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Old 02-15-2017, 01:35 PM   #1
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Default FAA Pursuit of Dated Violations

Some fellow pilots and I were joking about idiotic misdeeds of yesteryear (as groups of layover guys sometimes will do) at a bar. Many of these types of stories could involve busting FARs, flying in a "reckless or careless manner", etc if they were indeed true to fact and not embellished or hyperbolized like most fishing [or flying] stories of days gone by.

Then the discussion turned to "what if some FAA guy is sitting here listening to us and somehow knew who we were?"

One of the guys said "well, the statute of limitations has surely run its course." At this point, another guy's face became somber and he mentioned that there is in fact no statute of limitations. A buddy of his received an LOI for something that had occurred YEARS prior!!
He said his buddy had ended up spending thousands to fight a certificate action for a misdeed at a former employer, with only vague material evidence--mostly hearsay. My BS meter would have been going crazy if my paranoia about the implications that has on a career hadn't done so first. Surely there must be some standard of corpus delicti or similar?

SOOO, esteemed APC people: what would it take for the FAA to investigate an event that happened years in the past? If an inspector had been a fly on the wall in our barroom confessional, would they have scope or authority? Say they see a picture or video or something?

Last edited by HeWhoRazethAll; 02-15-2017 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:57 PM   #2
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I believe the statute of limitations is 5 years for FAA enforcement action.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:01 PM   #3
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About a THOUSAND more inspectors probably!

Seriously - they have enough CURRENT stuff on their plate to deal with, they don't need a 'Cold Case' unit. Plus - that would be very in tune with the new 'Compliance Philosophy' of the new AFS. That is my opinion in any case.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:04 PM   #4
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Years ago, an ASI told me it was typically six months, and this was derived from NTSB rulings on freshness of the offense. YMMV.
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Old 02-15-2017, 07:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasternATC View Post
Years ago, an ASI told me it was typically six months, and this was derived from NTSB rulings on freshness of the offense. YMMV.
Generally yes, but there are a few exceptions. Google FAA Order 2150.3. Search for "time limit" within. Easy to find. If it is one of those exceptions, it's likely one of those "crime of the century" type deals, something that affected or had the potential to affect a lot of people with blatant reckless activity (not just breaking regs, but premeditated). They are rare. Civil penalties against companies are a bit different.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeWhoRazethAll View Post

SOOO, esteemed APC people: what would it take for the FAA to investigate an event that happened years in the past? If an inspector had been a fly on the wall in our barroom confessional, would they have scope or authority? Say they see a picture or video or something?
Can you say "stale complaint" rule?
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Old 02-16-2017, 06:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EasternATC View Post
Years ago, an ASI told me it was typically six months, and this was derived from NTSB rulings on freshness of the offense. YMMV.
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Can you say "stale complaint" rule?
Yes, the NTSB has held that the offender should be at least notified of an investigation within six months. Pilot Bill of Rights re-inforces the notification requirement.

But the obvious exemption to that would be that the six month stale complaint window probably doesn't start until AFTER the FAA becomes aware (or should have been aware) of the violation. They couldn't extend that to extreme lengths (ie deacades) but I would be careful bragging about fairly recent misdeeds on the internet.

I don't think there is a formal statute of limitations for FARs.
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Old 02-16-2017, 12:54 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input guys. It would be horrible if an unnoticed, silly screw-up from younger years were to come back and haunt you for any reason.
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Old 02-22-2017, 04:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeWhoRazethAll View Post
Thanks for the input guys. It would be horrible if an unnoticed, silly screw-up from younger years were to come back and haunt you for any reason.
The feds don't care. They are sucking on the government's teat!!!! If they smell blood they will go for it !!!!!
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:46 PM   #10
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You highly inflated view of government employees' powers and desires. They are not ten-foot tall, all-knowing, all-seeing giants. Well, except for USMCFLYR.. They don't the time, motivation or incentive to open cold case flying violations.

GF
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