[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 110 (Thursday, June 10, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 31006-31067]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-11424]



[[Page 31005]]

Vol. 86

Thursday,

No. 110

June 10, 2021

Part II





Department of Transportation





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Federal Aviation Administration





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14 CFR Parts 11, 91, and 111





Pilot Records Database; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 86 , No. 110 / Thursday, June 10, 2021 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 31006]]


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DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Federal Aviation Administration

14 CFR Parts 11, 91, and 111

[Docket No.: FAA-2020-0246; Amdt. Nos. 11-65, 91-363, and 111-1]
RIN 2120-AK31


Pilot Records Database

AGENCY: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), U.S. Department of 
Transportation (DOT).

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The FAA adopts final regulations for the use of an electronic 
Pilot Records Database (PRD) and implements statutory requirements to 
facilitate the sharing of pilot records among air carriers and other 
operators in an electronic data system managed by the FAA. This final 
rule requires air carriers, specific operators holding out to the 
public, entities conducting public aircraft operations, air tour 
operators, fractional ownerships, and corporate flight departments to 
enter relevant data on individuals employed as pilots into the PRD. In 
addition, this rule identifies the air carriers and operators required 
to access the PRD to evaluate the available data for each pilot 
candidate prior to making a hiring decision.

DATES: 
    Effective date: This rule is effective August 9, 2021, except for 
the amendments at instruction 7, which is effective October 8, 2021; 
instructions 8 and 9, which are effective June 10, 2022; instructions 
4, 11, and 12, which are effective September 9, 2024; instruction 13, 
which is effective September 8, 2027; and instructions 6, 10, and 14, 
which are effective September 10, 2029.
    Compliance dates: For the requirements in Sec.  111.15, compliance 
is required by September 8, 2021. Compliance with subpart B of part 111 
is required beginning June 10, 2022, except the requirements in Sec.  
111.105(b)(1), for which compliance is required beginning December 7, 
2021. Compliance with subpart C of part 111 is required beginning June 
10, 2022.
    In Sec.  111.255, compliance for reporting historical records that 
date on or after January 1, 2015 is required by June 12, 2023. 
Compliance for reporting historical records that date before January 1, 
2015 is required by September 9, 2024. Concurrent compliance with the 
requirements of the Pilot Records Improvement Act will end on September 
9, 2024.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher Morris, 3500 S MacArthur 
Blvd., ARB301, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73179; telephone (405) 954-4646; 
email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Executive Summary
    A. Purpose of the Final Rule
    B. Overview of the Final Rule
    C. Summary of Benefits, Costs, and Cost Savings
II. Authority for This Rulemaking
III. Background
    A. Statement of the Problem
    B. History of PRIA and PRD
IV. Comments Regarding General Issues, Applicability, Pilot Privacy, 
and the Transition From PRIA
    A. General Support or Opposition
    B. Applicability of the Rule
    C. Pilot Privacy
    D. Transition From PRIA to PRD
V. Section-by-Section Discussion of Regulatory Text
    A. Subpart A--General
    B. Subpart B--Access to and Evaluation of Records
    C. Subpart C--Reporting of Records by Operators
    D. Subpart D--Pilot Access and Responsibilities
    E. Other Amendments
    F. Other Comments
    G. Comments Related to Regulatory Notices and Analyses
VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses
    A. Regulatory Evaluation
    B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination
    C. International Trade Impact Assessment
    D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment
    E. Paperwork Reduction Act
    F. International Compatibility and Cooperation
    G. Environmental Analysis
    H. Privacy Analysis
VII. Executive Order Determinations
    A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism
    B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect 
Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use
    C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation
VIII. How To Obtain Additional Information
    A. Rulemaking Documents
    B. Comments Submitted to the Docket
    C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms Used Frequently in This Document

AC--Advisory Circular
ARC--Aviation Rulemaking Committee
CFR--Code of Federal Regulations
FOIA--Freedom of Information Act
InFO--Information for Operators
NDR--National Driver Register
NPRM--Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
NTSB--National Transportation Safety Board
PAC--Public Aircraft Operations, Air Tour Operators, Corporate 
Flight Departments
PAO--Public Aircraft Operations
PAR--PRD Airman Record
PRD--Pilot Records Database
PRIA--Pilot Records Improvement Act

I. Executive Summary

A. Purpose of the Final Rule

    This final rule amends Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(14 CFR) by adding new part 111, Pilot Records Database (PRD). This 
final rule facilitates the transition from the information-sharing 
requirements of the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) \1\ to an FAA-
established electronic database, as required by the PRD Act.\2\
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    \1\ Public Law 104-264 section 502; 110 Stat. 3259. The 
requirements of PRIA were initially codified at 49 U.S.C. 44936, 
which became effective on February 7, 1997. Substantive amendments 
were made to PRIA on December 5, 1997 (Pub. L. 105-142; 111 Stat. 
2650) and April 5, 2000 (Pub. L. 106-181; 114 Stat. 61). Currently, 
the requirements of PRIA are codified at 49 U.S.C. 44703(h) and (j).
    \2\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(i) (Pub. L. 111-216, 124 Stat. 2348 (Aug. 1, 
2020)). Referred to as ``the PRD Act'' for the remainder of this 
preamble.
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    This final rule modernizes pilot record-sharing as it occurs 
currently under PRIA. The PRD will serve as a repository for pilot 
records and will contain records from a pilot's current and former 
employers, as well as the FAA. The FAA envisions that the PRD not only 
will be an indicator of pilots' abilities or deficiencies, but also 
that it will prompt conversations between applicants and hiring 
employers. PRD is intended to help ensure that no records about a 
pilot's performance with previous employers that could influence a 
future employer's decision go unidentified.

B. Overview of the Final Rule

    This final rule requires all 14 CFR part 119 certificate holders, 
fractional ownership programs, persons holding a letter of 
authorization (LOA) to conduct air tour operations in accordance with 
Sec.  91.147, persons conducting certain operations under part 91 or 
part 125 (referenced as ``corporate flight departments'' or ``corporate 
operators'' in this preamble),\3\ and governmental entities conducting 
public aircraft operations (PAO) to report records to the pilot records 
database in new 14 CFR part 111. This rule uses the term ``reporting 
entity'' when referencing such requirements.
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    \3\ The FAA uses the term corporate flight departments to 
reference operators of two or more aircraft conducting operations in 
furtherance of or incidental to a business, solely pursuant to the 
general operating and flight rules in part 91 or operating aircraft 
pursuant to a Letter of Deviation Authority issued under Sec.  
125.3. This criteria is provided in Sec.  111.1(b)(4).
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    Part 119 certificate holders, fractional ownership programs and 
persons conducting air tour operations must review records prior to 
allowing an individual to begin service as a pilot. This rule refers to 
the different operators

[[Page 31007]]

subject to part 111 as ``operators'' generally, but also as ``reviewing 
entity'' when referencing these requirements.
    The PRD will contain the required operator and FAA records for the 
life of the pilot and will function as a hiring tool that an operator 
will use in making decisions regarding pilot employment. Employers 
cannot search the PRD indiscriminately, as an operator that wishes to 
view records can see a pilot's record only if that pilot has granted 
consent to that hiring employer. Pilot consent is time-limited and the 
duration is specified by the pilot. The FAA anticipates the PRD will 
improve pilot privacy because only specific data elements are required 
to be submitted, in contrast to current practice under PRIA, in which 
pilot records are exchanged in their entirety. The PRD will indicate 
what records exist about a pilot; the operator is responsible for 
determining if it is necessary to obtain further information prior to 
permitting an individual to begin service as a pilot.
    The Pilot Records Database Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) 
published on March 30, 2020, and the comment period closed June 29, 
2020. The FAA received approximately 800 comments. After careful 
consideration of these comments and thoughtful review of the proposal, 
the FAA adopts this final rule with certain modifications from the 
proposal. These modifications will reduce burdens while achieving the 
safety goals Congress intended for the PRD. The modifications will:
     Remove the proposed user fee to access the database for 
review of pilot records.
     Update the method of reporting to the PRD for certain 
operators without a part 119 certificate. Instead of providing records 
contemporaneously for all pilots employed, corporate flight 
departments, air tour operations, and public aircraft operations will 
be permitted not to upload training, disciplinary, and separation from 
employment records to the PRD unless and until requested by a hiring 
operator. Certain termination and disciplinary action records must be 
reported contemporaneously, however.
     Revise the level of detail required for reporting certain 
training and checking; disciplinary action; and separation from 
employment events to ensure all relevant records are captured while 
reducing subjectivity.
     Amend the compliance schedule, as set forth in the table 
below:

                         Table 1--Timeline for Reporting and Reviewing Responsibilities
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                                                                                                Three years and
      Date          90 Days after      180 Days after      One year after    Two years after     90 days after
                     publication         publication        publication        publication        publication
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Event..........  Submit application  Reviewing entities  Begin reporting    Complete           Compliance with
                  for database        use the PRD for     current pilot      historical         PRIA will no
                  access.             the FAA records     records,           record reporting   longer be
                                      review.             historical         for records        available as an
                                                          records; begin     dating on or       alternative to
                                                          reviewing          after January 1,   PRD; full
                                                          operator records   2015.              compliance with
                                                          in the PRD.                           PRD required.
                                                                                                Historical
                                                                                                record upload
                                                                                                complete.
Entity.........  Reporting entities  Reviewing entities  Reporting          Reporting          Reporting
                  and reviewing                           entities and       entities subject   entities,
                  entities.                               reviewing          to Sec.            reviewing
                                                          entities.          111.255.           entities.
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    14 CFR part 111 contains four subparts. Subpart A contains the 
general requirements of part 111, including how to submit an 
application for database access and other details about user roles 
within the PRD. Subpart B provides requirements for operators reviewing 
records--in particular, details regarding employer obligations during 
the record review process for both the FAA records and records 
submitted by an entity reporting records. Subpart C contains provisions 
for record reporting, including which records to report and timelines 
for reporting records. Subpart D provides requirements and information 
regarding pilots' access to the PRD.
1. PRD Access Requirements and Restrictions
    Subpart A of part 111 provides general requirements for use of the 
PRD. It includes provisions on applicability, definitions, requirements 
for compliance timeframes, database access, fraud and falsification, 
and record retention.
    Part 111 applies to each operator holding an air carrier or 
operating certificate issued in accordance with part 119 and authorized 
to conduct operations under part 121, part 125, or part 135; operators 
holding an LOA issued under Sec.  91.147; operators holding management 
specifications for a fractional ownership program under subpart K of 
part 91; operators conducting operations as a corporate flight 
department; entities conducting certain PAO operations; trustees in 
bankruptcy of any operator; pilots; and other persons who might access 
the PRD. Part 111 does not apply to any foreign air carrier or operator 
of U.S. registered aircraft.
    Designated responsible persons under part 111 must apply for access 
to the PRD. Such persons will manage records and user accounts, and be 
responsible for all actions taken within the PRD for a particular 
operator, entity, or trustee. This rule provides a list of the 
appropriate management positions that will qualify to serve as a 
responsible person for an operator. Consistent with Congress' direction 
that the FAA protect the privacy and confidentiality of pilot records 
in the PRD, part 111 provides specific requirements for the responsible 
person's application that will enable the FAA to evaluate sufficiently 
each request for access. The responsible person may delegate his or her 
authority to access the database to certain other persons, but 
continued access is contingent on the validity of the responsible 
person's electronic access.
    The FAA will deny database access to any person for failure to 
comply with any of the duties and responsibilities prescribed under 
part 111, or as necessary to preserve the security and integrity of the 
database. No person may use the database for any purpose except as 
expressly authorized under part 111 and no person may share, 
distribute, publish, or otherwise release any record accessed in the 
database to any person or individual not directly involved in the 
hiring decision, unless specifically authorized by law, or unless the 
person sharing the record is the subject of the record.
    Lastly, subpart A contains requirements concerning the length of 
time that records pertaining to an individual must remain within the 
PRD. Such records must remain in the database until either the FAA 
receives official notification of a pilot's death or an FAA audit of 
the database indicates that 99 years have passed since the date of 
birth on record for a particular pilot.
2. Access to and Evaluation of Records
    Under subpart B of part 111, part 119 certificate holders, 
fractional ownership programs, air tour operations holding a letter of 
authorization under Sec.  91.147,

[[Page 31008]]

and trustees in bankruptcy of those entities must review a pilot's 
records in the PRD prior to permitting the pilot to begin service as a 
required flight crewmember. These operators are ``reviewing entities.'' 
In order to access and evaluate a pilot's records, a reviewing entity 
must receive consent from that pilot.
    As set forth in the PRD Act, each reviewing entity must preserve 
the privacy and confidentiality of the records accessed in the database 
and the persons accessing the records on behalf of each reviewing 
entity are subject to all terms of access set forth in subpart A.
    Reviewing entities must evaluate both the FAA records and records 
provided by an operator (reporting entity) subject to this rule. The 
FAA records include:
     Records related to current pilot and medical certificate 
information, including associated type ratings and information on any 
limitations to those certificates and ratings;
     Records maintained by the Administrator concerning any 
failed attempt of an individual to pass a practical test required to 
obtain a certificate or type rating under 14 CFR part 61;
     Records related to enforcement actions resulting in a 
finding by the Administrator that was not subsequently overturned of a 
violation of Title 49 of the United States Code or a regulation 
prescribed or order issued under that title; and
     Records related to an individual acting as pilot in 
command or second in command during an aviation accident or incident.
    Reviewing entities must also evaluate non-FAA records that the FAA 
includes in the PRD. Such records consist of an individual's pre-
employment drug and alcohol testing history and other U.S. Department 
of Transportation drug and alcohol testing, including verified positive 
drug test results, alcohol misuse violations, including confirmed 
alcohol results of 0.04 or greater, and refusals to submit to drug or 
alcohol testing. Reviewing entities must begin using the PRD to 
evaluate the FAA records December 7, 2021.
    Each reviewing entity must also evaluate any records submitted to 
the PRD by a reporting entity and must begin evaluating these records 
in the PRD on June 10, 2022. Reviewing entities must also evaluate any 
records obtained through the National Driver Register (NDR) process 
from the chief driver licensing official of a State.
    Due to the possibility that a reporting entity might have 
additional records on request, the reviewing entity must compare the 
pilot's list of former employers dating back five years and verify that 
no discrepancy exists between the pilot-provided employment history and 
the records available in the PRD.
3. Reporting of Records
    Subpart C of part 111 requires reporting entities to submit records 
for each individual employed as a pilot, including drug and alcohol 
testing records under part 120, if applicable; training, qualification, 
and proficiency records, as applicable; final disciplinary action 
records; records concerning separation of employment; verification of a 
motor vehicle driving record search; and historical records. These 
records generally must be reported to the PRD contemporaneously, which 
for purposes of this preamble means within the time set by the FAA upon 
occurrence of the event causing creation of the record, typically 30 
days.
    Reporting entities include all reviewing entities, as well as 
corporate flight departments and public aircraft operations. Pursuant 
to the PRD Act, this rule includes requirements for record reporting by 
a trustee appointed by a bankruptcy court for an operator or entity 
subject to part 111, subpart C. This trustee must comply with all 
reporting requirements in part 111.
    Certain records are not subject to required contemporaneous 
reporting. Each operator conducting PAO; air tour operations; and 
corporate flight departments are not required to report training 
qualification and proficiency records, certain final disciplinary 
action records, or certain records concerning separation of employment, 
unless and until they receive a request from a reviewing entity. If, 
however, the record memorializes a disciplinary action resulting in 
permanent or temporary removal of the pilot from aircraft operations or 
separation from employment resulting in termination, the record must be 
reported to the PRD contemporaneously. These operators must retain all 
records eligible for reporting upon request. If records are not 
available at the time of the request from the reviewing entity, these 
reporting entities must provide written confirmation to the FAA that no 
records are available.
    No reporting entity may report pilot records related to a safety 
event that the entity reported as part of the Aviation Safety Action 
Program (ASAP) or any other approved Voluntary Safety Reporting 
Program.
    If a reporting entity discovers or is informed that previously 
reported records contain inaccurate information, that entity must 
correct the record within 10 days of knowledge that the record contains 
an error. When the reporting entity does not agree that the record 
contains an error, it must notify the pilot that the dispute will be 
resolved in accordance with the reporting entity's dispute resolution 
procedures. Each reporting entity must have a documented process for 
investigating and resolving record disputes in a reasonable amount of 
time. Once resolved, final disposition of the dispute must be 
documented in the PRD.
    Air carriers and operators required to report historical records 
must complete submission of historical records generated on or after 
January 1, 2015 by June 12, 2023. Historical records preceding January 
1, 2015 must be reported by September 9, 2024.
4. Pilot Access and Responsibilities
    Subpart D of part 111 establishes requirements that apply to a 
pilot's access to the PRD. Each pilot must submit an application to the 
FAA to validate that pilot's identity for access to the PRD. Pilots 
provide consent to a reviewing entity to view their records through the 
PRD. Access also enables pilots to review their own records in the PRD. 
In the event a pilot is not able to meet the identity validation 
requirements associated with accessing the PRD, a pilot can receive a 
paper copy of his or her records by submitting a form to the FAA.
    Pilots are responsible for designating which reviewing entities are 
able to access records for review. Before any operator may access a 
pilot's records in the PRD, the pilot must give written consent, 
designating the reviewing entity that will be allowed to access that 
pilot's records. Pilots must also provide separate written consent for 
operators to submit a request to the NDR for the pilot's motor vehicle 
driving record.
    Pilots must verify that their employment history is complete and 
accurate. In addition, pilots who identify errors or inaccuracies in 
their respective PRD records are responsible for reporting the errors 
to the PRD. Once the FAA receives a report from the pilot of an error 
or inaccuracy, the FAA will designate the record as ``in dispute'' in 
the PRD. The record will remain designated as such until the entity 
that reported the record either corrects the record or completes the 
dispute resolution process.
5. Transition to PRD
    Operators currently comply with PRIA. Continued use of PRIA is 
required to support a successful transition to

[[Page 31009]]

PRD. By September 9, 2024, the FAA intends to complete the transition 
from PRIA to PRD.
    To support the transition, all operators subject to the 
applicability of part 111 must submit a responsible person application 
not later than September 8, 2021. The FAA will begin working with each 
subject operator and entity to facilitate a smooth transition. 
Additionally, reviewing entities must use the PRD to review the FAA 
records, beginning December 7, 2021.
    Once the PRD begins accepting records on June 10, 2022, reporting 
entities must submit any new records generated on or after that date to 
the PRD. During this time, reporting entities must continue to respond 
to PRIA requests for historical records or, alternatively, report those 
historical records directly to the PRD for review. The PRD will display 
either a statement indicating a reporting entity has completed 
reporting all records for a pilot or a statement that the reviewing 
entity needs to submit a PRIA request to the reporting entity for 
records. The FAA envisions that as time goes on, records will be pre-
populated in the PRD and any duplicative review of records will phase 
out. Duplicative reporting is never required; a reporting entity may 
always, beginning on June 10, 2022, upload a record to the PRD instead 
of responding to a PRIA request. Reviewing entities must also begin 
reviewing records in the PRD on June 10, 2022, while continuing to 
comply with PRIA.

C. Summary of Benefits, Costs, and Cost Savings

    This rule promotes aviation safety by facilitating operators' 
consideration of pilot skill and performance when making hiring and 
personnel management decisions by using the most accurate pilot records 
available and by making those records accessible electronically. After 
the effective date of the rule, operators will incur costs to report 
pilot records to the PRD and to train and register as users of the PRD. 
Operators will receive future cost savings once PRIA is phased out. The 
FAA will incur costs related to the operations and maintenance of the 
PRD.
    Over a 10-year period of analysis (2021-2030), this rule results in 
present value net costs (costs less savings) to industry and the FAA of 
about $67.0 million or $9.5 million annualized using a seven percent 
discount rate. Using a three percent discount rate, this rule results 
in present value net costs of about $71.0 million or about $8.3 million 
annualized.
    This rule provides recurring annual cost savings to industry 
because the PRD would replace PRIA three years and 90 days after the 
rule is published. Under PRIA, air carriers, operators, and pilots 
complete and mail, fax, or email forms to authorize requests for the 
provision of pilots' records. Under the PRD, most of this process will 
occur electronically. Over a 10-year period of analysis (2021-2030), 
the rule provides present value cost savings to industry of about $21.2 
million or $3.0 million annualized using a seven percent discount rate. 
Using a three percent discount rate, the present value cost savings to 
industry is about $27.4 million or about $3.2 million annualized. After 
the discontinuance of PRIA, the annual recurring cost savings will more 
than offset the recurring annual costs of the rule.
    The following table summarizes the benefits, costs, and cost 
savings of the rule to industry and the FAA.

          Table 2--Summary of Benefits, Costs, and Cost Savings
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                                Benefits
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 Promotes aviation safety by facilitating operators'
 consideration of pilot skill and performance when making hiring and
 personnel management decisions.
 Provides faster retrieval of pilot records compared to PRIA.
 Reduces inaccurate information and interpretation compared to
 PRIA.
 Provides easier storage of and access to pilot records than
 PRIA.
 Allows pilots to consent to release and review of records.


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                                 Summary of costs and cost savings * ($millions)
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                                                      10-Year                         10-Year
                    Category                       present value    Annualized     present value    Annualized
                                                       (7%)            (7%)            (3%)            (3%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Costs...........................................            88.2            12.6            98.5            11.5
Cost Savings....................................          (21.2)           (3.0)          (27.4)           (3.2)
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Net Costs...................................            67.0             9.5            71.0             8.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Notes: Columns may not sum due to rounding. Savings are shown in parentheses to distinguish from costs.
  Estimates are provided at seven and three percent discount rates per Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
  guidance. Industry and FAA costs are higher in the beginning of the period of analysis than industry cost
  savings that occur later in the period of analysis after the discontinuance of PRIA three years and 90 days
  after the rule is published. This results in larger annualized estimates of costs and net costs at a seven
  percent discount rate compared to a three percent discount rate.

II. Authority for This Rulemaking

    The FAA's authority to issue rules on aviation safety is found in 
Title 49 of the United States Code (49 U.S.C.). This rulemaking is 
promulgated under the general authority described in 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 
which establishes the authority of the Administrator to promulgate 
regulations and rules, and the specific authority provided by section 
203 of the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension 
Act of 2010, herein called the PRD Act,\4\ codified at 49 U.S.C. 
44703(h)-(k). The PRD Act identifies several rulemaking requirements.
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    \4\ Public Law 111-216, 124 Stat. 2348 (Aug. 1, 2010).
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    The PRD Act requires the Administrator to promulgate regulations to 
establish an electronic pilot records database containing records from 
the FAA and records maintained by air carriers and other persons that 
employ pilots. At a minimum, air carriers and persons employing pilots 
must report ``records that are generated by the air carrier or other 
person after [August 1, 2010]'' as well as ``records that the air 
carrier or other person [was] maintaining, on [August 1, 2010],'' on 
any person employed as a pilot. The PRD Act also requires air carriers 
to access the database and evaluate any relevant records maintained 
therein pertaining to an individual before allowing that individual to 
begin service as a pilot.
    The FAA is further required to issue regulations to protect and 
secure the personal privacy of any individual

[[Page 31010]]

whose records are accessed in the new electronic database; to protect 
and secure the confidentiality of those records; and, to prevent 
further dissemination of those records once accessed by an air carrier. 
The PRD Act also requires the implementing regulations to prescribe a 
timetable for the implementation of the PRD as well as a schedule for 
expiration of the application of the Pilot Records Improvement Act of 
1996.

