What does Pilots Bill of Rights mean to GA pilots?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pilots will get better notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and more equitable treatment from the FAA during any enforcement actions against them as a result of passage of a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), which was passed June 29 by the Senate and sent to the House, where similar legislation had been introduced.

Within 180 days after passage of the legislation and signing by the president, the FAA shall begin a program to improve information to airmen with pertinent and timely information about the airspace system. The aim is to decrease the overwhelming number of NOTAMS now put out by the FAA and provide more pertinent and timely information relative to a pilot’s specific route. The FAA must also establish a panel comprised from representatives of general aviation non-profit and not-for-profit GA groups to advise the FAA.

Titled “Pilots’ Bill of Rights,” the legislation requires the Comptroller of the United States to assess the FAA’s medical certification process to clarify and simplify the language. It calls for reducing accusations of records falsification against pilots.

The FAA must also archive data and communications from contract towers and flight service stations and make this available to any pilot facing FAA denial or revocation of certificate. Also the National Transportation Safety Board will review FAA enforcement actions.

Inhofe called passage of the bill “a big victory for general aviation pilots across the country.” He added that the bill remedies many of the deficiencies in the relationship between general aviation pilots and the FAA and sees that pilots, like every one else, are treated in a fair and equitable manner by the justice system. The Oklahoma Senator is a long-time pilot and chair of the General Aviation Caucus in the Senate.

 

 

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Comments

  1. From a current FAA Ops Inspector: This legislation is unnecessary and, like many others, I question the Senator’s motives. In my office we go out of our way to avoid taking action to revoke an airman’s certificate. It is a time-consuming and difficult process involving several levels of mangerial review with full concurrence by regional legal council that may actually end up in court with all the protections guaranteed therein.

    It is a fact, however, that flying in today’s complicated environment is a challenge to even the most proficient pilots. All too often FAA inspectors must decide what to do about pilots that have failed to maintain their proficiency or keep up with the huge body of knowledge that is required of a modern pilot. Informal counciling is employed in the vast number of cases where a pilot makes a mistake, admits it, and cooperates with the inspector to find a way to keep from making the same or similar mistakes in the future.

    All FAA Ops inspectors are pilots too. Most have an extensive background in military or civil aviation or both. We are not out to “hang” anybody but I think we can all agree that there can be no tolerance for carelessness and ignorance in the cockpit.

    • Rwyerosk says:

       I have to say that My FSDO was sewer with corrupt management.

      The Manager wanted me to fail an applicant for a Chief Flight Instructor flight test and when I did not I was on the carpet.

      It seemed this Manager in the FAA Farmingdale FSDO had hard feelings for his former boss in the NYPD aviation unit.

      The sinister plan was to then do a 44709 reevaluation on his Certificates and bust this airmen revoke all his Certificates and Ratings.

      Believe it or not there are Inspectors that lie under oath and do what they are told to get ahead in the FAA.

      The Eastern Region has a few Managers in the AEA-230 Branch that have blood on their hands.

      If they ever read this they will know who they are!

      “Sounds like a Hollywood Movie doesn’t it?”

      Try bring this to the   attention of the Department of Transportation Inspector General and see what  happens

      I watched this same management bust  another FAA Inspector and two innocent Airmen to “get back”  at the Inspector.

      So, this bill is definitely necessary big time! Maybe it will stop the corruption and “JACKBOOT” tactics the FAA is so infamous for

      Rich Wyeroski, former FAA  Inspector
      FAA WHISTLEBLOWERS ALLIANCE MEMBER

    • Ed Jeszka says:

       egb, Sorry sir, you have had the blinders on or have drunk the kool aid. I not only have seen it on numerous occasions but I have also been on the deceiving end of one of these specious enforcement actions by a real stellar FSDO, BHM. Don’t know what office you are in but consider yourself among the fortunate ones. It sounds as you work in an atmosphere that supports safety and the various methods to obtain it and not retaliation and scorched earth policies as in BHM. When you work with intelligent, professional management many things change, including the success you have in alternative methods of compliance. But when the management team has no scruples or standards and will stoop to any low to destroy an “enemy” the “Bill of Rights” becomes a necessity.

