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The FAA provides instructions for filing a petition for exemption or rulemaking at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/petition/. Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) § 11.81 is reproduced here, in pertinent part, to provide information you need to know before submitting a petition for exemption.

Petition for Exemption 14 CFR § 11.81

If you have completed your research and determined you need an exemption, you must send a petition for exemption 120 days before you need the exemption to take effect. Your petition for exemption must include—

1. Your name and mailing address.
You may include other contact information such as a fax number, telephone number, or email address;
You may include other contact information such as a fax number, telephone number, or email address” Anyone can petition for an exemption on behalf of an affected party but they must have the authority to do so. For example, a law firm may submit a petition on behalf of its client. ABC law firm, 1234 L Street, Washington, DC 20005 petitions on behalf of XYZ airlines for an exemption from xxxx.

2. The specific section or sections of 14 CFR from which you seek an exemption;
“The specific section or sections of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) from which you seek an exemption”. Be as specific as possible when you reference the rule. The FAA may grant an exemption from a rule, but not from a statute.(s) involved. Identify the section and part including the text involved — this should eliminate any possible confusion.

Example of a specific request
I seek relief from § 65.71(a)(2), which specifically states that to be eligible for a mechanic certificate and associated ratings, a person must “Be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language, or in the case of an applicant who does not meet this requirement and who is employed outside of the United States by a U.S. air carrier, have his certificate endorsed “Valid only outside the United States.”

This example would meet the FAA’s requirement because the petitioner is being very specific about the rule involved. Citing the 14 CFR section and including the complete rule text should prevent any confusion about what rule is involved.

Example of an incomplete request
I seek relief from the rule that says a mechanic must speak English.

3. The extent of relief you seek and the reason you seek the relief
Provide a complete description of what you plan to do instead of following the requirement and the reason you cannot follow the requirement. The more information you can provide assists the analyst in comprehending exactly what you plan to do and to what extent.

4. How your request would benefit the public as a whole; You must explain how an would not only help your specific situation but would have a positive impact on the public as a whole.

  • Do not confuse public interest.
  • Often petitioners state it is very expensive for them to meet the requirements of the rule — that is not a public interest.
  • Petitioners may say they do not have time to do what is asked of them to comply with a regulation — their failure to do proper planning is not a matter of public interest.

Explain who else will benefit.

  • The public as a whole?
  • Your local community?

For example, an airline having to ground its fleet if not granted an exemption would negatively affect the public interest by reducing the number of available flights. Here are some concepts that help demonstrate public interest:

  • Reducing environmental pollution.
  • Benefitting the aviation industry and the flying public by improving an FAA process or procedure.
  • Providing a good or service that would be unavailable to the public otherwise.
  • Positive economic impacts to the community.

5. Reasons why the exemption would not adversely affect safety, or how the exemption would provide a level of safety at least equal to the existing rule; To show a level of safety at least equal to that provided by the rule, you must—

  • Provide and explain with specific details how you will operate at a level of safety as good or better than the level of safety provided by following the rule; or
  • Explain why an exemption would not compromise (adversely affect) safety.
  • To show a level of safety at least equal to that provided by the rule from which you seek exemption, you could describe how you would meet the intent of the rule and improve on it. For example, you might describe the use of new technology and/or techniques not envisioned during the rulemaking process. Include as much information as possible to demonstrate to the FAA that safety will not be compromised should you be granted an exemption.Provide the following—
    • Charts;
    • Data;
    • Drawings; and
    • Any risk analysis conducted to support your reasoning.

6. A summary we can publish in the Federal Register stating—

  • The rule from which you seek the exemption; and
  • A brief description of the exemption you seek;

If the FAA decides to publish your petition for exemption Federal Register, it will also determine the number of days in which comments will be accepted. The FAA frequently allows 20 days for comments on a petition for exemption (14 CFR § 11.89). A summary is published for those rules that have never been granted or denied an exemption.

Information the FAA will publish in the Federal Register is described in § 11.85 Does FAA invite public comment on petitions for exemption? The information includes—

  • The docket Docket number of the petition;
  • The citation to the rule or rules from which the petitioner requested relief;
  • The name of the petitioner;
  • The petitioner’s summary of the action requested and the reasons for requesting it; and
  • A request for comments to assist the FAA in evaluating the petition.

The four factors the FAA considers when deciding whether or not to publish a petition in the Federal Register are contained in 14 CFR § 11.87 Are there circumstances in which FAA may decide not to publish a summary of my petition for exemption?

The FAA may not publish a summary of your petition for exemption and request comments if you present (or it finds) a good reason it should not delay action on your petition. The factors the FAA considers include—

  • 1. Whether granting your petition would set a precedent.
    An exemption would set a precedent if it would be the first exemption from a specific regulation or regulations, or it would present a new set of circumstances.
  • 2. Whether the relief requested is identical to exemptions granted previously.
    Search http://www.regulations.gov and http://aes.faa.gov for exemptions the FAA has granted to persons under similar circumstances.
  • 3. Whether the FAA delaying action on your petition would affect you adversely.
    For example: You could request the FAA to process your petition quickly by a certain time to prevent disruption of scheduled passenger service and to avoid unnecessary burdens and costs.
  • 4. Whether you filed your petition in a timely manner.
    For example: You filed your request as soon as your local FAA office or principal inspector informed you a petition for exemption would be required.

Exemptions are processed by the FAA Office of Rulemaking. The Office of Rulemaking reviews all petitions for exemption and all comments submitted on a petition for exemption.

7. Any additional information, views, or arguments available to support your request.
Provide the FAA with as much information as you can to support your rationale for needing an exemption. If possible, include relevant—

  • Articles;
  • Charts;
  • Data;
  • Drawings;
  • Manufacturer’s product descriptions;
  • Medical documentation; and
  • References to similar granted petitions.

8. If you want to exercise the privileges of your exemption outside the United States, you must state the reason.

Include a specific, direct statement requesting that the exemption apply outside the United States and state the reason(s) why you seek this authority.

Information regarding the use of exemptions outside the United States is found in § 11.83 How can I operate under an exemption outside the United States? Key points from this section include—

  • If you want to be able to operate under your exemption outside the United States, you must specifically request this in your petition and give the FAA the reason for this use.
  • If you do not provide your reason or the FAA determines that it does not justify this help, the FAA will limit your exemption to use only within the United States.
  • Before the FAA extends your exemption for use outside the United States, it will verify that the exemption would be in compliance with the Standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). However, a foreign country still may not allow you to operate in that country.
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