AVIATION (NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD RULES OF PRACTICE) / This dry title belies the practical significance of these new rules that the Pilot’s Bill of Rights ordered the NTSB to implement. The NTSB sits as an appellate panel to FAA administrative proceedings regarding airmen’s certificates to operate aircraft. These rules are promulgated over FAA disagreement on specific points.

“Rules of Practice in Air Safety Proceedings”

Final Rule. September 19, 2013.

At issue here is the balance of power between a pilot controverting the terms of his or her licensure with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the FAA.

As occurs in other aviation policy settings, here there are material policy differences between the FAA and NTSB and the FAA comments to these rules changes and responses by the NTSB reflect them.

General idea: More fairness to pilots subject to FAA actions against their certificates, emphasizing more timely and complete access to information the FAA (prosecuting authority in such cases) has against the subject pilots 

The highlights:

  1. Rules designed to encourage the FAA to get its Enforcement Investigative Report to the pilot, or the FAA risks NTSB dismissal of the action or other appropriate corrective action against the FAA’s case.
  2. Federal Rules of Evidence and Federal Rules of Civil now apply “to the extent practicable”.
  3. Pilots will now have the right to appeal final NTSB orders in either federal district court or the federal court of appeals.