New FAA Drug Policy Eases Certificate Reinstatement

 - July 20, 2018, 1:25 PM

The FAA is issuing a new policy that will offer eligible commercial pilots whose pilot certificates were revoked for allegedly violating drug or alcohol testing a process for quick settlement of their case and re-issuance of their certificate. The new policy goes into effect October 1.   

Currently, a commercial pilot who receives a disqualifying drug or alcohol test result or refuses to take a test may face certificate revocation and may not apply for recertification for a minimum of one year. The period of time between the FAA’s discovery of a violation and the re-issuance of a certificate or issuance of a special certificate can be lengthy. During this period, a pilot may have long successfully completed FAA-required steps necessary to be found eligible for issuance.

Under the new policy, a pilot whose certificate was revoked may within 10 days request consideration for a prompt settlement of the legal enforcement action. This procedure is expected to allow pilots who have established the qualifications to hold a new certificate, and have met the requirements for a special issuance consistent with participation in the agency’s “human intervention motivation study (HIMS) program," to more quickly assume commercial flight crewmember duties.

“Indeed, it should allow pilots to apply for a new pilot certificate closer in time to a determination that the pilot is eligible for a special issuance (following timely evaluation, treatment, and continuing comprehensive care in accordance with the HIMS program),” the FAA said. “Further, the added predictability of this process should allow…both the pilot and the FAA to better allocate limited resources.” However, this program is available only to first-time violators.