Statement for the Record: FAA’s Efforts to Maintain and Secure Pilot Records
Air carriers and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are responsible for maintaining a robust and secure information system on pilot training, medical, and performance records. To ensure these records are retained for the life of the pilot and that air carriers review those records when making hiring decisions, the 2010 Airline Safety and Extension Act mandated that FAA create a pilot records database (PRD). However, a robust, centralized database for pilot records remains years away, as FAA has not yet issued a PRD rulemaking or made critical decisions about the PRD’s design and implementation. We have also reported concerns regarding the availability of pilot data and aircraft information—especially as it relates to aircraft owned under non-U.S. citizen trusts—and the security of pilot data maintained by FAA. Our investigations have uncovered numerous fraud schemes—many of which focus on airmen certificate fraud and involve falsified FAA medical certificates—that demonstrate the ways in which gaps in airman data oversight can be exploited and can compromise safety.