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Pilot's Bill of Rights Introduced in U.S. Senate

Legislation draws 23 co-sponsors

July 7, 2011 –A bipartisan group of 23 lawmakers have signed as co-sponsors to “Pilot’s Bill of Rights” legislation introduced Wednesday in the U.S. Senate. The measure, if passed, would provide pilots with expanded due process rights in case of FAA enforcement actions, as well as clarify NOTAM and medical certification procedures for general aviation.

EAA and AOPA helped compile the legal issues and enforcement procedure background that led to the text in the bill, and also helped seek co-sponsors of this important protection of pilot’s rights.

“It is always our goal to keep pilots flying and to lower barriers to aviation, whether they are regulatory, legislative, or economic," said Rod Hightower, EAA president/CEO. "EAA supports any legislative actions that enhance pilots’ opportunities for legal due process in FAA enforcement cases.”

Among the bill’s major provisions:

1) Requires that in an FAA enforcement action, the FAA must grant the pilot all relevant evidence 30 days prior to a decision to proceed with an enforcement action.
2) Clarifies statutory deference as it relates to National Transportation Safety Board reviews of FAA actions that diminish the appeals process.
3) Introduces an option for federal district court review of appeals from the FAA.
4) Requires a NOTAM Improvement Program, requiring simplification and centralized archiving of NOTAMs.
5) Makes flight service station communications archives available to all pilots.
6) Reviews the FAA’s medical certification process and forms.

The bill’s co-sponsors include Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the bill’s primary author, plus Senators Mark Begich (D-AK), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Susan Collins (R-ME), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-IN), Michael Enzi (R-WY), John Hoeven (R-ND), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and John Thune (R-SD). Sens. Begich and Johanns are co-chairs of the Senate General Aviation Caucus.

The complete bill is available at http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/. Sen. Inhofe will be at EAA AirVenture to talk more about the bill during a forum on Saturday, July 30, in Forum Pavilion 11.

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