ALCOHOL OFFENSE REPORTING
Student pilots learn operating rules like the "eight hours from bottle to throttle" mnemonic to help remember minimum required intervals. Other details of this subject on which you may be tested include how and when pilots must report alcohol-related motor vehicle violations to the FAA. There are two reporting requirements. Complying with one does not satisfy the need to make the other report—nor are they made to the same FAA officials. Do you know the requirements?
One report is made on an application for an airman medical certificate. See the instructions page for "convictions or administrative action history."
A less-understood reporting obligation appears in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). It requires reporting a "motor vehicle action" not later than 60 days after the motor vehicle action is taken. "One of the distinctions is that this notification must be made to the FAA within a short time after the event occurs and may not wait until your next medical examination. In addition, the notification must be made to the FAA's security office, not the medical office; thus, disclosing this information on the medical application form, which you may have to do also, does not discharge your responsibility to report the information under FAR 61.15," Kathy Yodice explained in the July 2001 AOPA Flight Training's "Legal Briefing" column. See the column for a definition of a "motor vehicle action."
What happens after a report? "The effects of a report, or a failure to report, are serious. If a pilot does report a motor vehicle action, it will automatically trigger a review of the pilot's file to determine if the pilot continues to be eligible for his or her airman certificate (two or more in a three-year period and you are out) or medical certificate (a history of alcoholism). If a pilot fails to report even one conviction or administrative action, that is grounds for suspension or revocation of any pilot certificate or rating he holds. It is also grounds for denial of an application for a certificate or rating for up to one year after the date of the motor vehicle action," John Yodice said in the May 2002 AOPA Pilot column "Pilot Counsel: Flying and Driving."