were accomplished just two years ago with the original Pilot's Bill of Rights,” Inhofe said. “Input from the aviation community is essential to addressing the needs of aviators and industry alike. I look forward to working closely with stakeholders to develop a final product and ensure this vital piece of legislation makes necessary reforms, cuts red tape and is signed into law."
President Obama signed the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights in August 2012. That bill guarantees pilots under investigation by the FAA expanded protection against enforcement actions via access to investigative reports, air traffic control and flight service recordings. It also requires the FAA to provide the evidence being used as the basis of enforcement at least 30 days in advance of action.
Pilots can learn more about Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 and offer feedback on Inhofe’s website. He will also be hosting a listening session at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis. at 10:00a.m. on Aug. 2, 2014.
Since 1939, AOPA has protected the freedom to fly for thousands of pilots, aircraft owners and aviation enthusiasts. AOPA is the world’s largest aviation member association. With representatives based in Frederick, Md., Washington, D.C., and seven regions across the United States, AOPA provides member services that range from advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, flight planning products, safety programs and award-winning media products. To learn more, visit www.aopa.org.
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