By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The NTSB said last week it won't make any major changes in the way it oversees FAA enforcement actions against pilots, and NBAA says that's not fair to small aviation businesses. The current NTSB rules stipulate that NTSB administrative law judges who review emergency actions by the FAA against certificate holders must assume the allegations presented by the FAA are correct and accurate. NBAA and other aviation advocacy groups, including AOPA, EAA, NATA, and the Air Line Pilots Association, objected to this "assumption of truth" standard, but the safety board declined to change it.
The NTSB said (PDF) it considered all of their arguments, but decided to retain the rule, mainly because it doesn't have enough staff or time to do things differently. The NTSB said it would make some minor changes in the rule's language and would remain open to reconsidering the policy again in the future. "NBAA and its members have seen examples of perceived 'misuse' of this government-benefitting provision that provides practically no opportunity for a certificate holder to present additional information that may materially alter whether an emergency safety issue does or does not, in fact, exist," said Doug Carr, NBAA vice president for safety, security, operations and regulation. He said NBAA was "disappointed" in the NTSB's decision, calling the assumption-of-truth requirement "a practice of biased judicial review."