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Regulatory Hot Topics

Limiting the Pilot Records Database Burden

The final rule establishing a new Part 111 Pilot Records Database (PRD) was published this past May. The related Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published in 2020, introduced the electronic PRD, including new mandates for certain Part 91 operators. The intent was to enhance safety by improving the hiring process for select aircraft operators. Much of business aviation is not currently subject to the reporting requirements outlined in the NPRM, resulting in many new mandates for these operators.

NBAA and many of its member companies – almost 800 parties in total – submitted comments on the final rule, pushing back on the codification of the term “corporate flight department” and objecting to new and onerous recordkeeping requirements, and the inclusion of check airman comments in the PRD.

“The final language of the PRD regulations, including the limited applicability to Part 91 operators, is a significant win for business aviation,” said NBAA Senior Vice President of Safety, Security, Sustainability and International Affairs Doug Carr. He thanked NBAA members that submitted comments, saying, “The outcome clearly demonstrates that your voice matters.”

Certain Part 91 operators, including operators with two or more type-rated airplanes or turbine-powered rotorcraft, are still subject to submitting certain documents upon request by another regulated entity. These operators must register for PRD access by Sept. 8.

Within 14 days of receiving a request for pilot information, Part 91 operators subject to the rule will be required to provide information on:

  • Drug and alcohol testing (if applicable)
  • Pilot training, qualifications and proficiency
  • Final disciplinary actions related to pilot performance
  • Final separation from employment
  • Certain historical data (which is voluntary)

However, Part 91 operators will only have to submit this data if they possess the information.

“The final language of the PRD regulations, including the limited applicability to Part 91 operators, is a significant win for the business aviation community. ”

DOUG CARR Senior Vice President of Safety, Security, Sustainability and International Affairs, NBAA

Part 135 operators and other air carriers are subject to the bulk of the PRD requirements. However, the PRD will eventually phase out the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) requirements for hiring pilots, explained Paul Lange, managing member of Paul A. Lange, LLC, during a recent NBAA News Hour webinar on the topic. Air carriers must register for PRD access by Sept. 8 and begin using the PRD for FAA record evaluations no later than Dec. 7. Until Sept. 9, 2024, it might be necessary to obtain and review pre-hire records using both PRD and PRIA processes.

Jason Herman, CAM, chair of the NBAA Domestic Operations Committee, said during the same NBAA News Hour webinar that pilots could realize some benefits to full PRD implementation, including increased knowledge of what their records contain and the ability to correct errors. View the recorded NBAA News Hour webinar.

All entities subject to the PRD rules are cautioned to submit only the information directly required by regulation in order to minimize the risk of creating a labor-related liability.

Industry Challenge

The FAA established the PRD to be a centralized source for FAA and employer records related to pilot hiring. Several entities, including certain Part 91 operators and all Part 135 operators, are subject to various compliance requirements, with rolling compliance dates through Sept. 9, 2024.

NBAA Response

NBAA will continue to monitor FAA guidance materials regarding PRD compliance and will conduct educational events for member companies as necessary.

July 24, 2023

Podcast: Answers to Your Frequently Asked Operations Questions

NBAA's Operations team answers some common questions about operating business aircraft, including how to comply with the FAA's Pilot Records Database requirements. One of the most frequent concerns stems from the requirement to provide records dating back more than a decade.
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March 28, 2023

Operators: FAA Announces Pilot Records Database Enforcement Campaign

The FAA plans to begin an enforcement campaign related to compliance with the Pilot Records Database requirements.
Read More

January 17, 2023

Operators: Pilot Records Database Application Program Interface Now Available

The Pilot Records Database Application Program Interface is available for operators subject to the PRD regulations to submit pilot records electronically.
Read More

June 29, 2022

Podcast: NBAA Secures PRD Exemptions for Member Flight Operations

Part 135 and 91K operators may be eligible for a temporary exemption from certain requirements of the FAA's Pilot Records Database program, after NBAA raised concerns with the agency that the database’s electronic transmission function isn’t expected to be fully operational until later this year. Listen to learn how to apply for an exemption.
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