Daines Secures Crucial Reforms for Montana Pilots

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today hailed the unanimous Senate passage of his bill to protect and expand protections for Montana pilots. 

Daines’ bill, S. 571 – the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR 2), increases protections for general aviation pilots by expanding the 3rd class medical exemption for recreational pilots and broadening the protections provided in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights signed into law in 2012.  

“Today’s unanimous vote is a victory for those working to contribute to Montana aviation and make our skies safer,” Daines stated. “I am proud to see the Senate prioritize legislation that protects the aviation industry and works to further expands the rights of hardworking pilots nationwide. This bill cuts down unnecessary bureaucratic regulations and institutes commonsense and necessary reforms to protect general aviation pilots.” 

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 will:

  • Reform FAA’s overly burdensome medical certification process by expanding an existing FAA medical standard to include more qualified, trained pilots.?

  • Extend the due process rights preserved in the first Pilots Bill of Rights to all FAA certificate holders, and enhance those rights by ensuring certificate holders have the right to appeal a FAA decision through a new, merit-based trial in Federal Court.?

  •  Increase transparency for all FAA certificate holders subject to an investigation or enforcement action by holding FAA accountable for communicating with certificate holders. FAA is required to articulate a specific description of the incident or incidents under investigation to parties involved in the investigation, and provide specific documentation relevant to its investigation.
  • Expedite updates to the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) Improvement Program required in the first Pilot’s Bill of Rights and directs FAA to develop a prioritization system organizing NOTAMs by urgency and importance, as well as include the effective duration of temporary flight restrictions. This ensures the most relevant and important information reaches the pilot. The legislation also mandates that FAA certify the accuracy of posted NOTAMs.
  • Ensure the accessibility of flight data such as air traffic communication tapes and radar information produced by contract towers, flight service stations and controller training programs, giving certificate holders the ability to use this information to defend themselves during an enforcement action proceeding. 

Daines’ efforts were applauded across Montana:  

Montana Pilots Association President Scott Newpower: “The Montana Pilots Association applauds the Senate for passing the Pilots Bill of Rights 2. We believe this bill, once signed into law, will go a long ways to keeping pilots in the air without unnecessary and expensive medical bureaucracy.”

Rocky Mountain College Director of Aviation Dan Hargrove: “The Rocky Mountain College Aviation Program teachers and students are thrilled that the Senate has unanimously voted to pass the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2.  Reforming 3rd class medical exemptions will safely reduce unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles that hinder recreational pilots and will remove barriers to entry for the next generation of pilots.  Sen. Daines’ efforts through the entire legislative process from introduction to passage is greatly appreciated by the Montana aviation community.”