In Administrator v. Lackey, the FAA issued an order suspending the airman’s commercial pilot certificate based upon the airman’s operation of five flights allegedly in violation of FARs 135.293(a) and (b) (annual written/oral testing and competency check requirements), 135.299 (annual flight check requirement) and 91.13(a) (careless and reckless). The airman requested a hearing and submitted an answer in which he admitted the allegations, but asserted that his operation of the aircraft was excused by his miscalculation of the deadline for completion of the required flight checks and by the FSDO’s failure to schedule him for the appropriate flight checks despite his requests. Prior to a hearing, the ALJ granted the FAA’s motion for summary judgment based upon the airman’s admission of the FAA’s allegations, but reduced the sanction to 110 days based upon the airman’s claimed miscalculation and efforts to schedule the flight checks. The airman then appealed the decision to the full NTSB.
On appeal, the airman again argued that his operation of the aircraft in the absence of fulfilling the flight check requirements was excused due to the FAA’s actions. The Board rejected this argument and held that the airman’s excuse, even if true, did not explain or justify his subsequent operation of the aircraft without having completed the requisite flight checks and testing obligations. The Board also noted that “if a FSDO refuses to schedule a necessary flight check, an airman must seek relief against the Administrator independently of the Board” because “the Board may only review the denial, amendment, modification, suspension, or revocation of a certificate” and it does not have the authority to force the Administrator to take certain actions.Based upon the airman’s admissions, the Board the ALJ’s decision.
This result is not at all surprising to me. Personally, I find it difficult to understand why the airman would continue to operate when the airman knew he wasn’t current. And, as the opinion shows, neither the FAA nor the Board cares why you are not current. If you are not current, it is most likely they will find that you are in violation of the applicable regulations.