Scheme Nickname: 
Airman Appeals Process

The NTSB hears appeals relating to the denial of any airman certificate or orders of the FAA Administrator amending, modifying, suspending, or revoking certificates. The process begins with an appeal or petition which is filed with the NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges. A hearing is held and the ALJ issues an Initial Decision affirming, reversing, or modifying the FAA's action. An appeal from the judge's decision may be filed with the full Board. The NTSB also handles EAJA claims that arise when a private party substantially prevails against the FAA in a proceeding.

Hearing: Appeal to Judge
1. Appeal or petition is filed with the NTSB's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
2. Appeal/petition is assigned a docket number and is acknowledged by the office's Case Manager.
3. For appeals from orders of revocation, suspension, or assessment of civil penalty, the FAA files a copy of the order that was
issued to the certificate holder/respondent with a letter that designates the order as the FAA's complaint.
4. The certificate holder/respondent then must file an answer admitting or denying each of the factual allegations stated in the
5. In all cases, including reviews of certificate denials, requests for discovery of information can be filed by both the FAA and
the certificate holder/respondent or petitioner seeking review of certificate denial.

Appeal: Appeal to the Full Board
1. An appeal from the judge's decision is filed with the Office of Administrative Law Judges, which sends the appeal and case
record/docket to the Board's Office of General Counsel.
2. An appeal brief is filed by the appealing party.
3. A reply brief is filed by opposing party.
4. The Board issues an order affirming, modifying, or reversing the judge's decision, or remanding the case to the judge for
further proceedings.
5. If the Board affirms the FAA's revocation, suspension, or civil penalty assessment, and the certificate holder intends to
appeal the Board's decision to the U.S. District Court or the U.S. Court of Appeals, a stay of the Board's order may be

Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 
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.
Types of Adjudication: 
Type A
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Type(s): 
Federal court cases describe this adjudication as formal.
Resources & Articles: 
Tom M. Dees, III ;The flying world is a world unto itself and incredibly & intolerant of carelessness or poor decision-making. Fly smart, fly safe. (FN1), They Are Trying to Take My License Away-What Do I Do Now? A Practitioner's Guide to Certificate Revocation & Suspension Defense Litigation, 66 J. Air L. & Com. 261, 399 (2000)
Verified by Agency: 
Is this a Major Adjudication: