It’s Taking Forever To Get My FAA Medical Certificate

  • ON Dec 18, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

It’s not uncommon for airmen with deferred FAA medical applications to find themselves saying: “it’s taking forever to get my FAA medical certificate.” When an airman’s FAA medical application is “deferred” by the Aviation Medical Examiner “AME,” the airman’s FAA medical application is sent to the cold, dark, labyrinth of either the FAA’s Regional Flight Surgeon’s office or the Aerospace Medical Certification Division in Oklahoma City for further evaluation. In some cases, following a denial, a medical application can be sent to the Federal Air Surgeon’s office for further consideration. Unfortunately, in these cases, it’s hard to say how long it will take for the FAA to evaluate your FAA medical application and make a determination as to whether you are eligible to hold a medical certificate. But why does it take so long?

This article doesn’t assume to know every reason why it’s taking forever for you to get your FAA medical certificate. Every case is different. Nevertheless, in practice, there are two main reasons why it takes so long for the FAA to make a determination on a deferred FAA medical application. The first reason is completely out of the airman’s control: backlog. There are a lot of airmen with deferred FAA medical applications and an insufficient staff to keep up with the backlog. So, sometimes, waiting for a file to actually be reviewed by a doctor or analyst adds the biggest delay to an airman’s file review.

The second reason for the delay in getting a FAA medical certificate following deferral is not having adequate medical documentation to support your eligibility to hold a FAA medical certificate. In some cases, your health may legitimately be disqualifying and it may not be possible to provide sufficient medical documentation. In other cases, however, when you don’t send in quality documentation (i.e. documentation that is responsive to the FAA’s requests, evaluations from qualified physicians, etc), this delays the FAA’s review of your application. This usually leads to the FAA requesting additional information and the process, perhaps unnecessarily, dragging on for much longer than is necessary. The key is ensuring at the outset that you’re sending in documentation that is likely to establish your eligibility for FAA medical certification.

If your FAA medical certificate is under review or if you anticipate your FAA medical application being deferred, consult with a knowledgeable FAA medical attorney. An experienced FAA medical attorney can identify the FAA’s policies appropriate to your medical condition and assist with gathering and providing documentation that may aid in your eligibility to hold a medical certificate and potentially cut down on the time it takes to be issued a FAA medical certificate.

Contact your FAA medical attorney at The Ison Law Firm to discuss your FAA medical issues.

*consultation with an attorney is not a guarantee to faster medical certification

Should I Respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation

  • ON Dec 17, 2018
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  • BY Anthony Ison
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  • IN Pilot Law

The first question airmen usually ask when faced with a FAA investigation is, “should I respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation?” The answer to whether you should respond to a FAA Letter of Investigation is actually quite nuanced. In that, the circumstances of every situation will dictate whether a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is recommended. The key, however, is the knowledge that providing a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is not required. As such, an answer to a FAA Letter of Investigation may be appropriate in certain situations where you know that providing a response will unequivocally acquit you of the FAA’s accusations.

For example, if the FAA is investigating a flight that you allegedly conducted on March 1st, but you weren’t flying on March 1st because you were in the hospital, you may want to bring that information to the FAA inspector’s attention. On the other hand, in most cases, providing a response will not usually help your situation…more on this herein. But won’t responding to the Letter of Investigation make me look better to the FAA inspector? Won’t the FAA inspector work with me if I just tell him all the details? While it cannot be said that a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is never appropriate, it is equally hard to say that the FAA inspector, by the time he or she has issued a Letter of Investigation, is really interested in resolving the matter without, at a minimum, an administrative action or certificate action.

So, what’s the worst that could happen if an airman responds to a FAA Letter of Investigation? An admission that an airman makes can and will be used against the airman later on, in the event he or she attempts to appeal a certificate action to the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”). In that, most statements made out of court, which are later offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted, are considered “hearsay” and cannot (or rather, should not) be accepted into evidence.

The trap is that an airman’s statement in response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is an EXCEPTION to the “hearsay” rule under Federal Rule of Evidence 801. In that, an airman’s response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is considered an “opposing party’s statement” or a “party admission.” As such, anything that may be admitted in a response to a FAA Letter of Investigation is likely to be admitted into evidence by the NTSB Administrative Law Judge and weighed against your credibility as a witness or even make it easier for the FAA to prove their case.