III. Background

A. Statement of the Problem

    The Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) was enacted in 1997 in 
response to a series of accidents attributed to pilot error.\5\ The 
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that although the 
pilots had a history of poor training performance or other indicators 
of impaired judgment, their employers had not investigated the pilots' 
backgrounds.
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    \5\ Clarifications to Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996, 
H.R. Rep. 105-372 (Oct. 31, 1997), explained certain clarifying 
amendments made to PRIA in Public Law 105-142, 111 Stat. 2650 (Dec. 
5, 1997), and listed the following accidents as evidence supporting 
the enactment of PRIA: Continental Airlines flight 1713 (November 
15, 1987); Trans-Colorado flight 2286 (January 19, 1988); AV Air 
flight 3378 (February 19, 1988); Aloha Island Air flight 1712 
(October 28, 1989); Scenic Air flight 22 (April 22, 1992); Express 
II flight 5719 (December 1, 1993); and American Eagle flight 3379 
(December 13, 1994). Each of these operators held a part 119 air 
carrier certificate and most of the flights occurred under 14 CFR 
part 135, except Continental Airlines flight 1713, which was 
operated under 14 CFR part 121.
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    Two accidents following the enactment and implementation of PRIA 
led the NTSB to make additional findings and recommendations regarding 
retention of pilot records; the sharing of information related to pilot 
performance among operators; and operators' review of previous 
performance records. On July 13, 2003, Air Sunshine Incorporated flight 
527 (d/b/a Tropical Aviation Services, Inc.) ditched in the Atlantic 
Ocean about 7 nautical miles west-northwest of Treasure Cay Airport 
(MYAT), The Bahamas, after an in-flight failure of the right engine. 
The flight was conducted under the operating rule of 14 CFR part 135, 
as a scheduled international, passenger-commuter flight. Out of nine 
total passengers, two passengers died after evacuating the airplane and 
five passengers sustained minor injuries. The pilot sustained minor 
injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The NTSB 
determined that ``the probable cause of the accident was the in-flight 
failure of the right engine and the pilot's failure to adequately 
manage the airplane's performance after the engine failed.'' \6\ The 
NTSB also found that ``the pilot had a history of below-average flight 
proficiency, including numerous failed flight tests, before the flight 
accident, which contributed to his inability to maintain maximum flight 
performance and reach land after the right engine failed.'' \7\
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    \6\ See NTSB Report AAR-04/03 (Adopted October 13, 2004) at page 
47, which can be obtained at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR0403.pdf.
    \7\ See NTSB Report AAR-04/03 at page 43.
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    In response to the Air Sunshine 527 accident, the NTSB issued 
recommendation A-05-01, in which it advised the FAA to require all 
``part 121 and 135 air carriers to obtain any notices of disapproval 
for flight checks for certificates and ratings for all pilot-applicants 
and evaluate this information before making a hiring decision.'' \8\ 
The NTSB recognized the importance of validating FAA ratings and 
certifications, as required by PRIA, but noted that ``additional data 
contained in FAA records, including records of flight check failures 
and rechecks, would be beneficial for a potential employer to review 
and evaluate.'' The NTSB acknowledged that while ``a single notice of 
disapproval for a flight check, along with an otherwise successful 
record of performance, should not adversely affect a hiring decision,'' 
a history of ``multiple notices of disapproval for a flight check might 
be significant . . . and should be evaluated before a hiring decision 
is made.''
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    \8\ Letter to Marion C. Blakey Re Safety Recommendation A-05-01 
and -02 (Jan. 27, 2005), available at http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-recs/RecLetters/A05_01_02.pdf.
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    On February 12, 2009, Colgan Air, Inc. flight 3407 (d/b/a 
Continental Connection), crashed into a residence in Clarence Center, 
New York, about 5 nautical miles northeast of the Buffalo Niagara 
International Airport, New York, resulting in the death of all 49 
passengers on board and one person on the ground. The flight occurred 
under 14 CFR part 121.
    The NTSB determined that ``the probable cause of this accident was 
the captain's inappropriate response to activation of the stick shaker, 
which led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not 
recover.'' \9\ Contributing factors included: ``(1) the flightcrew's 
failure to monitor airspeed in relation to the rising position of the 
low-speed cue, (2) the flightcrew's failure to adhere to sterile 
cockpit procedures, (3) the captain's failure to effectively manage the 
flight, and (4) Colgan Air's inadequate procedures for airspeed 
selection and management during approaches in icing conditions.'' \10\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ NTSB Report AAR-10/01 at 155 (Feb. 2, 2010), available at 
http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR1001.pdf.
    \10\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Additional safety issues the NTSB identified included deficiencies 
in the air carrier's recordkeeping system and its analysis of the 
flightcrew's qualifications and previous performance. Specifically, 
Colgan Air's check airman stated that the captain had failed his 
initial proficiency check on the Saab 340 on October 15, 2007, received 
additional training, and passed his upgrade proficiency check on the 
next day; however, the company's electronic records indicated that the 
second check was conducted 12 days after the failure. The NTSB deemed 
these discrepancies in the captain's training records as noteworthy 
because the captain had demonstrated previous training difficulties 
during his tenure at Colgan Air.\11\ In addition to this failed check, 
the captain failed his practical tests for the instrument rating 
(airplane category) on October 1, 1991 and for the commercial pilot 
certificate (single-engine land airplane) on May 14, 2002, and required 
additional training in three separate training events while a first 
officer at Colgan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As a result of its investigation, the NTSB issued recommendation A-
10-019 to recommend that the FAA require all ``part 121, 135, and 91K 
operators to provide the training records requested in Safety 
Recommendation A-10-17 to hiring employers to fulfill their requirement 
under PRIA.'' \12\ Safety Recommendation A-10-017 advises the FAA to 
require all ``part 121, 135, and 91K operators to document and retain 
electronic and/or paper records of pilot training and checking events 
in sufficient detail so that the carrier and its principal operations 
inspector can fully assess a pilot's entire training performance.'' 
\13\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \12\ NTSB Safety Recommendation A-10-019 in Letter from NTSB 
Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman to FAA Administrator J. Randolph 
Babbitt dated Feb. 23, 2010 at 26, available at https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-recs/recletters/A-10-010-034.pdf.
    \13\ NTSB Safety Recommendation A-10-017 in Letter from NTSB 
Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman to FAA Administrator J. Randolph 
Babbitt dated Feb. 23, 2010 at 57, available at https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-recs/recletters/A-10-010-034.pdf. By 
letter dated February 21, 2014, the NTSB reported that ``pending 
implementation of the PRD, including guidance about when comments 
are needed in PRD entries, Safety Recommendation A-10-017 remains 
classified Open-Acceptable Response.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the Colgan Air 3407 final aircraft accident report, the NTSB 
noted the issuance of Safety Recommendation A-05-01 as a result of the 
Air Sunshine 527 accident. The NTSB indicated its

[[Page 31011]]

continued recommendation that airman certification information 
concerning previous notices of disapproval should be included in an air 
carrier's assessment of the suitability of a pilot-applicant. The NTSB 
also indicated that notices of disapproval should be considered safety-
related records that must be included in an air carrier's evaluation of 
a pilot's career progression. While recognizing that the FAA had 
revised Advisory Circular (AC) 120-68G: The Pilot Records Improvement 
Act of 1996 (AC120-68G), (June 21, 2016) to indicate that the hiring 
employer may, at its discretion, request a record of an individual's 
notices of disapproval for flight checks from the FAA,\14\ the NTSB 
advised that a rulemaking would ensure that air carriers are required 
to obtain and evaluate notices of disapprovals for pilot-applicants.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Advisory Circular--Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 
(June 21, 2016), available at https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_120-68G.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the Colgan Air 3407 accident, Congress enacted the PRD 
Act. The PRD Act required the FAA to establish an electronic pilot 
records database and provided for the subsequent sunset of PRIA. 
Congress has since enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act 
of 2016 (FESSA), which required the FAA to establish the electronic 
pilot records database by April 30, 2017.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ Public Law 114-190 section 2101 (July 15, 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    On February 23, 2019, Atlas Air Inc. (Atlas) flight 3591, a Boeing 
767, was destroyed after it descended rapidly from an altitude of about 
6,000 ft mean sea level (MSL) and crashed in Trinity Bay, Texas, about 
41 miles east-southeast of George Bush Intercontinental/Houston Airport 
(IAH), Houston, Texas, resulting in the death of the captain, first 
officer, and a nonrevenue pilot riding in the jump seat. Atlas operated 
the airplane as a part 121 domestic cargo flight.
    The NTSB determined that the probable cause of this accident was an 
inappropriate response by the first officer as the pilot flying to an 
inadvertent activation of the go-around mode, which led to his spatial 
disorientation and nose-down control inputs that placed the airplane in 
a steep descent from which the crew did not recover. Contributing to 
the accident, according to the NTSB, were systemic deficiencies in the 
aviation industry's selection and performance measurement practices, 
which failed to address the first officer's aptitude-related 
deficiencies and maladaptive stress response. The NTSB also noted the 
FAA's failure to implement the PRD as a contributing factor.
    Consequently, the NTSB issued two new safety recommendations. 
Recommendation A-20-34 states:

    Implement the pilot records database and ensure that it includes 
all industry records for all training started by a pilot as part of 
the employment process for any Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations 
Part 119 certificate holder, air tour operator, fractional ownership 
program, corporate flight department, or governmental entity 
conducting public aircraft operations regardless of the pilot's 
employment status and whether the training was completed.

Recommendation A-20-35 states:

    Ensure that industry records maintained in the pilot records 
database are searchable by a pilot's certificate number to enable a 
hiring operator to obtain all background records for a pilot 
reported by all previous employers.

    On March 30, 2020, the FAA responded to the legislative mandates 
and NTSB recommendations by publishing the PRD Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register.\16\ Consistent with NTSB 
recommendation A-05-01, the FAA proposed to require all operators to 
access and evaluate an individual's records in the PRD before making a 
hiring decision. These records would include any notices of disapproval 
the individual received during a practical test attempt for a 
certificate or rating. The proposed rule stated the FAA would upload 
data processed in the Certification Airmen Information System (CAIS) on 
a nightly basis to ensure both air carriers and operators have the most 
accurate and up-to-date information to make an informed hiring 
decision. Second, consistent with A-10-17 and A-10-19, the FAA proposed 
to require air carriers and operators to enter relevant information 
into the PRD in a standardized format.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ 85 FR 17660.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Implementation of this rule is responsive to both new NTSB 
recommendations. Specifically, regarding Recommendation A-20-34, the 
FAA only has authority to require reporting of records by operators 
that have actually employed the pilot; however, the PRD will apply to 
records concerning training prior to the pilot beginning service as a 
pilot crewmember.

B. History of PRIA and PRD

    Congress enacted PRIA to ensure that air carriers adequately 
investigate each pilot's employment background and other information 
pertaining to pilot performance before allowing that individual to 
serve as a flight crewmember in air carrier operations. PRIA requires a 
hiring air carrier to obtain records from three sources utilizing 
standardized forms including: (1) Current and previous air carriers or 
operators that had employed the individual as a pilot, (2) the FAA, and 
(3) the National Driver Register (NDR).
    The provisions of PRIA were self-implementing and the FAA's role 
was limited; therefore, there was no need for the FAA to develop 
implementing regulations. The FAA issued AC120-68G, which provided 
guidance for air carriers, operators and pilots regarding compliance 
with the PRIA statute. In advance of this rulemaking, the FAA moved its 
PRIA records to an electronic pilot record database, the first phase of 
PRD.\17\ Use of the PRD for review of FAA records is voluntary under 
PRIA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ The FAA was appropriated ``under section 106(k)(1) of the 
PRD Act and codified at U.S.C. 44703(i)(14), a total of $6,000,000 
for fiscal years 2010 through 2013'' in order to establish a pilot 
records database.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the Colgan Air 3407 accident, the FAA issued a Call to 
Action on Airline Safety and Pilot Training. The FAA published an 
Airline Safety and Pilot Training Action Plan \18\ that included a 
number of key initiatives including a focused review of air carrier 
flight crewmember training, qualification, and management practices. In 
addition, the FAA updated AC 120-68E \19\ on July 2, 2010, and 
incorporated elements from the Plan.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Fact Sheet--Update on the FAA's Call to Action to Enhance 
Airline Safety (Jan. 27, 2010), available at https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=11125.
    \19\ Advisory Circular--Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996 
(July 2, 2010), available at https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC%20120-68E.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to the PRD Act, the FAA Administrator chartered the PRD 
Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) on February 3, 2011.\20\ The PRD 
ARC submitted a final report to the Associate Administrator for 
Aviation Safety on July 29, 2011. A copy of the report is in the public 
docket for this rulemaking.\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ The PRD ARC charter is available at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/committees/documents/media/PRD.ARC.cht.20110203.pdf.
    \21\ The ARC report is available in the public docket for this 
rulemaking and is also available at https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/committees/documents/index.cfm/document/information?documentID=312.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA also issued further communications regarding pilot records. 
The FAA published an Information for Operators (InFO) \22\ on August 
15, 2011 (InFO 11014), advising all operators that conduct operations 
in accordance with

[[Page 31012]]

parts 91, 121, 125, and 135 to retain any records on pilots employed in 
those operations.\23\ The FAA published a second InFO on March 13, 2014 
(InFO 14005), further reminding the regulated entities of their 
responsibility to retain pilot records dating back to August 1, 
2005.\24\ The FAA also issued a policy notice titled ``Pilot Records 
Retention Responsibilities Related to the Airline Safety and Federal 
Aviation Administration Act of 2010.'' The notice directed FAA 
inspectors to verify that air carriers or operators have a system in 
place to retain records that the statute requires such entities to 
include in the database.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ InFOs are documents the FAA issues that contain information 
and recommendations.
    \23\ http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/2011/InFO11014.pdf.
    \24\ Pilot Records Database--Status Update http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/info/all_infos/media/ 2014/InFO14005.pdf.
    \25\ National policy notice N8900.279, ``Pilot Records Retention 
Responsibilities Related to the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation 
Administration Act of 2010,'' is available at http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Notice/N_8900.279.pdf. See also 49 U.S.C. 
44703(i)(4)(B)(ii)(II).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The PRD Act directed the FAA to submit a statement to Congress by 
February 2012, and at least once every three years thereafter, 
indicating completion of a periodic review of the statutory 
requirements. The statement to Congress must contain FAA 
recommendations to change the records required to be included in the 
database or explain why the FAA does not recommend changes to the 
records referenced in Section 203. In its most recent report to 
Congress, in February 2018, the FAA indicated that it did not recommend 
any changes until it considers public comments on the PRD rulemaking 
proposal. The FAA expects to provide the next report by February 2021.

IV. Comments Regarding General Issues, Applicability, Pilot Privacy, 
and the Transition From PRIA

    The Pilot Records Database NPRM published on March 30, 2020 and the 
comment period closed June 29, 2020. Approximately 800 comments were 
posted to the docket, many of which were form letters submitted by 
National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) members.
    Generally, the Families of Continental Flight 3407 \26\ and others 
supported the rule. Many commenters, particularly part 91 operators 
\27\ and aviation industry organizations, opposed the proposed rule. 
Commenters stated that not all covered records should apply to some 
types of operators, such as corporate operators and operators 
conducting public aircraft operations (PAO). They asserted that 
requiring such operators to include all record types would cause undue 
burden and would offer limited value, as the career path from part 91 
operations to operations involving common carriage is less common. 
Commenters were also concerned about the user fee, particularly as it 
applied to small operators, and noted that they anticipated higher 
costs for recordkeeping than the estimated costs presented by the FAA. 
Commenters also requested a longer compliance period to transition from 
PRIA to PRD.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ The Families of Continental Flight 3407 is an organization 
of family members and close friends of the victims of Continental 
Flight 3407 which crashed on February 12, 2009. This rule refers to 
that event as Colgan Air 3407.
    \27\ The term ``part 91 operators'' refers to operations that 
occur solely under the regulatory requirements contained in 14 CFR 
part 91.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Commenters expressed concern about pilots' privacy and objected to 
the inclusion of check pilot comments in the PRD. Commenters further 
objected to the inclusion of historical records and the method for 
record reporting.

A. General Support or Opposition

1. Summary of Comments
    Most comments that generally agreed with the proposed rule were 
submitted by the Families of Continental Flight 3407. These commenters 
supported the creation of the PRD on the grounds that it would prevent 
accidents such as crash of Colgan Flight 3407. Most of these commenters 
stated the crash was largely due to pilot error and that the PRD would 
have provided better review and scrutiny of pilot records, which could 
have prevented the accident.
    The other commenters that generally supported the proposed rule, 
including the NTSB, the Regional Airline Association (RAA), Small UAV 
Coalition, and the National Air Disaster Foundation, did so on the 
basis that centralizing records in an electronic database would create 
a broad source of records available in a standardized format in one 
location. This centralization would limit the possibility that 
operators would overlook records, provide a seamless process of 
reviewing pilot records, aid operators in hiring the highest quality 
pilots, and improve transparency while still protecting the privacy of 
pilots' records. One individual stated the proposed rule has some 
positive aspects for part 135 operators, especially in obtaining timely 
PRIA documents about a prospective crewmember's employment history, but 
believed the costs outweigh the benefits. This commenter indicated 
complying with the proposed rule would require hiring additional 
personnel.
    Commenters who generally disagreed with the proposed rule stated 
the PRD would not be useful, would impose an unfair burden on affected 
operators or pilots or would be intrusive and violate pilot privacy. 
Commenters also stated that the PRD would be open to abuse and false 
reporting by employers, or would penalize pilots unfairly who do not 
train well or do not perform well in the culture of a particular 
airline. Others, including a flight department leader, stated the 
provisions are unnecessary because airline and charter organizations 
can change their internal hiring processes to assess the candidate 
without needing to leverage a standardized process for review of 
records. The FL Aviation Corp. and another individual commented that 
the NPRM provided no data concerning accidents or incidents that 
justify the change to the PRD or the requirements for inclusion of 
additional records and recordkeeping. The Coalition of Airline Pilots 
Associations (CAPA) urged the FAA to establish protocols to prevent 
U.S. candidates from being placed at a hiring disadvantage when 
competing for jobs among foreign applicants whose training data may be 
unverifiable.
    Three commenters, including NBAA and CAPA, expressed concern that 
the proposed rule differs significantly from the consensus 
recommendations of the 2011 PRD Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC). 
CAPA recommended the FAA reconsider the ARC's recommendations, in 
addition to reviewing the public comments.
2. FAA Response
    The FAA carefully reviewed all comments received in response to the 
NPRM and made several changes to the rule to ensure that it achieves 
the safety goals of the FAA and fully implements the statutory 
requirements set forth by Congress. As noted in the NPRM, industry, 
including part 91 operators, currently is subject to the requirements 
of PRIA. Although the implementation of the PRD changes the nature of 
industry participation in record-sharing, issues such as pilot privacy, 
abuse, false reporting, and penalization of pilots who do not perform 
well exist under PRIA, as well. In enacting the PRD Act, Congress 
directed the FAA to include safeguards in the PRD for pilot privacy and 
related concerns. The FAA discussed these proposed safeguards in the 
NPRM and adopts them, as appropriate, in this final rule.

[[Page 31013]]

    The FAA carefully considered the input provided by the ARC. The FAA 
has already adopted many of its recommendations in the design and 
implementation of the PRD. While the FAA does not currently plan to 
implement all recommendations as described in the report, the ARC 
assisted the FAA in formulating the design of the PRD. This design is 
the result of careful consideration of the requirements, as outlined in 
the statute, the FAA's operational capabilities, and the effects on and 
benefits to industry.
    The FAA is mindful of all comments concerning costs of compliance 
with this rule. The Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), which is 
available in the docket for this rulemaking, accounts for all costs 
incurred by entities. Section VI.A of this rule also includes a 
discussion of the costs.

