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AK Senators back pilot bill of rights

by Sue Deyoe ~ July 11th, 2011

aired fri – Alaska’s Senators are backing what’s being called a “pilot’s bill of rights.”  The legislation proposed by Oklahoma Senator and pilot Jim

Inhofe aims to grant aviators more access to information and clarifies Federal Aviation Administration rules.

Under the proposal if there’s a claim that a pilot broke the rules, the F-A-A would have to turn over all evidence to him or her thirty days before giving any punishment.  That information would include air traffic communication tapes.

Senator Lisa Murkowski says pilots deserve access to the personal information held by the F-A-A or the National Transportation Safety Board. Murkowski says Alaskan pilots have contacted her with complaints that the current system just doesn’t grant them enough information.

The bill Inhofe proposed calls for a review of the F-A-A’s medical certification process and forms.  Senator Inhofe says there are too many cases when pilots misinterpret the paperwork and are then accused of intentionally falsifying them.

The so-called “Pilot’s Bill of Rights” has 2 dozen co-sponsors in the Senate.  Congressman Don Young’s office says a companion bill is expected to be introduced in the House soon, which he plans to support.

Meanwhile, Alaska’s Senators are also pushing for more privacy in the skies…  they signed a letter sent last week to Transportation

Secretary Ray LaHood pushing him to keep what’s called the BARR program, or Block Aircraft Registration Request program.  It allows

plane operators to have their aircraft tail number withheld from real-time flight tracking software.  LaHood is calling for the program to be dismantled, saying only  operators with a verified security threat could keep their flight path private.  But Senator Mark Begich says releasing the tail numbers and  flying routes makes public too much information.

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