The Raphael Pirker case has settled. Not terribly surprising, given the appellate ruling. Pirker had little incentive to continue defending the case. He agreed to a reduced fine of $1,100, with no admission of wrongdoing.
The FAA might be feeling like the more fortunate party in this transaction:
In a letter Pirker shared with me, a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board asked the agency why, essentially, it was putting a foreign national through the ringer for a relatively minor (and legally unclear) infraction. The FAA is allowed to take legal enforcement action against foreign nationals in three circumstances: The person has an FAA airman’s certificate; the person commits a violation as a passenger; or the person runs a “foreign repair station.” Otherwise, the FAA is supposed to refer the case to the person’s home country, in this case, Switzerland. The FAA didn’t do that.
Pirker “does not fall within the three circumstances that provide for taking of legal enforcement action … it is determined that this issue is best addressed, and appropriately resolved, prior to commencing a hearing,” the judge wrote.
[Pirker’s attorney Brendan] Schulman said that’s another reason why the FAA should be happy to put this behind them.
The allegedly offending video can be viewed, here:
Thus ends a very interesting regulatory dispute. It won’t be the last.