B. Applicability of the Rule

    As discussed further in Section V.A.1., under the NPRM, part 111 
applies to operators and would require them to report information to 
the FAA for inclusion in the PRD. Specifically, the FAA proposed to 
include pilot records from certain operations occurring under part 91, 
such as public aircraft operations, air tour operators operating in 
accordance with Sec.  91.147, and corporate flight departments.
    The FAA received comments related to the applicability of the 
proposed rule from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association 
(GAMA), the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), NBAA, the 
U.S. Marshals Service Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System 
(JPATS), NASA's Aircraft Management Division, PlaneSense, Inc., 
Dassault Aviation, and several individual commenters, approximately 500 
of whom were using a form letter provided by NBAA. Many commenters and 
the majority of individuals opposed applying the proposed requirements 
to part 91 operators. Some commenters, including NASA's Aircraft 
Management Division and JPATS, opposed the application of the proposed 
rule to PAO.
1. Comments Received on the Inclusion and Definition of Corporate 
Flight Departments and Other Part 91 Operators
    GAMA, NTSB, NBAA, AOPA, Koch Industries, operators, and individual 
commenters addressed the proposal to require all corporate flight 
departments to enter data on pilot performance into the PRD. Many of 
these commenters indicated that the proposal would impose unreasonably 
burdensome recordkeeping requirements on corporate flight departments, 
which ultimately would benefit operators but would not increase the 
safety of corporate flight department operations. Several commenters 
asserted that Congress did not intend to impose these requirements on 
corporate flight departments and the proposal was FAA overreach. Many 
commenters noted that their corporate flight departments are small 
operations; as a result, some suggested they would need to add staff 
and modify their information technology systems to comply with the 
proposed requirements.
    Several commenters objected to the definition of ``corporate flight 
departments'' in the NPRM, arguing that the FAA is creating a new 
category of operator, and that this is inconsistent with established 
categories of operations under parts 91, 121, and 135. GAMA, NBAA and 
its form letter campaign, AOPA, and the PlaneSense form letter campaign 
asserted that no basis exists in the PRD Act to establish such a 
definition and that it would add complexity and confusion. GAMA noted 
the proposed definition would require aircraft operators to first 
determine their status based on the definition and then add the new 
burden and cost of compiling, maintaining, and reporting pilot records. 
GAMA expressed concern that the proposed rule would expose operators to 
the possibility of enforcement action in the event the FAA disagrees 
with an operator's interpretation of the rule and the operator's 
subsequent actions.
    GAMA, AOPA, and individual commenters asserted that the FAA assumes 
erroneously that part 91 corporate aviation commonly serves as a 
``pipeline'' or ``gateway'' to employment with part 121 and part 135 
operators. GAMA stated that studies show corporate flight departments 
are not gateway employers like flight schools with bridge agreements, 
operators under parts 91 subpart K and 135, and the U.S. military. 
Instead, GAMA stated that the most common path to part 121 air carrier 
employment starts at a flight school. GAMA identified the primary 
sources of airline hiring as part 141 and part 61 flight schools with 
bridge agreements, parts 135 and part 91(k) operators, and the U.S. 
military.\28\ CAPA stated those gateway jobs are ever-changing and that 
although it is not unreasonable to require a certificate holder to keep 
pilot records, trying to take this snapshot in time of what might be a 
gateway job could lead to future loopholes.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \28\ James Higgins, et al., ``An Investigation of the United 
States Pilot Labor Supply,'' University of North Dakota (2013); and 
Michael McGee, ``Air Transport Pilot Supply and Demand--Current 
State and Effects of Recent Legislation,'' The RAND Corporation 
(2015).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NBAA stated that business aviation represents a diverse group of 
aircraft operators ranging from single-pilot, owner-operated single 
aircraft to multi-aircraft operators with a mix of fixed-wing and 
rotor-wing aircraft. Therefore, according to NBAA, a single, codified 
definition will not adequately address the diversity of the industry. 
NBAA recommended the FAA remove any provisions that impose additional 
recordkeeping requirements that would apply to corporate flight 
departments and Sec.  91.147 operators, as recommended by the ARC. NBAA 
also objected to the FAA basing the definition of corporate flight 
departments on the number of aircraft a department operates, as doing 
so could deter operators from purchasing aircraft.
    NBAA urged the FAA to limit the scope of the proposed rule to 
operators with the most significant public interest, such as those that 
conduct common carriage, and to facilitate the continued use of PRIA 
feedback for part 91 operators. NBAA noted its member survey data 
suggests that, on average, part 91 operators within FAA's proposed 
definition of a corporate flight department receive less than one PRIA 
request every two-and-a-half years.
    NBAA and other commenters stated that part 91 business operators--
particularly those the FAA proposed to include in part 111--have 
excellent safety records, and the FAA's proposal and regulatory 
evaluation fail to articulate any quantifiable safety value for 
subjecting part 91 operators to the requirements of the proposed rule. 
NBAA further stated that NBAA members, such as certificate holders 
operating under part 135, are already subject to PRIA requirements and 
report that PRIA results play a greater role in validating existing 
pilot hiring decisions than in considering whom to hire. NBAA also 
pointed out that including certain part 91 operators exceeds the NTSB's 
recommendation, which only cites the need for parts 121 and 135 
operators to share pilot information. NBAA recommended the FAA remove 
part 91 operators from the proposed rule, on the view that records 
provided by part 91 operators would provide minimal safety benefit to 
part 121 and part 135 operators in their hiring process.
    An individual asserted that while InFO 11014 \29\ refers to part 
91, 121 and

[[Page 31014]]

135 records, the regulations cited are for parts 121, 125, and 135 
only. The commenter stated no regulation requires part 91 operators to 
maintain records other than to show proficiency. The commenter further 
stated the InFO does not address part 91 record retention.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \29\ InFO 11014, described in Section III.B., published on 
August 11, 2015 and provided information about future PRD compliance 
to air carriers and operators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Other commenters stated that the FAA does not have statutory 
authority to impose the proposed recordkeeping requirements on part 91 
operators. PlaneSense and the commenters that submitted comments as 
part of the PlaneSense form letter campaign (the PlaneSense commenters) 
asserted that the PRD Act identifies air carriers and ``other persons'' 
as having obligations under the Act, but specifically identifies the 
applicable pilot records to which the PRD Act applies as those kept 
pursuant to part 121, part 125, or part 135. Citing 49 U.S.C. 44703(h) 
and 44703(i), these commenters argued that the PRD Act does not include 
pilot records of operators whose flights are operated under part 91 or 
subpart k of part 91. The PlaneSense commenters also contended that no 
statutory authority exists in either section 44703(h) or 44703(i) that 
imposes an obligation on any operator conducting operations under part 
91. They asserted that the FAA is overstepping its authority by 
interpreting the definition of ``person'' in the PRD Act to include 
noncommercial operators that the statute does not identify 
specifically. These commenters urged the FAA to remove references to 
fractional operators and corporate flight departments from the rule.
    An air tour operator opined that the proposal would burden part 91 
operators far beyond the intent of Congress by requiring frequent 
reporting by that group. Several commenters noted that corporate flight 
departments vary widely in the volume and nature of records retained. 
GAMA and other commenters suggested that the proposal would discourage 
corporate flight departments from creating and retaining records not 
otherwise mandated by regulation and may also discourage participation 
in voluntary safety programs and optional formal training. One 
individual suggested that while Congress and the FAA included indemnity 
clauses, they are not robust enough to prevent civil defamation 
actions.
    Dassault Aviation asked the FAA to confirm that the proposed 
requirements for corporate flight departments are not applicable to 
original equipment manufacturer (OEM) demonstration and OEM production 
or experimental flight departments because they do not operate ``a 
fleet of two or more standard airworthiness airplanes.''
    In the preamble to the proposed rule, the FAA asked commenters to 
respond to three questions regarding corporate flight departments' 
safety practices.\30\ GAMA and four individual commenters provided 
responses. These commenters generally agreed it would not be beneficial 
to require corporate flight departments operating a single aircraft to 
report to the PRD because, in the case of owners operating their own 
aircraft, they would be reporting on themselves. GAMA asserted the 
Agency failed to ``adequately address the scope of operations conducted 
under part 91, especially by owner-operators who use their aircraft for 
a variety of purposes and will likely never employ pilots.'' An 
individual commenter noted it would be impossible for corporate flight 
departments operating a single aircraft to comply with the proposed 
requirements because every private aircraft owner would have to report 
on every pilot they employ or contract with regardless of how short the 
term. Another individual asked how the FAA would know all corporate 
flight departments are reporting to the PRD, as required.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \30\ 85 FR at 17671 (requesting answers to whether it would be 
beneficial to require corporate flight departments operating a 
single aircraft to report to PRD; whether such flight departments 
already maintain substantive records that include certain types of 
information; and whether the proposed rule would create a 
disincentive for such departments to create and retain records not 
already required).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to questions about the records corporate flight 
departments maintain, GAMA indicated many large corporate flight 
departments maintain records documenting pilot training, evaluation, 
performance, disciplinary actions, or release from employment or other 
professional disqualification. GAMA also noted that pilots of many 
corporate flight departments have responsibilities in addition to 
operating aircraft, so employment records may also contain much 
information that is not relevant to performance as a pilot and the 
pilot-related data is likely to exist in a form that differs from the 
record elements the PRD intends to include.
    JPATS, NASA's Aircraft Management Division, and individuals opposed 
the application of the proposed rule to PAO. Noting that the proposed 
rule would not apply to ``[a]ny branch of the United States Armed 
Forces, National Guard, or reserve component of the Armed Forces,'' 
JPATS said that Federal flight departments should be treated the same, 
unless the department maintains an FAA certificate, such as an air 
carrier or commercial operating certificate. NASA opposed placing pilot 
record reporting requirements on Federal Government PAO. Individual 
commenters also recommended the FAA exempt PAO from the proposed rule. 
One such commenter stated the proposed rule does not consider that 
pilots from the Department of Justice (FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals) and the 
Department of Homeland Security (Air and Marine Operations, United 
States Coast Guard) can be targeted for retaliation for performing 
their duties.
    In contrast to the comments discussed above, NTSB and an individual 
commenter expressed support for the inclusion of part 91 operators in 
the proposed rule. The individual commenter said that, as an employer 
of pilots for part 135 operations, it finds the current process to be 
flawed and time-consuming with respect to obtaining records from part 
91 operators. The NTSB agreed that part 91 operators often serve as 
``gateway operators'' for air carrier pilots.
2. FAA Response
    The FAA carefully evaluated all comments received regarding the 
applicability of each proposed requirement. Upon consideration, the FAA 
determined that in light of the information and data provided by 
commenters, some requirements of the proposed rule were overly 
burdensome for certain types of operators. This rule reduces the 
reporting burden for certain operators conducting operations without a 
part 119 certificate, in that they are not required to report specific 
types of records unless and until requested. Such operators include 
public aircraft operations, air tour operations, and corporate flight 
departments, referred to in this section as the ``PAC'' group. This 
approach addresses many of the issues raised by commenters with respect 
to the burden on part 91 operators. Under the final rule, a reviewing 
entity will have access to a pilot's records as needed, but that the 
reporting requirement for the PAC group scales according to the volume 
of requests.
    Commenters stated that many pilots employed by PAC operators do not 
switch employers often and NBAA noted that some operators only receive 
a single PRIA request every two-and-a-half years. Accordingly, the FAA 
determined the most effective way to ensure review of a pilot's records 
by a potential employer, while reducing extraneous records loaded by 
the PAC

[[Page 31015]]

group, is to require that group to enter only records that may be of 
particular concern to a hiring employer. Section V.C.4 of this rule 
contains a detailed discussion of this new method of reporting. This 
rule requires these PAC operators to enter certain records 
contemporaneous with the occurrence of a particular event or receipt of 
a record; this framework will reduce risk associated with a pilot error 
or omission with respect to that pilot's employment history. Section 
V.D.3 provides a description of this requirement. This rule will 
require the PAC operators to report all other records unless and until 
requested, with the exception of an air tour operator's drug and 
alcohol testing records.\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \31\ Operators subject to 14 CFR part 120 must enter all drug 
and alcohol records into the database in accordance with the 
timelines and requirements included in Sec.  111.220.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA is mindful of the comments recommending exclusion of public 
aircraft operations from the PRD. The FAA, however, does not have 
discretion to completely exclude this group from the PRD requirements. 
The PRD Act requires the inclusion of records from ``other person[s] [. 
. .] that ha[ve] employed an individual as a pilot of a civil or public 
aircraft.'' \32\ The FAA notes that the PRD Act specifically excludes 
records from the branches of the ``Armed Forces, the National Guard, or 
a reserve component of the Armed Forces,'' \33\ which would be public 
aircraft operations under 49 U.S.C. 40102. The exclusion of records 
from this narrow group of public aircraft operators, combined with the 
statutory language generally including individuals who are employed as 
pilots of public aircraft, indicates that the statute includes other 
(non-statutorily excluded) entities that conduct public aircraft 
operations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \32\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(2)(B) (emphasis added).
    \33\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Permitting the PAC group to report certain records only upon 
request is consistent with the FAA's framework for risk-based decision-
making. Operators under part 119 are subject to robust requirements, 
concomitant with assuring the safety of the traveling public; in 
contrast, operators in the PAC group conduct operations that are 
subject to less FAA oversight and generally present a lower level of 
risk, due to reduced volume and frequency. The FAA anticipates a modest 
number of pilots will transition from the PAC group to reviewing 
entities. Given the considerations noted above, this method of 
reporting-upon-request available for PAC entities is consistent with 
the PRD Act and is scalable with the level of risk of these types of 
operations. These operators currently respond to requests under PRIA. 
Excluding these operators from the applicability of the PRD entirely 
would not serve the FAA's safety mission; overall, this final rule 
requires an appropriate level of engagement from certain part 91 
operators.
    The FAA also received many comments concerning the proposed 
definition of corporate flight department. The FAA proposed to define 
corporate flight departments as operators conducting operations under 
part 91 with two or more standard airworthiness airplanes that require 
a type rating under Sec.  61.31(a), in furtherance of, or incidental 
to, a business, or operators holding a letter of deviation authority 
under Sec.  125.3. This rule removes the proposed definition from Sec.  
111.10 but instead includes the criteria in the applicability section 
of the rule. The criteria are also amended to include rotorcraft, which 
is described in detail in Section V.A.1. The FAA selected two aircraft 
because operators utilizing multiple aircraft tend to have more pilots, 
as described in the NPRM. Additionally, this rule will not require 
single-aircraft corporate flight departments conducting operations 
exclusively under part 91 to upload records to the PRD because, as 
mentioned by commenters, such operators often include only the single 
pilot conducting operations on behalf of the operator, who may be the 
same person. Setting the threshold at multiple aircraft better tailors 
this rule to apply to entities that may have applicable records.
    In response to comments regarding whether an OEM's operations fall 
within the definition of a corporate flight department, the FAA 
reiterates that if the operations fall into the applicability criteria 
as adopted, part 111 would apply to that entity. Each manufacturer 
should remain aware of the applicability criteria and assess whether it 
meets the criteria for applicability.
3. Comments Regarding Other Types of Operators
    Commenters also provided input concerning other types of entities, 
such as pilot schools and operators that are excluded from the 
applicability of part 119. Several commenters, including Koch 
Industries, CAE, and CAPA, asked why part 141 and part 142 schools are 
not required to report, and suggested that those entities should 
provide data instead of operators.
    CAPA also stated that applicability should extend to the U.S. 
military. RAA supported gathering data from part 133 and part 137 
operations, while the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) 
agreed with FAA's decision not to require reporting from part 137 
agricultural operators. NAAA stated that part 137 operators are not 
``gateway operators'' for air carriers.
    Commenters also responded to the FAA's request for comment 
regarding whether data from excluded entities would provide information 
relevant to the evaluation of a pilot candidate for employment. 
Airlines for America (A4A) stated it does not believe data from 
excluded entities would provide information relevant to the evaluation 
of a pilot candidate seeking employment. A4A recommended that the FAA 
focus on ensuring the PRD is successful by providing technical 
requirements and engaging with regulated entities before expanding the 
PRD to other entities. Ameristar Air Cargo, Inc. (Ameristar) asserted 
it would be unlikely that PRIA requests will be honored by foreign 
carriers without a treaty or bilateral agreement with ICAO member 
countries.
    The Small UAV Coalition commented that the proposed rule is another 
regulation that applies to UAS air carriers only because a more 
suitable regulatory scheme addressing such operations does not exist. 
The Coalition stated that a set of comprehensive laws and regulations 
specific to UAS operations would help resolve the regulatory compliance 
burden that UAS operators face when seeking to conduct commercial 
business under existing regulatory schemes. The Coalition did not 
suggest that the overarching safety purposes of the PRD are 
inapplicable to commercial UAS operations, but stated that commercial 
UAS operations merit a realistic and tailored approach to record 
retention and review that is an integral part of a comprehensive rule 
on UAS air carriers. The Coalition urged the FAA to begin rulemaking to 
update air carrier operating rules for UAS air carriers.
4. FAA Response
    The plain language of the statute only permits the FAA to require 
employers of pilots to report records. The Armed Forces are excluded by 
the plain language of the statute.\34\ Similarly, training centers 
subject to 14 CFR part 141 or part 142 training centers would not be 
able to report records regarding pilots who received training at those 
centers, as individuals employed as flight instructors to provide 
flight

[[Page 31016]]

training are not employed for purposes of operating an aircraft. 
Therefore, the FAA did not propose to require compliance with part 111 
by part 61 or part 141 pilot schools or part 142 training centers with 
part 111. The FAA also considered comments regarding the applicability 
of part 111 to operators conducting operations under part 133 
(Rotorcraft External-Load Operations) or part 137 (Agricultural 
Aircraft Operations). This final rule maintains the proposed exclusion 
of those operations, for the reasons discussed in the NPRM. Primarily, 
the FAA determined that those operators would not be likely to generate 
records that would be useful to a reviewing entity and that pilots 
employed by those operators will generally be employed by another type 
of operator that would be a reporting entity before attempting to find 
employment in service of a reviewing entity like an air carrier.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \34\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(h)(1)(B) (excluding, among other things, 
records from ``a branch of the United States Armed Forces'').
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As discussed in the NPRM and adopted in this final rule, the PRD 
Act is not applicable to foreign operators. Furthermore, the FAA does 
not have the technical capacity to accommodate reporting from non-U.S. 
operators. The FAA does not expect such entities to include any records 
in the PRD; however, reviewing entities are free to seek out 
information from any other previous employer for whom the pilot worked 
in addition to accessing the pilot's PRD record.
    As explained in the NPRM, the PRD Act requires all operators to 
request and review records prior to allowing an individual to begin 
service as a pilot. As a result, the Act's requirements apply to pilots 
of UAS when those UAS are used in air carrier operations. This 
rulemaking is limited to addressing the statutory mandate of the PRD 
Act; as a result, comments urging the FAA to initiate separate 
rulemakings are outside the scope of this rulemaking.

C. Pilot Privacy

    The PRD Act requires the FAA to promulgate regulations to protect 
and secure the personal privacy of any individual whose records are 
accessed in the new electronic database; to protect and secure the 
confidentiality of those records; and to prevent further dissemination 
of those records once accessed by an operator.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to mitigate risks to privacy by 
adopting strict privacy standards and establishing limits on access to 
the contents of the PRD. Specifically, the FAA will adhere to National 
Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800.53 
Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and 
Organizations to secure information contained in the PRD.
1. Summary of Comments
    Approximately 24 commenters, including A4A, the Cargo Airline 
Association (CAA), NBAA, and Cummins, Inc., expressed concerns related 
to privacy issues. A4A commented that notice of a pilot's death should 
be supported by a certified copy of a death notice from any source, not 
just from next of kin, in order to avoid overburdening the database 
with extraneous information and increasing the risk of privacy issues. 
Commenters remarked on the importance of keeping pilot records 
confidential and only maintaining sensitive pilot information related 
to termination of employment or unsatisfactory completion of airman 
flight checks, and expressed concern about the data security. 
Commenters recommended that pilots have control over who can access 
their records and asked whether pilots will have an opportunity to 
direct how the PRD will share their information.
    Commenters opposed the PRD on privacy grounds, stating that these 
pilots never signed up to have this information shared. Several 
commenters opposed including non-performance and non-aviation related 
disciplinary records. Cummins Inc. also asked who inside the FAA would 
have access to the database and who outside the FAA would have access 
to the database and non-anonymized data. NBAA commented that the 
information contained in the PRD should only be available to qualifying 
employers for the purpose of evaluating a pilot-applicant.
    The A4A and CAA called for the FAA to issue a Privacy Impact 
Assessment (PIA) \35\ related to the PRD. The commenters stated a PIA 
is needed to address security and privacy risks of the PRD, given that 
the PRD will collect, access, use, and permit dissemination to 
prospective employers of pilot records. These commenters requested the 
FAA address issues such as the time the FAA expects for it to approve 
access to users, the training required of users, and applicable 
parameters that will ensure privacy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \35\ A PIA describes a process used to evaluate the collection 
of personal data in information systems. The objective of a PIA is 
to determine if collected personal information data is necessary and 
relevant.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA also received comments on keeping records for the life of 
the pilot. Ameristar commented that if the FAA determines that any 
record should be expunged, the Agency should not maintain that record 
and referenced 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(2)(A)(iii), which states that the FAA 
should not include records subsequently overturned. The commenter said 
that expungement and ``overturned'' as used in the PRD Act could mean 
the same thing, and that adding definitions of these terms would 
provide some clarity as to the treatment of the records. Ameristar 
commented that these records should not be maintained nor made 
available upon PRD request.
    The PlaneSense commenters stated they generally agreed with a 
dissent to the PRD ARC recommendation, which said that the FAA should 
remove and store, for an undefined period of time, deceased pilots' 
records from the PRD for security purposes or assistance with an 
investigation.
    CAPA disagreed with the requirement for retention of pilot records 
for the life of the pilot. The commenter stated that no data supports 
that information from an event that may have occurred years ago has any 
bearing upon a pilot's current or future performance. The FL Aviation 
Corp. commented that a request for a lifetime of records is itself 
onerous and far-reaching and could cause spillover by forcing the 
purchase or update of additional programs to retain additional data.
    An individual commenter expressed concern about ``the code quality 
of the page where people register to use the Pilot Records Database,'' 
and stated the DOT sign-up pages for MyAccess should not be used 
because of poor quality and security concerns. This commenter also 
stated that the system should undergo a third party review.
    A4A recommended the FAA clarify that information in the PRD may be 
shared with NTSB officials when investigating an accident or incident; 
however, all other protection provided in the NPRM should continue to 
apply.\36\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \36\ The NPRM proposed to exclude records contained in the PRD 
from FOIA in accordance with the PRD Act, subject to certain 
exceptions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. FAA Response
    The FAA reiterates that the pilot is the only person with control 
over which external entities view that pilot's records in the PRD. A 
pilot must provide specific, time-limited consent to a reviewing entity 
before that entity is permitted to view a pilot's records. A reviewing 
entity can only query the PRD for records of pilots who have 
specifically granted consent to that operator. After the pilot grants 
consent for access to the records, the pilot must also provide the 
reviewing entity with the pilot's name and pilot certificate number 
before the entity can review the

