Summary of the Pilots Bill of Rights
The new Pilot’s Bill of Rights was passed by the Senate on 15 December 2015. In this regulation, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has the authority to issue or revise a medical certificate regulation to enable a person to operate as a pilot for a covered aircraft (Congress.Gov). An individual must possess a valid driver’s license from a state, territory, or United States possession, must meet the medical requirements associated with the permit, and must be transporting a maximum of five passengers to get a certificate (Congress.Gov). Further, he/she should be operating under the instrument or visual rules and must have owned a FAA medical certificate when this policy was enacted or held it at any time during the ten years preceding this law.
In the recent FAA’s medical certificate, an individual must indicate that he/she attained a first, second, or third class license, include the permit for a special issuance, and proof that he/she has a valid license (Congress.Gov). Additionally, the person must show that his/her recent application to the FAA for airman medical certification was approved (Congress.Gov). He/she is also required to have finished a two-year online medical education course before becoming a pilot of a covered aircraft.
In case a person has a medical condition that can affect his/her ability to fly, the individual must be under the care and treatment of a doctor when serving as a pilot in command. Moreover, he/she must have received a comprehensive medical examination from a state-licensed physician during the previous 48 hours and satisfied specific pre-examination requirements associated with the checklist of medical conditions and medications (Congress.Gov). An individual who has qualified for a third-class certificate exemption and is requesting to serve as a pilot in command must complete the processes of getting Authorization for Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate specific requirements on mental, neurological, and cardiovascular conditions.
After one year of enactment of this bill, the FAA will not take action against a pilot of a covered aircraft who does not have a valid third-class medical certificate. Instead, the FAA will request for information about his/her National Driver Register of FAA Safety Hotline that shows he/she can safely operate a covered aircraft under the third-class medical certificate exemption (Congress.Gov). The FAA may also require the person to provide additional information, or it can amend, modify, or revoke his/her airman certificate.
Section 3 of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights protects individuals from adverse decisions of the FAA and National Transport and Safety Board (NTSB) by allowing a United States court to review, de novo a FAA denial, suspend, or revoke an airman’s certificate (Congress.Gov). Further, section 4 of the act exempts a pilot holding a student, recreational, or private certificate from reexamination by FAA unless it has reasonable grounds such as establishing the individual is not qualified to exercise the privileges of a specific certificate or to demonstrate that he/she obtained the license through fraudulent means (Congress.Gov). Section 5 of the act protects pilots who have not adhered to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) from FAA until the latter complies with specific NOTAM Improvement Program requirements.
In section 6 of the Pilots Bill of Rights, the FAA has a duty of providing an individual who is under investigation with flight record of air traffic data by requesting this information from its air traffic control tower or any of its contractors (Congress.Gov). Finally, section 7 of the act allows the FAA to revise its administrative disposition of a case in the Federal Act of 1958 or Hazardous Materials Transportation Act so that its legal counsel can close covered enforcements with a warning notice, a letter of correction, or other administrative actions (Congress.Gov). Overall, these new regulations reduce the criminal culpability of pilots by exempting them from rigorous examinations and tests that were previously done by FAA and allowing them to renew their airman’s certificates easily.
“All Information (Except Text) for S.571 – Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2.” Congress.Gov, 2015-2016, https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/571/all-info. Accessed 21 Sept. 2017.