FAA Loses Air Trek Appeal
The NTSB denied an FAA appeal of a judicial decision requiring the agency to pay Punta Gorda, Fla.-based aeromedical operator Air Trek $120,169.35 in attorney fees and expenses related to the FAA’s emergency revocation of Air Trek’s Part 135 certificate in June 2008. The FAA’s revocation order initially contained 38 factual allegations and 14 regulatory violations, though by the fourth day of the hearing in the matter the FAA withdrew half of these charges without explanation, Air Trek said. In October 2008, an NTSB administrative law judge reversed the FAA’s emergency order of revocation, though it took Air Trek nearly another year to get back its Part 135 certificate. The NTSB judge found that the FAA was “inadequately prepared to proceed on the allegations that were withdrawn, had not investigated them thoroughly and lacked the evidence” to sustain its burden of proof. Further, he said that the FAA proceeded “without substantial justification” and ordered the FAA to pay Air Trek for attorney’s fees and costs. During the March 4 appeals hearing, the administrative judge increased the award to Air Trek to $121,991.34.