Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360, email@example.com
Washington, DC, Feb. 26, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) welcomed the introduction today in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives of new Pilot’s Bill of Rights legislation, which includes language proposed by NBAA to ensure that pilots and other certificate holders facing enforcement action by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have timely access to information necessary to assist them in formulating a proper defense.
U.S. Sens. James Inhofe (R-OK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today introduced the Senate version of the bill, S.571, which builds upon the landmark Pilot’s Bill of Rights (PBOR), signed into law in August 2012. U.S. Reps. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) and Collin Peterson (D-7-MN) introduced a companion House measure, H.R. 1062.
“NBAA applauds these four leaders, and the other general aviation champions in Congress who have joined them, for continuing their call for key revisions to policies affecting general aviation pilots across the United States,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen. Bolen joined other aviation leaders in sending a letter to the four lawmakers to underscore their support for the legislation.
“As a pilot, I know how important the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, as signed into law in 2012, has been in establishing needed protections for pilots when dealing with FAA enforcement proceedings,” said Graves. “This new bill improves upon those protections and expands the rights afforded to pilots and other certificate holders,” he continued. “I fully expect this bill to receive the same strong, bipartisan support in Congress and across the general aviation community.”
“Pilot’s Bill of Rights being signed into law in 2012 was a major victory for the aviation community, but I promised we would not stop there,” said Inhofe. “Today, I am taking the next step in keeping that promise by introducing the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which expands upon necessary reforms and continues to cut red tape hampering the general aviation community. Among many things, the legislation most importantly expands the FAA’s existing third class medical exemption for light sport aircraft to cover most recreational airmen. This will protect the rights of thousands of qualified airmen who would otherwise be grounded due to excessive medical regulation technicalities; this reform is of great need. It is an honor to have the strong bipartisan support of my colleagues in Congress and of those in the general aviation community, and I am committed to shepherding this legislation through the 114th Congress.”
Last year, members of the NBAA Regulatory Issues Advisory Group joined Dick Doubrava, the Association’s vice president for government affairs, and Brian Koester, NBAA’s project manager for operations, in meeting with Inhofe’s office regarding the addition of language that will ensure defendants have an opportunity to prepare a proper defense. The resulting provision, specified in PBOR2, would require the FAA to hand over the enforcement report when serving emergency orders, and upon request in all other cases.
Although the timely release of such documentation was a key requirement in the original PBOR legislation, multiple reports from the pilot community indicate the agency has not consistently released this documentation in sufficient time to enable defendants to mount a proper legal defense.
“This key provision ensures that pilots and other certificate holders facing FAA enforcement action are granted their due process under law,” Bolen added, “and is keeping with the spirit and intent of the initial Pilots Bill of Rights measure in assuring that the nation’s pilot community is treated fairly during enforcement action proceedings. We are particularly pleased that our concerns in this area are reflected in this new legislation, and we look forward to doing what we can to help move these important bills into law.”
Additional provisions outline specific actions the FAA may not take, should the agency fail to provide timely notifications to individuals facing enforcement action at the start of the investigation. The House and Senate pilots’ rights bills would also prohibit the agency from moving forward with any enforcement action should the FAA fail to provide such notifications.
Also of note, PBOR2 would compel the FAA to take action on oft-delayed industry calls for reform to the third-class medical requirement for general aviation (GA) pilots, by expanding upon a current medical exemption under the sport pilot category to cover certain noncommercial operations in GA aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight up to 6,000 lbs. NBAA has supported industry calls for this reformed certification process.
The PBOR2 legislation also calls for expedited action to reform the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) process, and the extension of civil liability protections afforded to government employees to aviation medical examiners and other FAA representatives in the private sector.
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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at www.nbaa.org.
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