July 20, 2012

Following Senate passage of “Pilot’s Bill of Rights” legislation last month, officials report that the United States House of Representatives is expected to vote on the measure as early as July 23.

Introduced by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in July 2011, Senate Bill 1335 was passed unanimously by the Senate on June 29, as NBAA recently reported. The House vote is expected sometime late Monday, July 23. Passage of the measure will require a two-thirds majority vote from lawmakers.

The Pilots’ Bill of Rights would require the National Transportation Safety Board to review enforcement actions by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) against an airman’s certificate. The FAA would also be required to notify the pilot in advance of any such proceeding, give a minimum of 30 days for the pilot to prepare his or her defense, and to grant the pilot access to data relevant to the case – including air traffic control recordings, flight service briefings, and notice to airmen (NOTAM) information.

The bill also calls for the FAA to implement a NOTAM Improvement Program to simplify the presentation of that information, and for the FAA to make the data more easily accessible to pilots seeking that information to defend against enforcement action. Additionally, the FAA would be required to conduct a review of medical certification standards, and to publish objective criteria to be used to determine medical eligibility.

“NBAA is pleased to see the Pilots Bill of Rights advance to a House vote, with strong bipartisan support from lawmakers and other officials concerned about issues affecting the general aviation community,” said Lisa Piccione, NBAA Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.

While the Senate bill will be the version presented for the House vote, a similar measure (H.R. 3816) was also introduced last January by Reps. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Dan Lipinski (D-3-IL). If passed by the House, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights will then go on to President Obama for his approval or veto. Review S.1335: Pilot’s Bill of Rights (225KB, PDF).