Text: S.1335 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 112-153 (08/03/2012)

 
[112th Congress Public Law 153]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]



[[Page 126 STAT. 1159]]

Public Law 112-153
112th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To amend title 49, United States Code, to provide rights for pilots, and 
        for other purposes. <<NOTE: Aug. 3, 2012 -  [S. 1335]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Pilot's Bill of 
Rights.>> 
SECTION 1. <<NOTE: 49 USC 40101 note.>> SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Pilot's Bill of Rights''.
SEC. 2. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44703 note.>> FEDERAL AVIATION 
                    ADMINISTRATION ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS AND 
                    ELIMINATION OF DEFERENCE.

    (a) In General.--Any proceeding conducted under subpart C, D, or F 
of part 821 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, relating to 
denial, amendment, modification, suspension, or revocation of an airman 
certificate, shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, in 
accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal 
Rules of Evidence.
    (b) Access to Information.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Notification.>>  In general.--Except as provided 
        under paragraph (3), the Administrator of the Federal Aviation 
        Administration (referred to in this section as the 
        ``Administrator'') shall provide timely, written notification to 
        an individual who is the subject of an investigation relating to 
        the approval, denial, suspension, modification, or revocation of 
        an airman certificate under chapter 447 of title 49, United 
        States Code.
            (2) Information required.--The notification required under 
        paragraph (1) shall inform the individual--
                    (A) of the nature of the investigation;
                    (B) that an oral or written response to a Letter of 
                Investigation from the Administrator is not required;
                    (C) that no action or adverse inference can be taken 
                against the individual for declining to respond to a 
                Letter of Investigation from the Administrator;
                    (D) that any response to a Letter of Investigation 
                from the Administrator or to an inquiry made by a 
                representative of the Administrator by the individual 
                may be used as evidence against the individual;
                    (E) that the releasable portions of the 
                Administrator's investigative report will be available 
                to the individual; and
                    (F) that the individual is entitled to access or 
                otherwise obtain air traffic data described in paragraph 
                (4).

[[Page 126 STAT. 1160]]

            (3) Exception.--The Administrator may delay timely 
        notification under paragraph (1) if the Administrator determines 
        that such notification may threaten the integrity of the 
        investigation.
            (4) Access to air traffic data.--
                    (A) FAA air traffic data.--The Administrator shall 
                provide an individual described in paragraph (1) with 
                timely access to any air traffic data in the possession 
                of the Federal Aviation Administration that would 
                facilitate the individual's ability to productively 
                participate in a proceeding relating to an investigation 
                described in such paragraph.
                    (B) Air traffic data defined.--As used in 
                subparagraph (A), the term ``air traffic data'' 
                includes--
                          (i) relevant air traffic communication tapes;
                          (ii) radar information;
                          (iii) air traffic controller statements;
                          (iv) flight data;
                          (v) investigative reports; and
                          (vi) any other air traffic or flight data in 
                      the Federal Aviation Administration's possession 
                      that would facilitate the individual's ability to 
                      productively participate in the proceeding.
                    (C) Government contractor air traffic data.--
                          (i) In general.--Any individual described in 
                      paragraph (1) is entitled to obtain any air 
                      traffic data that would facilitate the 
                      individual's ability to productively participate 
                      in a proceeding relating to an investigation 
                      described in such paragraph from a government 
                      contractor that provides operational services to 
                      the Federal Aviation Administration, including 
                      control towers and flight service stations.
                          (ii) Required information from individual.--
                      The individual may obtain the information 
                      described in clause (i) by submitting a request to 
                      the Administrator that--
                                    (I) describes the facility at which 
                                such information is located; and
                                    (II) identifies the date on which 
                                such information was generated.
                          (iii) Provision of information to 
                      individual.--If the Administrator receives a 
                      request under this subparagraph, the Administrator 
                      shall--
                                    (I) request the contractor to 
                                provide the requested information; and
                                    (II) upon receiving such 
                                information, transmitting the 
                                information to the requesting individual 
                                in a timely manner.
            (5) Timing.--Except when the Administrator determines that 
        an emergency exists under section 44709(c)(2) or 46105(c), the 
        Administrator may not proceed against an individual that is the 
        subject of an investigation described in paragraph (1) during 
        the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the air traffic 
        data required under paragraph (4) is made available to the 
        individual.

