FAA Enforcement Attorney

  • ON May 07, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

If you depend on your airman or airman medical certificate for your career, you should retain a FAA enforcement attorney from the first sign of trouble with the FAA. If a FAA enforcement attorney is involved with an airman’s defense during the early stages of a FAA investigation, an airman may be better poised to defend his or her position before the NTSB during a FAA emergency revocation or suspension. In that, by starting with a FAA enforcement attorney early (as soon as the airman knows of a potential violation or upon receipt of a FAA letter of investigation), an airman may be able to mitigate damaging evidence becoming a part of the FAA’s Enforcement Investigative Report (“EIR”).

One of the more common problems that occurs, especially when an airman is being investigated for “intentional falsification” of an airman medical certificate, is when an airman provides a response to a FAA letter of investigation without advice from a FAA enforcement attorney. Unfortunately, most airmen believe they have nothing to hide and that by responding to the FAA’s letter of investigation, the airman is inviting compassion and understanding from the FAA. Despite what appears to be a common-sense response to an unnerving situation, the FAA is not as “kind and gentle” as an airman would want to think. Nevertheless, what an airman needs to know is that providing a response that is not calculated and well-prepared could offer the FAA attorney the exact evidence he or she needs to prove “intention falsification” or otherwise, as everything an airman provides in response to a letter of investigation will be used against him or her.

A FAA enforcement attorney can provide insight to NTSB precedent and the facts prior to an airman providing a response to a FAA letter of investigation. Doing so could very well mean the difference between an airman being successful with a defense before the NTSB and not.

If you’ve received a letter of investigation from the FAA, it’s time to get a FAA enforcement attorney on your case. Your FAA enforcement attorney at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence. Call 1-855-FAA-1215 today!

The FAA is Requesting Additional Medical Information

  • ON Mar 13, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

If the FAA is requesting additional medical information after you are issued an airman medical certificate or after your application is deferred by an AME, beware! In that, if your medical application is deferred to the FAA or if you indicated “yes” for the first time on one of the many indicators on form 8500, the FAA will likely be sending you a letter that indicates: “a review of your application and report of FAA medical examination reveals the need for additional information regarding your indicated history of [alleged illness].” The letter will go on to allow you 60-days from the date of the letter, in order to provide a litany of requested documentation (including medical records, updated physician reports, personal statements, and in the event of substance-related offenses, there will be a request for arrest records, court records, and a driving record). In the event you do not provide the requested documents, the FAA has the authority to deny your application for “failure to provide.”

It’s important to know that when the FAA is requesting additional medical information, that any information which is provided can and will be used against you. Usually these letters include a copy of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights (akin to your Miranda rights), which outlines the protections you have as an airman in providing a response to the FAA. Nevertheless, the key is that before you provide anything to the FAA, you should make every attempt to confirm that the documents and statements you are providing presents a “winning” case to the FAA. What does this mean? This means that before you provide documents to the FAA that you know will or could result in a denial, you should review your documents with an aviation attorney and appropriate medical professionals to develop (as appropriate) a docket that proves to the FAA that you are qualified for a medical certificate. Remember, the FAA has no motivation to issue you a medical certificate if you are a “borderline” case or worse. Thus, a thoroughly presented docket of materials is key to making your case with the FAA.

If the FAA is requesting additional medical information, you are being presented with an opportunity to prove your case to the FAA medical certification office. Ultimately, it is critical that an airman presented with such an opportunity consult with a FAA medical attorney and qualified medical staff who can review your records and determine your application’s strengths and weaknesses. If the FAA is requesting additional medical information from you, call The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm who can provide this analysis and other guidance for the application process.

*The Ison Law Firm does not provide medical advice.

Medical Application Deferred to the FAA

  • ON Mar 09, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Have you had your medical application deferred to the FAA? What does it even mean when your medical application is deferred to the FAA? Typically, when a medical application is deferred to the FAA in Oklahoma City or to the Regional Flight Surgeon, it’s because the airman has or had a medical condition, symptoms of a medical condition, takes a disqualifying medication, or has had an alcohol or drug related arrest or conviction which the examining AME feels warrants a closer look by the FAA physicians. Largely, AMEs are required to defer certain types of medical applications to the FAA by policy. An example of this is when an airman indicates on his or her medical application that he or she has been arrested for an alcohol related event occurring less than 5-years ago. In this case, the AME is required to submit information to the FAA regarding the details of the alcohol event in question – which the doctors at the FAA utilize to determine the airman’s risk for having “substance dependence” or “substance abuse.” Sometimes, AMEs defer medical applications to the FAA because they are just unsure whether the airman is fit to fly. Almost always, however, when a medical application is deferred to the FAA, it means that the AME believes the airman’s qualification for medical certification is questionable and that he or she doesn’t have the authority to issue a certificate; thus, the application is deferred to the FAA to make a decision.

