What Are The Steps Involved In A Certificate Action?

  1. Notification by air traffic control facility will alert you to a possible FAA enforcement action if there is an incident.
  2. Seek legal assistance before engaging in an interview with the FAA.
  3. Investigation begins once you receive a letter of investigation. Show this to your attorney immediately after receipt.
  4. If a response is required, and you may compose a letter of explanation regarding the incident or you may choose not to respond. This is where the advice of an experienced aviation attorney is necessary. Having legal counsel to guide you in writing this letter and documenting the incident is crucial to the process to avoid further penalties if possible.
  5. Depending on the violation, you will face either an administrative or a legal enforcement action. Please see the table below for details on the major differences between these actions.
Administrative Action Legal Action
Level Of Infraction Minor Serious
Aspects Of The Process
  • Warning letter or
  • Letter of correction
  • Informal conference
  • Request for immediate suspension/revocation
  • Remedial training
  • Education
  • Re-examination
  • Civil fine
  • Relinquishment of certificate
Impact On Record Two-year notice Never

Before you participate in an informal conference, write a letter of explanation or otherwise engage with the FAA or the NTSB, it is important that you consult with a lawyer. I can help you present your case through your statements and documentation to help you avoid penalties and mitigate any consequences. Call my San Diego office at 858-401-9882 to get started.

If you receive an administrative enforcement action, especially if you are asked to undertake a re-examination, it may still be possible for the FAA to issue a legal enforcement action. Therefore, even though the consequences may seem minor, it is imperative that you consult with an attorney at the earliest possible moment and throughout the process. Do not discuss the incident with anyone outside of your attorney, even after you pass your re-examination.

Filing An Appeal

It is possible to file an appeal after the FAA orders a suspension, revocation or civil penalty. The process of the appeal includes a hearing before an NTSB judge for determination. If this determination is not in your favor, we can appeal to the full NTSB, and then to the US Court of Appeals.

Much like an appeal in the federal court system, your case can only be evaluated based on the evidence given in your initial hearing — making it extremely important that you have an attorney who will ensure every detail is comprehensively included in your case from the beginning. There is also room to appeal the full NTSB ruling if necessary, and I have experience handling cases in the U.S. Court of Appeals where these cases are heard. Get in touch today to discuss your options. I help clients throughout California with this process, including clients in La Jolla and Del Mar.