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New Rules for Crowded Skies

August 23, 1987

Let me see if I've got this straight:

On Aug. 14, The Times reports (Metro) that a pilot is being charged with two counts of second-degree murder for the death of two passengers in a crash which was apparently the result of reckless flying while under the influence of alcohol. This accident occurred in April and the pilot has a history of vehicle violations; however, the FAA has not suspended his pilot's license because, according to the FAA spokesman, "the fact somebody allegedly committed a crime would not necessarily mean he'd lose his license immediately. He has due-process rights."

On Aug. 15, The Times reports (Part I) that the pilot involved in a near-miss incident with the President's helicopter, who has been cleared by the Secret Service of any criminal intent, has had his pilot's license immediately revoked by the FAA for "careless and reckless operation of an aircraft."

The FAA appears to have a double standard. Either flying while intoxicated does not constitute "careless and reckless operation of an aircraft" or due-process rights are forfeited when the President is involved.

NANCY E. HILL

Summerland

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