What Power Does the FAA Have?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Lowflynjack, Jan 14, 2020.

  1. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    I’ve seen a lot of old men who decide they will just keep flying their planes once they lose their medical. Their sentiment is always, “What can the FAA do? Take my license? That won’t stop me.” Maybe I’ll be one of them someday.

    I used to think that they were taking a big risk, but I no longer feel that way.

    There’s a guy in my area who crashed his plane after dropping off paying passengers. His plane wasn’t Part 135, and he’s not a commercial pilot. They figured out it was a commercial flight when they found his website and saw him advertising. Something like: Fly with me and bypass security. You can bring your guns, drugs, etc.

    So months go on and he gets another plane and resumes commercial operations. This time he has ADS-B Out. So they watch his flights and see he’s flying into KSAT... where the FAA is! They bust him on the ramp with a paying passenger and a couple who aren’t paying. Police cars everywhere, very dramatic. After talking to him for awhile, the investigator tells him he’s now limited to flying with no passengers at all. Then they tell him they don’t want him to fly with passengers, but if he were to load his friends up and go, they can’t stop him, but he’s just adding more and more to his file. Scary, right? Not really.

    Eventually they met with him and made him surrender his license. He went online and ordered another one and they sent it to him! They did take that one too, but it was pretty funny.

    So now what does he do? Turns off his ADS-B and flies paying passengers anyway. This has been going on for many months and the FAA knows it. This brings us back to my original question... what power does the FAA have?

    And for those of you who don’t think this is a big deal, I’ve seen this guy own three planes. He’s had to spray paint all three because he likes to fly through heavy storms. He also likes to do his own maintenance, and doesn’t do it well. Toggle switch from the parts store for a mag switch, etc.

    Hopefully this doesn’t end in tragedy, but it’s looking more and more like it will. BTW, the original crash... he ran out of fuel.
     
    Tony Long and Tantalum like this.
  2. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    2,463
    Location:
    North TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    JCranford
    Woooow! Thats not gonna end well some day!
     
  3. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    I've heard that Alaska has many pilots that have no license, and never have.

    Basic med is a great thing.

    I dunno what I'd do if I owned a plane and list my medical.... Prolly not break the law. But I must admit I really dislike the overreach of the government into areas they don't belong... Aviation isn't one of them, but so much else is.
     
    Tony Long and TCABM like this.
  4. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,822
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Almost all FAA offenses are criminal. He could be fined, or even jailed if they file charges. That said, flying is a very honor based system. I know all sorts of people who fly without medicals, flight reviews, etc. I know many more that fly airplanes that aren't in annual, or that they have done major modifications or repairs without approvals. The general thought process is the only way they will get caught is if something goes wrong. If something goes wrong there is a 50/50 chance of survival and an even less chance of getting punished.
     
    Tony Long likes this.
  5. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    Right, it's criminal. However, from what I've heard, the FAA doesn't have an enforcement branch. So, they have to have another department file the criminal offense and they'd better have their ducks in a row before doing so.

    Has anyone here ever heard of the FAA fining someone or worst case, taking their plane? I don't think they can. In the case I described above, he's the guy they should take out of the air. He's the guy we should all want out of the air. Flying yourself around without a medical or flying in a plane that's out of annual, you might kill yourself. In most of our planes, we probably wouldn't hurt anyone on the ground. This guy will take down unsuspecting passengers if he goes down... which he's done before due to lack of planning.
     
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    770
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc Holliday
    49USC are the laws governing Aviation in which the 14 CFR's regulate. Yes, one can be brought up on charges of violating 49USC, which could involve prison time and hefty fines.

    You are correct, the FAA doesn't do criminal enforcement's, but they can refer violations to the US Marshall's office or FBI. And yes, there have been people who have been charged, convicted and spent time in a federal penitentiary.
     
    Bell206 likes this.
  7. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    8,805
    Location:
    Lincoln NE
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brian
    I'm not advocating just making an observation, I think if most people knew how many uninsured, revoked and suspended drivers they passed by on the highway everyday...

    I swear that every time someone gets revoked or suspended they are driving the next day, sometimes in another accident within weeks.

    I'd say good 15% of these people aren't legal to be in the country and if someone dies in an accident they are involved in they flee the country.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
    steviedeviant, TCABM and ETres like this.
  8. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    3,828
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    I think a bigger threat is your insurance company denying your claim, if/when you crash operating outside the rules.
     
