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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-05-001
Details
Synopsis: On July 13, 2003, about 1530 eastern daylight time, Air Sunshine, Inc. (doing business as Tropical Aviation Services, Inc.), flight 527, a Cessna 402C, N314AB, was ditched in the Atlantic Ocean about 7.35 nautical miles west-northwest of Treasure Cay Airport, Treasure Cay, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, after the in-flight failure of the right engine. Two of the nine passengers sustained no injuries, five passengers and the pilot sustained minor injuries, and one adult and one child passenger died after they evacuated the airplane. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 135 as a scheduled international passenger commuter flight.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require all Part 121 and 135 air carriers to obtain any notices of disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings for all pilot applicants and evaluate this information before making a hiring decision.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Treasure Cay, Bahamas
Is Reiterated: Yes
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: MIA03FA141
Accident Reports: In-Flight Engine Failure and Subsequent Ditching Air Sunshine, Inc., Flight 527, Cessna 402C, N314AB, About 7.35 Nautical Miles West-Northwest of Treasure Cay Airport
Report #: AAR-04-03
Accident Date: 7/13/2003
Issue Date: 1/27/2005
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Records

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/18/2016
Response: We are pleased to learn that you plan to expedite implementation of the FAA records portion of the Pilot Records Database (PRD) to provide air carriers and operators with direct access to the pilot records you maintain concerning current airmen certificates and associated ratings, current medical certificates, individuals’ failed attempts to pass the practical test required to obtain a certificate or type rating under Part 61, and summaries of legal enforcement actions resulting in a finding that was not subsequently overturned. We note that, to establish the air carrier records portion of the PRD, you intend to initiate rulemaking to require air carriers to submit information on a pilot’s performance during employment. Pending implementation of the PRD, as well as a requirement that air carriers use the PRD to obtain flight check disapproval notices for certificates and ratings for all pilot applicants and evaluate this information before making a hiring decision, Safety Recommendation A-05-001 remains classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/11/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: In the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) initial response to the Board concerning this recommendation, the FAA indicated that FAA rulemaking would need to be completed or a statutory change would need to occur prior to implementation. The Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of2010 (Public Law 111-216) provided the necessary statutory authority to implement this recommendation in Section 203 -the Pilot Records Database (PRD). Section 203 amended the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1996 by requiring the FAA to establish an electronic database, known as the PRD, which contains pilot records and must be evaluated by air carriers prior to hiring an individual as a pilot. The PRD is required to be populated with certain records related to pilot performance maintained by air carriers and other operators employing pilots. Additionally, the following information must be included in the PRD; records that are maintained by the FAA Administrator concerning current airmen certificates and associated ratings, current medical certificates, any failed attempt of an individual to pass a practical test required to obtain a certificate or type rating under part 61, and summaries of legal enforcement actions resulting in a finding by the Administrator that was not subsequently overturned. Although FAA rulemaking is required to implement the air carrier records portion of the PRD, the FAA developed an implementation plan that will establish the FAA records portion of the PRD more expeditiously than expected through the FAA's rulemaking process and automate the current manual PRIA process. By establishing the FAA records portion ofthe PRD, air carriers and operators will have direct, uninterrupted access to FAA pilot records, such as failed practical tests, to make an informed hiring decision. The FAA plans to have the initial PRD, with only FAA records, developed and available for use by air carriers by December 31, 2016. The initial PRD's usage will be required once the application has been fully vetted. This FAA records implementation plan will likely lessen the time to fully implement the air carrier portion of the PRD once FAA rulemaking has been completed. Upon the PRD's full implementation, an air carrier would be required to provide information on an individual's performance as a pilot during employment. I will keep the Board informed on the FAA's progress on this recommendation and provide an update by April 30, 2017.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 8/13/2012