      Good luck in your career and inspectors like you give the FAA a very good name. It is just too bad there aren’t more of you.

      Ed Jeszka
      Retired FAA Aviation Safety Inspector
      BHM FSDO

  2. Rwyerosk says:

    Hi All:

    I am sure we all have heard horror stories on FAA enforcement actions that were unfair and actually would be illegal in a fair court of law with a jury.

    I have first hand knowledge of FAA Fraud, Waste Abuse and Criminal Activity that could fill a book!

    I am a 8500 hour ATP Pilot/CFI and an Airframe& PowerPlant A&P with Inspection Authorization (IA) In addition I “wasted” 4years and two months of my life working for the FAA as a safety Inspector, until I was fired on false charges!

    The FAA actually has covered up safety violations and has misled Congress into believing that it is an effective agency on the pulse of Aviation. It is simply amazing to me that FAA Flight Standards Division is allowed to waste “Billions” of dollars every year and put the flying public in danger!

    Now I realize that this maybe hard to believe, but there are bunch of very dishonest people in  FAA Flight Standards, that only care about their paychecks!

    The FAA is  a spider on a web to the little person!…..step on the web and you will pay the price. There is no justice and a rouge inspector will ruin your career to make a “so called” name for himself.

    My intention in this blog is to expose this agency and thank the Senator for finally getting a bill through that will expose FAA corruption !

    Thank You,

    Richard Wyeroski, former FAA Safety Inspector
    FAA WHISTLEBLOWERS ALLIANCE MEMBER

    …..Please see a few links exposing the FAA  and you be the judge!…..ENJOY!

    Richard Wyeroski, former FAA Safety Inspector
    FAA WHISTLEBLOWERS ALLIANCE

    http://www.aflyer.com/0910_f_responsible.html
    WHY DID COLGAN 3407 CRASH?

    http://www.aflyer.com/0906_f_faawhistleblowers.html
    THE FAA WHISTLEBLOWERS ALLIANCE

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/156760
    WHY DID BABBITT RESIGN FROM THE FAA?

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/143511
    CHEAP MAINTENANCE OVERSEAS for MONEY!


    EXPOSING MY CORRUPT FSDO MANAGER!


    FINALLY, MY STORY BY CNN

    • Ed Jeszka says:

       I retired from one of the more notorious FSDO’s in the United States. BHM FSDO, known as the Alabama, Northwest Florida FSDO. If the Bill Of Rights really wanted to correct the misconduct within the FAA it would hold aberrant inspectors, including managers and supervisors, legally liable for specious enforcement action. If found guilty of withholding evidence, failing to respond to discovery, suborning perjury and “developing” bogus witnesses they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and not transferred away from the problem. The only transfer they should get would be to a correctional facility. And they should have to pay for their legal defense out of their own pockets, not the public trough.

      The FAA can and does focus all the assets of the  government we pay taxes to for purposes of retaliation and retribution. BHM FSDO is a very fine example. Some of the folks that have been on the wrong side of integrity have been promoted, transferred or simply moved to another unsuspecting office. It is sad that the FAA, in an effort to calm  (hide) a storm in one FSDO would be so willing to create another one in an unsuspecting FSDO.

      Mr. Huerta, in his confirmation hearing, testified that a new and grand office was started to work on these problems. It was called FAA AAE, Audit and Evaluation. He was praising that office as an end all to finding and fixing the problems that the committee was concerned with. He was really totally ignorant of the activities and progress of that office. It has been a dismal failure. From dishonesty to refusal to address certain cases to just simple incompetence AAE has reached the pinnacle. What does Mr. Huerta really know and understand about aviation?

      Maybe the “Bill of Rights” might just make it easier to see the misconduct and corruption and the next time he appears for a confirmation hearing he will be able to speak more knowledgeably about an office that answers directly to him.

      I don’t care if the “Bill” was introduced by Mickey Mouse. It is so desparatly needed to protect the rights of aviators and aviation certificated companys from an out of control bunch of  civil servants. When aviators are guaranteed “Due Process” and rights enjoyed by even convicted criminals then this bill will have accomplished its purpose. The very sad yet true facts are that there are some very excellent FAA employees. It is just very sad that their reputation is ruined by the unethical, incompetent and sometimes plainly illegal acts of  a group that has gotten away with it for so long that they really feel immune from having to follow or are bound by regulations, ethical standards or laws.

