Pilots Object To Reporting Requirements


Pilots are pushing back against the FAA’s proposal to expand recordkeeping under the Pilot Records Database (PRD) proposal that could include some Part 91 operators. The FAA received industry response to its NPRM this summer, but now a survey from NBAA and AOPA reveals that commercial pilots are also skeptical that expanding the recording requirements will improve safety. “The survey targeted pilots holding a commercial air transport pilot certificate to gauge the industry’s perception of the PRD, and more than 1,200 pilots responded. All survey respondents expressed skepticism about the proposed PRD, particularly in terms of time necessary to comply and burdens of new requirements,” NBAA says.

AOPA commented in June that there is “the need for air carriers to have a means to ascertain accurate training records of pilot candidates. But we noted concern that the proposal ‘expands beyond what is statutorily required, does not accept industry recommendations, and does not provide a clear process for the lifetime of the pilot to have errors on their record corrected.’” 

According to AOPA, survey respondents said that entering the required data in electronic form “would add a significant time burden but would not be a significant improvement over the current paper-based reporting system.” Respondents with two or more type-rated aircraft said they expected to spend significantly more time on administrative chores under the plan. AOPA also reports that the survey indicates few believed the PRD system would streamline the hiring process.

“AOPA strongly believes that the Pilot Records Database must include a clear process for correcting erroneous information, with the FAA responsible for evaluating and correcting inaccuracies if a pilot’s employer is unwilling or unable to do so,” said Murray Huling, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “The need to provide pilots with transparency and convenient access to their records is why we also recommend giving any holder of an FAA-issued pilot certificate the opportunity to inspect their information on file in the database.”

“The survey results are clear—our members do not believe the proposed electronic Pilot Records Database will significant improve hiring processes or safety,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations. “NBAA and AOPA appreciate the robust response to this survey and will use the survey results to guide discussions with regulators.”

Concerns by both AOPA and NBAA were that the PRD would expand digital recordkeeping into areas where it was previously not required; that it included operators believed to be beyond the original scope of the initial legislation; and that pilots would not have adequate means to remedy incorrect data (including flight experience and examiner check-ride notes, among others) placed into the database.

Marc Cook
KITPLANES Editor in Chief Marc Cook has been in aviation journalism for more than 30 years. He is a 4000-hour instrument-rated, multi-engine pilot with experience in nearly 150 types. He’s completed two kit aircraft, an Aero Designs Pulsar XP and a Glasair Sportsman 2+2, and currently flies a 2002 GlaStar.

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  1. As I’ve asserted for years, this is the Agency’s first step toward universal online pilot and aircraft logbooks. All of those helpful black boxes are about to become e-snitches. Brave new world.

  2. Of course they want it. Any piece of info that the agency can gather is a potential sticking point for the user. FAA loves to make rules which will “Improve Safety” but far and away most of the regulatory changes improve nothing more than the agency web.

  3. In order to make my point, I’m going to give away millions of dollars worth of business consulting right here. Don’t miss it. (I’m only sort of kidding).

    I spent a small time selling software that managed customer databases and helped sales and customer service track info that would improve business. These tools could be invaluable, but rarely were utilized in a way that would capture a reasonable fraction of their value.

    Management often realizes that more information can help them, but they don’t realize what information is important or how to get it. Yet it’s management that has all the power to ensure the info they desire is required while those recording the value are just expected to provide it as “part of their job”. Tools that actually help the workers collect the data or use the data themselves to get their jobs accomplished are not purchased or emphasized. The result is lost efficiency, lowered morale, retention issues, and a database that is either lacking information or actually full of false data.

    $$$$ I’m not kidding at all about the false data. If the people collecting and maintaining your data find it is a chore that doesn’t affect them, your database is likely full of lies.$$$

    Not only that, but its even possible that some of your more productive people used their PC’s to automate the process of putting the lies into the database.

    So, having read only this article, I can tell the FAA they should start over.

    I suggest they first look into ways to help the pilots record their data more quickly and easily. Then, run some studies where they talk to pilots about what might be useful to PILOTS if it were collected and collect it. Then, whatever it is they think they really need to know they should should tack on in a quick and easy multiple choice window where no one will be put out about it.

  4. I think it can all be tied in with ADS-B. Any other clever ideas coming down the FAA turnpike?
    I hope I can sell my aircraft and hangar before the FAA makes this aviation an activity shunned by reasonable people and there are no takers available anymore.

  5. Okay people, calm down. This has nothing to do with following you around daily to see if you logged 3 landings in your Cessna or only two. This has to do with training records and similar items for commercially rated pilots. The problem has been caused by pilots that have no business in the front window seats getting on with carriers by hiding or lying about their own less than stellar history. As a Classic Whale Captain, I flew with a small number of pilots that were scary at best. They were going to do something stupid every leg, you just had no idea what or when. They also lied about their flying time. One pilot was caught by a chief pilot logging a thousand hours of “Parker Pen” time and claiming an “upgrade” at a company -he barely worked for. HR didn’t allow the “firing” for fear of endless lawsuits. Said pilot never made Captain and was given extra training and tries.
    For years, military pilots have been welcome walking in company front doors because they had a proven record of training. I still have my “486” listing every eval I ever took in 23 years. Funny, I don’t get excited if anyone were to ask me to show it to them. Training and qualifications are just that, so why is everyone scared to have that listed? “Oh, my ego would be so wounded if some one saw that I had a bad day once…”. Get over yourselves. You want to work in the pro-world, act like it. Or, better yet, ask the various regionals and majors why they have a very high failure rate in initial training for new hires before the Covid shut down.