U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY) is supporting the Pilot's Bill of Rights introduced by U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) in an effort to improve communication between general aviation pilots, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and protect the rights of private pilots.
Hanna, who is a pilot and a co-sponsor of H.R. 3816, said the legislation provides needed due process protections to pilots during FAA enforcement proceedings. When the FAA currently investigates a flight, the pilot in question is denied access to much of the information and is often not notified if he or she is the subject of an investigation. H.R. 3816 would change this and instruct the FAA to work with pilots so they are fully aware of their options and have access to all relevant materials.
"As a pilot, I know how difficult it is for pilots to understand what's going on when something goes wrong," Hanna said. "The lack of communication and information presents a real safety concern for everyone using the airspace. This is a long-overdue measure that can be implemented to improve safety for everyone who is flying.
"I appreciate working with my colleague, friend and fellow pilot, Rep. Sam Graves, on aviation issues," Hanna added. "Rep. Graves' experience is invaluable and I appreciate his leadership on this issue."
The Pilot's Bill of Rights also requires the FAA to create a "Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Improvement Program," to provide critical safety information to pilots and make that information more readily available and accessible. Information would include unanticipated or temporary changes to the national airspace, including potential hazards, until new charts are published.
In addition, H.R. 3816 would make Flight Service Station Briefings available to the public through a Freedom of Information Act request. It makes little sense that this information is only accessible through a court subpoena.
The Pilot's Bill of Rights also provides a much needed review of the cumbersome and outdated FAA medical certification process. Specifically, it instructs the FAA to work with the general aviation industry to update the process and forms to reduce unintended errors that too often delay or prevent a pilot from obtaining his or her medical certification. Hanna said the current forms are unnecessarily complicated and often lead to unintentional mistakes that bog down the process.
The Pilot's Bill of Rights further adds an appeals process for pilot's who are denied airman's certificate or have them revoked with the NTSB or a United States Court.
This legislation has been endorsed by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, Recreational Aviation Foundation and others.