      Edward Jeszka
      Retired Aviation Safety Inspector
      12 years BHM FSDO

      • Rwyerosk says:

         Hi All:

        I know Mr. Jeszka. He is in my opinion a hero to expose FAA corruption on a scale that is so criminal that it is destroying our industry and our very way of life!

        The FAA is so out of control that I have been fighting this agency myself for over 9 years to expose this corruption.

        Any wonder an Airmen is fair game in the FAA legal system!

        Mr Huerta, the acting FAA Administrator is either going to fix the FAA or just be another political hack and protect this agency for the criminal organization it is (FLIGHT STANDARDS DIVISION)

        Myself and other Inspectors trusted the new FAA Audits and Evaluation Office AAE for justice and reported very serious issues of corruption, only to be ignored and stonewalled by the AAE Director Clayton Foushee.

        How sick this?

        Richard Wyeroski

        please see article
        http://fairwhistleblower.ca/fr/node/1582


        EXPOSING My FSDO

  3. JBujanda says:

    And why should I care about the personality and mistakes of a
    person that brings about something good to improve things and the fair
    treatment of the interested?  How is the reason
    behind him doing it of any importance?  I
    do not know the Senator.  I didn’t even
    know about his past mistakes or his alleged arrogance until I read it here.  These have no impact whatsoever on my appreciation
    for him doing his job, and that is addressing a need of the people.   Isn’t
    that what we expect them to do; or because he is arrogant he should not dare to
    do it?  If the Senator introduced a bill
    for the wrong reasons, that is something he will have to personally address
    with his conscience.   For all I know, he may have realized the state
    of affairs just because he was exposed to it.  In this regard, I applaud him for doing something
    about it, once he experienced it first hand.  Those of you who are quick to judge the Senator,
    or any other pilot that makes a mistake, may want to look back at your own
    mistakes.  Maybe you were just fortunate not
    to end up in similar shoes as his.  No
    one wakes up one day and says I am going to fly and do a really bad job at it.   In the
    grand scheme of things I like to think that very few people intentionally set
    themselves up to harming others and doing things wrong.  Anyone who flies an airplane or drives a car and
    has never made a mistake, some of which may have ended in consequences far
    worse than the Senator’s, are just lying. 
     Flying has risks, just like
    driving.  We depend on ourselves and others to get it right.   There
    are mistakes, and there are deadly mistakes; and all I know is that although we
    try hard not to, we still make them to a certain extent and need to face their
    consequences.  

    I am a lot more comfortable sharing airspace with those of us who
    realize our limitations, just because we work hard on them and keep them
    present.  Therefore, we end up protecting
    ourselves, as well as those who fly with us and around us.  I am weary of sharing it with those that only
    see error in others; to the point they can’t see the good in something because
    they are blinded by their judgmental minds.  

    I have never experienced enforcement from the FAA and only have
    heard of allegations; some of them very trustworthy, as I can see in some of these
    same comments.  However, I do know that absent
    check and balances, processes and institutions degrade and corrode over time.  As far as I’m concerned, this is something
    good that will help improve one of them and I couldn’t care less who brought it
    about, or for what reasons.  I myself will
    celebrate it to a glass of wine, even cheap wine… :)

