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:
FAA records required to be reviewed by the airline include:
The FAA maintains at least three types of records:
Enforcement Information Subsystem (EIS)
Accident/Incident Data (AID)
Basic Airmen Files (knowledge test results, 8710 Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application)
A copy of your basic airmen and EIS/AID record may be obtained by sending a letter that includes:
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.
Employment records by previous employers must be review by the airline. These include records from the past five years of application that contain:
Not authorized for release are records relating to flight time, duty time and rest time.
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.
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).