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Senator Jim Inhofe Finally Gets His Way With “Pilots Bill Of Rights” Was It An Abuse Of Power

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On Friday the U.S. Senate unanimous passed the Pilots’ Bill of Rights (S.1335). The bill garnered the endorsement of pilot and actor Harrison Ford. For the past few weeks, Senator Inhofe a member of the Senate General Aviation Caucus worked with Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Kay Bailey Hutchison, chairman and ranking member ( עוד...

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spatr 9
While I believe Inhofe was treated much differently than the average pilot, I do believe that the FAA's "because I said so" policy is the ultimate abuse of power.

I can commit an actual crime and have a better shot at defending myself than if I was to be violated by the feds. As an airline pilot, the severity of the FAA enforcement action could cost me a career and you can be damn sure I want every piece of evidence reviewed by my attorney so I can fight the charges properly.
preacher1 7
As most of us do, we stay of trouble by being careful. I was forced to semi-retire a few years ago, right before the rule change to allow us older folks to keep on, and all during my career, managed to stay out of trouble. I watched the FAA rise from next to nothing and a government entity that actually did something good every now and then to one that is kinda like the rest of them now, "I'm from the government. I'm here to help you". It is one heckuva note that a career can be totally destroyed by a bureaucrat that doesn't have enough sense to get in out of the rain. Just another case of government run amuck and the Constitution be damned.
richard weiss 5
Since, as pilots, we have experience with FAA's attitude, we have to remember we are not alone. Talk to anyone who deals with similar governmental functionaries and they will tell you the same horror stories. NRC, DOT, EPA and so on have a dictorial compliance system. You either bow to the king or you are crushed. Isn't that exactly why our founding fathers told King George to pound sand? The FAA and their style of management is a grain of sand in the middle of the iceberg. But, it does tell us why we as citizens have lost control of our country.
JD345 3
These days "due process" means the system used by librarians to robocall people with late books.
JD345 1
exactly, why not hold the FAA to the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard?
indy2001 5
Despite the fact that Inhofe is a first-class jerk (decorum prevents me from using the description that I would like to use), you need to be able to separate the man from the legislation. Otherwise the U.S. Capitol, and much of Washington for that matter, would be empty. I don't see anything in the Pilots' Bill of Rights that isn't reasonable. And getting a unanimous vote on any topic is difficult these days. He may be a lousy pilot himself, but it looks like Inhofe has other pilots' interests at heart. I'm not sure why seems to want to connect the senator's previous actions with legislation that is so pro-pilot.
preacher1 2
It is a heckuva note when you have to have legislation to enforce the rights you ought to have under the constitution to commence with. All bureaucratic and administrative hearings can be appealed but it is just extra time and money that you, as a defendant, will have to spend
Chris Muncy 2
It will be interesting to see what happens when Inholf pulls another of his famous stunts... Sorry but he is a poor excuse for a pilot.
preacher1 2
While the bill has some very needed things in it and he got off real lite on his landing episode, I can't help but feel there was a little retribution here. Sad part is, that the due process and discovery part of his legislation should have been made to apply to all government agencies, as most of them's admin hearing processes are nowhere near fair.
preacher1 3
Going on memory here but other than his "remedial training course", I don't remember that he ever admitted any wrongdoing on the closed runway deal in Texas and nothing public ever came out of if there was. Had it been Joe Blow, we'd have had the book throwed at us.
Just Sayin'.
JD345 4
Just to throw a counterpoint out there... since he got off as easy as he did, it's hard to believe THAT would be why he was pushing this bill so hard. Perhaps he really is a GA enthusiast and realized that the average pilot doesn't have connections and DC schmooze tactics and thus really doesn't stand a chance.
Chris Muncy 1
Exactly. And his "remedial training" was from one of his former students. Also admitting that "he can't be bothered checking for NOTAMS" makes him a VERY unsafe pilot.
preacher1 1
I'd hate to see him at KXNA right now where they are constructing a paralell but it is currently X'd out. There are NOTAM's as well as visible X's but doubt if he would pay any attention to
John Navratil 3
Recently someone put a plane down in Glendale after passing an airport on a rough engine. Someone suggested it was a foolish choice and this forum reacted by saying the anyone not there could not stand in judgement. Anyone standing in Inhofe's shoes, here?

I'm not saying he is anything but what he has been called, but I find something of a double-standard here. Am i wrong?
Gary Smrtic 1
Not at all. Its all to easy for armchair judges, innit? Jim is a fine pilot, and an even greater pilot's advocate. Did he screw up? yup. So have I, and I'd bet most have at one time or another...
Jason Feldman 1
Nicely said - I don't know anything about his politics, and I haven't flown with him either - Heck, I never even heard of him. But it seems, at least on the surface, like a good move to me.

