Senate Commerce Committee Passes Daines’ Pilot Protection Bill
December 11, 2015
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  • U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) applauded the recent bipartisan passage of his measure to expand protections for Montana pilots.

    Passed on a large bipartisan vote by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, S. 571, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR 2), increases protections for recreational and volunteer pilots. The measure expands the third class medical exemption for recreational pilots while broadening the protections provided in the 2012 Pilot’s Bill of Rights.

    “I am proud to see the committee rally around bipartisan legislation that prioritizes our robust aviation industry and expands the rights of hardworking pilots nationwide,” Daines said. “This bill cuts down burdensome bureaucratic regulations and institutes commonsense and necessary reforms to protect recreational and volunteer pilots. I urge congressional leadership to quickly take up and pass this measure that supports Montana aviation.”

    PBOR 2 reforms the FAA’s medical certification process to include more qualified, trained pilots through the expansion of an existing FAA medical standard. It also extends to all FAA certificate holders the due process rights preserved in the first Pilots Bill of Rights while enhancing such rights by providing a means to appeal an FAA decision through a new, merit-based trial in Federal Court.

    The Notice to Airmen Improvement Program (NOTAM) would also be updated under PBOR 2, which directs the FAA to develop a prioritization system that organizes NOTAM’s by urgency and importance, ensuring that the most relevant and important information reaches pilots.

    The measure also provides for the accessibility of flight data to be used by certificate holders to defend themselves during an enforcement action proceeding.

    “The Montana Pilots Association and it’s many members wholeheartedly support the Pilots Bill of Rights 2,” Montana Pilots Association President Scott Newpower said. “The current FAA medical certification process has evolved into a costly and onerous one. More than 10 years ago the FAA recognized this when the Sport Pilot license was created, this allowed pilots to operate many kinds of aircraft without an FAA medical. In those 10 years thousands of pilots have flown tens of thousands of hours safely. Not only does this bill reduce unnecessary costs to pilots it also saves the FAA millions of dollars a year. This money can better be spent on training, aircraft maintenance, upgrades and increased flying hours. The aviation industry contributes billions of dollars a year into the economy and this bill will help to increase that.”