Seems like a fair expectation for transparency in any proceedings but the driver behind it stems form and obvious highly dangerous and inexplicable act of very poor airmanship that could have ended in a tragedy. Not only pilot but personal on the ground. Big X and vehicles and people everywhere looks more like NOTAMS ignored and Mr Magoo is at it.
It's about time. Contrary to popular opinion, the FAA is generally fair in it's dealings with airmen. However, when a violation occurs, it's anyone's guess as to how severe the situation will become. It's not clear whether a busted altitude will result in a slap on the wrist or a permanent and immediate revocation of all certificates. Well defined, clearly understood guidance and penalties are the norm in our society. It's time the FAA got with the program.
He landed on a closed runway that had proper markings on it, endangering construction personnel on the ground then took off on the same runway after knowing it was closed. He of all people should know the regulations are for everyone, except a Senator I guess. I think it is sorry that he considers himself exempt from the same rules we all abide by.
Frankly, it is probably a good thing that the FAA is now legally required to treat pilots fairly, to allow them to see the government's evidence, and to treat them as innocent and able pilots until proven not to be both.
Someday, perhaps we could hope to see an FAA which set for itself, as a major organization-wide goal, INCREASING the number of pilots in America, and increasing the use of America's airports and airspace for pleasure, business, sport and the expression of freedom.
And, by the way, if someone drags the NOTAM system into the Internet Age, even with the FAA kicking and screaming in denial, well, that would be another good thing.
Sen. Inhofe is the one old, bold pilot who seems to have defied the odds of the adage. Perhaps there should be a new aviation adage when a pilot makes a stupid mistake:
"Oops, I made a Senator Inhofe when I took off over gross weight and crashed"
Or maybe the NTSB will adopt a new term when assessing an accident or incident:
"...The pilot's inadequate flight planning resulted in a Senator Inhofe..."
We should all aspire to better and safer pilots than Sen. James "Jim" Inhofe.
If there is nothing to hide, there should not be a problem with transparency. There should also be consistent enforcement.
Regardless of how egregious the offense, why not be open about "here's what you did, here's how we know, here's why it's a problem" ? Secrecy is the cornerstone of the regimes we like to criticize, and is unbecoming of any American agency. I guess the Bill of Rights applies to criminal law and not administrative law.
It's a shame that it takes a senator to affect change... I'm sure many an average Joe PPL made a screw-up and got slammed for it, everyone else unable to hear his (or her) pleas for fairness or consideration. These people probably also abandoned flying as a result.
Let's all just agree to be happy that there will be more fairness and transparency going forward.