    Kenny Phillips, Jim_R and skier like this.
  9. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,905
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Just watch Live PD pretty much every car they pull over has a suspended driver or a driver that has never had a license. They don't have insurance either so make sure your uninsured motorist insurance is adequate.
     
    Old97 and murphey like this.
  10. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    770
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc Holliday
    I've actually seen that happen.
     
  11. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    5,176
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    It isn’t the FAA that comes to take you to jail. The IRS agent doesn’t come take you to jail either. Ask Mr Hughes if you can flaunt the regs and get away with it forever.

    i think the old guys with no medicals are probably fine as long as they don’t hurt anybody, but keep doing stuff like you’re describing and eventually you’re going to jail.
     
  12. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    I agree 100% Jack...

    Let's look at the powers that should control his ability to fly....

    If he has no ticket, he shouldn't be able to fly. Per the gubmint.

    How does he buy the plane... Cash or personal line of credit. If the latter, will the bank stop him? Nope, they might make him buy loan insurance if he's older (they don't know what he's buying).

    Plane out of annual? Who cares? Gubmint, but woefully understaffed to enforce.

    No medical of any sort... Gubmint again.

    Insurance? Who's gonna insure him? No body. No how. No way.

    Obviously, the man has more money than sense.

    What's his estate look like, if he takes a load of folks into the ground at speed?

    If they're flying with him, do they even tell the family they're going on a trip? ("Carry your guns and drugs?")

    Bottom line, this is about 70-80% Darwin for all involved. 20-30% maybe he hits a house or another plane. And the skew is really probably greater(95-5?).

    Uninsured, unlicenced (revoked) drunk driver... More of a liability to you and me than this guy... And they're everywhere.

    Turn him in. Probably won't stop him, might slow him down for a minute...
     
  13. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    Insurance? Who's gonna insure him? No body. No how. No way. He's insured! They paid him for his last plane. Although at the time he crashed, it was his first accident and that's when the investigation began.

    What's his estate look like, if he takes a load of folks into the ground at speed? Probably not much. The plane is the most expensive thing he owns and it would be gone.

    Uninsured, unlicenced (revoked) drunk driver... More of a liability to you and me than this guy... And they're everywhere. Agree, that's more of a risk to you and me, but not to his passengers. They have no idea he has no license or isn't a commercial pilot.

    Turn him in. Probably won't stop him, might slow him down for a minute... Not me! There's nothing to turn in anyway. The FAA already knows. At this point, without locking down his plane or taking it, they don't seem to be able to do anything. They've already taken his license. Now what? Maybe they're doing something behind the scenes that I don't know about.
     
  14. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2019
    Messages:
    449
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CharlieD3
    What's he flying? A twin? Where's he getting his customers, the hood?

    He was insured before... Maybe not now...
     
  15. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,358
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast

    Yeah, Basic Med puts a whole new spin on it. Basic Med is not an FAA medical, so I can't see where the FAA has any ability to revoke it. They don't get any report from the examining physician (and pilots can shop for an approving doc anyway), so they don't have any reason or justification for taking any action.

    Basic Med is essentially informed self-certification. There are no prohibitions on drugs, eyesight, blood pressure, etc., so I don't see how the FAA can do much of anything from a medical standpoint to a pilot who no longer has an FAA medical and is using Basic Med in accordance with its limitations.

    In fact, from forum discussions with doctors Lou and Bruce, it appears that Basic Med provides a "safe harbor" from previous disclosure omissions and errors. If a pilot forgot to disclose a condition on an expired medical, but is now flying under Basic Med, he's safe. The FAA can't revoke an expired medical, and they can't revoke or deny Basic Med. Possibly they could refer the airman for prosecution for falsifying a federal form, but in a case like that I think it would be a real stretch.

    Basic Med isn't perfect, but it took us a long way toward reducing government overreach.
     
  16. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    10,514
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    The FAA can and does issue civil penalties for violations against those who don't have FAA certificates. In more serious cases, the FAA makes a referral to the Justice Department, which then makes a decision whether to seek criminal charges.
     
    TCABM and Bell206 like this.
  17. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,567
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    The FAA can levy civil penalties and certificate actions, but FEDERAL LAW also makes operating without the required certificates a CRIME (47 CFR 46317). If the FAA feels strongly, they can refer the case to a federal district attorney for prosecution. If you don't think you can't be prosecuted over FAA certificate actions Mr. Cooper will be along shortly to correct your mistake.
     
