Excerpts of a memo to Michigan flight schools from the MDOT Bureau of AeronauticsExcerpts of a memo to Michigan flight schools from the MDOT Bureau of Aeronautics
November 6, 2002
Excerpts of a memo to Michigan flight schools from the MDOT Bureau of Aeronautics
FAQ: Felony background checks for flight school students (S.B.934 and 1006)
What if the person has had a CCW background check, is already a pilot with the airlines, is a law enforcement officer or in the military? The law does not provide for any exceptions. They must still comply with the new law and submit to a separate criminal background check.
Does this apply to people receiving "introductory" or "discovery" flights? No.
Is this retroactive to previously enrolled students? The law is effective May 1, 2002; it would only apply to new students who enroll after May 1, 2002.
Does a student have to submit to a background check every time he or she enrolls? The law states that a criminal background check is to be conducted when they enroll. Once that check has been conducted, you have complied with the law. The law became effective May 1, 2002. If they were enrolled in the training program prior to that, you do not need to conduct a criminal background check.
If the student was already or previously enrolled in our training program, do they have to submit to a criminal background check? If the student has enrolled in your flight training program prior to the effective date of this law, they do not have to have a background check.
If the student is returning to the program, after having been previously enrolled in your flight training program, they do not have to have a background check.
If the student is transferring from another school and did not have a background check at the first school, or if that record is not available for transfer to you, then they would be considered a new student and would have to have the background check.
If a student transfers from another flight school and has already submitted to a criminal background check, do they need another one? No. The results from the first check are sufficient. Flight schools are permitted to share this information. The records must be kept confidential however and may only be used for the purposes of showing compliance with this law.
Can the student start flying before the results have been returned to the flight school? Yes. The student must sign a statement revealing they have not been convicted of a violent felony in the previous seven (7) years. If the background check later reveals that the student does have a felony conviction, the student must be terminated from the flight training program.
Can I submit a photocopy the form RI-8 form? No, the RI-8 form is put through card readers at the State Police and therefore only original forms should be submitted for background checks.
Does the flight school have to retain a copy of the RI-8 form? No, but you should to show you have complied with the law. You should retain a copy until the results are returned and the student found to have no felony background. A copy of the results should be retained in the student's file. In any case, you need to ensure the records are secure.
Is a pilot is taking a biennial flight review (BFR) required to get a background check? The law states that any applicant for training leading to a certificate or rating at a flight school is required, as a condition of enrollment, to have a criminal background check. Individuals getting a BFR or an instrument proficiency check (IPC) or check-outs in complex or other aircraft are not required to have a background check.
My local law enforcement agency won't take the fingerprints, what should I do? Have the student go to the nearest state police post. They are required by law to take the fingerprints. Call first to check. Some posts only do this during certain hours or on certain days.
What does "Sid No." mean in block 50 on the RI -8 form? The "SID Number" is the state identification number assigned to a person who has a criminal record in the state of Michigan. Leave blank.
What about the "independent" or "freelance" flight instructors? (Several flight schools have expressed concern about losing business to independent flight instructors.)
Let's take a look at the Michigan Aeronautics Code:
259.17a "Flight instructor" means any person who possesses a valid flight instructor certificate or other airman certificate issued by the federal aviation administration authorizing that individual to instruct in aircraft.
259.17b "Flight school" means any person providing or offering to provide flight training leading to pilot or flight instructor certification, for hire or compensation, and engaged in any one of the following:
Advertising or calling oneself a flight school or anything equivalent to a flight school.
Hiring, contracting, or otherwise using one or more flight instructors in an endeavor described in this section.
Providing aircraft for the purposes of flight training.
If a flight instructor is providing flight training and doing any one of the three things listed above, then they are in fact operating as a flight school and need to obtain a flight school license from the Bureau of Aeronautics. The criminal background checks would apply to those students enrolled in their program.
Where can I obtain a copy of the law or express my opinion about this law?