[[Page 31017]]

records. The FAA is obligated to ensure that only information that is 
relevant to a hiring employer's review of a potential employee is 
housed in the system. Limiting the data elements available to hiring 
employers is critical because the PRD Act requires the FAA to ensure 
pilot privacy is protected.
    Additionally, the pilot can withdraw consent at any time for PRD 
Airman Records (PARs). Records associated with a pilot are only 
released to an operator (a reviewing entity) after the pilot has 
created a PAR and consented to release of that specific PAR to that 
specific operator. When a pilot provides consent in these cases, the 
PAR is only available for a limited period of time, as selected by the 
pilot. Each PAR is a ``snapshot'' of the records as they existed at 
that moment when the PAR is generated and will not change even if the 
records in the original data source change. This ensures that the pilot 
knows exactly what is being displayed to the reviewing entity. When new 
records are added to the PRD and the pilot wants the PAR to encompass 
those records, the pilot must grant an updated consent to release the 
updated PAR, which will then replace the previous PAR. For this reason, 
while PARs can be available for up to 60 days, reviewing entities may 
prefer that a PAR be released to them more recently to ensure the PAR 
reflects the most recent information available. In addition to PARs 
only being available for a limited time period, the pilot can also 
revoke access to a PAR at any time.
    Reviewing entities that wish to review a PAR must also have the 
pilot's name and certificate number to retrieve the PAR. Even if a 
pilot has granted consent to the PAR, an operator will not be able to 
search for all available PARs without having the name and certificate 
number related to the PAR for which the entity is searching. The pilot 
will likely provide the pilot's name and certificate number to the 
hiring operator as part of the vetting process. If the operator 
attempts to search for a PAR, but the pilot has not yet granted consent 
to view the PAR, the PRD will report that no PARs were found for that 
pilot.
    Other than when a PAR has been created and specific consent has 
been provided to a reviewing entity to view that PAR, records within 
the PRD are only accessible to the record owner. As previously 
described, the record owner is normally the same entity which created 
the record; however, ownership can change in some circumstances. An 
operator that has entered records into the PRD can always view, edit, 
or remove those records later, as appropriate, as long as it continues 
to be the record owner.
    The PRD administrator will have the ability to view a pilot's 
records within the PRD for the limited purpose of supporting a pilot's 
request to release those records to a reviewing entity. This process is 
only used if the pilot cannot access the PRD system and specifically 
requests the FAA release a PAR to a reviewing entity. This will occur 
when the pilot submits a completed and signed FAA Form 8060-14 to the 
FAA for processing.
    Although the PRD administrator can view the records in the PRD 
associated with a pilot, the FAA does not access this information for 
any other purpose than to support a pilot's request to review that 
pilot's own information, made via FAA Form 8060-14,\37\ and for other 
administrative purposes. With limited exception, the FAA will not be 
reviewing records in the PRD to search for instances of non-compliance 
with FAA regulations. The only circumstance in which the FAA would use 
records in the PRD in an FAA enforcement action would be in cases 
involving suspected non-compliance with Part 111. Records contained in 
the PRD could be used to prove instances of non-compliance with the PRD 
reporting requirements or the absence of records could be an indicator 
of non-compliance. In any event, the statutory exclusion of these 
records from release in response to a Freedom of Information Act 
request applies, with the exceptions listed in the PRD Act. The FAA is 
permitted to release records to NTSB officials when investigating an 
accident or incident.\38\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \37\ A copy of FAA Form 8060-14 has been placed in the docket.
    \38\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(k).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The PRD Act requires the FAA to maintain records in the PRD for the 
life of the pilot and does not provide the FAA with discretion to 
expunge records outside of that timeframe. The FAA acknowledges that 
there is no research indicating that maintaining records for the 
lifetime of a pilot imbues greater safety benefits than a more time-
limited lookback such as what was required under PRIA. Expunction of a 
record is not the same as a record being overturned. For enforcement 
records, an action under appeal subsequently might change the outcome 
of the initial enforcement action. This could result in the enforcement 
record being overturned and subsequently expunged. Expunction also 
would occur when a pilot reaches 99 years of age or upon the FAA 
receiving a notification of death.
    The FAA agrees with A4A that a notification of death need not be 
submitted only by next of kin. Upon further consideration, the 
information required to be submitted is sufficient to ensure 
authenticity of the documentation and there is no safety or security 
concern that warrants limiting who is permitted to submit such 
information.
    With respect to the comment concerning the design code of MyAccess, 
the FAA protects personal identifiable information (PII) with 
reasonable security safeguards against loss or unauthorized access, 
destruction, usage, modification, or disclosure. These safeguards 
incorporate standards and practices required for federal information 
systems under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) 
and are detailed in the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 
Publication 200, Minimum Security Requirements for Federal Information 
and Information Systems, and NIST Special Publication 800-53. Detailed 
information regarding the steps taken to safeguard information for 
MyAccess is available in the Privacy Impact Assessment for 
MyAccess.\39\ The FAA will publish an updated PIA for the PRD in the 
docket for this rulemaking, as referenced in Section VI.H., Privacy 
Analysis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \39\ U.S. Department of Transportation Privacy Impact 
Assessment, May 31, 2017, https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/resources/individuals/privacy/282206/faa-myaccess-pia-05312017.pdf.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

D. Transition From PRIA to PRD

    The FAA proposed a transition timeline from PRIA to PRD. The FAA 
requested comments on whether the transition period should be shortened 
or extended and whether it would be helpful for the FAA to maintain a 
publicly available list of all operators that are fully compliant with 
the PRD requirements during the transition period.
1. Summary of Comments
    Writing jointly, the Families of Continental Flight 3407 stated 
that the crash of that flight underscores the criticality and urgency 
of finalizing the rule. The families called on the FAA, the U.S. 
Department of Transportation, and the Office of Management and Budget 
to finalize the rule as expediently as possible, to ensure every 
operator has access to the most complete information possible in hiring 
pilots. The families also noted that nearly a decade has passed since 
Congress required the PRD in August 2010. They further compared the 
current economic challenges the air carrier industry faces to 
challenges in

[[Page 31018]]

the decade after September 11, 2001, which they state led to growth of 
regional airlines and cost-cutting measures that contributed to the 
preventable tragedy of Flight 3407. The group called on government and 
industry stakeholders to be cognizant of this history to ensure these 
mistakes are not repeated.
    The Regional Airline Association (RAA) and Atlas Air commented 
that, because it is difficult to predict the amount of time required 
for the transfer of data, the FAA might need to extend the transition 
period. The RAA recommended that during the transition period the FAA 
maintain a publicly available list of carriers and other operators that 
are fully compliant with the PRD ahead of schedule so that prospective 
employers can query the PRD directly. Atlas Air and A4A recommended 
similarly the FAA re-evaluate the sunset of PRIA requirements at the 
end of the transition period and extend it if not all affected carriers 
are in compliance with the PRD historical records requirement. Atlas 
Air highlighted that the uncertainties of the coronavirus disease 2019 
(COVID-19) public health emergency may impact carrier compliance. A4A 
also recommended extensive industry participation in a test pilot 
program.
2. FAA Response
    The FAA acknowledges the wide range of comments received regarding 
the timing of the implementation of the PRD and the transition period 
between PRD and PRIA. The FAA agrees that expeditious implementation of 
the PRD is a top priority, but understands the potential technical 
challenges that could occur during the course of the transition. After 
consideration of comments on this topic, the FAA made changes to the 
compliance dates and added interim compliance markers to facilitate a 
smooth transition. These changes are discussed further in Sections 
V.A.2 and V.E.
    The interim compliance dates are for submission of the responsible 
person application, review of FAA records, review of industry records, 
reporting new records, and reporting historical records prior to the 
sunset of PRIA. This rule also provides the opportunity for certain 
operators to request a deviation in the event of unforeseen 
difficulties with the transfer of historical records. The PRD will also 
provide information regarding which employers have fully completed 
historical record upload for a particular pilot in order to eliminate 
any duplicative reporting during the transition period. The FAA intends 
to collaborate with industry by providing helpful information regarding 
the transition upon identification of responsible persons by each 
operator subject to this rule.

V. Section-by-Section Discussion of Regulatory Text

    This section provides an explanation of substantive changes adopted 
in this final rule, as well as summaries of provision-specific comments 
and FAA responses. It should be noted that there are non-substantive 
revisions made throughout the regulatory text, such as section number 
changes or edits made for clarity and consistency.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to include subpart E to facilitate 
the transition from PRIA to PRD. However, the FAA did not adopt a 
regulatory requirement for continued compliance with PRIA in this rule. 
Because PRIA continues to be self-implementing in statute until 
September 9, 2024, part 111 does not need to include a regulatory 
requirement for continued compliance with PRIA. The FAA provides 
updated guidance in AC 120-68J with further information about continued 
compliance with PRIA as related to PRD compliance. The FAA includes 
sunset of PRIA in subpart A and requirements for reporting historical 
records in subpart C.

A. Subpart A--General

1. Applicability--Section 111.1
    The FAA proposed that part 111 would generally be applicable to 
part 119 certificate holders, fractional ownership programs, persons 
authorized to conduct air tour operations in accordance with Sec.  
91.147, persons operating a corporate flight department, governmental 
entities conducting public aircraft operations (PAO), as well as pilots 
with part 107 remote pilot certificates operating a UAS for 
compensation or hire.
    Substantively, the FAA adopts Sec.  111.1 as proposed. After 
reviewing comments received on the applicability of the rule, discussed 
extensively in Section IV.B., the FAA acknowledges that pilots employed 
by the operators mentioned previously transition much less frequently 
than originally anticipated to employment with reviewing entities. This 
revised method of reporting is discussed in greater detail in Section 
V.C.4. Given that change, although the previously-mentioned entities 
are still subject to part 111, the burden imposed is proportionate to 
the level of risk mitigation necessary to fulfill the intent of the PRD 
Act.
    The FAA amends the regulatory text proposed originally in Sec.  
111.1 for consistency and to clarify which pilots are subject to the 
applicability of the PRD. The proposed text captured which certificates 
a pilot would typically hold in order to be subject to the PRD, but did 
not note that only pilots who are employed by or seeking employment 
with an entity subject to the applicability of this part would need 
access to the database. The final rule removes the reference to the 
specific certificates pilots hold, and instead includes a requirement 
that would apply to any pilot working for a reporting entity or seeking 
employment with a reviewing entity.
    The FAA also moved the applicability criteria for persons whom the 
FAA defined in the NPRM as ``corporate flight departments'' (referenced 
as such in this preamble) into Sec.  111.1(b)(4). The FAA amends the 
criteria for a corporate flight department to include not only those 
who operate two or more type rated airplanes but also those who operate 
two or more turbine-powered rotorcraft, or any combination of two or 
more of those aircraft. By adding turbine-powered rotorcraft to this 
criteria, this rule applies to operators that operate more than one 
complex aircraft under part 91. After reviewing comments on corporate 
flight departments, as described in Section IV.B., the FAA determined 
the definition proposed in the NPRM inadvertently excluded turbine-
powered rotorcraft operators. These turbine-powered rotorcraft 
operators generally utilize advanced aircraft under part 91; thus, 
their contributions to the PRD are as meaningful for safety as those 
operating type-rated airplanes.
    The FAA also adds applicability criteria for PAO, which references 
the statutory definition and criteria for PAO under 49 U.S.C. 40102 and 
40125, but does not include operations conducted by any branch of the 
United States Armed Forces, National Guard, or reserve component of the 
Armed Forces. This applicability provision aligns directly with the PRD 
Act.
    The FAA also adopts regulatory text to provide criteria for when a 
trustee in bankruptcy must comply with the requirements of part 111, 
proposed originally in its own section in the NPRM. The FAA proposed 
that any operator subject to the applicability of part 111 that files a 
petition for bankruptcy would still be required to report records to 
the PRD. The FAA proposed that the trustee appointed by the bankruptcy 
court may act as the responsible person for reporting those records to 
the PRD. This section is adopted as proposed with non-substantive 
edits, one of which notes

[[Page 31019]]

that a trustee must comply with the reporting requirements of subparts 
A and C of part 111. While the NPRM only listed subparts C and E, the 
terms of access in subpart A would also be applicable to a trustee. 
Sections V.A.3 and V.C.11 contain summaries of, and responses to, 
comments about requirements related to a trustee in bankruptcy.
    Lastly, this rule contains a reference to 14 CFR part 375 
(Navigation of Foreign Civil Aircraft within the United States), 
expressly to exclude foreign operators from the applicability of this 
rule. Although foreign operators are regulated by 14 CFR part 375, as 
discussed in the NPRM, Congress did not include those operators in the 
PRD Act.
2. Compliance Dates--Section 111.5
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed compliance with part 111 by two years 
and 90 days after publication of the final rule. The FAA revises the 
proposed compliance dates in this final rule. The compliance dates 
specific to each section or subpart were moved to the applicable 
section or subpart for clarity. Section 111.5 provides the final date 
by which full compliance with the provisions of part 111 is required.
    The FAA considered comments on the transition from PRIA to PRD, 
further discussed in Section IV.D., and how to facilitate a smooth 
transition to full compliance with the PRD for both industry and the 
FAA. Upon consideration, the FAA determined that it would not 
negatively affect safety to extend the final date of compliance, 
primarily because the final rule adopts interim compliance dates set 
between publication and September 9, 2024, to ensure persons subject to 
the rule begin using the PRD before the final compliance date. The 
compliance period is longer than originally proposed, but also begins 
with specific steps towards compliance earlier than originally 
proposed. As a result of the revised compliance dates, industry would 
begin reporting new records and historical records dated on or after 
January 1, 2015 one year after publication of the final rule. The extra 
year granted for extended compliance serves to provide a full two years 
of transition time for upload of historical records.
    The FAA's primary objective in adopting this final rule with 
interim compliance dates is to be able to start extensive and necessary 
collaboration with industry to populate the PRD with the highest 
quality data. Additionally, the FAA is extending the compliance 
timeline because the FAA is developing a method of electronic transfer 
to facilitate reporting of large amounts of historical records 
simultaneously. This will ease the process of reporting historical 
records for operators reporting records from 2005 and 2010, 
respectively. The FAA is committed to working with industry to enable a 
smooth transition from PRIA to PRD and desires the least burdensome 
process possible for record transfer. If the FAA is not able to provide 
a method of electronic transfer prior to the final compliance deadline, 
the FAA will consider extending the compliance date.
    The FAA originally included subpart E in the proposed rule, which 
stated that air carriers and other operators subject to the 
applicability of PRIA would no longer be permitted to comply with PRIA 
two years and 90 days after publication of the final rule. The FAA 
adopts that section here. Some commenters recommended that the FAA 
continue PRIA; however, as the FAA discusses in Section IV.C.4 
regarding comments about the transition to PRD, the PRD Act includes an 
explicit requirement that the FAA's implementing regulations for PRD 
must sunset PRIA. This section is amended to incorporate the extension 
of the final compliance deadline by one year. Use of PRIA is no longer 
permitted after September 9, 2024.
3. Definitions--Section 111.10
    The FAA proposed several definitions in the NPRM. In response to 
comments received, the FAA amends several definitions to capture 
accurately the intent of the requirement and maintain consistency with 
other sections of part 111. The FAA also removed some definitions 
proposed in the NPRM after determining they were redundant or did not 
need to be codified.
i. Comments Received
    NBAA commented on the FAA's proposal to define the term 
``employed'' as being paid for more than 20 hours per week for services 
rendered to the operator. NBAA explained it expects this definition to 
apply when describing individuals eligible to be the operator's 
responsible person and to the term ``individual employed as a pilot.'' 
NBAA contended operators should not be responsible for submitting 
records for pilots who are employed less than half time, as this will 
avoid duplication of training records. NBAA also recommended aligning 
the definition of ``employed'' with the common industry practice of 
employing contractors on a daily basis. NBAA recommended that the FAA 
use the defined phrase ``individual employed as a pilot'' in Sec.  
111.105 when describing when a hiring operator needs to evaluate pilot 
records.
    The PlaneSense commenters noted the proposed definition of 
``individual employed as a pilot'' assumes the pilot is employed by the 
company at the time the pilot first undertakes training, creating an 
obligation to provide data on a pilot who may be receiving training, 
but is not yet an employee and may not become an employee. These 
commenters argued the definition is overly broad and that training 
records could be used against them by a future employer. The PlaneSense 
commenters stated such a requirement would circumvent an employer's and 
applicant's right to privacy regarding screening and hiring practices. 
These commenters requested the FAA revise the rule to reflect that the 
pilot has been hired or otherwise retained by the reporting company.
    Cummins, Inc., A4A, and Ameristar expressed concern that the NPRM 
did not include a clear definition of ``pilot performance.'' Cummins 
urged the Agency to include clear guidelines regarding what constitutes 
pilot performance and flying duties to ensure a consistent 
understanding of the data to be included in the database.
    Ameristar recommended amending the definition of ``Record 
pertaining to pilot performance'' to identify specific events that must 
be maintained in the record, and that these events be limited to events 
required by law or regulation; for example, the term should include 
records of whether a pilot passed or failed a proficiency check. 
Ameristar recommended the FAA define additional terms such as ``good 
faith'' and ``trustee in bankruptcy'' for clarity and to remove 
subjectivity. Ameristar also suggested a ``trustee in bankruptcy'' be 
expanded to ``a trustee in bankruptcy of an air operator that hires or 
utilizes pilots.'' Regarding the discussion about part 135 operators, 
Ameristar noted that the rule did not distinguish part 135 operators 
from part 135 air carriers. Ameristar indicated the proposed definition 
of ``historical record'' suggests the record is only generated after 
another operator requests that record. Ameristar recommended that the 
FAA amend the definition to read ``. . . means records maintained by an 
air carrier or other operator under the requirements of this section 
(Sec.  111)'' and delete the rest of the proposed definition.
    A4A argued similarly that the FAA should clarify the meaning of 
``pertaining to pilot performance.'' Specifically, A4A asserted the 
proposed rule fails to resolve one of the key issues

[[Page 31020]]

that divided the members of the PRD ARC; namely:

    Whether the disciplinary or termination records of a pilot who 
committed documented acts of racial discrimination, sexual 
harassment, harassing or intimidating behavior that impedes crew 
resource management, off-duty alcohol or drug misconduct, theft, 
fraud and/or dishonesty should be reported into the PRD.

A4A noted that the issue of drawing boundaries around the ``performance 
of a pilot'' split the PRD ARC members and constituted almost 20% of 
the PRD ARC Report. A4A suggested that some language in the NPRM could 
be read to support the position that records of actions such as 
harassment and lying should not be entered into the PRD, but that other 
aspects of the NPRM, FAA regulations, legislative history, and general 
good piloting practices would strongly support the submission of the 
grounds for the discipline and termination into the PRD. A4A stated 
that parties need definitive guidance from the FAA on how to handle the 
records of pilots who commit serious misconduct. Without a specific 
definition, A4A argued, whether a specific act is ``related to the core 
duties and responsibilities of a pilot'' will differ from employer to 
employer and may even differ within a single employer's pilot 
population as the phrase becomes subject to disputes leading to 
arbitration and third-party resolution. A4A recommended that the final 
rule clarify what is included in a pilot's ``core duties and 
responsibilities'' and specifically address ``whether it includes crew 
resource management considerations and the obligation to treat all 
persons with dignity and respect.''
    NBAA recommended that the FAA use consistent phrasing throughout 
the document and noted the need for consistency in the use of the words 
``air carrier'' and ``other operators.'' For example, NBAA stated that 
based on the proposed language in Sec.  111.220 it was not clear if the 
reporting requirements apply to ``other operators.'' An individual 
commenter stated ``other persons'' is vague and arbitrary and urged the 
FAA to define the term and open the definition for public comment. This 
commenter also noted the NPRM did not define the term ``public aircraft 
operations.''
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA revises the definition of ``begins service as a pilot'' to 
distinguish at what point the FAA considers a pilot to have begun 
service with an employer such that a PRD evaluation must have been 
completed for that pilot. This date is in contrast to the ``PRD date of 
hire'' which is the first date on which an employer must begin entering 
records for a pilot. The ``PRD date of hire'' would include initial 
training and other training completed prior to beginning service as a 
required flight crewmember. The FAA also incorporates part of the 
proposed definition of ``Individual employed as a pilot,'' which was 
duplicative of the definition of ``begins service as a pilot,'' and 
adds that the individual can be employed directly or on a contract 
basis.
    Commenters conflated the review of an individual's records, which 
is not required to be complete until the individual begins service as a 
pilot, with when records must be reported about an individual, which 
will include any training that occurs prior to a pilot becoming a 
required flight crewmember. All records generated about a pilot from 
the PRD date of hire by the employer will be subject to the 
applicability of the PRD. For the purposes of reporting records to the 
PRD, the ``PRD Hire Date'' means the earliest date on which an 
individual is expected to begin any form of company required training 
or to perform any other duty for an operator subject to the 
applicability of part 111 in preparation for the individual's service 
as a pilot, including both direct employment and employment that occurs 
on a contract basis for any form of compensation.
    The NTSB expressed an interest in ensuring all records applicable 
to events prior to beginning service as a pilot would be captured in 
the PRD, discussed further in Section III.A.1. The FAA intends to 
capture any records that an operator may generate about a pilot in the 
time between when a pilot begins training and the time a pilot is 
actually assigned to act as a required flight crewmember. The FAA does 
not agree with commenters who asserted that training records that occur 
when a pilot is beginning employment with an operator should not be 
included in the PRD. As discussed further in Section V.F.3, the FAA and 
other commenters believe those records have significant value to a 
potential hiring employer. Any training that occurs prior to a pilot's 
actual employment with an operator would not be included in the PRD due 
to the constraints of the PRD Act, but if the pilot is receiving 
training and any form of compensation for that training, the FAA will 
consider that pilot to be employed for purposes of part 111.
    The FAA defines ``begins service as a pilot'' to mean the earliest 
date on which a pilot serves as a pilot flight crewmember or is 
assigned duties as a pilot in flight for an operator that is subject to 
the applicability of this part. This definition applies when a pilot's 
records must have been evaluated prior to allowing a pilot to begin 
service. This means an operator could hire a pilot and begin training 
before evaluating all of the records in the PRD. However, a pilot 
cannot be assigned to pilot duties without the operator having 
evaluated the records in the PRD.
    Some commenters were concerned with how the definition of 
``employed'' was used in the proposal. ``Employed'' in the context 
raised by NBAA refers to proposed criteria for a responsible person, 
described in the preamble of the NPRM, with no relationship to a 
pilot's employment with an operator for purposes of reporting pilot 
records to the PRD. For the purpose of accessing the PRD, the proposed 
rule considered a responsible person for an entity conducting public 
aircraft operations or corporate flight department must be paid for 
more than 20 hours a week for services rendered to the operator. After 
considering comments, the FAA is not adopting the NPRM preamble 
description of ``employed'' as an eligibility factor for a responsible 
person.
    The FAA amended the definition of ``final separation from 
employment record'' by removing the list of examples of separation from 
employment actions, which had included resignation, termination, 
physical or medical disqualification, professional disqualification, 
furlough, extended leave, or retirement. This revision reduces 
redundancy with the updated requirements in this rule, which address 
this subject adequately by describing the different possible 
categorizations for separation from employment actions in subpart C of 
part 111.
    The FAA amends the definitions of ``final separation from 
employment action'' and ``final disciplinary action'' to reflect that 
it is incumbent on the operator to determine at what point a 
disciplinary or separation action is final and therefore subject to 
either reporting requirement in the PRD. Each operator has sufficient 
knowledge and oversight over its own processes for handling 
disciplinary action; therefore, the operator is in the best position to 
determine that an action is not subject to a pending dispute, which 
would include any legal proceeding regarding the final result of that 
action. Once no longer pending, including a record of it is 
appropriate. Section V.C.7 includes a description of the comments the 
FAA received on this topic.

