AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 32

PilotCounsel

By john s. yodiCe
aopa seCretary

FAA reexamination request

I

try to offer guidance to pilots on how to deal with the many different FAA enforcement matters that I see in the administration of the AOPA Legal

the FAA request was unreasonable in that he was asked to complete a “soft field takeoff,” even though the airfield at issue was frozen at the time. An NTSB hearing was held on the pilot’s appeal. After hearing the evidence, the NTSB law judge determined that the FAA had a reasonable basis for requesting that the pilot complete a reexamination. On a further appeal from the law judge’s decision, the full NTSB affirmed the judge, stating “it is well-settled that the board’s inquiry into the Services Plan. That’s not because most pilots will reasonableness of a reexamination request is a narexperience some trouble with the FAA—most won’t. row one,” and that the FAA “had a reasonable basis Yodice and Associates to request respondent complete a reexamination.” However, some significant number will, and we can’t administers tell in advance which ones will. So, the pilot remained grounded until he passed an the AOPA Legal A recent enforcement decision by the NTSB FAA reexamination, or appeals to a higher court. Services Plan for reminds me that there is one situation in which The pilot obviously felt that the FAA was unreamembers. pilots innocently but unnecessarily aggravate a sonable in its request. Because of the narrowness of problem because they lack the legal expertise on the “reasonableness” issue on an NTSB appeal, as how to handle it. It has to do with responding to an FAA request the NTSB tells us, these cases are hard to win. As an alternative, that a pilot submit to reexamination of his or her pilot qualifica- what I usually recommend is that a pilot faced with a reexamitions. Such a request is legal, always unwelcome, many times nation request take the letter to his or her flight instructor and unexpected, and seldom felt justified. My experience has shown ask to receive flight instruction specifically on the matter to be that a refusal to be reexamined is more troublesome than the tested, as specified in the request. The letter should specify an exam tailored to the incident or accident that precipitated the alternative that I usually recommend. It is true that under the law, the FAA request must be “rea- request. In reviewing many, many FAA requests, I only see a few sonable.” Indeed, in the case I will describe, the pilot certainly inappropriately broad requests that ask for a complete private felt that the request was unreasonable. Rather than submit, the pilot took the FAA to court—actually an appeal to the NTSB. The facts are that a pilot of a Cessna 177B struck a wire fence attempting a takeoff from a frozen private airstrip. He was unsure what happened. He thought maybe he could have hit a crosswind. The aircraft was substantially damaged. The pilot and his passenger were unhurt. The FAA decided that the incident warranted reexamination of the pilot. According to the FAA, the pilot “failed to maintain directional control and establish a climb sufficient to refrain pilot checkride, or a complete instrument checkride, or the like. from striking a fence and this conduct resulted in substantial The pilot should ask his or her instructor to detail the instrucdamage to the aircraft.” tion given in the pilot’s logbook. Then, the logbook should be The FAA sent two letters to the pilot requesting that he presented to the FAA inspector at the time of the reexamination. appear for a reexamination of his competency to hold his cerThis procedure accomplishes two objectives. It shows to tificate. The pilot failed to appear as requested. As is usual in the inspector a positive safety and compliance attitude on the such a failure, the FAA issued an emergency order suspend- part of the pilot; and it evidences to the inspector that an FAA ing his pilot certificate pending a successful completion of a certificated flight instructor has found the pilot competent on reexamination (“emergency” meaning he was grounded imme- the matters to be tested. I have never seen this procedure fail. diately, prior to any opportunity to defend himself). The pilot If it happened, it is rare. On the other hand, I have rarely seen a appealed the order to the NTSB, as he had a right to do. The successful appeal to the NTSB challenging the reasonableness pilot explained that he had completed a flight review with an of the reexamination request. FAA designated pilot examiner, feeling it should satisfy the reexIf a pilot faced with a reexamination request needs more amination request. The FAA did not agree. Under the required detailed guidance, the pilot should seek professional help by procedure the reexamination must be conducted by an FAA air calling the AOPA Legal Services Plan (301-695-2257), or the safety inspector from an FAA Flight Standards District Office, AOPA Pilot Information Center (800-872-2672), or his or her not a designated pilot examiner. The pilot also contended that aviation lawyer.

pilots innocently but unnecessarily aggravate a problem because they lack legal expertise.

AOPA PILOT •

32 • FEBRUARY

2012



AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012

AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
Contents
President’s Position
Hangar Talk
AOPA Media
AOPA Action
Letters
Waypoints
Proficient Pilot
Safety Pilot
License to Learn
Pilot Counsel
Fly Well
Pilot Briefing
Rally GA: Pay Up
Budget Buy: Classically Quick
Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
Flying Wild in Alaska
On Brand-New Wings
B-Ball to Biplane
2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
The Bird and the Leprechaun
Avionics: Pilot Friendly
Technique: Wind Warrior
Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
Products: Anywhere Map Septa
Never Again
Fly-Outs
Fly by Wire
Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - President’s Position
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Hangar Talk
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 7
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 8
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 9
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Media
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 11
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - AOPA Action
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 13
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 14
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 15
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 16
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 17
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 18
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 19
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Letters
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 21
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 22
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 23
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Waypoints
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 25
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Proficient Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 27
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Safety Pilot
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 29
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - License to Learn
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 31
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Counsel
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 33
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly Well
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 35
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilot Briefing
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 37
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 38
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 39
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 40
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Rally GA: Pay Up
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 42
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 43
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Budget Buy: Classically Quick
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 45
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 46
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 47
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 48
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 49
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 50
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 51
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Percival Provost: Fine Englishman
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 53
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 54
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 55
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 56
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 57
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Flying Wild in Alaska
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 59
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 60
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 61
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 62
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 63
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - On Brand-New Wings
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 65
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 66
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 67
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 68
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 69
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 70
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 71
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - B-Ball to Biplane
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 73
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 74
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 75
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 2012 Tougher Than a Tornado Sweepstakes: Water Dog
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 77
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 78
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 79
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 80
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 81
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - The Bird and the Leprechaun
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 83
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 84
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 85
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 86
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 87
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 88
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Avionics: Pilot Friendly
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 90
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 91
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 92
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Technique: Wind Warrior
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 94
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 95
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 96
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Wx Watch: The Problem with Pireps
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - I2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 98
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 99
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 100
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Products: Anywhere Map Septa
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 102
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 103
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Never Again
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 105
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 106
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly-Outs
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Fly by Wire
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 109
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 110
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - 111
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Pilots
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - February 2012 - Cover4
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