Jan. 5, 2017

Steps for Complying with PRIA

The Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) was enacted primarily as a result of certain airline accidents attributable to pilot error. The accident investigations found that although the pilot or pilots had a history of poor performance, their backgrounds were not investigated by the current employers. While many of the PRIA requirements apply only to commercial air carriers, there are implications for operators conducting flights under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). Under PRIA, a commercial air carrier cannot allow a pilot to conduct flights until it obtains and reviews the last 5 years of the pilot’s background and safety records.

Due to several high profile accidents involving Part 121 air carriers, various amendments to PRIA were signed into law during 2010. Specifically, the FAA is now required to create a pilot records database (PRD) that will contain pilot records dating from August 1, 2005, FAA certification events, enforcement records, air carrier employment history and training data, and National Driver Register data. Once implemented, the PRD, including information submitted by the employer, will largely replace the current PRIA process. However, the date for implementation is still unclear. In the interim, June 2016, the FAA issued an updated Advisory Circular on PRIA, AC-12068G.

Detailed information on operators’ responsibility to make or respond to PRIA requests can be found in the NBAA resource Pilot Records Improvement Act Guide.

Pilot Records Improvement Act Guide (836 KB, Member PDF)

PRIA Requirements for Part 91 Operators

Since Part 91 operators do not meet the definition of an air carrier, they are not required to request PRIA records when hiring a pilot. However, certain records must be retained by Part 91 operators in case they receive a records request from an air carrier.

Within 30 days after receiving a PRIA request, the Part 91 operator must provide records pertaining to:

  • Training, qualification, proficiency, or professional competency of the pilot;
  • any disciplinary action that was not subsequently overturned;
  • any release from employment or resignation, termination, or disqualification with respect to employment; and
  • any FAA-mandated alcohol and drug testing program results.

In many cases, a Part 91 operator may not have any records on the pilot that would be pertinent to the PRIA request. In these situations, a simple letter to the requestor stating that no records are available satisfies the regulatory requirements.

PRIA Requirements for Part 135 Operators

Operators that fly either full-time or part-time under FAR Part 135 are required to gather specific past records of a new pilot within 90 days of hiring the person. The new Part 135 employer must request and receive records from anyone who has employed the applicant as a pilot during the past five years. This request must include a signed written consent of the pilot applicant. The consent immunizes the former employer from any Federal, state, or local lawsuits brought by the pilot, unless the information provided is intentionally false.

Pilot Records Database (PRD)

Part 121 and Part 135 operators may voluntarily participate in the Phase I Beta release of the PRD. Once an operator is registered, the operator may obtain the PRIA required FAA data for individual pilot candidates electronically through the PRD in lieu of requesting the hard copy of the records from Oklahoma City through a PRIA request.

While operators may still obtain the required records in hard copy, obtaining the records electronically through the PRD will (1) expedite access to the FAA records required by PRIA; (2) provide information not available through a PRIA request (airmen address verification, accident history incident history, and unsatisfactory practical tests); and (3) prepare operators for the process of obtaining records through the PRD once it becomes mandatory.

For more information on the PRD see:

PRIA Resources

The FAA PRIA website provides a number of guidance documents:

For additional questions contact the NBAA Operations Service Group at 202-783-9250 or ops@nbaa.org.