A mechanic recently lost his appeal of an emergency revocation order issued by the FAA after he submitted to, but failed, a re-examination of his qualifications to hold a mechanic certificate. In Adminstrator v. Montenegro, the FAA issued a request for re-examination to the mechanic. The mechanic submitted to the re-examination but failed the re-examination when he only received a score of 40%. The FAA then issued an emergency order revoking the mechanic’s certificate. The mechanic appealed the order to the NTSB and the FAA then moved for summary judgment. In response to the FAA’s motion, the mechanic challenged the basis for the re-examination request and claimed that his initial testing for his mechanic certificate was adequate and, therefore, he should never have been asked to submit to a reexamination.
In granting the FAA’s motion, the ALJ reiterated Board precedent that once an airman has submitted to a reexamination, the only relevant question is whether the airman has successfully demonstrated his competence. Since no dispute existed as to whether the mechanic had failed to successfully demonstrate his competence, the ALJ granted the FAA’s motion.
On appeal, the Board observed that the mechanic did not “1) identify any error in the law judge’s decisional order; 2) contest the statements made by Inspector Cunningham; 3) argue that any material facts remain in dispute; or 4) argue that revocation is an inappropriate sanction for a failure to successfully demonstrate competence.” Likewise, the mechanic was unable to contest that he had failed the re-examination. As a result, the Board affirmed the ALJ’s grant of summary judgment and the FAA’s emergency revocation order.
Although it is unfortunate that the mechanic did not raise his objections to the re-examination request prior to submitting to the re-exam, as I have discussed in the past, such arguments are most often unsuccessful given the extremely low threshold the FAA must meet to justify a request for re-examination. Rather than spending time challenging a request for re-examination, in most cases it may be more prudent to spend the time, money and energy preparing for the re-examination.
For more information on requests for re-examination, you can read my article on the subject here.