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Suppose that on some aviation-related Internet discussion forum, one comes across contributions from a user who claims to either be training for a pilot's license, or to have a pilot's license.

However, the nature of their contributions are such as to call into reasonable doubt whether that person should be flying at all, or at least flying without an instructor closely monitoring from the next seat over in the cockpit.

Not being a forum administrator, there is no way for the person seeing these contributions from being able to access detailed records of the user's activity, such as IP addresses they are browsing from or e-mail addresses associated with their account. However, it stands to reason that the forum records these details.

The user making the claims says to be within the EU, and for simplicity's sake let's assume that the user noticing the claims is within the EU, but the two are not necessarily within the same EU country, so it's not as easy as just contacting one's national authority and be done with it. The forum itself may be hosted outside of the EU, but with a worldwide audience.

If one wants to, for the sake of aviation safety, bring such a situation to the attention of the competent authorities to be looked into, then how would one go about doing so?

  • How does one determine which authorities to contact? For example, which country's authorities should be contacted initially, and how to locate the proper authority/authorities within that country?
  • Who (which function) at those authorities should/does one likely interact with? (Basically, if hypothetically calling their switchboard phone number, what to ask for?)
  • What information is likely to be needed in an initial report, so that one can compile it prior to contacting the authorities in question?
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  • $\begingroup$ If someone knows of better tags for this, do feel free to retag. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 7 '18 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ And, if someone sees some way this question can be improved, feel free to mention it or propose an edit... $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 7 '18 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ This particular site is for "aircraft pilots, mechanics, and enthusiasts", and is free. It would be wise to cross check any information obtained here. $\endgroup$ – Robert DiGiovanni Dec 8 '18 at 0:32
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    $\begingroup$ This is borderline off-topic for me, trolls and posers are common on internet sites, and how you deal with them is opinion based. $\endgroup$ – GdD Dec 8 '18 at 11:00
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    $\begingroup$ @GdD How to deal with trolls and posers is probably opinion-based, as you say, but how to take one specific action seems like an answerable question to me. It might possibly still be off topic (though I think it fits within this site's scope, mostly as navigating the bureaucracy surrounding aviation, or I wouldn't have posted it here in the first place), but I don't think this should be off topic specifically as being primarily opinion-based (which would basically mean that a fact-based answer isn't possible). $\endgroup$ – a CVn Dec 8 '18 at 12:32
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In general, one wouldn't.

If the user in question has never touched the yoke, there is no issue - it's not illegal to lie on the internet. If they're in training, it's on their instructor to set them right.

This leaves the case where they do hold a current license. Presumably you want to notify the local aviation authority that they might not satisfy its requirements.

Now put yourself in the local FAA-equivalent's shoes. Supposedly a certified pilot has posted on the internet that the artificial horizon is a lie and one should always trust their gut over it. What recourse, exactly, do you have against them? They're not under any obligation to teach flying to the general public, and there's no regulations or prescribed penalties for publishing incorrect information on the internet.

NB: It would be very different had they identified themselves as a commercial pilot for a specific carrier. In that case, they'd be presenting their airline in a bad light, and the freedom of employment (in the US, varies in the EU) would allow their employer to take action to protect their reputation.

A PPL, OTOH, is a more exclusive cousin to the driver's license, and merely indicates that its holder has at some point convinced their instructor that they were capable of flying at that moment, while meeting a number of formal requirements, and has renewed it since at required intervals.

The forum's administration might want to take action to keep false information away from their board, if you inform them, but interaction with them is a subject far removed from aviation.

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