While the FAA’s new Compliance Philosophy encourages a “transparent” attitude, usually by the time you’ve received a Letter of Investigation, the airman should carefully consider whether the FAA inspector has any intention of utilizing the Compliance Philosophy. As such, it is imperative that when you receive a FAA Letter of Investigation, you should receive contact a FAA defense attorney to evaluate your response and determine the best course of action.

If you’ve received a FAA Letter of Investigation, contact The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm. The Pilot Lawyer is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence.

Failing to Disclose VA Disability Benefits On Your FAA Medical Application

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

Failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application could potentially be a big problem for you and your airman certificate. The sanction for providing an incorrect answer or providing an intentionally false answer to 18y. on  FAA Form 8500-9 (the FAA airman medical application) with respect to your VA disability benefits is revocation of all airman certificates. The sanction of revocation of all airman certificates means that the FAA will revoke an airman’s medical certificate, pilot certificates and type ratings, and any other certificates held by the airman (i.e. A&P certificate). A revocation typically allows for reapplication in a 12-month period (meaning that the airman must reapply as a student pilot 12-months after the date of revocation). However, a recent trend for failing to disclose VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application includes criminal referral and indictment for violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. This was the unfortunate case recently for four airmen in the San Francisco Bay area, who were indicted for failing to disclose that they were receiving VA disability benefits on their FAA medical applications.

If you’ve found yourself in the position of having failed to disclose your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application, you may be able to remediate the concern for intentional falsification and/or criminal prosecution if you take action immediately. Typically, but not in all cases, the FAA has a policy of amnesty if an airman discloses an omission before it is discovered by the FAA or an investigation is started by the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General or Veteran’s Affairs Office of Inspector General. In each case where an airman has failed to disclose receiving VA benefits on their medical application, however, it is imperative that disclosure is done promptly, but in a calculated manner. Disclosure may elicit reexamination from the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine with respect to an airman’s eligibility to hold an airman medical certificate. As such, it is important that if you’ve omitted your receipt of VA disability benefits on your FAA medical application(s), that you consult a FAA aviation attorney as soon as possible.

Call your FAA defense attorney at The Ison Law Firm today to discuss your options for remediating failure to disclose receipt of VA disability benefits on a FAA medical application. There may be a relatively simple solution to an otherwise daunting result. The Pilot Lawyer at The Ison Law Firm is standing by to vector you through legal turbulence!

*Please note that airmen who have been indicted have not been found guilty of the alleged crime(s).

Resolving a TSA Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility

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

Are you a transportation worker who needs help resolving a TSA Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility? As an employee or potential employee who might need access to secure areas of the nation’s maritime facilities and vessels, the TSA will require you to have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (“TWIC”). When applying for a TWIC, the TSA will conduct a background check to determine if you pose a security risk. As a TWIC applicant, you could be determined ineligible due to having a disqualifying criminal offense on your record. If the TSA determines that you have a disqualifying criminal offense on your record, the TSA will send you a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter. This letter will identify the TSA’s rationale for determining your ineligibility for credentialing.

Resolving a  Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility requires timely attention and should be reviewed by your TSA attorney immediately.  Within 60-days of the date on the Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility letter, you or your attorney must provide a response to the TSA. If you need more time than the 60-days, you may be able to request an extension. Nevertheless, within the 60-days, you and your attorney should determine if your case is eligible for either an appeal or a waiver (or both).

Resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through an appeal requires the applicant to prove that the TSA erroneously determined your ineligibility. An erroneous determination of ineligibility occurs when 1) you were not convicted of the offense(s) listed in the letter from TSA because the charge(s) was dismissed, nolle prossed, or you were found not guilty; or (2) you were convicted of a misdemeanor(s) only; or (3) you were convicted of simple drug possession; or  (4) the charge is an interim disqualifying felony as listed on the TSA website and the conviction date is over 7 years ago and you were released from incarceration over 5 years ago.

Resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through a waiver requires you to prove that despite having been convicted of an interim disqualifying felony within the past 7 years or your having been released from incarceration within the past 5 years, or you were convicted of a permanently disqualifying felony at any time, the you do not pose a terror risk. Fortunately, most waivers will be granted by the TSA, so you and your attorney should carefully consider this option.

If you have any questions about resolving a Preliminary Determination of Ineligibility through appeal or waiver, call your TSA attorney at The Ison Law Firm. The TSA attorney is standing by to help and answer any questions you may have.

  

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!