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Old 02-24-2017, 10:26 PM   #18  
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JamesNoBrakes's Avatar
Joined APC: Nov 2011
Position: Volleyball Player
Posts: 3,339

Originally Posted by JohnBurke View Post
They dont have to go to court. Administrative law. Guilty until proven innocent. They dont need to defend their action until the airman seeks appeal. Convicted first, then tried. You know that.

Only after they've already taken action does the airman get to mount a legal defense. Any letters, inquiries, hearings, or informal calls or meetings leading up to that are not for the airman to defend himself, give evidence, or make his case. Those exist only to obtain information to use againt the airman. You know this, also.

Despite any policy of cooperation, the underlying belly of the beast remains unchanged. The FAA has a long history of vigorously pursuing actions that are neither tenable or legal, or ultimately defensible, yet they do.

As an inspector told me many years ago; "you are right and will eventually win, but I may do it to you just for spite."

I know; that's unheard of in your world, and everyone in your office has matching socks.

Actually, there's a dramatic dropoff in enforcement cases within flight standards. Compared to just 2 years ago, it's down something like 90%, due to compliance philosophy. This is a good thing and a pretty dramatic change in the "nature of the beast". In fact, it's hard to train new people to do these reports, because they are a rarity now. Another good thing about this is that no "letters of investigation" go into the airman's file anymore, assuming the situation meets the criteria (as in not egregiously disregarding rules or premeditated planning to break them).

I'm not sure what you mean by "only once they've taken action", even back when enforcements were more common, if the airman did not meet with the inspector, their first notice of action would a proposed penalty, suspension, etc. Then they'd meet with the lawyer in an "informal" to try and wheel and deal, bring up new evidence, invalidate other evidence, etc. This is long before appeal from an administrative judge and long before any "final action/order" has taken place. Contrary to folklore, it's very hard to "take" someone's certificate. Even "emergency" suspensions are not fast and they are usually only the result of some egregious activity, like running drugs or widespread illicit/illegal behavior within an organization.

Although you are correct that if the airman chose to bring forth incriminating evidence, it would be used against them, ultimately any case has to be able to stand up to an NTSB judge, and they are infamous for scrutinizing the FAA and kicking out cases (and making fools of the FAA lawyers) that do not hold up. If something is learned before it gets to this point, which is usually way down the road, the case gets dropped.

I know you've had bad experiences John, in the past. I think that today with communication, visibility and accountability what they are, your situations are a thing of the past. An inspector simply can't "get away" with pulling stunts like that and if they did, they'd be easy prey for lawsuits and HR action (as in termination). I don't think this is just in my walk of life, but in many others these days as well. Things that were easily covered up or hidden are not these days.
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