If you were involved in an accident or incident that was reported to or investigated by the FAA, chances are that your personal identification information, like your pilot certificate number or name, is still on record with the FAA - and would be indefinitely if you didn't specifically ask for that information to be removed.
But all that is changing now with the FAA's announcement Tuesday that it has started expunging airmen identification from certain electronic incident and accident records if the incident or accident took place more than five years ago.
"AOPA has been a vocal advocate of removing the personal information from dated records," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "In 1989, AOPA and other aviation organizations recommended establishing an expunction policy, but the FAA hasn't acted until now."
While personally identifying information will be removed, the case report number, pilot experience, description of the event, and aircraft type and N number will not be removed. The FAA uses this information to conduct statistical research and research the accident history of an aircraft.
Even though the records can be accessed only by FAA personnel at the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters or field and regional offices, or by aviation safety inspectors, they are considered basic qualification information and can be released to the public.
"Don't dismiss the idea that your personal information might not be in the FAA's accident/incident database. Even incidents such as temporary flight restriction (TFR) and air defense identification zone (ADIZ) violations are included," Gutierrez said. "And remember, even after your personal information is expunged, you still must report that you have had an accident or incident if asked on an insurance or job application."
November 23, 2005