[[Page 31021]]

    In response to comments asking for clarification of training 
records pertaining to pilot performance, the FAA publishes an Advisory 
Circular, AC120-68J \40\ with this rule that includes specific lists of 
events which the FAA expects to be entered into the PRD based on the 
training program for a particular pilot. The FAA intends that if a 
record exists for the pilot as described at Sec.  111.225 and as 
further described in the AC, and the record is retained by the 
reporting entity, then it must be entered into the PRD. Each record 
type that an operator will report is described by the event that 
prompts the reporting requirement. The FAA considered including the 
specific listing in part 111, but determined that approach would limit 
the reporting flexibility needed as training and checking evolves in 
the future. The FAA also removed the reference to the FAA from this 
definition, because roles and responsibilities assigned by an employer 
inherently are subject to FAA regulations or other regulations without 
explicit mention in this definition.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \40\ Advisory Circular 120-68J, The Pilot Records Database and 
Pilot Records Improvement Act Advisory Circular, which will be 
published to the docket for this rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA further establishes in this final rule what the Agency 
considers to be a record associated with pilot performance. In Sec.  
111.10, the FAA defines a record pertaining to pilot performance as 
records of an activity or event directly related to an individual's 
completion of the core duties and responsibilities of a pilot to 
maintain safe aircraft operations. The duties and responsibilities are 
assigned by the employer and are based on FAA regulations or other 
applicable regulations, such as the Transportation Security 
Administration or the Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety 
Administration. Ultimately, the employer reporting the record would 
determine whether the action causing the employer to terminate the 
pilot's employment affected safe aircraft operations, as it is a case-
by-case determination. Situations may occur in which a pilot's behavior 
or actions are not directly related to operating the aircraft but still 
affect that pilot's ability to maintain safe aircraft operations. One 
example of this would be documented harassment of a coworker who 
operates an aircraft with that pilot, regardless of whether the 
harassment occurs during flight operations. Fear of harassment could 
negatively affect safe aircraft operations. The FAA does not believe 
that it should preclude an employer from considering such an event as 
related to a pilot's performance if that employer believes the event is 
fundamentally related to maintaining safe aircraft operations, which 
includes effective crew resource management. Overall, because good 
judgment by the pilot is a critical part of safe aircraft operation, 
pilot performance could include events other than those strictly 
related to a pilot's level of skill in operating an aircraft.
    The FAA removed the definitions of ``air carrier,'' ``other 
operator,'' and ``participating operator'' from this final rule because 
those definitions were duplicative of applicability requirements. Where 
the FAA refers to ``operators'' in the regulatory text and the 
preamble, it is referring generally to all operators, including air 
carriers and other certificate holders, who would be subject to the 
applicability of this part.
    After review and evaluation of the comments, the FAA amended the 
definition of ``historical record'' to remove the reference to the 
Administrator, as it was not necessary. In addition, this rule contains 
an amended applicability provision describing PAO, which provides 
specific criteria based directly on applicable statutory provisions.
    This rule includes two definitions not proposed in the NPRM, to add 
clarity to the regulatory text regarding which operators are subject to 
each requirement. The FAA defines Reviewing entity as an operator 
subject to the applicability of subpart B of part 111 (Access to and 
Evaluation of Records); and Reporting entity as an operator subject to 
the applicability of subpart C of part 111 (Reporting of Records). 
These definitions do not substantively change part 111.
    The FAA did not adopt a regulatory definition of ``access the 
PRD,'' but confirms its meaning is to use the credentials issued by the 
Administrator in accordance with this part to retrieve information 
related to an individual pilot, to report to the PRD information 
required by this part, or for a responsible person to manage user 
access. A pilot also would access the PRD to grant consent to a 
reviewing entity to access that pilot's records.
    Lastly, this rule does not include a definition of writing/written 
in part 111. The FAA will provide the appropriate signature 
requirements within the identity verification mechanism of PRD 
approval, as the FAA expects the PRD will accept digital signatures. 
Digital verification of the pilot's identity by logging into the PRD 
could also serve as a signature.
    The FAA otherwise adopts Sec.  111.10 substantively as proposed. 
The FAA evaluated all comments regarding perceived lack of clarity or 
inconsistency in phraseology used and made updates to the final rule to 
convey clearly the requirements of each section. The FAA determined 
that prescriptive definitions of ``good faith exception'' and ``trustee 
in bankruptcy'' were not necessary, because the underlying regulations 
concerning these terms describe them adequately in context of the 
applicable requirements. This rule also contains edits throughout part 
111 to maximize regulatory clarity, which alleviates the need include 
the other definitions that commenters requested.
4. Application for Database Access--Section 111.15
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed requiring an operator's responsible 
person to submit an application for database access including 
information necessary for identity verification. The proposed rule 
included the ability for a responsible person to delegate PRD access to 
two other types of users (proxies and authorized users) and proposed 
minimum qualification requirements for the responsible person. Proposed 
Sec.  111.15 also included terms for continuing access to the PRD, 
requirements for changes to application information, and timelines for 
compliance for new operators subject to this part.
    This rule revises paragraph (a) to include an updated interim 
compliance date in which reporting entities must submit an initial 
application for database access. After considering comments received 
regarding observed gaps in PRIA, particularly those received from the 
NTSB and the Families of Continental Flight 3407, the FAA determined 
PRD implementation would be served best by ensuring employers subject 
to the rule begin to transition from PRIA to PRD as soon as possible. 
The FAA also acknowledges comments received requesting greater 
collaboration with industry and more time to enable compliance, 
especially considering potential technological difficulties and the 
effects of the COVID-19 public health emergency on the aviation 
industry.
    The next step in building the industry records component of the 
database and facilitating its use is to ensure each operator subject to 
the applicability of this rule has identified a responsible person in 
the database. The PRD program manager will collaborate with that 
individual on the transition process. Consequently, the FAA includes a 
provision in Sec.  111.15(a) requiring operators to submit an 
application with all of the information

[[Page 31022]]

identified in Sec.  111.15 by September 8, 2021. Operators initiating 
operations after September 8, 2021, must submit an application at least 
30 days prior to initiating operations. Additionally, trustees in 
bankruptcy appointed for an operator subject to the applicability of 
this rule must begin to comply with the transition timelines of this 
rule as prescribed by part 111, as applicable. Because a trustee can 
either be delegated access or apply to be a responsible person, the FAA 
does not envision that every trustee would submit an application, but 
to the extent a trustee would be a responsible person and is currently 
appointed in accordance with the criteria in this section, the FAA 
would expect that trustee to submit an application if the trustee will 
be a responsible person.
    The FAA makes clarifying amendments throughout the regulatory text 
in Sec.  111.15(b)-(h), but does not make any other substantive changes 
to the requirements for the application for database access, except to 
require submission of a telephone number to accompany the email 
address. In response to a comment from CAA regarding how long the FAA 
expects to take to approve the PRD user access, the FAA requests 
applicants submit their applications one week in advance of necessary 
access.
5. Database Access--Section 111.20
    Proposed Sec.  111.20 set forth the conditions under which 
authorized users and proxies, to whom a responsible person has 
delegated access, may access the PRD. Notably, persons may only access 
the PRD for purposes of uploading, reviewing, or retrieving records in 
accordance with the requirements of part 111. The FAA also proposed 
that if a responsible person's PRD access is terminated, the access of 
the authorized users and proxies may be terminated.
    The FAA modifies proposed Sec.  111.20 to consolidate parts of the 
section and to convey the FAA's intent to limit access to the PRD in a 
manner that is aligned entirely with the purpose of the PRD Act. A 
person may access the PRD only in a manner consistent with the purposes 
set forth in this section: For reporting pilot records or for reviewing 
pilot records to inform a hiring decision about a specific pilot. The 
responsible person is accountable for ensuring that any person 
accessing the PRD complies with part 111 when reporting or reviewing 
records on behalf of the responsible person. Further, under this final 
rule and in accordance with the PRD Act, proxy companies will not be 
permitted to collect PRD data about any pilot for use by that company 
outside its specific employment with a particular operator for 
reporting or review of an individual pilot's records. ``Skimming'' or 
otherwise aggregating pilot data outside of the PRD for re-sale or to 
provide a list of pre-screened pilots is strictly prohibited both by 
Sec.  111.20 and 49 U.S.C. 44703(i).
    Lastly, as proposed in the NPRM and as adopted in this final rule, 
PRD access for authorized users and proxies is contingent on the 
continued validity of the responsible person's electronic access.
6. Denial of Access--Section 111.25
    The NPRM proposed that access credentials for the PRD would be 
subject to duration, renewal, and cancellation for a length of time to 
be determined by the Administrator. The FAA also proposed conditions 
under which the FAA could deny access to the PRD due to misuse of the 
database, including intentionally reporting inaccurate information, and 
as necessary to protect the security of the PRD. The FAA proposed 
denying access if an operator's operating authority is revoked. The 
proposed rule included a procedure for reconsideration of denial of 
access.
    The FAA revises and reorganizes Sec.  111.25 to remove duration, 
renewal, and cancellation of responsible person credentials, and 
modifies the title of the section accordingly. Those provisions did not 
specify a timeframe for any of those activities as it relates to the 
electronic credentials because the duration depends on the vendor 
providing the identity verification. Because multiple ways exist for 
complying with application submittal, identity verification, and 
approval for access, the FAA will provide further detail regarding the 
technological specifications of user accounts. As stated in the NPRM, 
the PRD will comply with all Federal guidelines for electronic 
databases. The final rule retains the proposed provisions for denial of 
access in this section, because the section contains the criteria under 
which database access may be denied and does not contain specific terms 
based on changing technology the PRD might use. The final rule also 
adds an intent requirement to one of the stated bases for denial of 
access, such that the intentional reporting of false or fraudulent 
information to the database is an enumerated reason to deny access.
    The final rule further authorizes denial of access if the FAA 
suspends an operator's operating authority, such as a letter of 
authorization or operating certificate. This provision is otherwise 
adopted as proposed.
7. Prohibited Access or Use--Section 111.30
    The FAA proposed to prohibit unauthorized access or use of the PRD, 
including a prohibition on sharing records with anyone not directly 
involved in the hiring decision. The FAA adopts Sec.  111.30 as 
proposed, except for a change to permit a pilot to share the pilot's 
own PRD airman record (PAR) without being subject to the prohibitions 
in part 111.
    The FAA did not adopt the proposed definition of ``directly 
involved in the hiring decision'' as it is unnecessary. As stated in 
the NPRM, that phrase means:

    [A]ny individual who is responsible for making pilot hiring 
decisions on behalf of the employer or who is responsible for 
advising the decision maker on whether or not to hire an individual 
as a pilot.

Pilot records must not be shared outside of persons working on behalf 
of a reviewing entity in furtherance of that specific hiring process.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to require air carriers and other 
operators complying with subpart B to maintain the privacy and 
confidentiality of pilot records, as required by the PRD Act at 49 
U.S.C. 44703(i)(13). Specifically, the FAA proposed to require air 
carriers and other operators to secure pilot records in the normal 
course of business. The FAA adopts that proposed provision in this 
section with revisions to mirror the statutory standard for protection 
of such records. The intent of the regulation as proposed does not 
change; for example, if a hiring employer rendered pilot information 
insecure by distributing that pilot's PAR throughout the company to 
individuals not directly involved in the hiring process, the hiring 
employer would be in violation of this regulation.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to mitigate risks to privacy by 
adopting strict privacy standards and establishing limits on access to 
the PRD, and adopts those standards throughout this part. Specifically, 
the FAA will adhere to National Institute of Standards and Technology 
(NIST) Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) 800.53 
Security and Privacy Controls for Federal Information Systems and 
Organizations to secure information contained in the PRD. The FAA 
further discusses issues raised by commenters with respect to pilot 
privacy in Section IV.C.
    The FAA also removed paragraph (c) concerning the Administrator's 
access and use of information maintained in the database for purposes 
consistent with oversight. The FAA determined that while it will use 
its oversight

[[Page 31023]]

authority to ensure compliance with part 111, it was not necessary to 
codify the statement in the regulations.
8. Fraud and Falsification--Section 111.35
    The FAA proposed to prohibit fraudulent or intentionally false 
statements from being reported to the PRD. The FAA adopts Sec.  111.35 
substantively as proposed, with edits to the regulatory text to 
reorganize the section. Section V.C.11 contains a summary of, and 
response to, comments the FAA received regarding the inclusion of false 
or fraudulent statements as it relates to the record correction and 
dispute resolution process.
9. Record Retention--Section 111.40
    In proposed Sec.  111.50, the FAA proposed to require records 
remain in the PRD for the life of the pilot. The proposed rule stated a 
pilot's records would be removed from the database upon notification of 
death from next of kin or when 99 years have passed since the 
individual's date of birth. The FAA adopts this provision with one 
substantive change, reorganizes the section, and renumbers it as Sec.  
111.40. As summarized in Section IV.C and in response to comments, the 
FAA is removing the requirement that the notification of death come 
from the pilot's next of kin. The FAA also removed the record retention 
instructions for such records from this regulatory provision. The 
record retention term absent the notification of death described in 
this section is captured in the appropriate record retention schedule. 
The removal of this term from the regulatory text does not affect the 
FAA's requirements for such information.
    Although identifying information from the pilot's record will be 
removed after notification of death or 99 years have passed since the 
individual's date of birth, the FAA may use de-identified information 
from those pilots in the database for research and statistical purposes 
to further the Agency's safety mission.
10. Sections Not Adopted
i. User Fee--Proposed Section 111.40
    Previously, Sec.  111.40 contained the FAA's proposal for a user 
fee for accessing the PRD to evaluate pilot records. The FAA received 
comments from both organizations and individuals regarding the proposed 
user fee, most expressing opposition. Commenters were concerned about 
the cost of the fee and how a fee would affect a reviewing entity's 
ability to view a pilot's PAR multiple times. Commenters also proposed 
different ways of adjusting the fee, which would have either benefited 
smaller operators or large operators depending on the method.
    After considering the comments received and the changes to the 
structure of the database to ensure a burden proportionate to the 
safety benefits of this rule, the FAA determined to withdraw the user 
fee proposal, for multiple reasons. The new method of reporting in 
Sec.  111.215 may require a reviewing entity to access a pilot's PAR 
more than once. Uncertainties also exist regarding how COVID-19 will 
impact hiring for reviewing entities, which would affect the user fee 
analysis. Therefore, no fee will exist for accessing the PRD at this 
time. The FAA will continue to evaluate the cost of the PRD and may 
revisit this determination at a later time.
ii. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests--Proposed Section 111.45
    Under Sec.  111.45, the FAA proposed that PRD records would be 
exempt from FOIA, with some exceptions, as set forth in 49 U.S.C. 
44703(i)(9)(B). Specifically, information reported to the PRD would be 
subject to disclosure as follows: (1) De-identified, summarized 
information may be disclosed to explain the need for changes in 
policies and regulations; (2) information may be disclosed to correct a 
condition that compromises safety; (3) information may be disclosed to 
carry out a criminal investigation or prosecution; (4) information may 
be disclosed to comply with 49 U.S.C. 44905, regarding information 
about threats to civil aviation; and (5) such information as the 
Administrator determines necessary may be disclosed if withholding the 
information would not be consistent with the safety responsibilities of 
the FAA.
a. Comments Received
    A4A, the PlaneSense commenters, and an individual commented on 
proposed Sec.  111.45, which addresses the FOIA requests. The 
commenters generally agreed with the proposal to exempt certain 
information reported to the PRD from disclosure in response to FOIA 
requests but relayed specific concerns regarding the language of the 
section or on the scope of the information permitted to be released. 
A4A also recommended the FAA clarify the definition of ``de-identify,'' 
and what information can be shared with NTSB officials, and that 
carriers should have the ability to limit access to certain kinds of 
records. A4A stated that the FAA must state explicitly whether it 
intends to use PRD data for purposes other than to meet PRD 
requirements. It also commented that the NPRM permits disclosure of 
information to correct a condition that compromises safety, consistent 
with an exception codified in part 193. The commenter said that the 
language in part 193 exceptions includes ensuring ``that the holder of 
an FAA certificate is qualified for that certificate, and preventing 
ongoing violations of safety or security regulations.'' The commenter 
stated this raises the issue of whether the FAA intends to use the 
submitted information to take enforcement action.
    The PlaneSense commenters and another individual recommended 
eliminating any reference to criminal investigation or prosecution and 
providing that the information may only be disclosed pursuant to a duly 
issued court order or subpoena. The PlaneSense commenters also 
requested that the provision of the proposal permitting release of 
records in the database in situations consistent with the safety 
responsibilities of the FAA not be used without prior reason to do so 
arising out of facts and circumstances occurring external to the 
database. Commenters said this section is overbroad and would permit 
the FAA to ``go fishing'' for enforcement information that might not 
otherwise have been identified by the FAA in the normal course of 
business. Commenters also opined that 24-hour access to data uploaded 
by those obligated to do so is an unwelcome intrusion on both the 
pilots' and the reporting employers' privacy.
    Another commenter recommended the PRD have an Oversight Board to 
monitor the database, to request data from FAA, and to conduct 
investigations into aviation safety issues and training. The commenter 
said that the PRD would fit well under the Aviation Safety Information 
Analysis and Sharing umbrella and recommended that the FAA look at this 
program.
    A4A suggested that the FAA includes an additional exception to PRD 
data disclosure under FOIA that permits PRD data disclosure only to the 
extent permitted by the Privacy Act, including routine uses described 
in the System of Records Notice for DOT/FAA, Aviation Records on 
Individuals. A4A commented that the FAA should provide the public with 
an opportunity to discuss what disclosures, permitted by the Privacy 
Act, it shall include for purposes of the PRD Act.
b. FAA Response
    The FAA does not adopt the proposal to include the statutory 
disclosure

[[Page 31024]]

prohibitions in regulatory text because the statutory protections exist 
regardless of inclusion in this regulation. The FAA will process all 
FOIA requests in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552 and current Agency 
procedure for such requests, claiming FOIA exemptions associated with 
the statutory protections listed in 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(9)(B), where 
applicable.
    Regarding comments on records contained in the PRD that would be 
subject to potential disclosure if the information is used as part of a 
criminal investigation or prosecution, the PRD Act specifically 
excludes information used to carry out a criminal investigation or 
prosecution from the information protection described in 49 U.S.C. 
44703(i)(9)(B). The PRD Act does not narrow that exclusion to apply 
only to information provided in response to a duly-issued court order 
or subpoena. The FAA will handle requests for such information in 
accordance with established practices for provision of information used 
to carry out a criminal investigation or prosecution. As allowed by the 
PRD Act, the FAA may also use de-identified, summarized information to 
explain the need for changes in policies and regulations. Statistical 
information derived from such de-identified information may become 
available to the public in the future. A commenter requested 
clarification regarding the FAA's meaning of ``de-identified.'' The 
term ``de-identified'' has a similar definition to the definition the 
commenter mentioned from part 193.\41\ The FAA would also remove the 
pilot's certificate number so that there would be no way to discern the 
pilot's identifying information. The FAA does not retrieve pilots' 
records from the PRD for FAA enforcement or investigative purposes 
related to the pilots themselves.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \41\ In 14 CFR part 193, ``de-identified'' means that the 
identity of the source of the information, and the names of persons 
have been removed from the information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The PRD Act, at 49 U.S.C. 44703(k), does not preclude the 
availability of a pilot's information to the NTSB in accordance with an 
investigation. The FAA would make records available to the NTSB in 
accordance with established procedures for provision of such 
information. Lastly, the FAA declines to establish an Oversight Board 
for the PRD, as doing so by regulation is beyond the scope of the 
proposed rule.
    The FAA will publish an updated Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for 
the PRD system, which will be available at dot.gov/privacy and in the 
public docket for this rulemaking.

B. Subpart B--Access to and Evaluation of Records

1. Applicability--Section 111.100
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed that part 119 certificate holders, 
fractional ownership programs, and operators conducting air tour 
operations would be required to access the PRD to evaluate a pilot's 
records. The FAA adopts Sec.  111.100 substantively as proposed. The 
applicability of this subpart remains unchanged from the NPRM. The FAA 
made edits to maximize regulatory clarity and to capture corresponding 
changes from other sections of part 111, as well as to consolidate 
duplicative requirements, and to add compliance dates for subpart B to 
this section.
i. Comments Received
    The NTSB expressed support for the proposal to extend the 
evaluation requirements to non-air carrier entities, including 
corporate flight departments and air tour operators conducting 
operations in accordance with Sec.  91.147. The NTSB noted that the 
FAA, in response to Safety Recommendation A-05-01, proposed to require 
all applicable operators to access and evaluate a pilot's records in 
the PRD before making a hiring decision. The NTSB stated if the final 
rule is consistent with the NPRM, it believes the final rule would meet 
the intent of Safety Recommendation A-05-01. A4A stated it believes the 
PRD information will be used earlier in the hiring process before a 
conditional offer of employment is made to the pilot. One individual 
commented that use of the PRD will lead to a safer transportation 
system and that the system should not rely on pilot record books.
    Other commenters suggested the PRD would not be helpful in the 
hiring process because operators and owners already are incentivized to 
make informed hiring decisions based on a rigorous interviewing and 
screening process, regardless of regulatory requirements, given the 
significant liability associated with those decisions. Commenters also 
felt the PRD would not be beneficial for part 91 operators, opposed 
requiring any part 91 operators to review records, and indicated part 
91 operators communicate directly with other flight departments as part 
of the applicant screening process. An individual commenter noted some 
operators do not have fulltime pilots and often need crew at the last 
minute, and asserted accessing and evaluating PRD records on short 
notice would be impossible. Overall, some commenters generally 
contended operators would not use the database.
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA agrees that all entities subject to this rule have an 
inherent incentive to make informed hiring decisions when hiring 
pilots. The FAA reiterates that the PRD is not intended to be the only 
source of information used by a subject employer when hiring a pilot. 
Neither does this rule tell a prospective employer what hiring decision 
to make on a pilot's job application after viewing pertinent 
information in the PRD. Rather, consistent with the PRD Act and the 
FAA's safety mission, this rule will ensure that critical information 
regarding a pilot's record does not go unnoticed or unshared. Regarding 
the comments about pre-existing coordination between flight 
departments, the FAA notes that corporate flight departments as set 
forth in the applicability of this section are not required to review 
records under part 111, but may opt into the database voluntarily for 
record review.
    In response to the commenter who was concerned about a lack of time 
to review a pilot's record's on short notice, the FAA reiterates that a 
primary advantage of the PRD is the availability of records for hiring 
employers in an electronic database that is easily accessible.
    The FAA adopts revised compliance timelines for subpart B in this 
section. Under Sec.  111.15, all operators required to comply with 
subpart B will have a responsible person established in the database 
beginning no later than 90 days after the date of publication of the 
final rule, so the review of FAA records in the PRD is the next logical 
step toward facilitating full compliance with part 111. Some operators 
are already using the PRD optionally to review FAA records. The FAA 
acknowledges that the NTSB as well as members of Congress and the 
Families of Continental Flight 3407 are invested in the quick 
implementation of the PRD. The FAA finds that interim compliance helps 
quicken implementation and facilitates the successful long-term 
transition from PRIA to PRD. Entities utilizing and load-testing the 
PRD will help grow its capabilities for upload of industry records. 
Compliance with review of industry records begins one year after the 
date of publication of the final rule and the proposed date by which 
operators must comply with all of part 111 is extended one year from 
the proposal to three years and 90 days after

