Since 1967 the NTSB has served as the "court of appeal" for airmen, aircraft mechanics, and other individuals and entities whenever the FAA takes a certificate action. The Boards Administrative Law Judges hear, consider and issue initial decision on appeals filed with the Board. Included are appeals of:
Orders issued by the FAA's Administrator amending, modifying, suspending or revoking, in whole or in part certificates of airmen, air agencies and air carriers for alleged violations of the Federal Aviation Regulation or for lack of qualification;
FAA actions denying applications for the issuance or renewal of airmen certificates including medical certificates;
Appeals of certain FAA civil penalty orders issued by the FAA against pilots, flight engineers, mechanics or repairmen where the amount in dispute is less than $50,000.
The NTSB Administrative Law Judges also adjudicate claims for fees and expenses stemming from FAA certificate and civil penalty actions under the Equal Access to Justice Act.
Cases are handled on an emergency or non-emergency, or routine basis as designated by the FAA. If a case is designated an emergency, statutory time deadlines are invoked and the FAA certificate action is effective immediately. Emergency hearings on the merits of the case must be held by the Administrative Law Judge assigned the case within 30 days of the receipt of the filing of the appeal. Board members have 30 days from the Administrative Law Judge oral initial decision to render a final decision.