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Pilot License Revocation

Losing your pilot’s license is a devastating event. There are several ways that this can happen: breaking airline regulations, committing certain crimes and, more often than not, drinking before or during a flight.

In the following article, we’ll go over what you can expect if you’re accused of violating Federal Aviation regulations and the process of losing and regaining your pilot’s license.

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 Step 1: Report and Accusation

If there is suspicion or evidence that a pilot has been drinking or otherwise violating company or aviation policy, then employees are obliged to report the pilot to his or her constituent airline, per CFR 14 § 61.15. According to federal law, it is illegal to fly an aircraft with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 or higher. In addition, aviation guidelines disallow the consumption of any alcohol 8 hours before a flight.

Pilots also have the opportunity to self-report alcohol use. This gives the airline time to find a replacement and prevents the pilot from actually flying the plane and violating state and federal law.

It’s important to note that DWI/DUIs are not the only reason that a pilot’s license can be revoked. Dangerous actions, violent charges and other behavior while “off the clock” may lead regulators or airline officials to begin the process of revoking the pilot’s license.

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Step 2: Administrative Action and Notice

Once the report has been made, the airline and or air enforcement agency will review the necessary evidence. This includes checking the pilot’s behavior against airline and FAA regulations and determining a course of action.

These actions may include:

  1. Suspending the pilot’s medical certification: Pilots must pass and hold a medical certification to fly. Actions such as drinking and doing drugs may result in the suspension of the pilot’s medical certification, making the pilot unable to fly until the pilot becomes recertified.
  2. Suspending the pilot’s license: In more serious cases, such as falsifying information or deliberately flying while intoxicated, the pilot’s license may be suspended for a set amount of time. Pilots are required to report to the FAA if their license is suspended for any amount of time.
  3. License revocation: If the administrative agency determines the pilot’s actions to be severe enough, the pilot’s license may be fully revoked. In this case, the pilot will likely be laid off or fired from the airline agency and will need to apply for recertification if the pilot wishes to fly again. Revocation orders typically carry with them a time limit – a set amount of time before the pilot can reapply for a license. This could be a year, two years or a lifetime.

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Step 3: Appeals

Generally, pilots will have the right to appeal the agency’s decision. In some cases, the pilot may be able to argue that the suspension does not match with comparative cases or is biased in some way.

Legal representation is highly recommended when moving through the appeals process.

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Assuming that the pilot’s license is revoked for a period of less than a lifetime, the pilot will have the opportunity to reapply for the license. This will require the pilot to retake all written and practical tests necessary to receive a new license and can be quite costly.

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Additional Resources

Off-Duty Events Can Cost You – This article by Patrick Veillette provides an overview of four cases in which pilots saw suspensions or revocations based on off-duty behavior.

Federal Regulations – Read the federal regulations on flying DWIs in Texas.

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Hire a Professional License Lawyer in Austin, Texas

Losing your license is a big deal, and the best way to fight it is to avoid losing it in the first place. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett is dedicated to helping professionals everywhere maintain their certifications.

If you’ve been grounded by your airline or have been charged with a crime, call the Law Office of Kevin Bennett today. If your license has already been revoked, then our attorneys will work on appealing the process and getting you reinstated.

The Law Office of Kevin Bennett serves individuals in Travis County, West Lake Hills, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Austin, Pflugerville, Lago Vista, and the surrounding areas in Texas.

Contact Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to schedule a free consultation about your sexual assault charges in Travis County.

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