  4. Piloto Hunter says:

    This law is sorely needed, but it really does not go far enough! The FAA has rules, procedures and Handbooks which should be (operating word is “should’ ) followed if there is an Investigation of possible wrongdoing (called an EIR, “Enforcement Investigative Report” in insider, FAA-speak), and the FAA decides to go against an Airman.
    Unfortunately, that is all in an “ideal world”. In the real world, the FAA is pretty much free to abuse anyone it feels like it (and I say feel like, not “who deserves”), without following any of it’s own rules, procedures, or Handbooks. After having been on the inside as an FAA Operations Inspector and Principal Operations Inspector, and having witnessed how the “real FAA” behaves, and how they will prosecute people for fun (or at least for the enjoyment of the ones doing the prosecution), while flaunting every tennet of normal Civil or Criminal Law proceedings (since the FAA does not have to obey normal law, because they prosecute you under “Administrative Law”).
    The FAA is sadly able, capable, and has been proven to be merciless when prosecuting someone, especially when the prosecution is baseless but driven by personal agendas. The FAA will gladly spend a Million dollars to prosecute a person who is a “non-friend” (or enemy) of the FSDO Manager, or of any of the Senior inspectors or Supervisors at an FAA Office, paying for overtime to investigate what they think happened, and if the real evidence does not substantiate the FAA accusation, I have seen the FAA manufacture evidence. As one FAA Lawyer in the Southern Region used to brag about, “whatever it takes to get the kill…”. Like I said, I have seen it with my own eyes. When I would not go along with pursuing baseless FAA enforcement cases, a Supervisor told me, “you won’t get ahead in this business if you don’t build a body count”. I was unwilling to “build a body count”, and instead elected to return to the Airlines as a pilot, but left with a very bad taste in my mouth. Like I said, this Pilot’s Bill of Rights is sorely needed, but it does not go far enough!
    The Law should prohibit the FAA from conducting Pilot Enforcements (certificate actions) in the Administrative Law jurisdiction, and instead for the FAA to use Civil or Criminal Law jurisdiction. If the FAA really thinks it has a solid case, take it to a “real judge”, with a “real jury”, with “real Legal Procedure” which BOTH sides will have to obey, and which would be equally fair to the government as well as the pilot or mechanic, instead of the current ALJ “Cangaroo Court” system in place, where the FAA holds all the cards and the Judge works for the same employer as the FAA (the USDOT), and where in 98.5% of the cases the ALJ Judge will side with the FAA, with or without any proof or evidence. Additionally, when the Defense subpoenas the FAA for information, they would be bound to provide it, and when the defense presents evidence that contrdicts the FAA witnesses, of shows that the FAA witnesses are conmiting perjury, those FAA witnesses would stanf a good chance of going to jail!
    I love aviation, but are very sad to see the FAA degenerated to what it has become. A place of employment for those that normally can’t hack it on the outside aviation world, and full of people who are jealous and envious of those that fly professionally, and who jump at the chance to hurt professional or private pilots, just to prove that they can (what is known as the “Deputy Fife complex”).
    Let’s hope this Bill corrects some of the wrong procedures currently employed by the FAA to abuse Airmen. The Bob Hoover incident happened years ago, yet the FAA learned nothing from it.
    Fly Safe, fellow Airmen!

    • Rwyerosk says:

       You are very accurate about the FAA generating evidence and digging up stooges to lie under oath in the  administrative law system.

      The system is a “TAR PIT” for any one. It is slowly destroying our country.

      I have witnessed so much corruption and have know so many bad dishonest people in the FAA that do anything for the paycheck!

       Our Aviation system will decay further because of agencies like the FAA.

      Richard Wyeroski

  5. Tickypilot says:

     I am not going to go out and insult a U.S.senator. Just for being who he is , he has my highest respect. Plus the fact that he is a pilot , more to him. Any positive aide thatw e commercial or otherwise pilolt can get is welcomed. Some of us pilot still depend on the pay we get from fluing plus the fact that almost anuone of us , the only thing we can do right is FLY. we depend on this ever for our frame of mind and tranquility. At my age I still fly for a living, and if I do not fly arleast twice a week , I turn into  a roaring lion in my house.  But this is all I jahe done with GUSTO all my adult life. And I like being a pilot , and I like airplanes. Still look mup whem I hear one overhead. So my brother pilolts, any help that we can get, that will keep us flying, is welcomed as far as I go. And belive me I have been flying a lot more years than most of you guys have been alive. God Bless you all.

  6. Luis E. hernandez says:

     I belive this si a positive step forward, about our rights. It will be good to know that when we are theatened with a violation , that there is a law that gives us  a fighting chance. And not a one sided opinion and sentence against your certificate and your modus vivendus.

