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A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.

March 30, 2011

FAA Civil Penalty Actions: The Rest Of The Story

Lately it seems the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") has been aggressively pursuing civil penalty actions against various air carriers and maintenance facilities. The penalties proposed by the FAA have ranged from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. However, after the FAA announces proposed civil penalties, we usually don't hear anything else about the case until it is resolved with a civil penalty actually assessed against the targeted air carrier or maintenance facility. If the proposed penalty is withdrawn or if the air carrier or maintenance facility beats the charges, we rarely hear anything at all.

If you would like to fill in that gap in time, please read my latest article, What You Need To Know About FAA Civil Penalty Actions, which provides an overview of the processes and procedures that occur from the time the FAA proposes a civil penalty until the case is resolved.

Posted by Greg

March 03, 2011

Will A Non-Alcohol/Non-Drug Related Felony Prevent An Airman From Being Issued A Medical Certificate?

I was asked that very question by a client this morning. The lawyerly, and probably not completely satisfying, answer is "not necessarily."

When you fill out your FAA Medical Application, not only are you required to disclose drug and alcohol related arrests and convictions in response to Question 18(v), but you are also required to disclose any other misdemeanor or felony convictions in response to Question 18(w). In and of themselves, Question 18(w) convictions will probably not disqualify you from being issued a medical certificate.

However, keep in mind that the FAA is asking for that information to determine whether you are qualified to hold a medical certificate. Besides substance abuse/dependence, a disqualifying condition that the FAA tries to identify by asking for drug/alcohol related convictions, the FAA is also trying to identify other disqualifying conditions including mental conditions such as personality disorder, psychosis, and bipolar disorder. If the convictions are indicative of a disqualifying mental condition, whether substance abuse/dependence or some other mental condition, then you could be precluded from being issued a medical certificate.

Thus, a felony conviction by itself isn't disqualifying. But, if the conviction convinces the FAA that you have a disqualifying mental condition, it will be that mental condition which disqualifies you, not the fact that you have a conviction.

Posted by Greg

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