On 10th anniversary of plane crash in Clarence, WNY members of Congress want Pilot Records Database to be enacted

Posted 12 February 2019 at 3:01 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Collins

Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27), Rep. Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Rep. Brian Higgins (NY-26), Rep. Tom Reed (NY-23) released the following statements after sending a letter to the Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao urging the Pilot Records Database (PRD) be taken out of beta testing and implemented as a requirement for all pilots to input data so that it may be used by all commercial airlines.

Section 203 of P.L. 111-216 of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010 requires the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) to create a database that would provide air carriers with information regarding the pilots’ training, certifications, qualifications, and other information relating to employment history. This database is important for commercial airliners to make informed hiring decisions. In December 2017, the FAA released its PRD beta test online, 7 years after they were supposed to.

“Ten years later, the crash of Flight 3407 still weighs heavily on our community,” said Congressman Collins. “The families have worked tirelessly to make our skies safe. The Pilot Record Database is one of the last pieces of the puzzle and it is time for it to be fully implemented.”

“On the 10th anniversary of the Flight 3407 tragedy, the best way to honor the memories of the innocent lives lost is to ensure we make permanent these critical and essential aviation safety standards,” said Congressman Joe Morelle.  “I join my colleagues, and the Families of Flight 3407, in urging Secretary Chao to put the safety and well-being of passengers first by implementing the Pilot Records Database to ensure only qualified, responsible pilots are navigating our skies.”

“The National Transportation Safety Board’s study of the crash of Flight 3407 provided direction for how to improve flight safety based on the lessons learned from this tragedy,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “A number of changes have led to safer skies for the travelling public but we aren’t done. Creation of a Pilot Records Database was one of the measures driven by the Families of Flight 3407 and implemented by Congress years ago.  Finalization of this component that brings transparency to who’s flying our plane is long overdue.”

“As we honor those whole tragically lost their lives on Flight 3407, we continue to look for ways that we can work together to ensure the safety of the American people,” said Tom Reed. “The creation of the PRD was an encouraging step. Today we sincerely ask that it be implemented as a requirement to be used by all commercial airlines throughout the United States.”

This provision was included in the legislation after an investigation revealed that Colgan Air hired the captain of Flight 3407, without full knowledge of his complete training record which showed that he failed three “check rides” prior to operating the aircraft.

The bi-partisan letter signed by the four members of Congress adds pressure to Secretary Chao to implement the PRD, which is vital for commercial airliners to determine the qualifications of a pilot prior to hiring. Since August of 2017, the implementation of this provision has been pushed back four times and currently slated for May of this year.

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