WASHINGTON, 1 Oct. 2013. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the U.S. has issued a Final Rule including several changes to its Rules of Practice applicable to aviation certificate enforcement appeals.
The final rule responds to public comments received by the NTSB as a result of an interim final rule (IFR) issued Oct. 2012. The NTSB issued the IFR after the enactment of the Pilot's Bill of Rights legislation; it became effective upon its publication in the Federal Register on 16 Oct. 2012.
Under the Pilot's Bill of Rights:
1. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must disclose its enforcement investigative report (EIR) to the FAA certificate holder in an aviation certificate enforcement case;
2. NTSB administrative law judges must apply the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Federal Rules of Evidence in enforcement cases; and
3. litigants now have the option of appealing the NTSB's final orders to either a Federal district court or a Federal court of appeals.
The IFR implemented these Pilot's Bill of Rights requirements. Under the IFR, an FAA certificate holder is permitted to submit a motion to dismiss an FAA complaint if the FAA fails to disclose releasable portions of its EIR.
The NTSB received 10 comments in response to the IFR. The Final Rule describes these comments in detail, as most of the comments provided substantive feedback and suggestions.
In considering the IFR comments, the NTSB determined it should include a proposal to extend the EIR availability requirement in the Pilot's Bill of Rights to emergency enforcement cases. As a result, the NTSB is also publishing a new Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in conjunction with publication of the Final Rule in the Federal Register.
The Final Rule and NPRM are available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-19/pdf/2013-22634.pdf (Final Rule) and http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-09-19/pdf/2013-22633.pdf (NPRM).
The public may submit comments to the NPRM, concerning the proposal to require the FAA to make available the EIR in emergency enforcement cases, via www.regulations.gov, Docket No. NTSB-GC-2011-0001, or via postal mail or facsimile, addressed to the NTSB Office of General Counsel.
Comments should be submitted no later than 21 Oct. 2013. The Final Rule is immediately effective.