Experienced Military Defense Attorneys Providing Representation for Flying Evaluation Boards
The military can convene a proceeding called a Flying Evaluation Board (FEB) to evaluate a service member’s flight performance and recommend a course of action to the commander. These proceedings are supposed to be non-adversarial, fact-finding proceedings that include document production, witnesses, and the option for testimony from the respondent. Any service member who is the respondent of a FEB has the right to counsel, including civilian defense counsel. An FEB can pull a service members wings and have very serious consequences for the flight career of the service member in question, even outside of the military. It is essential to have an aggressive, knowledgeable defense attorney willing to examine all angles and advocate for you through this process.
A service member will receive a signed order stating that a FEB will be convened to evaluate their performance; that notification will include information on the time and place of the hearing, the witnesses that the military plans to call, and what specific allegations the military is bringing against the respondent. The respondent has the opportunity at this time to choose voluntary disqualification from aviation service in lieu of FEB (VILO), or acknowledge the receipt of the FEB scheduling and begin preparing their defense. As part of this process, the respondent has the opportunity to review all documentation the military will bring against them, and call their own witnesses to testify at the FEB. It is essential for the respondent to strategically and aggressively pursue defense options by retaining a civilian defense attorney like the attorneys at Crisp and Associates. Our attorneys have prior military service experience, and have successfully defended service members in FEBs, to include fixed wing and rotary. They will confidently pursue the right avenues for mitigation in your case.
Reasons for Convening an FEB
The convening authority has the opportunity to convene a FEB for a variety of reasons, including the following:
- Lack of proficiency (unless unrolled in a formal flying training program);
- Failure to meet standards while enrolled in a formal flying training course;
- Lack of judgement in performing rated duties;
- Failure to meet training or annual physical exam requirements;
- Intentional violation of flying regulations;
- Exhibition of undesirable habits, traits, or personality characteristics.
Who Serves on an FEB?
A FEB is made up of three (3) voting members, who are senior to the respondent in rank and of the same enlistment status. In addition, there is a non-voting member who acts as the Recorder, who presents the government’s evidence. A judge advocate may also be present to act as the legal advisor and consultant throughout the FEB (although the Military Rules of Evidence do not apply, the legal advisor can be consulted on the legal processes of the FEB).
After the Recorder and respondent (including their counsel) have had the chance to present all their evidence, the voting members will close the FEB and deliberate to come up with their Findings and Recommendations. This recommendation will include commentary on each allegation included in the convening order but will primarily consist of a recommendation regarding suitability for future aviation service. The Findings and Recommendations will be given to the convening authority, who will review the document and make the final determination.
Air Force service member received favorable findings at an FEB in Des Moines, Iowa. Attorney Crisp successfully cross examined six (6) government witnesses and then presented multiple defense witnesses, building a strong case that the lack of proficiency allegations were not credible in large part because of the failure of the command in providing clear training guidance. The respondent received a unanimously positive recommendation, plus a recommendation for the training process to be clarified.
Contact Crisp & Associates for a Free Consultation
If you are facing an FEB, please contact Crisp and Associates at 888-258-1653 and speak to one of our attorneys about your options. As veterans we are passionate about these cases and always eager to help those who have served our country.