  7. Rentonav8r says:

    From a retired FSDO supervisor: During the FAA enforcement process, the pilot or the pilot’s representative (í.e. atty) has access to any information requested: ATC re-recordings, etc. ATC tapes are kept for only a certain amount of time, and a FSDO inspector has to request them as soon as he/she becomes aware that a violation may have taken place. Falsification issues are usually pretty easy to detect when using other records to double check company records or logbooks. Once an inspector receives enough information to write a report, usually from ATC or other complaints in writing, the file then goes to a supervisor for review, then to the office manager, to the Flight Standards Division, then to the FAA Legal department. The FAA attorneys work closely with Flight Standards. Along the review route, at any time if it is determined that the inspector did not have enough information to prove the FAA’s case (which may be heard in front of an NTSB law judge), the violation investigation will not be pursued and will be closed without further action. I really can’t see the reason behind the Senator’s bill. Sounds more political than anything else.

    •  Was Bob Hoovers license ever reissued?

    • I can see you’ve never been on the receiving end of a overzelous inspectors agenda that can end your career.  I haven’t either, but I have seen plenty of them. 
      The ones I have seen look more like the southern sherriff hiding behind the road sign looking to make a bust rather than making the entire system better.

    • Musketeerflyer says:

      Too many times I have seen the FAA act as the accuser, the judge and the jury, and the pilot is helpless and broke after the attorney fees.  A doctor can amputate the wrong arm or leg, and sure it will cost him money for malpractice insurance, but he still gets to be a doctor.  But overfly your destination of Minneapolis inadvertantly and you will never fly commercially again!  I know the 2 pilots personally.  And FAA director Babbitt, who ripped them in the press and revoked their ratings for lack of professionalism, gets a DWI and resigns in disgrace. What an outfit!  Bravo Senator Inhofe!

    • I was the subject of such an “enforcement” process. I did nothing wrong, broke no rules and was accused of falsifying medical records by a CFI who called an anonymous FAA telephone number who had previously been disciplined by my organization. The inspectors demanded records that did not exist! There was absolutely no evidence that these records ever existed, other than the anonymous report, yet the inspectors spent 4 years threatening me with certificate actions if I did not produce non-existent records. They refused to release transcripts of the CFi’s call, refused to say exactly what the allegations were, and at one point, the Regional manager threatened to make an improper emergency certificate revocation and told me “I could spend the next decade litigating to get it back on the ground.”. Fortunately, that telephone call was recorded, this was 4 years and over 1100 hours as a Pt 135 pilot after the original event. The case was eventually stopped after the stale complaint rule was invoked, and then only after my congressman intervened on Independence Avenue.

      So please don’t tell me we don’t need this bill or independent due process outside of your agency. It lacks credibility.

  8. Yes, the senator is an idiot and a jerk.  

    That said, let’s look at what the proposal are.  Record all communication (actually I thought most, if not all, already were recorded).  

    Decrease the number of NOTAMs…actually I do agree with that.

    Provide a panel comprised from representatives of general aviation non-profit and not-for-profit GA groups to advise the FAA?  Like that as well.

    Do I respect the Senator?…nope.

  9. Wow! The senate passed a bill, and a good one at that. Harry Reid must have been asleep when that came through. Imhofe may be self serving, but this bill is long past due.

  10. Pilot 1 says:

    I applaud the Senator for taking the initiative to introduce and push through this legislation.  It is long overdo.
    The standard by which a pilot can lose his “license” is nothing remotely close to what it takes to lose a drivers license these days.  Sure the author of the bill made an error and landed on a closed runway but I fail to see how this is any different then accidentally turning the wrong way on a one way street or any of a hundred other traffic offenses one could do in a car.  Yet pilots often faced revocation of our certificates for far less and without any recourse or even due process whatsoever.
    Pilot’s Certificates are extremely expensive and all pilots should at a minimum be afforded the same due process that is in place for Driver’s Licenses. 
    I am a Instrument Rated Commercial pilot.  I can fly almost anything with a propeller.  I cost me almost 50,000 dollars cash to obtain these certificates and I do my best to obey all the rules all the time when I fly.  All this bill does is help to insure my certificates are protected better in the event I do happen to make a mistake. 
    This bill is definitely needed.

  11. WtfWtfWtfWtfWtf says:

    This is a major victory against an oppressive ruler.  Now we have a better chance at protecting our very expensive investment (pilot license) in the event of a misunderstanding, a TFR bust (Don’t get me started on how unfair TFR’s can be, and how much tax dollars they waste on dispatching F16s after a 70 year old in a C150 that weighs 1/4 as much as your SUV), or an honest mistake. Bravo to that senator.   

