What exactly does it mean when you get an FAA letter of investigation, and what should you do if you get one?
The FAA or Federal Aviation Administration is the regulatory body for aviation in the USA. It will send a letter of investigation (LOI) where it considers that a person or entity has engaged in activity that is in contravention of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Example recipients of this letter may be an airline pilot, mechanic or air carrier.
Why will the FAA send a letter of investigation?
The purpose of sending a letter of investigation is to give the named entity/individual notice that the body has initiated an investigation into their conduct. It gives details as to the allegations of misconduct that have brought about the investigation.
The types of allegations that might cause an investigation to be started include failure to report a DUI, unscheduled landings or aircraft maintenance issues. Naturally, receiving an LOI will be concerning and may bring up feelings of anger or frustration at the allegations you have done something wrong.
It may be tempting to prepare a response that strongly contests all the allegations made against you. It’s important to remember that any response the FAA receives to its letter can be used as evidence in any future or continuing investigation against you. The response, therefore, should be carefully considered before it is sent to not contain any inadvertent admissions or irrelevant information.
A legal professional with extensive knowledge in the area can help navigate through the process in a way that protects both the reputation and legal position of their client.