Western New York House Delegation Leads Push for Full Implementation of the Pilot Records Database
Western New York Congressmembers Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Chris Collins (R-NY-27), Tom Reed (R-NY-23) and Joe Morelle (D-NY-25) are leading a letter signed by 24 members of the House of Representatives pushing for full implementation of the Pilot Records Database (PRD) required in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill of 2010. This electronic database would provide information such as FAA records and qualifications, practical test results, past legal enforcement actions, and driver records to allow air carriers to make informed, transparent pilot hiring decisions.
February 12, 2019 marked ten years after Colgan Air Flight 3407 tragically crashed to the ground in Clarence Center, New York, killing all passengers and crew members on board and one person on the ground. Since that dark day, substantial and necessary progress has been made in the realm of aviation safety, but efforts remain incomplete.
A bipartisan letter, to the U.S. Department of Transportation and FAA, reads, “The Captain of Flight 3407 was hired with only 600 hours of flight experience at his first regional airline job and had previously failed three Federal Aviation Administration check rides, only having disclosed one to the regional airline that hired him. This is one of several reasons the National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) Accident Report concluded the incident was entirely avoidable and attributable to pilot error. Based on recommendations from the NTSB, the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-216), enacted major legislative reforms including the establishment of a Pilot Records Database to prevent such a circumstance from occurring in the future.”
The Pilot Records Database has been in a beta test phase since December 2017 with no clear indication from the FAA of when the database will be fully executed and required for all pilot hiring. In April the Families of Flight 3407 met with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to discuss the PRD issue and family members returned to Washington, D.C this week to continue their flight safety advocacy.
The letter signed by Congressmembers Higgins, Collins, Reed, Morelle, Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-9), Julia Brownley (D-CA-26), Peter King (R-NY-2), Albio Sires (D-NJ-8), Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-15), Billy Long (R-MO-7), Michael Turner (R-OH-10), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-4), Henry Johnson, Jr. (D-GA-4), Dave Joyce (R-OH-14), Scott Tipton (R-CO-3), Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1), Ross Spano (R-FL-15) John Katko (R-NY-24), Elise Stefanik (R-NY-21), Dina Titus (D-NV-1), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-10), and Max Rose (D-NY-11) echoes the calls made by Flight 3407 families and demonstrates strong, bipartisan support for action to advance this long-overdue safety measure. They write, “We urge the FAA to make full implementation of the PRD a priority and to provide the timeline for implementation as soon as possible.”