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Western New York House delegation leads push for full implementation of pilot records database

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Wed, May 15th 2019 05:30 pm

In bipartisan letter, 24 members call for implementation of safety measure included in 2010 law, based on lessons learned following crash of Flight 3407

Western New York Congressmembers Brian Higgins, Chris Collins, Tom Reed and Joe Morelle 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 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.

Feb. 12 marked 10 years after Colgan Air Flight 3407 tragically crashed to the ground in Clarence Center, killing all passengers and crew members on board and one person on the ground. Leaders said that, since that 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, in part, “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. Family members returned to Washington, D.C., this week to continue their flight safety advocacy.

A press release said, “The letter echoes the calls made by Flight 3407 families and demonstrates strong, bipartisan support for action to advance this long-overdue safety measure.”

Leaders wrote, “We urge the FAA to make full implementation of the PRD a priority and to provide the timeline for implementation as soon as possible.”

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