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A site devoted to aviation law, safety and security.

August 05, 2014

FAA Confirms Barter May Be Used For Aircraft Rental And Expense.

What happens when you don't have cash to spend on aircraft rental or expenses, but you do have a service or something else that would be of value to the aircraft owner or operator? Can you barter your services for use of the aircraft? The FAA recently answered these questions in the affirmative. For a discussion of the FAA's position on the matter, please read my latest article on the topic: Can You Barter For Aircraft Rental And Expenses? FAA Says "Yes".

Posted by Greg

July 01, 2014

Is Unknown Ingestion A Valid Defense To A Positive Drug Test Result.?

What happens if you take a drug test and end up with a positive result, but you never took any drugs? Can you convince the FAA not to revoke all of your certificates if you tell them you don't know how the drug metabolites ended up in your drug test result? This so-called "unknowing ingestion" affirmative defense has been tried, but, unfortunately, with little success. For a discussion of a recent NTSB decision analyzing this very situation, please read my latest article on the topic: Unknown Or Inadvertent Ingestion: An Unconvincing Affirmative Defense To A Positive Drug Test Result.

Posted by Greg

May 02, 2014

What's An Aircraft Bailment?

If you are a maintenance facility and you work on other people's aircraft, it is a good bet that a bailment relationship is created with the owners of the aircraft you maintain. For more information on how a bailment relationship is created and the rights and duties of a maintenance facility in such a relationship, please read my latest article on the topic: Aircraft Bailment And The Duties Owed By A Maintenance Facility To An Aircraft Owner.

Posted by Greg

February 17, 2014

DOT Releases First Half 2014 SIFL Rates

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released the Standard Industry Fare Level (SIFL) rates for the six-month period from January 1, 2014 to June 30, 2014. These rates are needed in order to apply the IRS's aircraft valuation formula to compute the value of non-business transportation aboard employer-provided aircraft and impute the income of the employee as required by the Internal Revenue Service Rules Section 1.61-21(g). The SIFL rates for the six-month period from January 1, 2014 through June 30, 2014, are: 0500 miles $0.2515; 501-1,500 miles $0.1918; over 1,500 miles $0.1844; and Terminal Charge of $45.98. If you are an employer and an employee or a non-employee guest or family member is flown on your aircraft, the flight is potentially taxable to the individual receiving the ride. The aircraft valuation formula applies on a per-flight, per-person basis and will be calculated using the distance in statute miles from where the individual boards the aircraft to where the individual deplanes.

Posted by Greg

January 15, 2014

When Will The FAA Use Administrative Action Rather Than Enforcement Action?

Throughout the years I have written about FAA legal enforcement actions in which the FAA has suspended or revoked an airman's or mechanic's certificate or the certificate of an air carrier or repair station, or has assessed a civil penalty against the certificate holder. But, surprisingly, the FAA does not resolve all cases with the heavy-hand of enforcement. Rather, sometimes compliance can best be obtained through some other action short of a legal enforcement action. (Yes, it does happen.) In those situations, the FAA has the option of addressing the certificate holder's alleged violations with a "slap on the wrist" through an administrative action.

For a discussion of FAA administrative actions, please read my latest article on the topic: Administrative Actions: The FAA's "Slap on the Wrist".

Posted by Greg

January 14, 2014

IRS Adjusts 2014 FET Rates For Inflation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced inflation adjustments to the federal excise tax (FET) rates on air transportation for 2014. The adjusted rates are:
  • Percentage Tax - 7.5%

  • Domestic Segment Fee - $4.00

  • International Arrival/Departure Head Tax - $17.50; and

  • Hawaii/Alaska Flight Tax - $8.70

The adjusted rates are effective for air transportation taken starting January 1, 2014.

Posted by Greg

December 02, 2013

Why Did I Receive A Request For Re-Examination From The FAA?

As you may know, if the FAA discovers evidence that leads it to reasonably question an airmanís qualifications to exercise the privileges of the airmanís certificate, the FAA may issue a "request for re-examination." The "evidence" is usually a situation or circumstances involving the airman and his or her operation of an aircraft. And, unfortunately for airmen, it doesn't take much for the FAA to have a reasonable basis for requesting the re-examination. As long as the FAA can show that an airman's lack of competence or qualification was a factor in causing the situation, then the request will be considered reasonable.

So, what types of situations may result in a request for re-examination? Here are a few, in no particular order:
  1. Running out of fuel.

  2. Landing with the gear up.

  3. Landing or taking off in a manner that results in damage to your aircraft (e.g. prop strike, tail strike, scraping a wingtip on the ground, striking runway lights etc.).

  4. Continuing a VFR flight into IMC.

  5. Getting caught on top of an overcast layer of clouds when you are not instrument rated or equipped.

  6. Taking off or landing on a runway at a tower controlled airport when you have not received take-off or landing clearance.

  7. Getting into an accident with your aircraft.

  8. Getting caught operating your aircraft over gross.

  9. Landing at the wrong airport.

  10. Entering Class B, C or D airspace without first establishing communications with ATC controlling the airspace.

  11. Colliding with another aircraft in flight, or on the ground.

  12. Operating an aircraft on a flight without appropriate or current charts necessary for that flight.

This is only a partial list of some of the more obvious situations that may trigger a request for re-examination of an airman from the FAA. The list can, and does, go on.

Hopefully this will never happen to you. But if it does, it isn't the end of the world. Pilots survive, and even learn from, requests for re-examination all the time. For more information and tips on responding to requests for re-examination, please read my article: The 709 Ride.

Posted by Greg

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