  18. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2018
    Messages:
    2,810
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kenny Phillips
    I would seriously 'out' this guy, loud and clear. Does he have a FB page?
     
  19. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    There's nothing to out him on. They're already aware of all of his actions.

    He had a FB page, a website, etc. He took it all down. I'm guessing it's all word of mouth now.

    Originally he claimed he was only flying people for the cost of their portion of the flight. So he'd work a deal with a B&B in Colorado for example, then he would fly guys out there for a fishing trip, claiming he was charging them only for their share of the flight and making his money on the B&B. The FAA says the biggest problem is that he's advertising. You can take your friends for a ride and share the cost, you can't advertise this.

    However, he was (is) giving rides to see the local sites like the lake, downtown, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2020
  20. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,358
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast

    He's already "outed." The FAA knows all about the guy. That's the whole point.
     
    Lowflynjack likes this.
  21. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    I guess that's what made me bring up this topic. What would it take to make the FAA feel strongly about this? He started off as a pilot giving commercial rides with a commercial license or a part 135 Certification. Okay, they let him slide on this one. Now he's doing the same thing on a suspended license. I would think that if he has someone on board and he burns a hole in the ground that the FAA could and should be sued.

    Again, maybe they have referred the case to a district attorney. I wouldn't know.
     
  22. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Messages:
    3,445
    Location:
    NorthEast Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc
    This whole thing brings up a question in my mind:

    My SIL used to work for the NTSB. I went to a party one time and met all the folks that she worked with and at times visited her office. They had a courtroom in the facility and one of the guys I met was a pilot and a full blown judge. All his co-workers even called him judge.

    No pain, I realize that the NTSB is not the FAA, but what cases do the NTSB try.
     
  23. TommyG

    TommyG Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Messages:
    1,346
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom
    Aviation is an honor system, we are all expected to be honest. I know guys that got all their ratings and then all of a sudden they somehow have 1500 hours and get hired by the airlines. 99.9% of us are honest and do the right thing, but it’s the one guy that does stupid things and ends up killing people. At that point is when the FAA steps in and creates more rules that affect the rest of us, which usually ends up being an inconvenience for us. But do we need more rules, or do we need the FAA to actually enforce the rules already out there. Unfortunately it will end up with a loss of life for the pilot to face any real legal action in the OP. And with that loss of life comes the negative press about GA and how dangerous it is.
     
    MBDiagMan and mryan75 like this.
  24. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    770
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc Holliday
    NTSB Judge presides over cases brought forth by the FAA over regulation violation cases. This is administrative law.

    The NTSB judge is known as a ALJ (Administrative Law Judge)
     
    Bell206 likes this.
  25. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    26,471
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Just because someone at the FAA knows something doesn't mean the FAA can do anything. They need evidence to show that this fellow is operating outside the rules. If you really value safety you can get a couple photos of the guy loading up his airplane with pax and taking off. That's evidence of him flying without a license. The FAA can't go to the Marshal's or the Justice Department without evidence, and they won't get that unless someone drops a dime.

    Jack, you're the guy to do this. You can get photos of this miscreant from a mile away with those cameras of yours. But the FAA can't really do much without complaints from the public or solid evidence. Once it goes to the Justice Department it becomes criminal law, and things get done in a real court, and not the FAA's Kangaroo court. Justice won't take it if they don't think they can win. And they can't win without evidence.
     
  26. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    5,176
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    I would think the ramp check where they found paying passengers would be better evidence than sgoti taking a picture of people in an airplane.
     
    Ryanb and Half Fast like this.
  27. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    26,471
    Location:
    Land of Savages
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    steingar
    Yeah, but the ramp check requires an investigator to stake this guy out until he and the passengers show up. The FAA doesn't have anyone to do that. They get things by ramp check more or less randomly.
     
  28. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,905
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Who needs the FAA? Let's do the work for them. We could start a group called...I don't know how about...the POA Youth and we can secretly spy on each other and report stuff to the FAA. That is our duty as citizens isn't it? Take covert photos, listen to conversations. Here are some things to look for.

    - People with zip ties and duct tape in their hangers. They are likely fixing things without logging it.
    - Listen for things like, "there is an STC for that but who wants to spend the money"
    - Maybe a guy brags, "I flew at 999 feet over a congested area the other day."
    - "Clouds were kind of low I could only get 499 feet below them"
    - "Yeah the guy handed me some money after the ride for gas but it was 60% of the total cost."