Response: As a result of the Colgan Continental Connection flight 3407 accident, Congress passed Public Law (PL) 111 216, “Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010.” Section 203 of PL 111 216, “FAA Pilot Records Database,” stipulates that the FAA must create and maintain a database that contains pilot training records from air carriers, including qualification checks, proficiency checks, and employment termination. In its response, the FAA states that it is currently evaluating a Pilot Records Database (PRD) “proof-of-concept” system. Although the PRD will capture all of the recommended information, it does not provide for the direct transfer of paper records between an air carrier and the database; however, it will allow for the transfer of electronic records and the capture of check airmen comments. The FAA believes that the ability to enter comments into the PRD will satisfy the intent of Safety Recommendations A-10-17 through -19. In our report on the Colgan Continental Connection flight 3407 accident, we stated that “the use of electronic pilot training records is acceptable as long as the records contain detailed information from which a pilot’s performance during training and checking events can be fully determined.” We emphasize that it is the information contained on the paper records that an acceptable system must capture and retain. In the flight 3407 accident investigation, we found that the accident pilot’s records—both from his training and from his limited experience at Gulfstream?showed evidence of his poor pilot skills. Because Colgan’s practice was to transfer a limited amount of data from its paper records into an electronic system and then destroy the paper records, it was much more difficult for the airline to evaluate the accident pilot’s skills and need for remedial training. Accordingly, we believe that including a comment field in the PRD is a valuable and necessary feature, but it is not enough. For a response to this safety recommendation to be classified acceptable, such a comment field must be used to provide additional information, similar to what is often recorded on paper. The PRD should do more than provide a comment field; it should require that such a field include comments. Accordingly, pending (1) completion of a PRD that contains records of pilot training and checking events sufficiently detailed to enable the operator and its FAA POI to fully assess a pilot’s entire training performance and (2) implementation of a requirement that operators provide these training records to hiring employers to fulfill their requirement under PRIA, Safety Recommendation A-05-1 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE and Safety Recommendations A-10-17 and -19 remain classified “Open—Acceptable Response.”

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/2/2012
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Acting Administrator: In 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) chartered the Pilot Records Database (PRD) Aviation Rulemaking Committee as a result of Public Law 111 -216, Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010, section 203. This section stipulates that the database must contain pilot training records from air carriers including qualification checks, proficiency checks, and employment termination. The PRD "proof-of-concept" is scheduled for completion by September 30, 2012. On August 15, 2011, the FAA issued Information for Operators (InFO) 11014, Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Parts 91, 121 , 125, and 135 Retention of Pilot Records for the Pilot Records Database (PRD). This InFO instructs parts 91, 121, 125, and 135 operators to retain various pilot records that they had on file as of August 1, 2010, and records that they will create in the future, for transmission to the PRD once the database is created. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on this recommendation, and I will update the Board by May 31, 2013.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 5/20/2011
Response: On September 9, 2005, the FAA indicated that notices of disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings were not among the records explicitly required by the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1996 and, therefore, to mandate that air carriers obtain such notices would require either rulemaking or a change in the PRIA itself. The FAA further indicated that such changes were likely to be time consuming and controversial. Accordingly, to address the intent of this safety recommendation, on November 7, 2007, the FAA revised Advisory Circular (AC) 120-68, “Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996,” adding a note that an applicant for a pilot position could provide a signed letter of consent authorizing the FAA to release records of notices of disapproval for flight checks to an air carrier making such a request. The FAA’s note in AC 120-68 also stated that an air carrier might find this information helpful in evaluating an applicant. The NTSB originally replied to the FAA that the revision to the AC would constitute an acceptable interim alternative if the FAA could provide evidence, such as a survey of Part 121 carriers, of how many carriers required, as a condition of employment, such applicant consent letters permitting the FAA to release the records. We also stated that we considered the FAA’s proposal to constitute only an interim solution, and we urged the FAA to pursue rulemaking changes or changes to the statute itself to more adequately satisfy this recommendation. The NTSB’s investigation revealed the issue addressed in Safety Recommendation A-05-1 to have been a prominent factor in the February 12, 2009, loss of control on approach of Colgan Air, Inc., operating as Continental Connection flight 3407, a Bombardier DHC 8 400, at Clarence Center, New York. At the public hearing for this accident, the FAA’s PRIA program manager stated that air carriers have always had the ability to request records from the FAA beyond those required by PRIA, so long as the carrier obtained a signed consent