The FAA today published its Disposition of Comments on the final rule regarding “ineligibility for an airman certificate based on security grounds”. Not surprisingly, the FAA received over 700 comments to the rule. Almost all of the comments were opposed to the rule. Again, not too surprising. The major categories of objections included due process; ineffectiveness against terrorists; TSA/Government will become too powerful; and adoption of rule without prior comment.
Four of the commenters supported the FAA’s rule. Apparently, they felt that the rule “is a worthwhile deterrent in the fight against terrorism because of current safety concerns”. One commenter went so far as to state “that national security is more important than the possibility of a pilot’s losing his or her license for a period of time.” (Nothing like missing the forest for the trees.)
The FAA’s response to the comments is “Congress has enacted a law that has largely overtaken the FAA’s rulemaking action and the challenges to the FAA’s and TSA’s rules have been decided by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Based on these developments, a detailed response to the comments is not warranted. In addition, many of the comments addressed the TSA’s rules, and it would be inappropriate for the FAA to address these comments.” (How is that for a response that doesn’t provide much of a response?!)
Additionally, according to the FAA, it “is working with TSA to determine if additional rulemaking is necessary to reflect the statutory requirements of 49 U.S.C. 46111. In this new rulemaking action, the public will have an opportunity to comment before the adoption of a final rule.” If you would like further information regarding the final rule or the comments, contact Peter J. Lynch, Enforcement Division, AGC-300, Office of the Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20591; Telephone No. (202) 267-3137.