We haven't had any Due Process and we were in dire need of overhaul of the legal system for pilots. I would also like to see the Fed's come up with a list of approved medications too. That way they cant flip a switch and then damn a pilot for taking X medication later in an investigation. There is no reason why that duty should fall on ALPA or AOPA
Josh Sassin 2
I feel the legislation Senator Inhofe brought to the table was a step in the right direction. Any legislation that gives the pilot or citizen a voice in matters of enforcement is a step in the right direction. I think to be fair to all parties in these matters we should note that the FAA does have a job to do and at times enforcement actions are necessary. I have never worked for the FAA, nor am I a Federal employee, but I think we would find that the vast majority of the "Feds" are good people. As stated below, the problem is in the "dictorial compliance system" not people in the field. In order to have a healthy "governmental system" it needs to be respected by the people it serves. The current structure and its approach to general aviation has been troubled for many years. We, as safe and law abiding aviators, should not have to fear the FAA but instead view them as our partners in maintaining a safe environment for aviation. This is unfortunately is not the case and it is clear in most any FBO throughout the land when the two parties converge. The point of my endless rambling is that the FAA is without a doubt a necessary part of a safe aviation environment, however it needs some serious overhaul with regard to its unchecked power and enforcement practices.
mfbutzin 1
Maybe he thought the little black dot on the runway was ants! New glasses, Jim use the benefits to get new specs.....
N5827P 1
While only Inhofe and the FAA know the true story of his landing, I applaud his legislation and think it's about time.
preacher1 1
Wasn't he working on this before his famous landing?
preacher1 1
My mistake, I reread the story and I see where he introduced it last year.
JD345 1
If you can take all assorments of traffic violations to court and get your not guilty verdict in a bench trial, I don't see why pilots shouldn't be able to do the same thing or at least something similar. I think we all know the FAA does not have to follow rules like a cop does for just about everything else out there. I know due process is a pain for those who like omnipotent government agencies, but it's usually pretty good for the rest of us.
rmchambers 1
What Inhofe allegedly did at the airport sounds quite bad but I have no doubt that the FAA would have screwed his hands to a plank had he been anyone else.

The FAA controllers are given zero tolerance to pilot deviations now. If they observe a pilot deviation they have to issue a suspected pilot deviation or their supervisors will deviate them for not reporting it.

Long gone are the days when your errant altitude would be nudged with a "Altimeter setting 29.32" out of the blue - as a clue to check your altimeter.. now you're going to get a phone number to call OR a phone call well after you've landed informing you there's an investigation under way.

Since the hearings are basically stacked against the airman having some sunlight shone on the process is a very good thing in my opinion. Most pilots have spent a great deal of time and money in getting their certificates and ratings and being hobbled by the FAA in defense of themselves is very unfair.

Good on Inhofe I say!
mm2young 1
Looks to me that Inhofe slapped the FAA in it's face, deserved or not, to show those guys what happens when you make a Very Important Person look like the idiot he is when flying, or landing as he damn well pleases. Now he can claim he's fighting for all pilots to be better able to defend themselves against the bureaucrats filing charges expensive to fight.
Now, about Senator Icarus....
preacher1 1
comment below by MCCHAMBERS and myself (3 days ago)goes along with yours. He is a jerk, BUT a very important one.LOL
Gary Smrtic 1
I think if Inhofe's work to get the Pilots Bill of Rights passed was an effect of his violation, than that's enough penance for the infraction. Inhofe is a great American, and anyone who would criticize him for using some political pull to minimize his infraction/ poor judgement, whatever you want to call it, must never have tried to talk themselves out of a speeding ticket, or any other violation/mistake they've ever made. I've known Jim periferally since he was Mayor of Tulsa, and he flew his aircraft 'round the world tracing Wiley Post's route. He's a stand up guy. He screwed up. The rusult is all of us benefit. How can that be bad?
Andrew Swineford 1
I'm in favor of any legislation that gives more power to individuals and less to the government.
jeff reeder 1
I think a "Pilot's Bill of Rights" is a great idea and long overdue so he did something great in far as his piloting skills...Sounds like something a student pilot would do!
ken young 1
No matter who it is. Pilots. Passengers. etc....I think it is good government when policies and regulations are created to keep a balance of the interests of the public and the individual.
Such instances where agencies made up of people who are accountable to no one can act with absolute authority and in breach of due process is not only frustrating, it is an outrage.
preacher1 1
Sad part is, bureaucracy like that gets entrenched and is hard to reverse, even with an administration that tries. Even if we change all in November, it will be a long process. It will really depend if you get an administrator or department head that cares and tries to do a job or just somebody that is the recipient of patronage and is just there to draw a hefty check and enjoy the perks. It may be because I know him personally, but if we could get somebody like James Lee Witt heading up some of these agencies and turn them upside down like he did FEMA a few years back, something might happen. Breach of due process is unacceptable.
Dale Roark 1
60% of a Pilots job is to keep the FAA controllers from either killing him or getting him violeted.

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