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Pilot's Bill of Rights Beginning to Pay Dividends


August 30, 2012 - The FAA has issued a notice implementing elements of the recently passed Pilot's Bill of Rights of which EAA was an author and supporter. Under the new law, which received the president's signature on August 3, pilots now have the right to obtain "air traffic data" relevant to an FAA enforcement action from government contractors. This includes information such as recordings of Flight Service briefings from contract facilities and communications with contract control towers. Previously, only services provided directly by the FAA and its employees had been subject to such requests.

The notice directs inquiring pilots to the new Pilot's Bill of Rights page on the FAA website, where a pilot who is the subject of an investigation may submit a request for air traffic data to a central point of contact within the agency. Requests made to this point of contact will promptly be passed on to the appropriate contractor.

The FAA cautions that air traffic data is commonly disposed of within as little as five days through the course of normal business. Therefore it is imperative that pilots ask to secure this data in a timely fashion, and carefully describe the nature of the information sought, including time of day, altitude, and heading of the aircraft if possible.

The EAA sees this notice and the accompanying web page as a very positive step towards the FAA's full implementation of the law. Doug Macnair, EAA vice president of government relations, was pleased with the announcement, saying, "This is the first tangible sign of benefit to airmen from our hard work on the Pilot's Bill of Rights as we seek to improve the level of fairness and accountability within the FAA enforcement process. We deeply appreciate the agencies' responsiveness and support in bringing about the new procedures."

For additional information, EAA members may call Government Programs at 920-426-6522 or send an e-mail to govt@eaa.org.


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