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Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996

Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996

On October 9, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law a requirement for airline employers to conduct background checks on pilot applicants effective February 6, 1997. This topic sheet summarizes the requirements and provides guidance on how to obtain a copy of the same records the airlines will request.

Airline pilot applicants are subject to a more thorough background check that includes records from:

  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Previous employers
  • National Driver Registry

FAA Records

FAA records required to be reviewed by the airline include:

  • Current airman certificate;
  • Current medical certificate;
  • Associated type ratings, including any limitations to those certificates and ratings;
  • Summaries of FAA violations that were not subsequently overturned.

The FAA maintains at least three types of records:

Enforcement Information Subsystem (EIS)

  • Computerized database of enforcement actions.
  • Information may be accessed without pilot's permission.
  • Maintained by Flight Standards' Information Management Section (AFS-624) in Oklahoma City.
  • EIS information qualifies for expunction.
  • NOTE: According to FAA, the EIS is not available at this time (2/2009) due in part to security considerations.

Accident/Incident Data (AID)

  • Computerized database of accident and incident information.
  • Information may be accessed without pilot's permission.
  • AID information does not qualify for expunction.
  • Maintained by Flight Standards' Information Management Section (AFS-624) in Oklahoma City.

Basic Airmen Files (knowledge test results, 8710 Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application)

  • Currently on microfilm but in the process of computerization (two-year process).
  • Information may not be accessed without pilot's permission or court order.
  • Maintained by the Airmen Certification Branch in Oklahoma City.
  • Some information in the Basic Airmen files is expungable.

A copy of your basic airmen and EIS/AID record may be obtained by sending a letter that includes:

  • Your full name;
  • Permanent address;
  • Your date and place of birth;
  • Your social security and/or airmen number;
  • Your signature.

Mail to:

FAA Airmen Certification Branch
Post Office Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

A copy of just your EIS/AID record is free. Send a letter with the same information as above, or fax your request to the attention of AFS-624, 405/954-4655.

Previous Employers

Employment records by previous employers must be review by the airline. These include records from the past five years of application that contain:

  • Records of training, qualifications, proficiency, and professional competence, specifically including comments and evaluations of check airmen;
  • Records of any disciplinary action taken by the former employer that was not subsequently overturned;
  • Records of any termination, resignation, physical or professional disqualification, or other release with respect to employment;
  • The results of drug testing; and
  • Records in the airline's alcohol misuse program.

Not authorized for release are records relating to flight time, duty time and rest time.

National Driver Register

Airlines are required to review a copy of the applicant's NDR record. The NDR is a central repository of information concerning the motor vehicle driving records of individuals.

To receive a copy of your NDR, apply online.

Pilot and Employer Rights

The following is from John Yodice's article "Pilot Record Sharing."

A pilot's right to sue has been limited. The airlines are protected from lawsuits by airline pilots regarding the sharing of their pilot records or the information in those records. A pilot applicant should expect that a hiring airline will ask him or her for a written release from liability. A pilot's right to sue is not limited if an airline knowingly provides false information about a pilot's record.

A pilot does have protection against inaccurate or incomplete records. Pilots, in routine fashion, will become aware of a request for data. That's because the sharing of records cannot take place until the airline has received the written consent of the pilot whose records are being requested. Once the pilot becomes aware that this is going on, the pilot should exercise his or her right to review the information (which can be done at any time on reasonable notice). A pilot is given the right to submit written comments to correct any inaccuracies in the record before the airline makes a final hiring decision.

A pilot also has protection against the use of this information by the requesting airline for any purpose other than the hiring consideration. The hiring airline must keep the information confidential. Suppose an airline carelessly releases confidential information; does the limitation on the pilot's right to sue apply? Probably so, unless the pilot can show that the information was false and the release of the false information was knowingly made.

And, of course, you can always call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center for help or advice with any aeronautical problem:800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672).

Updated Friday, February 27, 2009