Good Moral Character
Nothing can derail a professional flying career quicker than a revocation of an FAA airman certificate. Despite the FAA’s new compliance philosophy, which makes a very good attempt at establishing a “positive safety culture”—and recognizes that inadvertent rule violations can be best addressed and remedied through education, counseling, or remedial training—there are some transgressions that command the ultimate penalty: certificate revocation.
FAA Order 2150.3B. the FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program, is the guidance document that stipulates the processes FAA personnel follow when pursuing an enforcement action. Perhaps the most grievous of all “sins” committed by anyone who seeks or has a certificate or operating privilege is falsification. The order states, “In general, the FAA considers the making of intentionally false or fraudulent statements so serious an offense that it results in revocation of all certificates held by the certificate holder. Falsification has a serious effect on the integrity of the records on which the FAA’s safety oversight depends. If the reliability of these records is undermined, the FAA’s ability to promote aviation safety is compromised.”
Here are other highly probably revocation actions: student pilots flying for hire or compensation; CFIs falsifying any endorsements; flight operations by anyone whose pilot certificate is suspended; virtually any flight operation involving the use of drugs or alcohol contrary to the limits specified by the regulations; transport of controlled substances; three convictions for DUI/DWI moving violations within three years; reproduction or alteration of a medical certificate; and conviction for possession of illegal drugs other than “simple possession.” Other illicit activities that could result in a certificate suspension, civil penalty, or even revocation are listed in the FAA’s order.
If you have stepped way over the legal line and the FAA has taken all your certificates in a revocation action, are you forever grounded? Not necessarily. In general, revocation actions last one year. But, recognize that you will need to reapply for every certificate and rating that you once possessed.
The first suggestion: Re-familiarize yourself with the information on the knowledge tests. Study up for the private, instrument, commercial, and ATP during your yearlong hiatus. If you previously held an ATP certificate prior to revocation, then you must complete an Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) as required by FAR 61.156.
If there is any saving grace to this predicament, it is that all previous flight time remains valid. There is no need to acquire another 40 hours of flight time, for example, to retake the private pilot checkride. But, before taking the practical test for each of the certificates and ratings that have been lost, you are required to receive three hours of instruction from a CFI.
So even if the worst should happen and you lose all of those pilot privileges because of a serious misdeed, all is not lost. In a year’s time you can be back in the sky, hopefully much the wiser. But, who will hire you? Well, the news there is not that good.
An unofficial survey of recruiters for a few “big name” regional and major airlines revealed that those carriers have a “zero tolerance” policy. The problem for these companies is the potential risk and the fallout in the event of an accident or incident involving a pilot who has been suspended or revoked. The press would, no doubt, zero in on the fact that the airman has a “history of noncompliance” with the regulations. This kind of PR is unwelcome.
However, there could be smaller operators that would be willing to give you another chance. This may depend greatly upon when the violation took place. Perhaps the “drug bust” or DWIs took place at age 20 but now, at age 35, you have led a decade of stellar living. After all, shouldn’t “rehabilitation” play a role in hiring decisions?
One option for returning to the industry is starting an aviation-related company yourself. Whether it is a single-pilot Part 135 operation, aircraft management, banner towing, a flight school, scenic tours, or aircraft sales, there are other avenues to the sky.
For a superb example of forgiveness and redemption read Flying Drunk by Joseph Balzer. It is an inspirational story by one of three Northwest Airlines pilots who, in March 1990, flew a Boeing 727 from Fargo to Minneapolis after swigging beer at a local bar the night before. All three were arrested for intoxication, convicted, sent to federal prison, and stripped of their pilot certificates.
As Balzer says, “It was horrible. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was so humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed.” Of course, he feared that he would never fly again. However, American Airlines—in an exceptional and laudable extension of second chances—restored his career where he returned to the cockpit.
As an aside, the industry has a tremendous resource for commercial pilots who suffer from alcohol or substance abuse: the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) program. As stated on its website, “HIMS is an occupational substance abuse treatment program, specific to commercial pilots, that coordinates the identification, treatment, and return to work process for affected aviators.” Good to know, just in case.
We humans make mistakes, sometime serious. In the case of FAA certificate revocation, second chances are possible.
In terms of a state offense, DA Flynn says someone with a fake vaccine card could be charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. That's a Class "D" felony, so someone convicted could face up to 7 years in prison.
New York State's attorney general Letitia James has weighed in on this as well. She's asked anyone who thinks they might be a victim of a COVID vaccination card scam to call her office at 1-800-771-7755.
On the federal side of things, the FBI shared a PSA this year that explains how Title 18 of the U-S Code, Section 10-17 stipulates you cannot fraudulently use the seal of any US government agency - and if you do, you could face up to 5 years in prison.
Have you ever really thought about what you might do if a super-storm, earthquake, fire, pandemic, or flood were to force you to leave your home suddenly?
What would you do that first day away, the third, or even two weeks later?
What would you able to grab and take with you??
What important things would you be forced to leave behind?
The Basic Bug Out Bag aka Go-Bag
Lets start with the primary items needed for survival. Shelter, Clothing, Food and Water. Below is a list of the essentials you need to have ready should you have to leave your house in an emergency, and can only grab a Bug Out Bag before you go.
It provides you with the most basic of provisions to get you through 72-hours away from home. You probably already have most of these things already:
Print out this checklist if it helps you to have a paper copy of the items below.
Keep it handy, and easy to find should you need it. If you have a family, have a pack for each person. We will get more in detail with the articles which follow and we will introduce you to The Bug Out Bag Builder Four Part Emergency System.
NOTE: If you only own one of something, and you put it into your emergency kit you will ultimately wind up taking it out of your bag to use elsewhere. This means you should have a second item dedicated for your kit itself. You won't remember to grab it on the way out (or have time to).
If you want to get something TODAY RIGHT NOW that at least gets you some coverage, head over to The Red Cross store and grab their basic Go-Bag. Its $55 and gives you a platform to build on.
This isn't our first choice because think its better to build your own from the ground up, but its better than nothing. You will still need to add to it though.
The next most important step - and the one that will really save your life:
You MUST to know what is going on in the world around you. You may only have a few days notice that a hurricane is going to hit your home, can you get you and your family ready in less than 48 hours?
How much time will you have if you receive a tornado or earthquake warning?
If cell phone service is down do you have other equipment which will help you communicate with the outside world?
You have to have some way to get information delivered to you quickly about local events - especially when a catastrophic one is heading your way. Local TV, AM radio, Emergency officials, are the most obvious, but we've added some below which will also help you get timely and accurate information:
Wireless Emergency Alert System
For those of us in the US with a smart phone made after 2012 the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system automatically sends severe weather, AMBER, and Presidential alerts to your mobile device.
There's nothing you need to do to enable it, its part of all phones made in the last few years. You will hear an alert sound from the phone and see a message on the screen. You can disable the weather and Amber alerts it if you'd like but not the Presidential alerts.
What You Need to Know
Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible. People who are not fully vaccinated should follow additional recommendations before, during, and after travel.
Before You Travel
Make sure to plan ahead:
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If you are NOT fully vaccinated, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
Do NOT travel if…
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).hands wash light icon
Protect Yourself and Others
You might have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You might feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still be infected and spread the virus to others. People who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19 and spread it to others. For this reason, CDC recommends taking the following precautions after returning from travel.vial light icon
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If you are NOT fully vaccinated
Self-quarantine and get tested after travel:
If Your Test is Positive
If You Recently Recovered from COVID-19
You do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. You should still follow all other travel recommendations. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.