    These people need to be stopped.

    Heil POA


    ETA: Forgot the [Sarcasm] [/Sarcasm] blocks
     
    SToL and CharlieD3 like this.
  29. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,173
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    Make no mistake, I think that the SAT FSDO definitely watches social media - to a creepy extent. To a degree, I understand it, but it still feels like a violation of the 4th amendment. When I was down there, the head of that FSDO happened to be at the airport I was at one day and asked me about my (then infant) daughter. I think he may have just been trying to be nice, but it wasn't reassuring, and it felt threatening, to be honest, as I didn't consider him anywhere in my circle of that kind of friend at the time being. Personally, I think people should respect and obey the rules, but the truth is that some of these rules are arbitrary and not completely a moral sin issue.
     
  30. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    They don't need me to take photos, we have security cameras that look right at his plane. Now he shows up with sunglasses, and an ATF hat. I couldn't make this up if I tried!

    Also, I will say, the videos or my photos would only show him flying without a license. He always picks nice airports to make it look more official.
     
  31. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    5,176
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    They already did it.
     
    Ryanb likes this.
  32. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2014
    Messages:
    2,513
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jack Fleetwood
    When he had ADS-B Out on, it was easy for them!
     
  33. Bell206

    Bell206 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2017
    Messages:
    2,224
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bell206
    It's all spelled out below. I've assisted in a few actions and it's not as straight forward as some think. Plus, the FAA can administratively change things on the fly if they so choose during these actions. Regardless, very few get to the criminal intent level which only the DOJ/FBI can handle as mentioned above.
    https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/FAA_Order_2150.3C.pdf
     
  34. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,350
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mryan75
    It's called the US Attorney's Office.
     
    Doug Reid likes this.
  35. mryan75

    mryan75 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,350
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    mryan75
    Yes, these people do need to be stopped. It's things like this that get the rest of us burdened with more regulations. I'm not a rapper. I have no problem with reporting illegal activity, and that includes illegal charters. Plus, he's going to kill someone. If that's not enough for you to drop the dime on the guy, he isn't the problem, you are. Yes, I hold people with an attitude like yours in lower regard than his guy.

    #notbeingsarcastic
     
  36. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    1,905
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Excellent my evil plan is working.
     
  37. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    4,358
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Half Fast

    Did you read the very first post?

    "They bust him on the ramp with a paying passenger and a couple who aren’t paying. Police cars everywhere, very dramatic. "
     
  38. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Messages:
    3,173
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanShort1
    Honest, this is the wrong response. New regulations only hurt / impede the people that follow them, not guys like this, which betrays the true nature of the problem. In turn, this means higher prices for using the honest person's service which makes the "bad actor" actually more attractive to a segment of the population since he isn't dealing with the red tape. Additionally, if it's a "caveat emptor" situation and his passengers happen to actually be aware and still choose to use his services, that's their problem and there are plenty of examples (That King Air at Addison???) where certificated pilots are not always safer, either. We actually ought to stand up against regulations that are egregious and burdensome to the honest and ineffective against the dishonest.
    Prosecute actual problems and back off of people that don't actually hurt others. I'd bet you do 70 in a 60 at times, too... and hypocrisy stinks.
     
  39. YooperMooney

    YooperMooney Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2019
    Messages:
    35
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    YooperMooney
    FAA does have an enforcement branch; I know as I recently interviewed for a job there. If they want to affect an arrest they need to coordinate with the Assistant US Attorney’s office and local law enforcement (if they cannot secure assistance of the US Marshals). There are very VERY few armed LEO FAA special agents. The DOT OIG are armed 1811 series criminal investigators too.
    What’s worse than having them put you in bracelets? How about forfeiture if collateral (i.e. substantial fine) or seizure of your aircraft. I’ve been a LEO bureaucrat for years with most of my career dealing with administrative crap. When they really want you, they will always get you. It always works that way. Yeah, I cringe when I read about the little guy getting the book slammed but that’s the risk they were willing to take. People that play stupid games win stupid prizes. Uncle Sugar has no discretion. Uncle Sugar does what Uncle Sugar wants.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  40. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    770
    Location:
    Tombstone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Doc Holliday
    People use social media and post all sorts of things about themselves. And it's free to anyone who wants to read it. Think about it.

    Not sure how you could feel "threatened" when it is you posting the information online. o_O
     
    denverpilot, SToL and mryan75 like this.