Airman Appeal Process
File an Appeal From an Order of Revocation, Suspension or Assessment?
The simplest way to file an appeal is to print out, complete, and sign Appeal Form NTSB.2005.2 in its entirety (including the certificate of service). For appeals from emergency orders, Emergency Appeal Form 2005.3 should be used. Alternatively, you can submit a letter stating that you wish to appeal the FAA's order of revocation, suspension, or assessment. Although it is not required by the Board's Rules to complete an appeal, it would be helpful if you include with your appeal a copy of the FAA's order. You must send the original and three copies of your appeal to NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C., and a copy to the FAA attorney whose name appears on the order, at the address shown on the order. If you choose, you can, instead, transmit your appeal by e-mail to ALJappeals@ntsb.gov. E-mailed documents must be sent in PDF format, and no mail follow-up is necessary.
File a Petition For Review of a Certificate Denial?
The simplest way to file a petition for review of a certificate denial is to print out, complete, and sign Petition for Review Form NTSB.2008.4 in its entirety (including the certificate of service). Alternatively, you can submit a letter stating that you wish to have the Board review the FAA's certificate denial. Please include with your petition a copy of the letter from the FAA which informed you of the certificate denial. You must send the original and three copies of your petition to NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C. If you choose, you can, instead, transmit your petition by e-mail (in PDF format) to ALJappeals@ntsb.gov (no mail follow-up is required). We will forward a copy of your petition to the FAA. No further filings are required from you unless the NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges informs you otherwise.
File an Answer to the FAA's Complaint?
After an appeal is filed from an order of revocation, suspension, or civil penalty assessment, the FAA will, for pleading purposes, reissue its order as the complaint. Typically, the FAA does this by transmitting a copy of the order with a cover letter, designating the order as its complaint. The complaint is considered to be filed with the Board and served on the certificate holder/respondent on the date on which it was mailed. The mailing/service date appears on the cover letter, as well as a certificate of service that is attached to the complaint.
The simplest way to file an answer to the complaint is to print out, complete, and sign Answer Form NTSB.2005.1 in its entirety (including the certificate of service). Alternatively, you can submit a statement in which you respond to each numbered paragraph of factual allegations by admitting or denying them, and identify any affirmative defenses you intend to raise. You may also simply photocopy the order/complaint and write "admit" or "deny" next to each numbered factual allegations. Regardless of how you accomplish this, you must send the original and a copy of your answer to NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges in Washington, D.C., as well as a copy to the FAA attorney whose name appears on the order/complaint, at the address shown there. Alternatively, you can transmit your answer by e-mail (in PDF format) to ALJappeals@ntsb.gov, in which case no mail follow-up is necessary.
File an Appeal or Petition for Review of a Certificate Denial
The Board's Rules require that a certificate holder wishing to file an appeal from an order revoking or suspending a certificate, or assessing a civil penalty, must do so within 20 days of the date on which the FAA serves its order (or, where an emergency order of revocation or suspension is issued by the FAA, within 10 days of service). The date of service of the FAA's order is the date on which the FAA mailed the order to the certificate holder. The mailing date is usually stamped on the first page of the order, and there may also be a certificate of service attached to the order which denotes the date of mailing. An appeal that is filed after the 20- or 10-day appeal period has expired is subject to dismissal, and will be dismissed if the certificate holder does not have good cause for the delay in the submission of the appeal.
There is also a 60-day time limit for filing a petition for review of a certificate denial under the Board's Rules. A petition that is filed more than 60 days after the FAA mailed its denial letter will be dismissed unless the petitioner shows good cause for the delay in the submission of the petition.
File an Answer
The complaint sets forth factual allegations in numbered paragraphs, which the FAA believes establish the violation(s) charged. An important part of the air safety enforcement litigation process before the Board is the identification of which factual issues are disputed by the parties. For this reason, the Board's Rules require the certificate holder/respondent to file an answer to the complaint. The Board's Rules also require the certificate holder/respondent to identify in the answer "affirmative defenses," which are circumstances that are offered to show that the violation(s) charged should not be affirmed, even if the factual allegations stated in the complaint are proven to be true.
Because the complaint is merely a copy of the FAA's order reissued for pleading purposes, the certificate holder/respondent does not have to wait for the complaint to be received to start composing, or to file, an answer, and the Board will accept combined appeals and answers, as well as answers which are submitted in advance of the complaint.
Under the Board's Rules, the answer to the complaint must be filed by the certificate holder/respondent within 20 days of the date on which the FAA serves the complaint (or, where the appeal is from an emergency order, within 5 days of service of the complaint). Any factual allegations that are not admitted or denied in the answer may be deemed admitted. Also, because the answer is an essential part of the litigation process, the Board has ruled (and such ruling has been affirmed by the courts) that, where an answer is not filed by the deadline set forth in the Rules without good cause for the delay in its submission, all of the facts alleged in the complaint may be deemed admitted. Thus, the belated filing of an answer (or the complete failure to file an answer) can lead to the entry of a judgment on the pleadings against the certificate holder/respondent. This means that the violation(s) charged will be considered to have been established if the facts alleged would support the charge(s), and the revocation or suspension ordered by the FAA will be sustained so long as the attendant facts and circumstances, and/or prior Board case decisions, support it. (If the sanction ordered by the FAA is not clearly warranted, a hearing limited to the issue of sanction may be held; however, at such a hearing, the certificate holder/respondent will not be permitted to contest the affirmance of the violation(s) charged.)