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NBAA Urges NTSB to Change Its Position on Emergency Appeals

December 17, 2012

In comments filed today with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), NBAA disagreed with the board’s position that an NTSB judge must continue to assume that FAA’s allegations are true. Under today’s rules, in an emergency appeal situation, the NTSB defers to the FAA on the facts of the case. NBAA has advocated for several years for the NTSB to change this position. NTSB recently declined to do so, noting a lack of resources to hold hearings on petitions contesting emergency determinations. “This is fundamentally unfair and contrary to all notions of due process,” said attorney Paul Lange, who is leading NBAA’s initiative to change this policy. Furthermore, NBAA believes the board’s position is contrary to Congressional intent with the recently enacted Pilots Bill of Rights.

Review NBAA's Letter to the NTSB Regarding Emergency Appeals (1.3 MB, PDF)

NBAA Comments on Proposed Changes to Emergency Certificate Actions

April 23, 2012

Due to the work of NBAA and a coalition of aviation associations, the NTSB is working to revise several regulations dealing with the Board’s review of emergency certificate actions taken by the FAA. While some of the proposed changes are positive, in comments on a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) issued in February 2012, NBAA expressed concern that the NTSB still assumes FAA allegations to be true during emergency proceedings. To ensure a fair review and due process, NBAA believes that it is unfair for NTSB to make a factual presumption of FAA allegations in advance of the hearing.

Beginning in 2009, the coalition reached out to NTSB about making changes to the emergency action determination process. These meetings resulted in NTSB issuing an advance notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) in December 2010. NBAA filed comments on a number of items in the ANPRM, including the assumption of truth requirement.

In February 2012, the NTSB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which noted many of the industry comments from 2010, but did not propose changing the assumption of truth requirements. The safety board explained that law judges can consider additional evidence submissions related to the emergency determination, but NBAA believes that the requirement for NTSB to assume that FAA allegations are true is still a major problem.

Although work still remains, NBAA is happy to see the NTSB taking action based on the Association's initiative. The safety board will now review the industry comments to the NPRM and begin work on a final rule.

NBAA Comments to NPRM on Emergency Certificate Actions (800 KB, PDF)

NTSB NPRM: Emergency Certificate Actions (200 KB, PDF)