statement from the pilot applicant (as highlighted by the revised AC on PRIA). The program manager stated that he did not know how many air carriers had obtained additional FAA airman certification information for their pilot applicants, but only one or two air carriers had contacted him for such information. The FAA’s manager for air carrier certification also stated that he did not know how many operators were obtaining these data because the survey that the NTSB had requested had not been conducted. Accordingly, in the final report on the flight 3407 accident investigation, Safety Recommendation A-05-1 was reiterated and reclassified “Open—Unacceptable Response.” On July 2, 2010, the FAA further revised the AC to add a Best Practices section, listing additional expectations that could be of value to an airline in determining whether an applicant should be hired, as well as an appendix that identifies (1) additional pilot records, (2) where these records are stored, and (3) how they may be ordered. In its current letter, the FAA states that, in practice, some air carriers are currently asking a pilot job applicant to sign a consent form, permitting the FAA to release records of notices of disapproval. However, the FAA did not provide any information about how many carriers are doing this or information indicating that the unacceptable situation revealed during the flight 3407 hearing has been revised. In February 2011, the FAA chartered an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) to provide recommendations for revising regulations associated with the Pilot Records Database. Although the initiation of an ARC may constitute progress in responding to this recommendation if it results in the revisions requested in Safety Recommendation A-05-1, the FAA did not charter the ARC, the most initial step in a regulatory revision, until 6 years after the recommendation was issued. The revisions to the AC would have represented an effective interim step if the FAA had followed through to determine whether the advice given in the AC were being followed. The flight 3407 public hearing documented that the guidance in the AC was not, in fact, being followed nor was the FAA following up as recommended in the NTSB’s earlier reply to the FAA. Consequently, pending completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-05-1 remains classified OPEN – UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 3/15/2011
Response: CC# 201100121: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: Public Law I 11-216 section 203(b) requires that air carriers access and evaluate information pertaining to an individual before allowing an individual to begin service as a pilot. Section 203 of Public Law I 11-216 requires air carriers obtain: • Records that are maintained by the Administrator concerning any failed attempt of an individual to pass a practical test required to obtain) a certificate or type rating under CFR 14 Part 61; • Air carrier's records pertaining to the training, qualifications, proficiency, or professional competence of the individual, including comments and evaluations made by a check airman designated in accordance with sections 121.41 1,125.295, or 135.337; and • Air carrier's records pertaining to any release from employment or resignation, termination, or disqualification with respect to employment. To support the requirements of the public law, the FAA chartered an Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), Pilot Records Database, in February 2011. Recommendations from this ARC are due in May 2011. In the interim, the Federal Aviation Administration amended Advisory Circular (AC) 120-68D, Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996, on November 7, 2007 and again on July 2, 2010. The November 7, 2007 revision included the language below addressing this recommendation: NOTE: A request with a signed consent by the pilot/applicant may be used to authorize the FAA to release records ofNotices of Disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings to an air carrier making such a request. Air carrier representatives involved in the pre-employment screening process may find this additional information helpful in evaluating the pilot/applicant. These requests, however, are not an integral part of the standard PRIA [Pilot Records Improvement Act] request process. Consult the PRIA program manager for details. This language remains in the July 2, 2010 AC, which also includes a best practices section. This section lists additional expectations that the FAA determined could be of value in helping an air carrier determine whether an applicant should be hired by their company. An appendix was also added that identifies additional pilot records, where they are stored, and how they may be ordered. In practice, some air carriers are currently asking a pilot job applicant to sign a consent form, permitting the FAA to release records of notices of disapproval to the air carrier requesting them, as part of their pre-employment screening. The FAA, in turn, furnishes those records to the air carrier without violating privacy laws. I will keep the Board informed of the FANs progress and provide an updated response to this recommendation by January 2012.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/23/2010
Response: Safety recommendation A-05-001 was reiterated in the accident report: Loss of Control on Approach Colgan Air, Inc. Operating as Continental Connection Flight 3407, Bombardier DHC-8-400, N200WQ, Clarence Center, New York, February 12, 2009, issued on February 23, 2010. Because of the FAA‘s failure to demonstrate voluntary compliance with the advisory information in AC 120-68D, the NTSB reiterates Safety Recommendation A-05-1 and reclassifies it OPEN - - UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 1/21/2010
