FAA Emergency Orders

Nothing will put the skids on your flying career faster than a “FAA Emergency Order.” The Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) has the authority to suspend or revoke an airman’s certificates whenever the Administrator determines that the public interest and safety in air transportation or air commerce requires so. The unfortunate part is that an emergency order of suspension or revocation of an airman’s certificates has immediate effectiveness. This means that unlike when a pilot receives a notice of proposed certificate, when an emergency order is issued, the subject pilot must cease all flight operations until the emergency order is overturned in the appeal process. That being said, however, an airman can attempt to appeal the order’s emergency status with the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”). If the emergency status is overturned by the NTSB, the airman could potentially retain his or her certificates during the pendency of the underlying certificate suspension or revocation appeal. An airman must act fast in this situation, however, because an appeal from an order’s emergency status must be filed within 48 hours of notification, at which point the NTSB has up to 5 days to issue an opinion. If the emergency status is overturned by the NTSB, the airman could potentially retain his or her certificates during the pendency of the underlying certificate suspension or revocation appeal. Make sure you contact your FAA Attorney at the Ison Law Firm as soon as you are notified about an “FAA Emergency Order,” so as to preserve your appeal of the emergency status.

What triggers an emergency suspension or revocation by the FAA? An emergency suspension or revocation by the FAA could be triggered by any number of things which the Administrator deems is contrary to the public interest and safety in air transportation or air commerce. Such things as not reporting DUI convictions and operating under Part 135 rules without the proper certification are the types of things which can easily land a pilot in an emergency order situation. Usually, emergency action is taken only when the certificate holder lacks qualification, or there is a reasonable basis to question whether the holder is qualified to hold the certificate; and when the certificate holder is reasonably able as a practical matter to exercise the privileges of the certificate.

What are the typical penalties for “FAA Emergency Orders?” The penalties for emergency orders vary from case to case; however, the typical penalty for a revocation is revocation of all certificates without the ability to reexamine for 1 year. This means that once an airman’s certificates are revoked, he or she will have to wait 1 whole year before reexamining again as a student pilot and working his or her way back up to the certificates and type ratings that he or she held prior to revocation.

How can you fight a “FAA Emergency Order?” The first thing you should do when you receive an emergency order in the mail is call your aviation attorney at the Ison Law Firm. There are three levels of appeal process which can be pursued in your defense. Furthermore, there is an accelerated appeal process provided for in 49 U.S.C. §§ 44709(e), 44106, 44710, and 44726, which allows faster access to courts for those involved in an emergency order.

If you have any questions or are the subject of an “FAA Emergency Order,” call your FAA attorney at The Ison Law Firm!

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