[[Page 31025]]

the date of publication of the final rule, as discussed in Section 
V.A.2.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to allow corporate flight departments 
and PAO the discretion to choose to review certain records in 
accordance with subpart B. Regardless of this choice, the proposed rule 
would have required all such operators to comply with all the reporting 
requirements of subpart C. For those operators, the FAA adds a 
provision to require those operators to comply with Sec.  111.120 
(requiring receipt of pilot consent), to ensure compliance with those 
protections. Corporate flight departments and PAO choosing to access 
the PRD for record review must comply with certain requirements 
regarding pilot consent, but are not required to comply fully with 
other provisions in subpart B.
2. Evaluation of Pilot Records and Limitations on Use--Section 111.105
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to prohibit operators subject to this 
part from permitting an individual to begin service as a pilot prior to 
reviewing that pilot's records in the PRD. The records proposed to be 
reviewed included FAA records, records populated from current and 
former employers reporting records in accordance with subpart C, 
historical records, and NDR records. The FAA also proposed prohibiting 
misuse of the database, including reviewing records without pilot 
consent, permitting someone to access the database without proper 
authorization, and using pilot information for any purpose other than 
determining whether to hire a particular pilot.
i. Comments Received
    CAPA indicated that the FAA stated this proposal does not contain a 
requirement for a substantial increase in records kept by the carrier; 
however, CAPA noted the PRD Act and the NPRM require evaluation of 
records. CAPA expressed concern about safeguards to ensure the carrier 
performs this evaluation with a set of standard metrics. CAPA 
recommended the FAA require pilots' labor organizations, airline 
management, and the FAA to perform the evaluation jointly, as has been 
done in other successful collaborations, such as ASAP.
    Ameristar sought clarification regarding who is responsible for 
evaluating a pilot's records. Ameristar also recommended that the FAA 
modify proposed Sec.  111.105(a)(3) to state the requirement 
specifically rather than refer to 49 U.S.C. 44703(h). Ameristar also 
commented that proposed Sec.  111.105(b) appears to duplicate proposed 
Sec.  111.120.
    A4A noted the PRIA records are available to the hiring committee 
for review; however, it was not apparent to A4A if the hiring committee 
will have access to the record. A4A urged the FAA to eliminate the 
hiring language from the final rule and clarify there is no change in 
carrier obligation to review records prior to an individual beginning 
service as a pilot. CAA also commented that it is unclear how hiring 
committees assigned to review the records and rank applications for the 
future will be able to access the records and conduct reviews if only 
one of three individuals on a committee has access to review records, 
especially considering the proposed user fee charged to the operator 
each time the record is accessed.
    CAPA commented that the proposed rule indicates that the PRD is 
only to be used for pilot hiring purposes, but the NPRM also mentions 
``assisting air carriers in making informed hiring and personnel 
management decisions.'' CAPA expressed concern about this contradiction 
and recommended it be corrected.
    A4A also noted the NPRM proposes to limit the use of PRD data to 
permit using the data only for the purpose of determining whether to 
hire a pilot. A4A argues that, while a safety benefit exists for having 
current information for prospective pilots, the rule should also 
contain a provision to allow for access to other information that would 
be mutually beneficial to the individual pilot and the current 
employer.
    A4A further recommended the FAA clarify that an air carrier would 
have the ability to limit access to specific types of pilot records 
(training, drug and alcohol) with regard to what types of records 
particular personnel of the air carrier are or able to access about a 
particular pilot. A4A said the NPRM does not state explicitly that 
authorized users with access to a pilot's records are limited with 
regard to records they may be able to access about a particular pilot. 
A4A recommended the FAA further limit access to confidential drug and 
alcohol testing records in the PRD to air carrier-designated persons 
that administer the drug and alcohol testing program.
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA will not standardize review criteria or metrics for review 
of pilot records, because every employer's hiring practices are 
different. The PRD is simply a means of providing pilot information for 
hiring decisions.
    The FAA is limited by statute from permitting the use of the PRD 
for any purpose other than an employer's review of a pilot's records 
for hiring decisions. In citing the PRD's usefulness for personnel 
management decisions, the FAA meant that having pertinent information 
before allowing an individual to begin service as a pilot can aid 
operators in overall personnel management. As such, the FAA will not 
allow access to the PRD for other purposes.
    Review of a pilot's record, as set forth in Sec.  111.10, must 
occur before the pilot begins service as a pilot. This clarification is 
discussed further in Section V.A.3.
    The PRD Act does not provide discretion to allow access to the PRD 
for record review to anyone except a person from a reviewing entity who 
evaluates those records prior to permitting an individual to begin 
service as a pilot crewmember. Whoever the responsible person delegates 
to access the PRD will be able to evaluate those records for the 
limited purpose of reviewing information relevant to hiring decisions.
    This rule addresses consent and privacy concerns, especially 
regarding sensitive pilot records, by providing safeguards in part 111. 
Further, the FAA takes seriously its fulfillment of all confidentiality 
requirements pertaining to the release of a pilot's drug and alcohol 
information, in accordance with 49 CFR part 40.
    The FAA amends Sec.  111.105 to make corresponding changes to 
subpart B to accommodate the new alternate method of reporting records 
permitted by Sec.  111.215 for certain operators. The FAA also removes 
the prohibition on reviewing records without pilot consent, as it was 
duplicative of Sec.  111.120.
    Changes to Sec.  111.105(a)(1) and (2) split review of FAA records 
from industry records to facilitate use of the PRD to review all FAA 
records beginning 180 days from the date of publication of the final 
rule. Industry is already required to review these FAA records under 
PRIA, so this change only affects the vehicle by which they access 
these records.
    Section 111.105(a)(4) also includes a new provision associated with 
Sec.  111.215, which enables a new method of reporting for certain 
operators. Section 111.105(a)(4) requires persons reviewing records in 
accordance with subpart B to compare the records in the pilot's PAR to 
the list of employers provided with the pilot's consent form (See 
Section V.D.3.). If an employer has not uploaded records relating to 
that pilot but the employer appears as a former employer on the list 
provided by the pilot, the PRD will generate a request for the 
reviewing entity that goes directly to the reporting entity, by

[[Page 31026]]

notifying the responsible person identified on the application in Sec.  
111.15. As described further in Section V.C.4., the reviewing entity 
will receive a notification once any relevant records have been 
reported, or notification that no applicable additional records are 
available to report.
    This proposed rule adopts the remainder of Sec.  111.105, as 
proposed.
3. Motor Vehicle Driving Record Request--Section 111.110
    In Sec.  111.110, the FAA proposed that all operators subject to 
part 111, with exceptions, must query the National Driver Register 
(NDR) prior to permitting an individual to begin service as a pilot, to 
obtain and review State records on the motor vehicle driving history of 
the pilot. The FAA proposed that entities querying the NDR would have 
to keep substantiating documentation for five years to ensure that the 
FAA would be able to audit, if necessary, the completion of this 
search.
i. Comments Received
    A4A supported that the FAA did not require motor vehicle driving 
record information to be entered in the PRD, stating that this approach 
reduced opportunity for the PRD to include inaccurate or incomplete 
pilot information. A4A also stated this policy is consistent with the 
ARC recommendation regarding NDR data. Ameristar recommended that the 
FAA revise Sec.  111.110(a)(3)(i) by replacing ``49 U.S.C. 30301'' with 
``a state participating in the NDR Program,'' explaining that without 
this change, operators have to reference the statute.
ii. FAA Response
    Section 111.110 is adopted substantively as proposed, with minor 
revisions. The FAA added a reference to Sec.  111.310 in paragraph 
(a)(1) of Sec.  111.110, to note that operators required to review 
records that do not hold a certificate under part 119 are not required 
to query the NDR. PRIA specified that air carriers must review any NDR 
records while evaluating the other pilot records. The FAA determined 
that it would be appropriate not to extend the requirement to part 91 
operations, consistent with the FAA's risk-based approach for 
regulating entities that do not hold a part 119 certificate.
4. Good Faith Exception--Section 111.115
    The FAA proposed to include relief from the record review 
requirement for operators that made a good faith effort to obtain pilot 
records from the PRD but were not able to do so, due to no fault of the 
hiring employer. The FAA also proposed that it may notify a hiring 
employer if it has knowledge that a pilot's records in the PRD might be 
incomplete due to dissolution of an organization or other issues with a 
prior employer.
i. Comments Received
    NBAA recommended that the FAA should more clearly define ``good 
faith'' in accordance with existing PRIA language in PRIA AC120-68G, 
which uses the phrase ``documented attempt to obtain such 
information.''
    NBAA recommended the FAA extend the good faith exception to the 
requirement in Sec.  111.115 to report historical information under 
Sec.  111.205. NBAA explained many non-air carrier operators have not 
maintained the records that would be subject to reporting under the 
proposed rule. Of those non-air carrier operators that have maintained 
records, NBAA indicated the records may not be in a format that allows 
for reasonable reporting that is not unduly burdensome. NBAA expressed 
concern that requiring operators to report records not maintained 
beyond the five-year period required by PRIA will encourage operators 
to manufacture records, diminishing the value of any accurate 
historical information in the database.
    Ameristar noted ``good faith'' effort in proposed Sec. Sec.  
111.115(a)(1) and 111.410(a) is not defined and is subjective, and 
recommended the FAA define it. Ameristar suggested a registered letter 
sent to the last known place of business would constitute a good faith 
effort and has been accepted by FAA inspectors in the past. Ameristar 
also recommended that the FAA state some acceptable methods of 
compliance in the rule to provide guidance to affected parties. As an 
example, Ameristar stated certified mail return receipt requested or an 
acknowledged email should be acceptable.
ii. FAA Response
    Section 111.115 is adopted as proposed. The meaning of ``good 
faith'' as used in part 111 comports with the current PRIA AC120-68G, 
which reads:

    If a pilot/applicant's former employer has not responded after 
30 calendar-days, document your attempts to obtain the PRIA records 
from them and contact the PRIA program manager to determine its 
status (see paragraph 3.5.2). If the nonresponding employer is 
bankrupt, out of business, or is a foreign entity, your documented 
attempts to contact that employer fulfill your obligation under 
PRIA.

    For application to the PRD, the reviewing entity's following 
activities would suffice to fulfill the reviewing entity's obligation 
under the PRD: Query of the PRD, completion of the NDR check, review of 
the pilot's employment history, submission of requests to any employers 
listed on the pilot's employment history that have not indicated that 
all records for that pilot are already in the PRD, and submission of 
PRIA requests to all the employers listed on the pilot's employment 
history either in the PRD or with FAA form 8060-11. When the reviewing 
entity waits at least 30 calendar days to receive those records and 
completes the PRD-related activities described above, the good faith 
exception would be available to the reviewing entity.
    Regarding the comment to extend the good faith exception to 
historical record reporting, the FAA emphasizes that the good faith 
exception in Sec.  111.115 is written to apply generally to persons 
subject to this subpart who are evaluating any records pertaining to 
the individual's previous employment as a pilot and therefore would be 
available for any records regarding a pilot, historical or 
contemporaneous.
5. Pilot Consent and Right of Review--Section 111.120
    In Sec.  111.120, the FAA proposed to prohibit an operator 
reviewing records from doing so prior to receiving consent from the 
pilot whose records it is reviewing and proposed requiring the consent 
be reported to the database. The FAA also proposed requiring the hiring 
employer to provide the pilot with a copy of any records received from 
the NDR upon request.
    A4A asked the FAA to expand the pilot consent process beyond the 
scope of just the PRD to enable receipt by an operator of a pilot 
certificate or medical certificate upon renewal or change, to 
facilitate compliance with Sec.  121.383. The FAA determined that use 
of the PRD for this purpose is beyond the scope of the PRD Act with 
respect to purposes for which information in the PRD may be used.\42\ 
Other comments regarding pilot privacy are discussed in Section IV.C.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \42\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(9)(A).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The FAA adopts Sec.  111.120 as proposed, with minor edits and one 
substantive change. The FAA amends the regulatory text such that 
accessing the PRD to check whether the pilot has granted consent for 
that operator to view the pilot's records would not be a violation of 
this regulation. The activity prohibited would be actual retrieval of 
the records prior to receiving consent.

[[Page 31027]]

Although such retrieval will not be possible based on the technological 
restrictions imposed on the PRD by the system itself, the regulation 
also prohibits such retrieval in the absence of pilot consent.
6. FAA Records--Section 111.135
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed requiring operators to review FAA 
records in the PRD. Specifically, the FAA proposed that hiring 
employers must review: Records related to current pilot and medical 
certificate information, including associated type ratings and 
information on any limitations to those certificates and ratings; 
records maintained by the Administrator concerning any failed attempt 
of an individual to pass a practical test required to obtain a 
certificate or type rating under 14 CFR part 61; records related to 
enforcement actions resulting in a finding by the Administrator that 
was not subsequently overturned of a violation of 49 U.S.C. or a 
regulation prescribed or order issued under that title; records related 
to an individual acting as pilot in command or second in command during 
an aviation accident or incident; records related to an individual's 
pre-employment drug and alcohol testing history; and drug and alcohol 
records reported to the FAA by employers regulated under other 
Department of Transportation regulations for whom that individual 
worked as a pilot.
i. Comments on the FAA's Expunction Policy
    The FAA formerly maintained a long-standing policy to expunge 
historical airman and enforcement records.\43\ The policy provided 
that, generally, records of legal enforcement actions involving 
suspension of an airman certificate or a civil penalty against an 
individual were maintained by the FAA for five years before being 
expunged. Records were not expunged if, at the time expunction was due, 
one or more other legal enforcement actions were pending against the 
same individual. The outcome of the most recent legal enforcement 
action determined when the older action was expunged; for example, if a 
pilot's certificate was suspended in May 2000, but received another 
suspension in March 2005, both actions would be expunged in March 2010, 
if no other enforcement actions were brought against the individual 
through March 2010. Actions resulting in revocations were never 
expunged.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \43\ The FAA adopted a policy to expunge records of certain 
closed legal enforcement actions against individuals. This policy 
applies to both airman certificate holders and other individuals, 
such as passengers. FAA Enforcement Records; Expunction Policy. 56 
FR 55788. (Oct. 29, 1991).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Following the enactment of the PRD Act, the FAA examined whether 
the expunction of certain enforcement actions could continue in light 
of the data collection, data retention, and FOIA protection 
requirements of the PRD. Accordingly, FAA published a notice (76 FR 
7893, February 11, 2011) temporarily suspending its expunction policy. 
In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to maintain its current suspension of the 
expunction policy. Under existing policy, the FAA expunges an 
enforcement record in the Enforcement Information System (EIS), and 
only the information identifying the subject of the enforcement action 
is deleted (name, address, certificate number, etc.). The PRD Act, 
however, obligates the FAA to ``maintain all records entered into the 
[PRD] pertaining to an individual until the date of receipt of 
notification that the individual is deceased.'' As FAA records are part 
of the ``records entered into the [PRD] pertaining to an individual,'' 
the FAA interprets the PRD Act to require that a pilot's records cannot 
be expunged until the FAA has received notice of an individual's death, 
or until 99 years have passed since that pilot's date of birth.
    NBAA stated that the FAA's expunction policy is consistent with the 
Privacy Act and that the FAA must still meet the requirements of the 
Privacy Act despite the PRD. NBAA further commented that by maintaining 
information in the PRD while limiting access to qualified employers, 
the FAA is still able to expunge other records and databases, such as 
the EIS. The commenter said that closed legal enforcement actions are 
neither relevant nor timely after a certain length of time. NBAA 
endorsed the PRD ARC recommendation to reinstate the 5-year expunction 
policy for enforcement actions for all pilot records and the 
recommendation that if the FAA determines records should be maintained 
indefinitely as a result of the PRD Act, the records maintained in the 
PRD should be expunged from EIS and any other FAA recordkeeping systems 
that contain them.
    RAA supported the proposal to maintain the current suspension of 
the expunction policy for all relevant EIS, CAIS, and AIDS records. The 
commenter also pointed to concerns expressed by the PRD ARC and 
asserted that the provisions of the PRD Act conflict with the Privacy 
Act.
ii. Comments on Use of Aircraft Accident and Incident Data for the 
Proposed Rule
    CAPA expressed concern about the FAA's use of aircraft accident and 
incident data and suggested that the FAA's use of this data exceeds the 
scope of its mandate under the PRD Act. CAPA noted no current 
regulation or accepted practice exists in which the difficulty a pilot 
may have had in meeting a standard is considered in the pilot's ability 
to perform duties once the pilot has met that standard. CAPA argued if 
the objective is to identify pilots who are perceived to have ``failed 
too often'' in their attempt to meet a standard, then the standard 
should be the subject of additional review. CAPA also stated the 
evaluation standards remain equal for all applicants regardless of the 
training necessary to successfully complete an evaluation.
iii. FAA Response
    The FAA adopts the provision as proposed in the NPRM with respect 
to the FAA's maintenance of its records in the PRD for the life of the 
pilot. Accordingly, the FAA is amending the records schedules for EIS 
records and AIDS records for this final rule. As discussed in the NPRM, 
the PRD Act requires pilot records to be kept ``for the life of the 
pilot.'' Because a hiring employer could view a pilot's records 
indefinitely in the PRD, no harm results from maintaining suspension of 
the expunction policy with respect to records in EIS.
    The FAA records within the PRD are considered copies of records 
maintained in the CAIS, AIDS, and EIS databases. These databases are 
subject to the U.S. Department of Transportation's system of records 
notice (SORN) entitled DOT/FAA 847, Aviation Records on Individuals 
(November 9, 2010, 75 FR 68849) and are made available to reviewing 
entities consistent with the consent provided by the pilot.
    Records integrated within the individual PARs, and records that 
operators provide for inclusion within the PRD, are not considered to 
be part of an FAA system as those records, when connected to a pilot 
with identifying information, are not used by the Department in support 
of its mission. The FAA's retrieval of these records by unique 
identifier may only occur for administrative purposes. Rarely, the FAA 
may retrieve records from the system by unique identifier to respond to 
external criminal law investigation requests, or as part of an FAA 
investigation of the operator's compliance with PRD regulations. The

[[Page 31028]]

FAA does not retrieve pilots' records from the PRD for FAA enforcement 
or investigative purposes related to the pilots themselves.
    However, the Department is committed to ensuring that these 
sensitive records are managed in a manner consistent with the Privacy 
Act and the Fair Information Practice Principles, and will protect the 
records in accordance with the Departmental Privacy Risk Management 
Policy, DOT Order 1351.18 and applicable Office of Management and 
Budget Guidance for the protection of personally identifiable 
information.
    The FAA also adopts the requirement for review of records related 
to an aviation accident or incident as proposed. The FAA explained in 
the NPRM that including accident and incident data in the PRD would 
provide a more holistic historical record of a pilot, when combined 
with the other records proposed to be reported to the PRD by operators 
that previously employed the pilot. The FAA has the authority to 
identify, gather, and share that data, and has determined that doing so 
in the PRD is consistent with the PRD Act.
    The FAA enters a pilot's pre-employment and non-FAA drug and 
alcohol history into the PRD; however, these are not FAA records. 
Instead, the respective employer that conducted the test or determined 
the violation occurred is responsible for the records.
    The FAA adopts Sec.  111.135 with no substantive changes, but with 
minor edits, for clarity.
7. Sections Not Adopted
i. Refusal To Hire and Release From Liability
    In accordance with the statutory requirement set forth in 49 U.S.C. 
44703(i), the FAA proposed permitting hiring employers to require a 
pilot to execute a release from liability for any claim arising from 
use of the PRD in accordance with the regulations. The FAA also noted 
that the release from liability would not apply to any improper use of 
the PRD, as described in the proposed regulation. The FAA also proposed 
to permit an air carrier or operator to refuse to hire a pilot if the 
pilot does not provide consent to the operator to evaluate the pilot's 
records or if the pilot does not execute a release from liability for 
any claims arising from proper use of the PRD by the operator. The 
proposed regulatory text also prohibited a pilot from bringing any 
action or proceeding against a hiring employer for a refusal to hire 
the pilot for any reason described in this section.
ii. Comments Received
    A4A commented that the liability release provision proposed in the 
NPRM in Sec.  111.125 reflects the current and appropriate 
requirements, by providing a release from liability except where 
information is known to be false and maintained in violation of a 
criminal statute. Additionally, A4A contended the proposal provides 
reasonable protections, which the PRD Act does not require, for refusal 
to hire a pilot that does not provide consent or liability release 
requested by a carrier. A4A suggested that the FAA clarify that 
carriers can determine the process by which a release is obtained from 
the pilot and not foreclose future options.
    NBAA commented that release from liability provisions apply only 
with respect to the entry of covered data and covered entities; in this 
regard, air carriers are not given immunity if they overreach by 
entering data that goes beyond the statute. NBAA recommended the FAA 
align the proposed regulation with existing laws and include additional 
provisions to protect employers required to submit records to the 
database. NBAA also expressed concern that part 111 improperly 
regulates the employer-employee relationship and could be inconsistent 
with State employment laws.
iii. FAA Response
    The FAA does not have the authority to expand the release beyond 
what is described explicitly by statute. Only Congress can establish 
statutory liability release provisions. Furthermore, Congress required 
the FAA to establish the PRD. The FAA is not aware of State law that 
would affect FAA regulation of a Federal database for pilot records.
    Further, as discussed in the NPRM, the FAA recognizes that 49 CFR 
40.27 prohibits employers from having their employees execute any 
release ``with respect to any part of the drug or alcohol testing 
process.'' However, the FAA considers drug and alcohol testing records 
stored in the PRD to be outside the testing process for the purpose of 
DOT enforcement. Therefore, drug and alcohol testing records stored in 
and supplied by the PRD are not excluded from the liability release set 
forth in the statute.
    The FAA does not adopt the proposed provisions. Upon further 
review, the FAA determined that memorializing these statutory 
requirements in regulation is unnecessary. Title 49 U.S.C. 44703(j) 
refers to ``written consent''.\44\ The FAA considers the consent 
requirements of Sec. Sec.  111.120 and 111.310 to constitute the 
consent that section 44703(j) intends. A court could cite this statute 
in determining that a litigant does not have standing to bring a claim, 
but codifying a regulation to further memorialize the provision is not 
necessary.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \44\ Specifically, 49 U.S.C. 44703(j)(4)(A) states that an '' 
air carrier may refuse to hire an individual as a pilot if the 
individual did not provide written consent for the air carrier to 
receive records under subsection (h)(2)(A) or (i)(3)(A) or did not 
execute the release from liability requested under subsection 
(h)(2)(B) or (i)(3)(B).''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

C. Subpart C--Reporting of Records by Operators

1. Applicability--Section 111.200
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed that certain operators would be 
required to report records to the PRD, in accordance with the statute. 
The FAA adopts this section substantively as proposed, with edits for 
consistency with other parts of the regulatory text throughout this 
section and with additional text.
    In this section, the FAA adds compliance dates for when reporting 
of records to the PRD begins. The FAA expects to be able to accept 
industry records beginning June 10, 2022. As such, operators currently 
engaging in operations, or that initiate operations prior to June 10, 
2022, must begin reporting new records described by Sec.  111.205(b)(1) 
on June 10, 2022. Operators initiating operations after that date must 
begin complying with the PRD within 30 days of receiving their 
operations specifications. Historical record reporting falls on a 
different timeline and the FAA states in this section that the schedule 
for historical record reporting is set forth in Sec.  111.255. Comments 
regarding the compliance timeline for reporting historical records are 
found in Section V.E.
2. Reporting Requirements--Section 111.205
    In Sec.  111.205, the FAA proposed general requirements for 
compliance with subpart C. The proposal required operators subject to 
part 111 to report new records about a pilot it employs as well as 
historical records about a pilot currently or previously employed. 
Proposed Sec.  111.205 would prohibit inclusion of the information not 
permitted to be entered into the PRD as described in Sec.  111.245.
    The FAA amends the proposal concerning Sec.  111.205 to add the PRD 
date of hire to the list of information that an operator is required to 
enter about a pilot. Otherwise, this section is adopted substantively 
as proposed.

