The US Senate has passed a Pilot’s Bill of Rights that enshrines certain rights for pilots facing enforcement action by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Republican Senator James Inhofe introduced the bill after he was the subject of FAA action for landing on a closed runway.
“This is a big victory for general aviation pilots all across the country,” Inhofe said after the vote was taken on June 29. “Last year, I introduced this bill and presented it to the General Aviation community at Oshkosh. Thanks to the efforts of so many pilots, and organizations like AOPA and EAA, we were able to get this important bill passed.
"This bill remedies many of the most serious deficiencies in the relationship between General Aviation and the FAA, and ensures that pilots are, like everyone else, treated in a fair and equitable manner by the justice system.”
Under the rights of the bill, the FAA would have to inform pilots why they are being subject to enforcement action and give them access to investigative reports, ATC recordings, and any relevant information for 30 days before taking action against them. Also, pilots would have to be notified that if they didn’t respond to the actions, they would not be punished.
US AOPA President Craig Fuller was full of praise for Senator Inhofe.
“A year ago, Senator Inhofe made a bold decision to introduce legislation in support of pilots' rights when General Aviation seemed to be under attack in Washington DC,” he said. “His willingness to take a stand on behalf of pilots, and his success in bringing this measure through the Senate at a time when so much legislation is at a standstill, are powerful testaments to his commitment to protecting the freedom to fly.
“We applaud Senator Inhofe's ongoing work on behalf of General Aviation so it can continue to play an important role in fostering economic development, providing personal and business transportation, and delivering services to millions of Americans.”
The bill does not stop at pilot’s rights, but also calls for advisory panels to look into the US NOTAM system and medical certification