Inhofe's Pilot's Bill of Rights 2: A Sequel Worth Supporting

Sen. James Inhofe is crafting legislation that would force the FAA to do the things it should have in the first place. It's about time.

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Sen. James InhofeFlying

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights championed by Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe and passed into law two years ago has been so successful that a summer 2014 sequel is in the works. Inhofe’s Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is being crafted to address continuing “unfair practices and regulations toward the aviation industry” by the FAA. Looking at the details of what's included, this one looks like it might be even better than the original.

The new bill seeks to expand driver's license medicals to more pilots, rein in the power of Customs and Border Protection officers during stops and searches of GA aircraft and make it simpler and less costly to approve new safety equipment for light aircraft.

In addition, the measure would prevent the FAA from enforcing Notam violations if the agency doesn’t complete its Notam improvement program by the end of the year; provide civil liability protection for aviation medical examiners, designated pilot examiners and designated airworthiness representatives; and update language in the current Pilot’s Bill of Rights that would require the FAA to notify individuals when they are subject to investigation, limit the scope of document requests to pertinent issues being investigated and prevent the FAA from keeping enforcement action records for more than five years.

Driver’s license medicals, warrantless Customs agent stops and certification reform are all hot-button issues that are drawing broad attention already. Including them in the new Pilot’s Bill of Rights will speed the process of righting wrongs and improving general aviation in concrete ways.

That it takes an act of Congress to get the FAA to do the right thing is unfortunate, but thankfully we have active GA pilots and other aviation supports on Capitol Hill who are vigorously backing common sense ideas and telling the bureaucrats at 800 Independence Avenue enough is enough.

The issues addressed in the new Pilot’s Bill of Rights aren’t the only threats we in general aviation face, of course. We have an EPA that’s trying to regulate 100LL avgas out of existence before the FAA has identified an acceptable replacement, Customs agents who think nothing of making GA aircraft arriving back in the country wait for hours on the tarmac, a regulatory framework that ensures mandated avionics such as ADS-B equipment costs more than it should, and a White House that has publicly scorned general aviation despite the $150 billion in economic activity it generates each year.

All of which is to say, maybe it’s not too early to start thinking about a Pilot’s Bill of Rights 3.

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