    • JLVaughn says:

      My wife is getting ready for her first cross-country solo.  Her CFI wants her to first fly a set of local airports starting with the reverse trip the the poor gentleman took for breakfast as he did every Thursday morning.

      I helped her with her radio script for the flight.  After taking off, she must contact SoCal Departure for Flight Following, break contact w/ SoCal Departure, open the flight plan w/ Riverside Radio, reestablish contact with SoCal Departure, get handed over to SoCal Approach on a new frequency, listen to ATIS for her destination, then get handed over by SoCal Approach to the destination tower.  All of this in the space of about 10 miles.  In my very limited experience, it takes 3 minutes just to open the flight plan.  Three minutes to talk to flight following.  Two minutes to listen to the entire ATIS.  Eight minutes of stuff to do in seven.

      All of this is optional on most days.  But that one Thursday, every one of those calls was all required.

      For a 50 mile cross-country.  No big deal.  For an 18 mile cross-country.  No-way.

      • All of the radio calls you describe are very easy and can be done while flying within a couple of minutes. Each transmission only takes a few seconds.

      • CFICommonSense says:

        Why not just open your flight plan on the ground via phone?  That’ll save 3 minutes.  If you don’t depart for whatever reason, just call ‘em back and say so. 

      • Alexjamespope says:

        Sounds like she can’t handle an otherwise easily performed task. Back to the kitchen she goes!

  12. PilotEricB says:

    This piece of legislation is nothing but the fruit of an arrogant and inept Senator whose reckless flying in Texas nearly killed a bunch of construction workers. The runway was clearly marked closed, and even more shockingly, the Senator has yet to even apologize for his behavior. Instead, he blames the FAA, the NOTAM system, and the airport – anyone but himself. GA News and the other aviation organizations are nothing but a bunch of prostitutes for encouraging and promoting this man’s crusade.

    • Fleugmeister says:

      I fully agree with you, EricB!  Imhofe is a self-serving, self-aggrandizing, and pompous jerk who steadfastly refuses to take responsibility for his reckless and imprudent actions.  His aviation record speaks for itself; he always slithers out of accountability by blaming others, being the snake that he is.  This legislation seems to do more to promote the adversarial relations with the FAA than to resolve them.  Not surprising from this idiot who says global warming is a hoax!

      • Wow I’m shocked by these last 2 comments. Surely these individuals are not American citizens…

      • “This legislation seems to do more to promote the adversarial relations with the FAA than to resolve them. ”

        This comment is shocking, I agree. It assumes a level playing field between pilots and the FAA. However, give pilots more rights and you’ll see how quickly the FAA will play nice. The system is as adversarial as it is (to the extent that even matters) because the FAA thinks it can get away with so much and angers the pilot community.

    • Eric, Your hatred of the senator blinds you to the rampant abuse by the law-unto-itself FAA. Read the bill, take a deep breath, and think about why you extend your hate for one senator to support mistreatment of pilots and mechanics in general.

    • Pilot 4965W says:

      I agree with you. Senator Inhofe was the wrong person to introduce this bill. I think he pushed this bill primarily as payback to people who did their job. His pilot’s permit should have been permanently pulled as a result of his stupidity and carelessness! It is as if he is saying “I am a US senator, I am above the law”.
      What he and everyone defending him forgets is the primary rule taught to all student pilots during their first or second lesson…….As pilot in command I am responsible for all information pertinent to my flight. The information is out there. It is easy to find and only takes a couple of minutes to read. If you don,t read the NOTAMS and bust a TFR or land on a closed runway, you deserve the consequence of your stupidity.

      •  What if you didn’t bust the TFR but the FAA came after you anyway? Surely you would want access to the ATC data… and you’d want some due process if an NTSB judge rubber stamps whatever a vindictive FAA lawyer puts in front of him (it happens).

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  3. [...] WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pilots will get better notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and more equitable treatment from the FAA during any enforcement actions against them as a result of passage of a bill introduced by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), which was passed June 29 by the Senate and sent to the House, where similar legislation had been introduced. Continue Reading » [...]

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