[[Page 31029]]

Comments relating to the applicability of the reporting requirements of 
part 111 are discussed primarily in Section IV.B.
3. Format for Reporting Information--Section 111.210
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed that operators would have to report 
information to the PRD in a form and manner prescribed by the 
Administrator.
i. Comments Received
    A4A took issue with the fact that the proposed rule creates a 
database of pilot record summaries, not of pilot records. A4A said 
summaries are contrary to the PRD statute, which requires an electronic 
database for records ``that are maintained by the air carrier.'' A4A 
added that this is an arbitrary and capricious reversal of the FAA's 
own interpretation of what constitutes a ``record'' and substantially 
increases the costs of the proposed regulation while reducing the 
quality and quantity of information available in the PRD as compared to 
the PRIA record exchange program. A4A was especially concerned about 
the proposed requirement to input summaries of historical records, 
rather than scans of the records themselves. A4A stated that the FAA 
should provide the option to upload images of entire documents rather 
than relying on summaries.
    A4A contends that the PRD does not provide potential employers with 
the level of comprehensive information Congress intended and that PRIA 
provides currently. A4A noted that under PRIA, a hiring carrier would 
receive the pilot's record and could review any incidents demonstrating 
that a pilot has difficulty with crew resource management, even if the 
final disciplinary action is removed from the record via settlement. 
Under the proposed rule, however, that information would not be 
captured in the PRD because if a settlement overturns a disciplinary 
action, the entire record related to that action would be excluded from 
the PRD. Moreover, A4A noted, once PRIA sunsets, those records will be 
permanently inaccessible to potential employers.
    A4A noted the NPRM provides no technical information on how an 
employer must report extensive pilot records into the PRD; therefore, 
the public cannot provide precise information on the potential impact 
of this regulation without having the technical requirements to report 
information into the PRD. A4A recommended that the FAA consider 
offering both XML and JSON formats as standards for bulk data transfer 
and engage carrier technical representatives. A4A further recommended 
that the FAA provide carrier representatives with information on the 
lessons learned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 
the Commercial Driver's License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. RAA 
requested that a guide to XML be provided to PRD users at the close of 
the comment period, or at the earliest possible time. A4A also asked 
for technical clarification on how bulk records should be uploaded to 
the PRD.
    Ameristar and Atlas Air also expressed concerns about the format 
for uploading records, stating that it would affect the timing and cost 
of compliance. Ameristar notes that the definition of ``report to the 
PRD'' is open-ended.
    The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) recommended that 
the FAA extend the historical period for data transmission and allow 
the uploading of original documents. NATA stated that only 12% of 
carriers are using electronic pilot records, and the significant 
majority of recordkeeping systems do not have the ability to create an 
XML program to sweep up the data fields for transmission. NATA stated 
that it expects a large number of part 135 carriers to use manual 
entry, and that rushing could cause unnecessary errors that would be 
difficult to correct and only discovered in pilot disputes.
    Ameristar stated the PRD should allow text submissions of 
historical records, noting the wide availability of the ASCII format. 
The commenter also recommended all historical records be allowed in the 
format in which the carrier maintained those records.
    In the NPRM, the FAA requested comments on five questions related 
to the input of historical records.\45\ RAA commented that it is 
difficult to answer Question 3 until an example of the proposed XML 
data transfer format is available for testing. Also responding to 
Question 3, CAPA stated there should be an opportunity for the public 
to make additional comments if the FAA chooses to collect any type of 
historical record not previously mentioned.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \45\ 85 FR 17678 (March 30, 2020). The questions included:
    1. What level of detail (e.g., training completion dates or the 
pilot's entire training record including each activity/task and 
outcome) do operators keep for historical pilot records dating back 
to August 1, 2005 and how accurately do the data requirements 
outlined in Table 3 reflect that level of detail?
    2. Are air carriers or operators maintaining other relevant 
records used by an air carrier or operator in making a hiring 
decision that the FAA has not considered or not chosen to include as 
a historic data requirement in this proposal?
    3. What amount of effort do employers perceive will be involved 
in reviewing the historic data and structuring it into an XML 
format? The FAA would also welcome information from any employers 
that do not intend to use the back-end XML solution?
    4. How quickly do air carriers and other operators believe they 
will be able to migrate their PRIA records into the PRD?
    5. Would it be helpful from either a pilot or a hiring 
employer's perspective to include a text box (with a limited 
character count) for a pilot to be able to provide a narrative 
explanation of further information concerning a historical record? 
Would this also be helpful for present-day records?
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In response to Question 5, RAA stated that a text box could be 
useful in providing narrative explanations for historical records, but 
risks providing unneeded information to the receiving carrier. RAA 
suggested that the FAA could limit this through a drop-down menu. Also 
responding to Question 5, CAPA stated that this question is confusing 
because under the NPRM a pilot would already have an opportunity to 
correct inaccurate data. CAPA further stated that the FAA should 
clarify its intention, and also asked whether there would be one data 
package to correct the entire package, one per section, or some other 
arrangement.
    The Families of Continental Flight 3407 emphasized that the 
database will only be as effective as the quality of the data entered 
into it and that there will need to be a continuous quality control 
process in place as the database is put into operation. These 
commenters called on the FAA and all stakeholders to make their best 
possible effort in this regard.
    A4A also said the final rule should clarify the requirement for 
most records to be reported ``within 30 days'' of the event, and that 
the rule does not prohibit submission of information after 30 days.
ii. FAA Response
    Section 111.210 is adopted as proposed. The FAA provides a 
description of an initial means of compliance for the format for 
reporting information in AC 20-68J accompanying this rule.
    The NPRM proposed that operators summarize the information from a 
pilot's record, rather than submitting the actual records to the PRD. 
Table 3 of the NPRM outlined the data elements necessary to include in 
the summary. The FAA acknowledged that many operators have maintained 
records in accordance with PRIA in varying degrees of detail, so the 
FAA's intent with requiring submission of a summary rather than an 
original record was to create a standardized process and best practice 
for obtaining the relevant information. Further, the NPRM stated that 
clearly defining the specific data

[[Page 31030]]

elements in this proposed rule would enable reporting entities to 
refine the information included in the PRD that hiring operators find 
most useful for hiring decisions, rather than entering all data 
maintained on an individual pilot throughout his or her career. Lastly, 
requiring records to be entered in a standardized format is consistent 
with NTSB Recommendations A-10-17 and A-10-19.
    The FAA confirms in this action that the summary approach would be 
used for current, future, and historical records. The FAA reaffirms the 
NPRM discussion on the data elements and information required for the 
summaries which emphasized that the summary approach was taken 
specifically to improve the quality of the information submitted to the 
PRD. The FAA notes, with respect to A4A's comment regarding 
subsequently overturned disciplinary actions, that the PRD Act and PRIA 
share identical language with respect to excluding disciplinary actions 
that were subsequently overturned.
    While the PRD Act requires that air carriers and certain other 
persons report information ``to the Administrator promptly for entry 
into the database'' with regard to any individual used as a pilot in 
their operations, the PRD Act leaves the FAA discretion to determine 
the means by which the information is to be reported to the FAA for 
inclusion in the PRD. The FAA further acknowledged in the NPRM that 
requiring summaries rather than records differed from the current 
process under PRIA, stating that unlike the current process under PRIA, 
the proposed requirements ensure the standardized collection of and 
access to safety data regarding disciplinary actions by clearly 
defining the type of event, the type of disciplinary action, timeframes 
for data entry, and specific data that must be reported to the PRD for 
evaluation by a future employer. As discussed in the NPRM, the FAA's 
role concerning PRIA and PRD are vastly different. The provisions of 
PRIA were self-implementing and the FAA's role in the PRIA process 
limited. The FAA did not develop implementing regulations for PRIA. The 
PRIA process generally involved only three parties for industry 
records: The potential employer, the past employer, and the pilot-
applicant. In contrast, the PRD Act requires the Administrator to 
promulgate regulations to establish an electronic pilot records 
database containing records from the FAA and records maintained by air 
carriers and other operators that employ pilots.
    Limiting the data elements available to hiring employers is 
critical because the PRD requires the FAA to ensure pilot privacy is 
protected. Because the Administrator cannot effectively review for 
quality control every record that an operator may upload to the PRD, 
the FAA proposed requiring standardized formats for such records. By 
using such formats, the PRD will ensure that specific data points are 
validated at the time of record upload. Accordingly, the FAA has used 
its discretion to determine that, specific to the PRD and its broad 
coverage of records and mandate to protect pilot privacy, a summary of 
that information rather than wholesale submission of the underlying 
records provides the most efficient, standardized, and succinct vehicle 
to meet Congressional intent concerning the information reported to the 
PRD and the privacy protections the FAA must afford pilots. Therefore, 
the FAA disagrees with the commenters who indicated the PRD should 
contain images or scans of the original records.
    The FAA will make available two primary methods for entering 
records into the PRD: Manual entry and an electronic record upload. The 
manual method will be accessed via the PRD website. The reporting 
entity will be presented with a form to complete after selecting the 
pilot and what type of record is to be entered. The second method of 
loading records will be via an electronic transfer using a data format 
such as XML. The FAA originally considered allowing a large text block 
to be uploaded for historical records in the interest of expediting 
data upload. However, after additional consideration, such a block 
would make the record far less useful to a reviewing entity. If the 
information cannot be properly categorized, identified, and read by a 
person to understand the salient facts of the record, there is 
diminished value for providing the record to the PRD. A reporting 
entity may use either or both methods, as long as the entity does not 
load the same record via both methods.
    The manual method will be available for use when the requirement to 
enter records becomes effective. This will allow reporting entities to 
begin entering records pursuant to the schedule described in the 
regulation. Shortly after the final rule is published, the FAA will 
begin finalizing the electronic record reporting format and keep 
industry informed of those efforts. The FAA expects to develop a format 
that will accommodate the most efficient industry adoption. As the PRD 
system matures and recordkeeping systems advance, electronic transfer 
may become the primary method of loading records into the PRD for many 
reporting entities. Detailed instructions for using both methods will 
be described in AC 120-68J and other PRD user guides.
    The FAA confirms that while reporting records beyond the 30-day 
timeline may be possible technically, doing so is inconsistent with the 
regulatory requirement to report records within 30 days when reporting 
in accordance with Sec.  111.215(a).
    The FAA removed the proposed regulatory definition of ``report to 
the PRD'' because the requirement is inherent in the regulation itself. 
By following the requirements of part 111, the operator is reporting to 
the PRD.
4. Method of Reporting--Section 111.215
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed that all records would be uploaded 
within 30 days of record creation. As mentioned previously in Section 
IV.C, this rule adds a method of reporting records under subpart B for 
certain operators. New Sec.  111.215 now offers the option for some 
operators to report certain pilot records to the database upon request 
from a hiring operator. The FAA considered comments regarding the 
number of pilots who will transition from corporate flight departments, 
air tour operations, or PAO (``PAC operators'') to employment with a 
reviewing entity, and determined that many pilots will not make that 
transition or not change employers during the course of their careers. 
The FAA recognizes that many pilots view employment with the PAC 
operators as a career destination, not a gateway to service with a 
reviewing entity.
    PAC operators may upload records for pilots they employ upon 
request instead of reporting all records automatically. The request 
mechanism will be built into the PRD as an automatic function. This 
upload-upon-request framework is subject to three exceptions. First, 
reporting upon request is not applicable for air tour operators' drug 
and alcohol records subject to 14 CFR part 120. Those records are 
subject to the reporting timeline for that section and must be reported 
contemporaneous with the receipt of each such record. Second, PAC 
operators must report separation from employment records which reflect 
termination of the pilot's employment, either due to pilot performance 
or due to professional disqualification, to the database within 30 days 
of record creation. Third, PAC operators must report disciplinary 
action records to the database where the outcome is a suspension from 
piloting an aircraft for any amount of time.
    The FAA understands that different employers have different 
disciplinary

[[Page 31031]]

programs and the same action may be referred to with different 
terminology. The threshold consideration for determining whether an 
operator must report a disciplinary action record upon creation of the 
record is whether the pilot was no longer permitted for any period of 
time to pilot an aircraft during flight operations. The FAA considers 
such separation from employment and disciplinary actions as among the 
most significant events for a reviewing entity to consider when 
determining whether to employ a pilot. Therefore, the burden imposed by 
requiring PAC operators to report a certain record upon receipt or 
creation of the record will ensure reviewing entities have the most 
important records regardless of whether a pilot, in violation of the 
regulation, omits operators from his or her list of previous employers.
    Aside from the three exceptions discussed, this rule requires the 
reporting of any remaining records held by a PAC operator only upon 
request from a hiring employer. To ensure no gap exists in pilot 
employment history, the FAA revises Sec.  111.310 to require pilots to 
update their employment history dating back five years at the time of 
granting consent to the operator. Under Sec.  111.105, the hiring 
employer must compare this history against the available records; if 
the database indicates that further records are available, the hiring 
operator will be able to generate a request through the PRD to the 
prior or current employer for upload. If a request is sent to a pilot's 
former employer and that former employer has no further records about 
an individual pilot, the former employer should report that no further 
records are available. The FAA envisions that even if no other records 
exist for an individual pilot (because the operator did not keep any 
training records, as discussed in Section V.C or because the pilot was 
not ever subject to disciplinary action) a separation from employment 
date might still exist for that pilot. If the separation from 
employment record was the result of a termination, the record would 
already be uploaded contemporaneously in the PRD; however, if the 
separation was not the result of a termination, a last-in-time date 
should still be entered into the PRD upon request, in order to populate 
the database with information about a pilot's employment history.
    PAC operators are also required to maintain any records reserved 
for reporting upon request for five years or until otherwise reported 
to the PRD to ensure they are available for review by a hiring 
employer. This section includes a requirement that these operators and 
entities continue to report records they would have furnished in 
accordance with a PRIA request to the PRD upon receipt of that request. 
This provision addresses any gap that would occur for records held by 
an operator complying with Sec.  111.215(b) and reporting records on 
request. That group of operators is the same as those not required to 
report historical records. There are approximately three years of 
records that such operators would have continued to provide under PRIA 
but for its sunset. This provision requires that those operators upload 
those records to the PRD in the event a request is received.
    For records required to be reported contemporaneously under Sec.  
111.215(a), both disciplinary action records and separation from 
employment records must be reported within 30 days of the date the 
record would be considered ``final'' by the operator as noted in Sec.  
111.230 and 111.235, which contain the requirements for reporting such 
records.
5. Drug and Alcohol Testing Records--Section 111.220
    As proposed in the NPRM, operators that must comply with 14 CFR 
part 120 are required to report certain records concerning drug testing 
and alcohol misuse to the PRD. Operators must report all drug test 
results verified positive by a Medical Review Officer (MRO), any 
alcohol test result with a confirmed breath alcohol concentration of 
0.04 or greater, any refusal to submit to drug or alcohol testing, any 
record pertaining to an occurrence of on-duty alcohol use, pre-duty 
alcohol use, or alcohol use following an accident, all return-to-duty 
drug and alcohol test results, and all follow-up drug and alcohol test 
results. This rule adopts the requirement to report such records to the 
PRD, as proposed; however, the FAA has updated some language within 
this section for clarity.
i. Comments Received
    The FAA received comments on the proposed requirement to report 
drug and alcohol testing records to the PRD from NTSB, Ameristar, RAA, 
NATA, and A4A.
    While commenters expressed support for the proposed inclusion of 
records regarding a pilot's drug and alcohol violation history in the 
PRD, some commenters requested clarification on which records they must 
report. For example, commenters asked whether they must report non-DOT 
testing records and whether they must report all negative and non-
negative testing records for all types of tests. Commenters also sought 
clarification on the proposal to include all negative and non-negative 
return-to-duty test results in the PRD, as commenters read the text as 
excluding this requirement. Some commenters remarked that the inclusion 
of negative return-to-duty test results has little value for an 
operator's hiring determination. Some commenters stated the drug and 
alcohol testing regulations do not require an employer to maintain 
negative return-to-duty tests for longer than one year.
    Commenters requested clarification on the regulatory references to 
recordkeeping requirements in this section, stating that some were 
specific to requirements of the MRO rather than the employer. One 
commenter asked whether the retention periods require expunging the 
records maintained in the PRD in accordance with 14 CFR part 120, and 
if so, how to do this.
    A4A added that the FAA already has measures to prevent an air 
carrier from hiring an individual with drug or alcohol violations, and 
that providing this information would be duplicative of FAA records 
that already show such violations. Specifically, A4A referenced the 
requirement (under 14 CFR part 120) to report certain drug and alcohol 
violations to the Federal Air Surgeon and the potential for resulting 
certificate actions. A4A also stated that a positive return-to-duty 
test would permanently disqualify a pilot from holding an FAA pilot 
certificate, while a pilot that is already performing pilot functions 
for another air carrier would already have been subject to the return-
to-duty requirement and received a negative return-to-duty test, so 
those negative outcomes would already be known to an operator.
ii. FAA Response
    In the NPRM, the FAA included the requirement to report to the PRD 
substituted or adulterated drug test results with verified positive 
drug test results. To harmonize the final rule with 49 CFR 40.191(b), 
the FAA corrects this reference by including these results in the 
reporting requirement of Sec.  111.220(a)(1)(ii) as refusals to submit 
to testing.
    The FAA proposed to require operators to report all return-to-duty 
and follow-up test results to the PRD, as the review of return-to-duty 
and follow-up test results are critical to an operator's hiring 
decision. The FAA believes excluding these tests from PRD would provide 
an incomplete picture of a pilot's drug and alcohol history to 
employers making a hiring decision about a known violator. Return-to-
duty and follow-up tests are directly related

[[Page 31032]]

to an individual's rehabilitation process, and as described in the 
NPRM, including these records will allow a hiring employer to see more 
specifically where an individual is in their treatment and return-to-
duty process. This information is critical for an operator's hiring 
decision, as a pilot cannot perform flight crewmember duties for an 
operator under part 121, part 135, or Sec.  91.147 until the return-to-
duty process is complete.\46\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \46\ See 49 CFR part 40, subpart O.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    All pilot records (including documentation of return-to-duty 
testing) must be maintained for at least 5 years under 49 CFR 
40.333(a)(1) and 49 U.S.C. 44703(h)(4). Therefore, operators will have 
maintained these records for at least that amount of time. The PRD Act 
also specifically requires inclusion of records kept under PRIA as of 
the date of enactment of the statute, which would include drug and 
alcohol testing records from that time period as well. This rule 
contains revised regulatory text to note the requirement to report all 
negative and non-negative drug and alcohol return-to-duty test results 
to the PRD.
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed that records related to on-duty use, 
pre-duty use, and use following an accident would be included in a 
pilot's disciplinary action record in the PRD. The NPRM also proposed 
to require an employer to enter a detailed summary of the violation. 
Upon further consideration, the FAA determined records of on-duty use, 
pre-duty use, and use following an accident must be included in the 
pilot's drug and alcohol history as alcohol misuse violations under 
part 120 of this chapter instead of the pilot's disciplinary action 
record. This will ensure an accurate display of a pilot's drug and 
alcohol history and will allow a hiring employer to determine whether a 
pilot is professionally qualified to perform flight crewmember duties. 
When entering alcohol misuse violations that do not include a test 
result in the PRD, the employer will need to input the report type and 
date of occurrence. Because a hiring employer that intends to hire an 
airman must obtain records of the occurrence from the previous employer 
in accordance with part 40, no further explanation of the violation is 
necessary in the PRD.
    This rule also adds regulatory citations as they relate to drug and 
alcohol recordkeeping requirements, ensuring the rule references 14 CFR 
part 120 and 49 CFR part 40 for a regulated employer and MRO, where 
appropriate. For example, in many cases, only the employer has the 
information, such as alcohol test results and in refusal determinations 
without a test result.
    The process required by part 40 for an employer to obtain records 
covered by that part will still exist, and is in addition to the 
records available in the PRD. If an operator discovers a drug or 
alcohol violation record in an airman's PAR and decides to hire the 
airman, the operator must obtain information that the airman has 
subsequently complied with the return-to-duty requirements of 49 CFR 
part 40, subpart O, in accordance with 49 CFR 40.25(e). In accordance 
with the drug and alcohol testing regulations, a hiring employer cannot 
hire an airman to perform a safety-sensitive function if the employer 
is aware that the individual has violated the testing regulations and 
cannot obtain documentation that the individual has met the return-to-
duty requirements of part 40, subpart O or part 120.
    Because the PRD will not provide a hiring operator with return-to-
duty documentation or actual test results, the operator must obtain 
documentation of the airman's successful completion of the DOT return-
to-duty requirements (including initial and follow-up reports from the 
Substance Abuse Professional (SAP), the follow-up testing plan, and 
results for any return-to-duty and follow-up tests). The airman must 
provide the records that the airman is authorized to have, or the 
operator must obtain the airman's specific release of information 
consent to the former employer where the violation occurred, as 
required by 49 CFR 40.321 and formerly under the PRIA. AC 120-68J 
includes a sample release form (FAA Form 8060-12) to aid a hiring 
operator with requesting an airman's drug and alcohol records from the 
airman's previous employer(s).
    Lastly, in response to A4A's comment that the FAA already has 
measures to prevent a reviewing entity from hiring an individual with a 
drug or alcohol violation, the PRD Act requires the FAA to include drug 
and alcohol records in the PRD as records maintained by the reporting 
entity.\47\ The FAA does not have discretion to adjust the requirement. 
Further, drug and alcohol violation reports sent to the Federal Air 
Surgeon are not indefinitely available to the FAA. For example, if the 
FAA does not proceed with enforcement action, the record is expunged 
and is no longer part of the individual's violation history in the 
FAA's enforcement system (EIS). The violation still stands and the 
individual still needs to go through the return-to-duty process, but 
there is no certificate action detected. In response to the statement 
regarding permanent disqualification, the FAA asserts that specific 
qualifications must be met to trigger the permanent disqualification 
provisions under Sec. Sec.  120.111(e) and 120.221(b). A verified 
positive return-to-duty test will not trigger these provisions 
automatically.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \47\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(2)(B)(i)(II)-(III).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

