U.S. aviation regulators haven’t created a database to track poor-performing airline pilots five years after Congress mandated it, according to a government report.

The system to log pilot training, required in 2010 after the last fatal crash on a U.S. carrier identified flight-crew deficiencies, won’t be completed until at least 2020, the Transportation Department’s Inspector General said in a report issued Monday.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s progress on the database “remains limited and its completion remains uncertain,” said the report by Assistant Inspector General Matthew Hampton.

After a Colgan Air turboprop crashed near Buffalo, New York, on Feb. 12, 2009, killing 50 people, the National Transportation Safety Board blamed the captain’s actions and said he had a history of poor performance in training exercises. Some of those previous failures were unknown to his employer because the records weren’t available when he was hired, the NTSB found.

Colgan, a unit of Pinnacle Airlines Corp., is no longer in operation.

Safety Enhancements

Pressed by relatives of the accident’s victims, Congress in 2010 passed a law requiring multiple airline safety enhancements, including a system to better track pilot training histories.

Some airlines haven’t begun ensuring that they retain pilot training records, so a future database may not include that information, the report found.

The IG surveyed nine air carriers and eight said they weren’t able to get pilot records from an applicant’s previous employer. While airlines in 2009 agreed to voluntarily exchange more pilot-training information, six of the nine carriers aren’t asking for the records, according to the report.

The project has been slowed because the FAA must write new federal regulations before it can mandate use of the database, the agency said in a response to the IG. As a result of the 2010 law and the FAA’s own efforts, the agency has revamped airline training and put in place other safety measures since the Colgan accident.

Because there was no deadline for the database, the FAA instead focused on enacting new pilot-rest requirements and improving pilot training, according to the report.


This article was written by Alan Levin from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Tags: faa, labor, pilots
Photo Credit: A Boeing cockpit. Bill Abbott / Flickr