Representation in all United States jurisdictions for

FAA enforcement actions and FAA civil penalty actions before the FAA and the NTSB.


Hire the attorney pilot, Steven Lamar Thompson, to protect your interest in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforcement action, or a FAA civil penalty action against a FAA-issued certificate for the alleged operation or conduct contrary to an enforceable statute or regulation under the United States Code (U.S.C.), Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R), and Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).


Here is a list of 14 customary FAA enforcement actions and a short explanation of the basis that may trigger each action. Also, actions are listed that may be available, where warranted, that we can take together to protect your interest. Note: NTSB is the National Transportation Safety Board; DOT is the Department of Transportation; and ALJ is an Administrative Law Judge.


As it relates to a FAA certificate action, we may: (1) have a hearing before the FAA; (2) file an appeal before the NTSB; (3) file a petition to review before a U.S. circuit court of appeals or before a U.S. district court.


As it relates to a FAA civil penalty action “money damage,” we may: (1) file an appeal from Administrator’s civil penalty decision before a U.S. district court (when the civil penalty exceeds the jurisdictional limit); and (2) if the individual is not an acting airman, have a hearing before a DOT ALJ (when the civil penalty is less than the jurisdictional limit); (3) file an appeal from the DOTs ALJs decision before the FAA Decisionmaker; (4) petition to review the FAAs Decisionmaker’s final decision before a U.S. court of appeals. If the individual is an acting airman, generally, the same action is followed as in a FAA certificate action.


FAA Enforcement Investigative Report (EIR).


FAA Letter of Investigation (LOI).


Generally, a FAA enforcement action will commence with a with a LOI. A LOI provides a person with notice that the person is under investigation for an apparent statutory or regulatory violation. If the person is an airman, a LOI also provides a PBR (Pilot’s Bill of Rights) notification. Additionally, a LOI provides the person with an opportunity to respond to the contents of the letter. Learning “the other side of the story” early in the investigation is to everyone’s advantage. Inviting input also helps to show that the FAA is conducting the investigation fairly and impartially. Investigative personnel issue a LOI to a person when it appears that administrative or legal enforcement action is warranted for the person’s apparent statutory or regulatory violation.


FAA Certificate Action Under 49 U.S.C. § 44709.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 44709(b), the Administrator is authorized to amend, modify, suspend, or revoke any part of a certificate issued under 49 U.S.C. chapter 447 if the Administrator decides that safety in air commerce or air transportation and the public interest requires that action.


FAA Mandatory Certificate Revocation for Violating 49 U.S.C. §§ 44710, 44106, or 44726.

The Administrator is required to revoke certificates in certain circumstances, including those described in 49 U.S.C. §§ 44710 (captioned “Revocations of airman certificates for controlled substance violations”); 44106 (captioned “Revocation of aircraft certificates for controlled substance violations”); and 44726 (captioned “Denial and revocation of certificate for counterfeit parts violations”).


FAA Mandatory Certificate Revocation for Violating 49 U.S.C. § 44724.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 44724, the Administrator is required to issue an order revoking an airman certificate of a pilot-in-command of an aircraft who knowingly allows an individual who does not hold a pilot and airman medical certificate to control the aircraft in an attempt to set a record or engage in an aeronautical competition or feat.


FAA Mandatory Certificate Action Under 49 U.S.C. § 46111.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 46111, the Administrator is required to issue an order amending, modifying, suspending, or revoking any FAA-issued certificate if the Administrator is notified by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that the certificate holder poses, or is suspected of posing, a risk of air piracy or terrorism or a threat to airline or passenger safety.


FAA Mandatory Certificate Action Under 49 U.S.C. § 44924.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 44924, upon notification by the TSA that a foreign repair station does not maintain or carry out effective security measures, the Administrator is required to issue an order suspending the repair station’s certificate until the TSA determines that the repair station is maintaining effective security measures.


FAA Aircraft Registration Certificate Actions.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 44105, the Administrator is authorized to suspend or revoke a certificate of registration when an aircraft no longer meets registration requirements under 49 U.S.C. § 44102.


FAA Hazardous Material Emergency Orders.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 5121(d) and 49 C.F.R. § 109.17, the Administrator has authority to impose emergency restrictions or prohibitions, or issue emergency orders to cease operations.


FAA Cease and Desist Orders, Orders of Compliance, and Other Orders.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 40113(a), the Administrator is authorized to issue orders necessary to carry out the FAA’s aviation safety duties. Such orders (i.e., final agency actions) include orders of compliance, cease and desist orders, and orders terminating authorizations or approvals. Pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 46106, these orders may be judicially enforced.


FAA Injunctions. Injunctions are court orders that may require a person to do something (mandatory) or not to do something (prohibitory).

Under 49 U.S.C. § 46106, the Administrator is authorized to bring a civil action against a person in U.S. district court to enforce – through a court-issued injunction – provisions of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII (Aviation Programs) or regulations and orders prescribed under those provisions. Note, failure to comply with an injunction may be punishable as contempt of court, which may result in fines or imprisonment. For example, when an airman knowingly continues to operate an aircraft without an appropriate certificate, the Administrator may bring an action to request the court to issue an injunction to stop the conduct.


FAA Commercial Space License and Permit Actions.


The Commercial Space Launch Act authorizes the FAA to modify, suspend, or revoke a license or permit.

FAA Civil Penalty Actions.

(1) Under 49 U.S.C. § 46301, the Administrator is authorized to assess a civil penalty against a person for violations of certain provisions of 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII and regulations prescribed under those provisions. Generally, the forum for appealing civil penalty actions depends on the amount of the proposed civil penalty and the person charged with the violation.


FAA Liens on Aircraft.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 46304(a), the Administrator has the authority to place a lien on an aircraft for civil penalties when the aircraft is involved in a violation under 49 U.S.C. § 46301(a)(1)(A)-(C), and the violation is by the aircraft owner or an individual commanding that aircraft. A lien gives the federal government a financial interest in that aircraft. The amount of the lien is the amount of the civil penalty for the violation.


FAA Seizures of Aircraft.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 46304(b), the Administrator is authorized to seize, that is, take physical possession, of an aircraft subject to a lien through the issuance of an order of seizure. Only aircraft that were involved in the violation for which a civil penalty was assessed may be seized. Seizure of an aircraft ordinarily is considered only when the violation is particularly serious, for example, when an aircraft is being used in a continuing violation and all other efforts to stop its operation have failed.


FAA Denial of Airman Certificate.

The Administrator issues certificates (and commercial space licenses and permits) to qualified persons. The Administrator is authorized to deny applications to unqualified persons. 


Airman Certificate Denials.

Under 49 U.S.C. § 44703, the Administrator must issue an airman certificate, such as a pilot, mechanic, and airman medical certificate, to an individual qualified to hold the certificate. The Administrator is also authorized to deny an airman certificate to an unqualified individual. The applicant has a right to an adjudication of the denial of an application for an airman certificate before an NTSB ALJ, and either the applicant or the Administrator may appeal an ALJ’s decision to the full NTSB. Either the applicant or the Administrator (when the Administrator determines that the order will have a significant adverse impact on the FAA’s ability to carry out aviation programs under 49 U.S.C. subtitle VII) may petition a U.S. court of appeals to review the NTSB’s final order.