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 1/25/2010 10:00:08 AM MC# 2100025: - From Tony Fazio, Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention, AVP 420: The FAA issued AC-120-68D on 11/7/07 and in that revision we added the following NOTE: A request with a signed consent by the pilot/applicant may be used to authorize the FAA to release records of Notices of Disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings to an air carrier making such a request. Air carrier representatives involved in the pre-employment screening process may find this additional information helpful in evaluating the pilot/applicant. These requests, however, are not an integral part of the standard PRIA request process. Consult the PRIA program manager for details. We have revised the AC again and we anticipate putting this revision in FAA internal coordination in February. In this revision a paragraph war added, titled "Best Practices.' These are additional expectations that FAA determined could be of value in helping an air carrier determine whether an applicant should be hired by their company. There was also an appendix added that will identify additional pilot records, where they are stored, and how they may be ordered.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/3/2006
Response: The FAA indicated that Notices of Disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings are not among the records explicitly required by the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) of 1996, and therefore, to mandate that air carriers obtain such notices would require rulemaking or a change in the PRIA itself. The FAA believes that such changes are likely to be time consuming and controversial. The FAA notes that some air carriers currently require applicants for pilot positions to sign a consent form permitting the FAA to release these records to the air carrier requesting them as part of the applicants' pre-employment screening. When this is done, the FAA furnishes these records to the air carrier without violating privacy laws. To address the intent of this safety recommendation, the FAA plans to amend Advisory Circular (AC) 120-68, "Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996," to add a note that a letter of consent signed by an applicant for a pilot position may be used to authorize the FAA to release records of notices of disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings to an air carrier making such a request, and that an air carrier may find this information helpful in evaluating an applicant. The Safety Board shares the FAA's concern that because current statutes and regulations do not permit non-consensual release of information on notices of disapproval, it may be time consuming and difficult to take the recommended action. The FAA's proposal to amend AC 120-68 may be an acceptable alternative that could meet the intent of this recommendation in a timely manner. However, because an AC is advisory rather than a requirement, the FAA should survey all operators after the AC is revised to determine how many require, as a condition of employment, a pilot applicant to submit a signed consent form permitting the FAA to release records of notices of disapproval. Pending the revision of AC 120-68 as proposed, and results of a survey of carriers demonstrating that they require the consent form as a condition of employment by a pilot applicant, Safety Recommendation A-05-1 is classified OPEN - - ACCEPTABLE ALTERNATE RESPONSE. Additionally, we feel that the FAA-proposed action is an interim solution. We urge the FAA to pursue rulemaking changes or changes to the statute itself in order to more adequately satisfy this recommendation.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/9/2005
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 9/20/2005 1:51:32 PM MC# 2050440: - From Marion C. Blakey, Administrator: 9/9/05 Notices of Disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings are not among the Federal Aviation Administration's records explicitly required by the Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996. To require that all 14 CFR Parts 121 and 135 air carriers obtain such notices would require FAA rulemaking or a change in the statute itself. In fact, some air carriers are currently using a practice of asking a pilot job applicant to sign a consent form, permitting the FAA to release records of Notices of Disapproval to the air carrier requesting them, as part of their preemployment screening. The FAA, in turn, furnishes those records to the air carrier without violating Privacy Act laws. To address the safety concern outlined in this safety recommendation, the FAA will amend Advisory Circular (AC) 120-68, Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996, to add the following note after subparagraph 8(a)(4)(a): Additional information. A letter of consent signed by a pilot job applicant may be used to authorize the FAA to release records of Notices of Disapproval for flight checks for certificates and ratings to an air carrier making such a request. Air carrier representatives involved in screening pilot job applicants may find this additional information helpful in evaluating an applicant.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date:
Response: At the February 18, 2010 Board meeting addressing the NTSB’s Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements (MWL), the Board voted to place Safety Recommendations A-05-01 and A-05-14 on the Federal MWL under the issue category “Improve Oversight of Pilot Proficiency.”