    (c) <<NOTE: 49 USC 44703.>>  Amendments to Title 49.--

[[Page 126 STAT. 1161]]

            (1) Airman certificates.--Section 44703(d)(2) of title 49, 
        United States Code, is amended by striking ``but is bound by all 
        validly adopted interpretations of laws and regulations the 
        Administrator carries out unless the Board finds an 
        interpretation is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not 
        according to law''.
            (2) <<NOTE: 49 USC 44709.>>  Amendments, modifications, 
        suspensions, and revocations of certificates.--Section 
        44709(d)(3) of such title is amended by striking ``but is bound 
        by all validly adopted interpretations of laws and regulations 
        the Administrator carries out and of written agency policy 
        guidance available to the public related to sanctions to be 
        imposed under this section unless the Board finds an 
        interpretation is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not 
        according to law''.
            (3) <<NOTE: 49 USC 44710.>>  Revocation of airman 
        certificates for controlled substance violations.--Section 
        44710(d)(1) of such title is amended by striking ``but shall be 
        bound by all validly adopted interpretations of laws and 
        regulations the Administrator carries out and of written agency 
        policy guidance available to the public related to sanctions to 
        be imposed under this section unless the Board finds an 
        interpretation is arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise not 
        according to law''.

    (d) Appeal From Certificate Actions.--
            (1) In general.--Upon a decision by the National 
        Transportation Safety Board upholding an order or a final 
        decision by the Administrator denying an airman certificate 
        under section 44703(d) of title 49, United States Code, or 
        imposing a punitive civil action or an emergency order of 
        revocation under subsections (d) and (e) of section 44709 of 
        such title, an individual substantially affected by an order of 
        the Board may, at the individual's election, file an appeal in 
        the United States district court in which the individual resides 
        or in which the action in question occurred, or in the United 
        States District Court for the District of Columbia. If the 
        individual substantially affected by an order of the Board 
        elects not to file an appeal in a United States district court, 
        the individual may file an appeal in an appropriate United 
        States court of appeals.
            (2) Emergency order pending judicial review.--Subsequent to 
        a decision by the Board to uphold an Administrator's emergency 
        order under section 44709(e)(2) of title 49, United States Code, 
        and absent a stay of the enforcement of that order by the Board, 
        the emergency order of amendment, modification, suspension, or 
        revocation of a certificate shall remain in effect, pending the 
        exhaustion of an appeal to a Federal district court as provided 
        in this Act.

    (e) Standard of Review.--
            (1) In general.--In an appeal filed under subsection (d) in 
        a United States district court, the district court shall give 
        full independent review of a denial, suspension, or revocation 
        ordered by the Administrator, including substantive independent 
        and expedited review of any decision by the Administrator to 
        make such order effective immediately.
            (2) Evidence.--A United States district court's review under 
        paragraph (1) shall include in evidence any record of the 
        proceeding before the Administrator and any record of the 
        proceeding before the National Transportation Safety

[[Page 126 STAT. 1162]]

        Board, including hearing testimony, transcripts, exhibits, 
        decisions, and briefs submitted by the parties.
SEC. 3. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44701 note.>>  NOTICES TO AIRMEN.

    (a) In General.--
            (1) Definition.--In this section, the term ``NOTAM'' means 
        Notices to Airmen.
            (2) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Improvements.--Not later than 180 
        days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
        Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall begin 
        a Notice to Airmen Improvement Program (in this section referred 
        to as the ``NOTAM Improvement Program'')--
                    (A) to improve the system of providing airmen with 
                pertinent and timely information regarding the national 
                airspace system;
                    (B) to archive, in a public central location, all 
                NOTAMs, including the original content and form of the 
                notices, the original date of publication, and any 
                amendments to such notices with the date of each 
                amendment; and
                    (C) to apply filters so that pilots can prioritize 
                critical flight safety information from other airspace 
                system information.

