Gregory J. Reigel
Serving clients throughout the U.S.
Tel (214) 780-1482
Email: info@aerolegalservices.com

 
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A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.

October 13, 2017

Flight School Security Awareness Training: Are You In Compliance?

After 9/11, the TSA determined that flight schools and flight instructors were in a position to help provide security in the aviation environment. As a result, the TSA enacted regulations requiring both flight schools and independent CFIs to receive security awareness training so they could assist in the security functions at general aviation airports.

Unfortunately, security awareness training isn't usually a high priority for flight schools or CFIs. In fact, most haven't even reviewed the regulations to understand exactly what the TSA expects from them. And that could be a problem when a TSA inspector comes to perform an audit of the flight school's or CFI's security awareness training program and records.

So, to help flight schools and CFIs understand their obligations, how to satisfy those requirements, and the potential risks if they are not in compliance, I have written an article to help. You can learn more about this topic by reading my latest article: Flight School Security Awareness Training Make Sure You Are Both Current And Compliant To Avoid TSA Sanctions.

Posted by Greg

September 29, 2017

Tax Considerations When Buying An Aircraft

If you are considering buying an aircraft, you have a lot of things to analyze and evaluate in order to make sure the purchase meets your needs, both from operational, as well as a financial, perspectives. One of the issues that will require your attention is the potential for tax consequences arising from your purchase. We all know the saying about "death and taxes......" And the latter is especially true with respect to buying an aircraft.

Depending upon the type and value of the aircraft you are purchasing, tax consequences could be significant. Fortunately, in many cases it is possible to plan your purchase in a way to minimize, and in some cases avoid, the tax you would otherwise have to pay on your purchase. For a discussion of the planning process and a few generic examples of tax planning for an aircraft purchase, please read my latest article on the topic: Tax Considerations When Buying An Aircraft.

Posted by Greg

September 22, 2017

An Appeal Of An ALJ's Decision Requires Both A Notice And A Brief

If a certificate holder defends against an FAA certificate action all the way through hearing and is unhappy with the results (e.g. the ALJ sides with the FAA and rules against the certificate holder), it is still possible to appeal the ALJ's initial decision. The FAA could be wrong. The ALJ may have made mistakes or decided the case incorrectly. Or all of the above. However, in order to stand any chance of being successful, an appeal requires compliance with the NTSB's rules of procedure.

Where certificate holders sometimes fail is complying with the requirement that a party appealing an ALJ's decision file both a Notice of Appeal AND an Appeal Brief. The Notice of Appeal is filed first. In a non-emergency case the Notice of Appeal must be filed within ten (10) days after the date on which the oral initial decision was rendered or the written initial decision or appealable order was served. In emergency cases the Notice of Appeal must be filed within two (2) days.

In order to then "perfect" the appeal, the party appealing the decision must file an Appeal Brief with the Board. In non-emergency cases the Appeal Brief must be filed within within fifty (50) days after the date on which the oral initial decision was rendered, or thirty (30) days after the date on which the written initial decision or appealable order was served. In emergency cases the Appeal Brief must be filed within five (5) days after the date on which the Notice of Appeal was filed.

If a party appealing a decision files the Notice of Appeal after the deadline, the Board will dismiss the appeal unless the appealing party shows "good cause" for the late filing (a ridiculously high standard set by the Board that is very difficult to meet). If a party appealing a decision does not file an Appeal Brief, or in the absence of good cause fails to file the Appeal Brief within the permitted time, the Board will dismiss the appeal.

Thus, the key points to remember for an appeal are (1) file your Notice of Appeal, (2) file your Appeal Brief, and (3) file them within the time permitted by the Board's rules. The Board is very strict about compliance with its rules and requirements. So, if you don't comply with the Board's rules and you don't have a really, really good reason for your non-compliance, the Board will dismiss your appeal.

Posted by Greg

September 14, 2017

Aircraft Mechanic Liens In Texas

Do you provide fuel, storage, repairs, or maintenance to aircraft in Texas? Have you ever had problems getting paid for the services you provide? If so, then a mechanic lien may be a handy tool to use with those aircraft owners/operators who do not pay you in a timely manner.

For more information on asserting a lien against an aircraft in Texas, please read my latest article on the topic: Aircraft Mechanic Liens In Texas. And if you have additional questions, I would be happy to provide you with a Consultation.

Posted by Greg

September 08, 2017

Pencil Whipping Has No Business In Aviation

To this day, I am still amazed at the number of pilots and aviation professionals I run into who think it is OK to "pencil whip" a document. Some pilots trying to build time toward their next certificates/ratings may add "parker pen time" to their pilot logbooks. A CFI may provide a flight review endorsement when none, or only some, of the flight review was actually conducted. Sometimes a mechanic will add an entry to a maintenance record when the item was not yet performed, or backdate the record to show the item was performed at a date/time before the work was done. Training records may be "doctored" to correct errors. Unfortunately, even when this "pencil whipping" occurs with the best of intentions and when the spirit of the regulation has been met, it is still not the correct way to handle these types of situations.

As many of you may know from my past articles and posts, the FAA, and the TSA for that matter, take a dim view of pencil whipping, which they consider falsification. The FAA will not hesitate to revoke all of an airman's certificates, or an air carrier's or repair station's certificate, when it discovers intentional falsification. Although the majority of falsification cases involve applications for medical certificates, the FAA also pursues legal enforcement action against individuals in the situations I mentioned above. And both the FAA and TSA have authority to assess significant civil penalties in falsification cases.

Although it should go without saying, the easiest way to avoid this risk is to simply be honest and accurate when you are providing information and/or completing documents required by the regulations. And, fortunately, in situations where someone has pencil whipped a document and it is clear that the individual was not trying to intentionally deceive (something the FAA rarely acknowledges), alternatives to pencil whipping usually existed to address the situation without risking certificate or civil penalty actions.

So, what should you do? Well, even though the temptation may be great, don't pencil whip documents. Make sure what you write down to show regulatory compliance is accurate. If you aren't sure what you should write, then do some more investigation and talk to someone who can help (like an aviation attorney). The risks/liabilities associated with pencil whipping are simply not worth the perceived rewards. It is better business and practice to simply not do it. But if you do, and you find yourself facing a legal enforcement or civil penalty case as a result, let me know and I will be happy to defend you.

Posted by Greg

August 31, 2017

The Latest Lycoming Engine Airworthiness Directive: What You Need To Know

The FAA has once again issued an airworthiness directive ("AD") with respect to certain Lycoming engines. If you are one of the unfortunate aircraft owners with an engine or engines to which this AD applies (FAA estimates 778 engines are impacted by the AD) then you are probably wondering what options may be available to you. And more specifically, you are likely trying to figure out who is going to pay for you to comply with the AD. Will the cost be covered by a warranty? Will you have to sue someone? Etc.

I discuss these issues, as well as options that may be available to aircraft owners affected by this AD, in my latest article: The Latest Lycoming Engine Airworthiness Directive: What You Need To Know. I hope it helps. But if you have additional questions, feel free to contact me to discuss your situation.

Posted by Greg

August 25, 2017

What Are A Secured Party's Rights And Options After Repossessing An Aircraft In Texas?

If you hold a security interest in an aircraft in Texas, do you know what your rights and remedies are if the borrower (e.g. the aircraft owner or operator) defaults? Can you repossess the aircraft and keep it? Do you have to sell it? If so, how and for how much? For the answers to these questions, please read my latest article on the subject: What Are A Secured Party's Rights And Options After Repossessing An Aircraft In Texas?

Posted by Greg

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