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As WNY marks anniversary of Flight 3407 tragedy, Higgins fights to finish job families started


Fri, Feb 12th 2021 11:30 am

Congressman presses DOT Secretary Buttigieg to finalize pilot records database

Congressman Brian Higgins is urging the newly appointed U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to get to work on finalizing the last piece of policy directed to be implemented following the tragic crash of Flight 3407 in Western New York on Feb. 12, 2009.

The Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Act approved in 2010 included several flight safety improvements recommended by the National Transportation and Safety Board following the crash of Flight 3407. The pilot record database is the only component of the law yet to be finalized.

In a letter to Secretary Buttigieg, Higgins said, “I write today to call attention to an issue of great importance to the flying public and to my home district in particular, the creation of a Pilot Records Database. It would create a database accessible to commercial airlines to facilitate informed decisions during the pilot hiring process. The captain of Flight 3407 failed three practical tests known as ‘check rides’ but only disclosed one to the regional airline that hired him. The full implementation of the Pilot Records Database is long overdue. We must finish the rulemaking process expeditiously to ensure the safest possible skies for the flying public, and bring over a decade’s worth of work to conclusion.”

The FAA first released a beta test of the pilot records database in 2017. The process of developing the federal rule for the creation of the database began in August of 2019 and in November of 2020 the final rule on the database moved to the Office of Management and Budget for review – a final step before implementation.

A press release stated, “Thanks to the hard-fought advocacy and persistence of the Flight 3407 families, new federal rules related to pilot qualifications and training, measures to reduce pilot fatigue and requirements that provide consumers with added transparency were previously implemented leading to safer flying for all Americans.”

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