    (b) Goals of Program.--The goals of the NOTAM Improvement Program 
are--
            (1) to decrease the overwhelming volume of NOTAMs an airman 
        receives when retrieving airman information prior to a flight in 
        the national airspace system;
            (2) make the NOTAMs more specific and relevant to the 
        airman's route and in a format that is more useable to the 
        airman;
            (3) to provide a full set of NOTAM results in addition to 
        specific information requested by airmen;
            (4) to provide a document that is easily searchable; and
            (5) to provide a filtering mechanism similar to that 
        provided by the Department of Defense Notices to Airmen.

    (c) <<NOTE: Establishment.>>  Advice From Private Sector Groups.--
The Administrator shall establish a NOTAM Improvement Panel, which shall 
be comprised of representatives of relevant nonprofit and not-for-profit 
general aviation pilot groups, to advise the Administrator in carrying 
out the goals of the NOTAM Improvement Program under this section.

    (d) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Phase-in and Completion.--The improvements 
required by this section shall be phased in as quickly as practicable 
and shall be completed not later than the date that is 1 year after the 
date of the enactment of this Act.
SEC. 4. <<NOTE: 49 USC 44703 note.>>  MEDICAL CERTIFICATION.

    (a) Assessment.--
            (1) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  In general.--Not later than 180 
        days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the 
        Comptroller General of the United States shall initiate an 
        assessment of the Federal Aviation Administration's medical 
        certification process and the associated medical standards and 
        forms.
            (2) Report.--The Comptroller General shall submit a report 
        to Congress based on the assessment required under paragraph (1) 
        that examines--
                    (A) revisions to the medical application form that 
                would provide greater clarity and guidance to 
                applicants;

[[Page 126 STAT. 1163]]

                    (B) the alignment of medical qualification policies 
                with present-day qualified medical judgment and 
                practices, as applied to an individual's medically 
                relevant circumstances; and
                    (C) steps that could be taken to promote the 
                public's understanding of the medical requirements that 
                determine an airman's medical certificate eligibility.

    (b) Goals of the Federal Aviation Administration's Medical 
Certification Process.--The goals of the Federal Aviation 
Administration's medical certification process are--
            (1) to provide questions in the medical application form 
        that--
                    (A) are appropriate without being overly broad;
                    (B) are subject to a minimum amount of 
                misinterpretation and mistaken responses;
                    (C) allow for consistent treatment and responses 
                during the medical application process; and
                    (D) avoid unnecessary allegations that an individual 
                has intentionally falsified answers on the form;
            (2) to provide questions that elicit information that is 
        relevant to making a determination of an individual's medical 
        qualifications within the standards identified in the 
        Administrator's regulations;
            (3) to give medical standards greater meaning by ensuring 
        the information requested aligns with present-day medical 
        judgment and practices; and
            (4) to ensure that--
                    (A) the application of such medical standards 
                provides an appropriate and fair evaluation of an 
                individual's qualifications; and
                    (B) the individual understands the basis for 
                determining medical qualifications.

    (c) <<NOTE: Establishment.>>  Advice From Private Sector Groups.--
The Administrator shall establish a panel, which shall be comprised of 
representatives of relevant nonprofit and not-for-profit general 
aviation pilot groups, aviation medical examiners, and other qualified 
medical experts, to advise the Administrator in carrying out the goals 
of the assessment required under this section.

    (d) <<NOTE: Deadline.>>  Federal Aviation Administration Response.--
Not later than 1 year after the issuance of the report by the 
Comptroller

[[Page 126 STAT. 1164]]

General pursuant to subsection (a)(2), the Administrator shall take 
appropriate actions to respond to such report.

    Approved August 3, 2012.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 1335:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 158 (2012):
            June 29, considered and passed Senate.
            July 23, considered and passed House.

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