What practical concerns are there when a medical application is deferred to the FAA? When a medical application is deferred to the FAA, you as the airman can expect to receive a letter from the FAA requesting additional medical documentation about the underlying condition (or incident) and/or additional testing and evaluation to be conducted and submitted to the FAA (always at the airman’s expense). Unfortunately, a lot of airmen get caught up in the FAA’s system at this point if proper steps are not followed. In that, submitting incomplete medical records and/or records which do not demonstrate a resolved medical issue will either lead the airman to a denied medical application or otherwise keep the airman in the FAA’s queue for months on end. The takeaway is this: when your medical application is deferred to the FAA, make sure you submit documents that demonstrate your eligibility for a medical certificate or risk significant delay from the FAA and/or denial of your medical application.

What can an aviation attorney do to help you when your medical application is deferred to the FAA? Fortunately, an aviation attorney can review your medical records prior to your even going to the AME to determine what types of issues your records may present within the context of FAA policy. After completing that review, an aviation attorney will then coordinate with you (the pilot), your personal physicians, and the AME in order to triage issues and develop a plan of action. Sometimes the next step will be to refer you to appropriate medical specialists to obtain evaluations from an aeromedical prospective. Ultimately, your aviation attorney should coordinate all efforts to demonstrate to the FAA (the first time) that you qualify for a medical certificate or special issuance medical certificate. Once the “package” is sent to the FAA, your aviation attorney will work closely with the FAA to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in the certificate or deferment process.

If your medical application has been deferred to the FAA or if you are concerned your medical application might be deferred to the FAA, call your aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm to discuss your options. The Pilot Lawyer is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.

*The Ison Law Firm does not provide medical advice.

PRIA Guidance for Part 135 Operators

  • ON Mar 06, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

PRIA guidance for Part 135 operators can be difficult to come by. While the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) provides official PRIA guidance to Part 135 carriers in their PRIA advisory circular (AC-120-68), that “guidance” oftentimes requires an understanding of other regulatory cannons, industry practice, and the FAA’s legal interpretation of PRIA. So, while the advisory circular does provide some PRIA guidance for Part 135 operators, it doesn’t necessarily put all the pieces of the puzzle together for the Part 135 start-up company (or existing Part 135 company that is auditing their PRIA processes). Don’t be mistaken, the FAA’s advisory circular is the foundational PRIA guidance for Part 135 operators – it just doesn’t provide a practical system for PRIA processes for Part 135 operators.

What are some important considerations for Part 135 operators that are either creating or recreating their PRIA processing system? First, Part 135 operators should keep in mind that they should always have a rigid “system” in place for responding to PRIA requests from outside air carriers and for requesting PRIA documents from outside air carriers. This means that every request should have the same process – from start to finish. For example, a startup Part 135 carrier can’t afford to miss the 30-day response period for providing records to an outside carrier and ultimately get hit with a civil penalty from the FAA. Having an individual or department that is consistent in its PRIA process can help alleviate oversight and potentially those civil penalties. Second, Part 135 operators should develop a “review” element to their PRIA processing in order to prevent “personnel records” from carelessly floating into an airman’s PRIA records. Including personnel records in an airman’s PRIA records and worse yet, sending personnel records to an outside carrier, can potentially produce scorn/liability from both the airman and the FAA. A definitive process, developed by a clear understanding of PRIA and industry practice can help prevent these types of errors.

All Part 135 carriers should make an attempt to streamline their PRIA response and request processes to ensure accuracy and regularity. In doing so, the Part 135 carrier will make great strides in preventing liability. If you are a Part 135 company and require assistance with developing a PRIA process, call The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm; your PRIA attorney is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.

Helicopter Accident Representation

  • ON Mar 05, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

Following a helicopter accident, it is critical that you obtain competent, helicopter accident representation. What tips should you consider when interviewing attorneys for helicopter accident representation? Well, when looking for helicopter accident representation you should always try to have an aviation attorney on your team. Usually, when you add an aviation attorney to your helicopter accident team, you are adding someone that is familiar with not only the intricacies of aerodynamics and the basics of piloting, you are also adding a key team member that is likely to contribute great insight to your case’s strengths and weaknesses.

One such contribution that an aviation attorney might be able to add to your helicopter accident representation team may be in a very practical sense. In that, an aviation attorney will likely have a better understanding of how to manage a forensic investigation of the accident site, which will allow your helicopter accident representation team to better assess potentially case-winning evidence. An aviation attorney will also likely be able to give clear guidance on how to work with inspectors from both the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board throughout the investigative process. Determinations from the NTSB regarding the cause of the accident can have a huge impact on your cause of action. Furthermore, an aviation attorney can help your helicopter accident representation team by contributing knowledge of the aviation industry and other information that might help determine what happened in the helicopter crash and why.

Unfortunately, helicopter accidents happen more often that fixed-wing, general aviation accidents. Nevertheless, due to the versatility of helicopter operations, potential plaintiffs in helicopter accident cases include flight nurses, emergency rescue personnel, sightseeing passengers, and chartered passengers, and a whole lot more. If you or a loved one was involved in a helicopter accident and are seeking helicopter accident representation, call The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm today. Your aviation attorney at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence and provide clarity and aviation knowledge to your helicopter accident representation team. Call toll-free at 855-322-1215.