6. Training, Qualification, and Proficiency Records--Section 111.225
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to require all operators complying 
with subpart C of part 111 to provide training, qualification, and 
proficiency records to the PRD. Under the proposed rule, employers 
would enter records maintained in accordance with established FAA 
regulations related to pilot training, qualifications, and proficiency 
events. In addition, the FAA proposed to require employers to enter 
records demonstrating an individual's compliance with FAA or employer-
required ``training, checking, testing, currency, proficiency, or other 
events related to pilot performance'' that may be kept by covered 
employers.
    As proposed in Sec.  111.220(c), the minimum data required to be 
reported by all populations included the date of the event, aircraft 
type, duty position (PIC or SIC), training program approval part and 
subpart, the crewmember training or qualification curriculum and 
category as reflected in the FAA-approved or employer-mandated training 
program, the result of the action (satisfactory or unsatisfactory), and 
limited comments from a check pilot, if appropriate.\48\ The FAA also 
proposed to exclude certain records from the reporting requirements. 
Specifically, under the proposal, the PRD would not include records 
related to flight time, duty time, and rest time; records demonstrating 
compliance with physical examination requirements or any other 
protected medical records; records documenting aeronautical experience; 
and records identified in Sec.  111.245, the provision that identifies 
certain voluntarily-submitted safety program records.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \48\ The FAA uses the term ``check pilot'' throughout part 111 
and this preamble to refer also to the duties and responsibilities 
of a check airman.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NBAA, ALPA, CAPA, A4A, RAA, CAA, the Families of Continental Flight 
3407, Cummins, Inc., Ameristar, Atlas Air, and many individuals 
commented on the proposed requirement to report training, 
qualification, and proficiency records. Most of these comments 
addressed the proposed requirement to include check pilot comments from

[[Page 31033]]

training events, to which some commenters objected. Commenters also 
addressed the reporting of records related to recurrent training, 
continuing qualification training under an Advanced Qualification 
Program (AQP), the reporting of aeronautical experience records, the 
lack of standardization in training records, and other issues related 
to the reporting of training records.
i. Comments Received Regarding Inclusion of Check Pilot Comments
    NBAA, ALPA, CAPA, RAA, CAE, Cummins, Inc., and several individual 
commenters recommended that the FAA remove the proposed requirement to 
report check pilot comments from training events.\49\ These commenters 
contended that requiring the reporting of check pilot comments would 
have a chilling effect on training and safety. Commenters also noted 
the subjective nature of such comments and highlighted the effect such 
comments could have on a pilot's career.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \49\ For purposes of this rule and as reflected in the database, 
the FAA is using the term ``training event'' broadly to include 
training activity, checking and evaluation activities, and operating 
experience under the supervision of a check airman or evaluator.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Ameristar suggested the FAA publish an advisory circular or 
appendix to the rule to detail how instructors and check airman should 
write comments regarding a pilot's performance to achieve objectivity. 
Ameristar provided examples of such comments.
    Noting that unflattering check or instructor pilot comments may 
cost pilots future job opportunities and leave check pilots or their 
employers open to liability, NBAA said the statement of non-liability 
should specifically protect the check or instructor pilot against 
civil, administrative, and criminal claims. NATA also requested 
clarification on the liability protections for current and past 
employers entering required data into the PRD, not just new employers.
    A4A recommended the FAA clarify that comments on pilot performance 
should only be entered into the PRD when made by a check pilot during 
evaluation events or during validation events in AQP continuing 
qualification (CQ).
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA revised parts of this section for clarity, as set forth in 
the discussion that follows, and re-numbered this section, which the 
NPRM had proposed to designate as Sec.  111.220.
    The FAA is mindful of all comments received on the inclusion of 
check pilot comments in the PRD. As discussed in the NPRM, the FAA is 
required by statute \50\ to include in the PRD records pertaining to 
``the training, qualifications, proficiency, or professional competence 
of the individual, including comments and evaluations made by a check 
airman.'' Because the PRD is intended to improve the information 
sharing that occurs under PRIA, the FAA is careful not to reduce the 
benefits provided and instead to improve upon the PRIA system. Under 
PRIA, training, qualification, and proficiency records are provided 
wholesale to requesting operators. The FAA does not expect employers 
would redact portions of the particular records and provide the records 
in their entirety to the requester. Thus, under PRIA, hiring operators 
are able to see check pilots' comments in the record. These comments 
will provide a hiring operator information that helps in understanding 
the salient details of a qualification or proficiency event. The FAA 
removed ``subpart K'' from Sec.  111.225 as adopted because the FAA 
expects that any comments by the person administering a proficiency 
check conducted under Sec.  61.58 will also be reported to the PRD to 
the extent an operator is keeping records related to that section. This 
approach is consistent with the reporting required for other specified 
proficiency events administered by check pilots or evaluators such as 
for parts 121, 135, or 125. If the check required by Sec.  61.58 is 
unsatisfactory, the tasks or maneuvers not completed satisfactorily 
will also be entered if maintained by the covered employer.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \50\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(2)(B)(ii)(I).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Some commenters suggested the FAA provide guidance regarding how 
the check pilots should draft comments. The FAA has not determined that 
comments from check pilots are generally problematic or that additional 
industry guidance is needed. Check pilots have entered comments as 
needed for years and have been guided by their approved training 
programs regarding what is appropriate to enter as a comment in a 
record. The requirement to report comments into the PRD does not alter 
existing processes that operators use when creating the original 
record.
    A commenter expressed concern about inclusion of comments from 
instructors in the PRD. As described in the NPRM, the PRD will not 
include instructor comments but will instead collect records relating 
to the completion of training curricula. The FAA provides substantial 
supporting guidance, such as AC 120-68J and the PRD record entry 
functionality itself, to designate which records may include check 
pilot comments when entered into the PRD.
    Additionally, to the extent commenters have raised concerns about 
liability, this rule does not extend the statutory liability protection 
to cover inclusion of check pilot comments because this liability 
protection is already provided via a specific provision in the PRD Act 
itself.
iii. Comments Received Regarding Inclusion of AQP Validation Events
    The NTSB, A4A, RAA, CAA, and the Families of Continental Flight 
3407 sought clarification on which records from training programs 
approved in accordance with an AQP must be reported to the PRD.
    The NTSB asserted that the Draft PRD AC \51\ states that operators 
using a training program approved in accordance with an AQP would be 
required to enter into the PRD specific information about a pilot's 
qualification items completed through the AQP, but the language in the 
NPRM is not clear in this regard. The NTSB said the FAA should ensure 
the final rule contains language that specifies which AQP items, 
including but not limited to those referenced in the Draft PRD AC, must 
be reported to the PRD. The NTSB also said it does not support the 
proposal to exclude AQP ``validation events'' from the PRD reporting 
requirement, stating that it recognizes that ``many validation events . 
. . are used to improve and add quality to the training program,'' but 
several AQP validation events contain evaluation elements that assess 
an individual's performance and proficiency (using a rating or score) 
and must be administered by an evaluator. The NTSB opined that the 
inclusion of the records of such events in the PRD is consistent with 
the overall intent of the NPRM. The NTSB recommended that the FAA 
ensure that the final rule requires PRD reporting for AQP evaluation 
elements that assess an individual's performance and proficiency, 
including but not limited to maneuver validations (MV), line 
operational evaluations (LOE), and line checks. The Families of 
Continental Flight 3407 concurred with the NTSB's comment, noted that 
it is critical to include AQP ``validation events'' that assess an 
individual's performance and

[[Page 31034]]

proficiency to ensure that the overall safety intent of the PRD is met. 
The commenter urged the FAA to close these AQP-related loopholes as it 
finalizes the proposed rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \51\ The draft PRD AC published along with the NPRM on March 30, 
2020, and is available in the docket at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FAA-2020-0246-0006. The final PRD AC 120-68J will be 
available in the rulemaking docket.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A4A noted the FAA addressed reasons not to include AQP validations 
and validation comments in both the preamble (at 85 FR 17680) and the 
Draft PRD AC (at paragraph 10.1.2.5). A4A asserted those negative 
effects are limited to qualification courses. A4A went on to say the 
industry believes there is value in including CQ validations and 
comments in the PRD.
    CAA, A4A, and RAA sought clarification on how continuing 
qualification training under AQP should be accounted for in the PRD. 
The commenters noted that many AQPs have a cycle of reviewing all 
required task elements in 24-month or 36-month increments, during which 
pilots will attend several simulator training sessions that conclude in 
either an MV or LOE. The commenters asked FAA to clarify whether 
continuing qualification MV under subpart Y and the training session 
associated with Sec.  121.441(a)(1)(ii)(B) ``simulator course 
training'' should be reported to the PRD.
    Commenters recommended the FAA name the events that must be 
uploaded to the PRD. A4A and RAA listed the events they believe should 
be uploaded to the PRD. For subpart Y of part 121 (Advanced 
Qualification Program), the commenters stated that the following should 
be uploaded: (1) All LOEs associated with an initial, transition, 
upgrade, differences or a continuing qualification training course; and 
(2) all MVs associated with a continuing qualification course. For 
subparts N (Training Program) and O (Crewmember Qualifications) of part 
121, the commenters stated that the following should be uploaded: (1) 
All proficiency checks for both initial training and recurrent 
training; and (2) all simulator courses of training under subpart O. 
The commenters said that, if the FAA does not believe this level of 
detail is appropriate for the rule, it should develop either an AC or 
Order to provide standardization.
    In contrast, ALPA said the FAA's proposed exclusion of validation 
events (in an AQP) is an important safeguard of the efficacy of highly 
successful training programs and should be clearly stated in the 
regulations. Commenters believed that reporting validation events to 
the PRD would stifle free and open feedback from those administering 
the validation event. They also indicated that validation events are 
intended to provide feedback regarding the effectiveness of the 
training program and not necessarily the proficiency of the pilot.
iv. FAA Response
    The FAA seeks to ensure that records entered into the PRD based on 
AQP provide a hiring operator with the same benefit as records reported 
under non-AQP programs. Overall, AQP validation events that are 
conducted by an evaluator involve an assessment of a pilot's 
proficiency and should be made available to a hiring operator. While 
AQP validation events provide valuable feedback regarding the 
effectiveness of the training program, they are also designed to ensure 
the pilot demonstrates an appropriate level of proficiency. As such, 
these AQP validation activities constitute proficiency events under the 
language in Sec.  111.225(a), and the records (including evaluator 
comments) associated with these AQP validation activities must be 
included in the database.
    After considering the comments received, the FAA determined that 
revision of the requirements concerning records of AQP validation 
events is appropriate. Some validation events, such as procedures 
validation (PV) conducted by an instructor in a qualification 
curriculum, do not constitute a proficiency event. Therefore, such 
validation events will not be reported individually in the database, 
but rather, will be reflected in the general reporting requirement 
indicating the pilot has completed the qualification curriculum. 
However, as noted, a PV event differs from those events conducted by 
AQP evaluators, such as an MV under a continuing qualification 
curriculum, which could provide a hiring operator with very meaningful 
information regarding an assessment of the pilot's proficiency. This is 
particularly true in many CQ curricula. Many operators utilizing AQP 
programs will use a rotating schedule where the pilots complete an MV 
in one cycle and then an LOE in the next. Although they constitute two 
different types of events, they are both evaluations of pilot 
proficiency and thus must be reported to the PRD with the evaluator's 
comments.
    AC120-68J accompanying this rule will specify exactly which AQP 
validation events constitute ``proficiency events'' under Sec.  
111.225(a) and thus must be reported to the PRD. The AC will also 
describe which other AQP related records must be included, which would 
generally be completion of training events. The exact training record 
elements expected to be reported vary from employer to employer and may 
require updates over time, within the requirements specified by Sec.  
111.225. The FAA will identify in the AC the record elements each 
employer will enter based on the regulatory requirement as compared to 
various training programs and curricula.
    Commenters expressed both support for and opposition to including 
comments related to AQP validation events. Some AQP validation events 
that occur in various curricula are used to ensure a pilot has 
completed a knowledge or skill block before beginning the next. 
However, some AQP validation events provide a more holistic review of a 
pilot's proficiency than other events. The FAA would consider the 
latter AQP validation events conducted by evaluators, such as MVs and 
LOEs, to be proficiency events; as a result, these AQP validation 
events could have evaluator comments entered in the original record. 
These comments will offer the same benefit to a reviewing entity as 
conventional check pilot comments.
    As a result, the final rule includes references to ``evaluators''--
a term generally used in AQP--in addition to ``check pilots,'' a term 
generally used in subparts N and O of part 121 as well as in part 135. 
Some events reported to the PRD would be subject to evaluation by a 
person other than a check pilot. These comments will be as relevant to 
the proficiency of a pilot as those comments made by check airmen under 
traditional training programs. The PRD Act does not limit the inclusion 
of comments only concerning the technical qualifications of a check 
pilot, and the FAA finds the inclusion of these comments consistent 
with the intent of the statute.
v. Comments Regarding Aeronautical Experience
    NBAA and two individuals commented on language in both the draft AC 
and the NPRM requiring reporting of a pilot's aeronautical experience, 
flight time, and flight maneuvers performed to maintain privileges of 
their certificate. The individual commenter noted inconsistent 
statements between proposed Sec.  111.220(b)(3), which says no person 
may report records documenting aeronautical experience, and Sec.  
111.220(a)(2), which requires operators to report records related to 
currency and proficiency. The commenters noted these reporting 
requirements will result in operators needing to log every flight hour, 
instrument approach, and landing in the PRD. NBAA asked the FAA to 
remove

[[Page 31035]]

reporting requirements related to Sec.  61.57.
    Another individual commenter expressed confusion over what it 
interpreted as a proposal not to require the reporting of aeronautical 
experience. The commenter argued that the entire purpose of the 
proposed rule is to ensure that appropriate aeronautical experience 
exists when hiring pilots.
vi. FAA Response
    Regarding the exclusion of ``aeronautical experience'' in the 
reporting requirements proposed in the NPRM, the FAA recognizes that 
aeronautical experience, which is defined only in part 61, is used to 
describe the information that pilots must log to demonstrate compliance 
with the requirements of part 61. As defined in Sec.  61.1, 
aeronautical experience means ``pilot time \[52\\]\ obtained in an 
aircraft, flight simulator, or flight training device for meeting the 
appropriate training and flight time requirements for an airman 
certificate, rating, flight review, or recency of flight experience 
requirements'' of part 61. The FAA acknowledges that using the term 
``aeronautical experience'' in part 111 could be confusing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \52\ ``Pilot time'' is defined in Sec.  61.1 and includes time 
in which a person serves as a required pilot flightcrew member and 
time giving and receiving flight training in an aircraft, full 
flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training 
device.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In the final rule, the FAA replaces ``aeronautical experience'' in 
the exclusion with ``recent flight experience.'' Although recent flight 
experience is a ``qualification'' \53\ requirement like training and 
checking events, the final rule excludes these requirements from the 
reporting requirements in part 111. The FAA notes that the regulations 
generally identify this type of event in section headings. For example, 
Sec.  135.247 sets forth recent experience requirements including 
takeoffs and landings that must be performed within a certain period of 
time before conducting an operation. Under Sec.  111.225(b), these 
records are excluded from the reporting requirements but remain 
recordkeeping requirements for operators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \53\ The FAA views qualification requirements broadly as any 
certificate, rating, training, checking, testing and experience 
required to be qualified or maintain qualification for a position 
(e.g. pilot in command) in a particular operation (e.g. part 121).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

vii. Comments Regarding the Lack of Standardization in Training Records
    Several commenters addressed the lack of industry standards in 
training records. Noting that training data is currently stored in 
company-specific formats that can be challenging to decipher, an 
individual commenter suggested the FAA create an industry standard 
reporting format for the PRD. The commenter said the PRD should be 
easily understandable by anyone accessing it and that, without 
standardization, it could be difficult to discern which type of 
training event occurred and what was covered in each event. A4A 
recommended that the FAA work with carriers to discuss how events 
reported from one carrier can be interpreted by other carriers. CAA 
recommended the FAA provide additional guidance material to ensure 
standardization of all training records.
    CAA, A4A, and RAA recommended that the FAA create a PRD working 
group to help standardize the form and manner of the records to be 
recorded in the PRD.
    The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) commented 
that the FAA's attempt to create a statistical database disregards the 
fact that the PRD will be populated with statistically unrelated 
information.
    Pointing to paragraph 10.1.1.1.2 of Draft AC 111, ALPA said it 
agrees with the FAA's proposed use of a ``Standardized Training Record 
Input'' with a requirement to identify consistently each ``Action/
Event,'' in reference to the primary training categories from the 
specific curriculum segments in the carrier's FAA-approved training 
program.
viii. FAA Response
    Some variation might exist in interpreting various operators' 
training events. This is a particularly notable challenge for record-
sharing under PRIA, concerning the original employer record. As a 
result, the FAA identified standardized data elements for entries. 
Using a standardized input will provide a consistent format as part of 
the PRD airman report. Providing the uniform report, regardless of the 
format used by a reporting entity, will allow reviewing entities to 
interpret the information accurately and efficiently. For example, when 
a reporting entity reports a proficiency check, it will select the 
regulatory basis for the check, such as a Part 121 subparts N and O 
based curriculum, from a drop down list. This selection will determine 
which data entry options are available based on the training or 
checking event. The only opportunity for reporting entity to provide 
text would be in the context of check pilot or evaluator comments. 
Because the selection of event type is primarily comprised of 
predefined items, every reporting entity who wishes to record, for 
example, a line check, will be reporting line checks in the same format 
and manner with the same associated data fields such as the type of 
training program, the date of the check, and the results of the check. 
When these records are displayed to a reviewing entity in an organized 
report, the reviewing entity can digest the critical facts and details 
more quickly and easily than when a reviewing entity must review 
multiple reports in various formats produced by each previous employer.
    The FAA revised AC 120-68J to refine the data elements that the FAA 
expects to see reported in the PRD in order to comply with the 
regulatory requirement set forth in Sec.  111.225. Each training record 
will include information concerning the type of training program and 
curriculum the operator uses. The PRD will aid in identifying the 
training elements most crucial to identifying patterns in pilot 
performance, but the FAA notes that the purpose of the PRD is to share 
information with reviewing entities, not develop training elements.
ix. Comments Regarding the Requirement for Different Types of Operators 
To Enter Training Records in the PRD
    Some commenters, including Koch Industries (Koch), which employs 
more than 30 pilots who hold type ratings under 14 CFR 61.31(a), 
objected to the requirement to report training and checking records. 
Koch asserted the FAA already maintains the records or that the records 
are available from training centers. RAA opposed the proposed 
requirement to include employer-required training records in the 
database, saying it will add nothing to comparative data or the 
standard reached by the individual, as the training may be voluntary 
and will vary widely from carrier to carrier.
    NASA and JPATS noted an FAA pilot certificate is not a requirement 
to operate government aircraft at the discretion of the Federal agency, 
and that their qualification, requalification, currency, and check 
flight requirements do not align with part 61 currency requirements. 
These commenters stated the proposed requirements do not benefit the 
government and appear only to benefit industry. JPATS also noted it 
does not have the resources to maintain these records, that the records 
are not relevant to JPATS operations, and that the requirement would be 
burdensome.
    The Small UAV Coalition said that, because unmanned aircraft 
systems (UAS) are different from the aircraft used in traditional air 
carriage, the safety risks that the PRD seeks to mitigate do not 
necessitate requiring UAS air carriers to produce or review

[[Page 31036]]

training and proficiency records. Moreover, the commenter continued, 
given the significant difference between different types of UAS, the 
ability to compare training and performance records diminishes the 
relevance of that review. Accordingly, the Small UAV Coalition 
recommended that the FAA revise the regulatory text to state the 
requirement ``does not apply to air carriers and other operators 
operating only autonomous unmanned aircraft systems.'' The Coalition 
also requested the FAA acknowledge in the preamble of this rule that 
certain requirements for submission of documentation of compliance with 
employer-required training, checking, testing, etc., do not apply to 
air carriers or other operators using only autonomous UAS.
    An individual commenter asked whether training providers would 
supply information to the PRD directly. Another individual commenter 
recommended that the FAA require part 142 training centers to provide 
training records to the database directly, thereby alleviating the 
administrative burden on part 91 operators. Another commenter said 
flight training providers, who support insurance industry requirements 
(such as FlightSafety, SimCom, LOFT, etc.) and maintain training 
records under Sec.  61.58 for purposes of part 142 training centers, 
should report any below-standard performance on initial or subsequent 
type rating checks directly to the FAA.
x. FAA Response
    To the extent that the commenters stated it is not appropriate to 
include training or proficiency records of pilots engaged in small UAS 
operations, the FAA does not agree. Small UAS operators subject to 14 
CFR part 135 are already subject to recordkeeping requirements. The 
data elements provided in the AC will be broadly applicable to, and are 
appropriate for, both manned and unmanned operations. Consistent with 
all part 135 operations, pilots serving in part 135 unmanned aircraft 
operations are trained under an FAA-approved training program and are 
subject to proficiency checks and line checks. Although the operations 
might, in some ways, be different from manned aircraft, the pilots are 
trained and evaluated on areas universal to pilot performance, such as 
aeronautical decision-making, compliance with FAA regulations 
(including those related to airspace), and crew resource management. A 
pilot's performance during training and checking events can provide 
relevant information to operators looking to employ a pilot; therefore, 
no basis exists for excluding these pilot records from the reporting 
requirements. Moreover, the PRD Act does not expressly exclude such 
operations.
    With respect to comments concerned about the inclusion of training 
records for certain part 91 operators, the FAA stated in the NPRM:

    The FAA recognizes that commercial air tour operators, corporate 
flight departments, and entities conducting public aircraft 
operations are not required to maintain an approved pilot training 
program or maintain records concerning employer-mandated pilot 
training and qualification events. However, all pilots must record 
certain events in their pilot logbooks to maintain their currency 
with an FAA pilot certificate pursuant to Sec.  61.57. While these 
events are required to be recorded by pilots in their logbooks, the 
FAA expects that operators employing pilots maintain similar pilot 
training and currency records demonstrating compliance with part 61 
to document that their pilots are trained, qualified and current for 
operational safety and regulatory compliance purposes.

The FAA reiterates in this final rule that the NPRM did not propose to 
impose a new system of recordkeeping for training records not already 
kept by commercial air tour operators, corporate flight departments, 
and entities conducting public aircraft operations. As stated above, 
the FAA relied on information indicating that employers falling within 
this grouping (PAC operators) may keep training records of their own 
accord. If an operator keeps those records, the FAA proposed to require 
those records be reported to the PRD. While the record may not provide 
the same level of assurance that may accompany a required training 
record from an approved training program, these records play an 
important role in helping the reviewing entity make a comprehensive 
assessment of a pilot's proficiency.
    Upon review of the comments indicating that employers do not 
generally keep records generated exclusively under part 61, and in 
consideration of the new method of compliance for PAC operators to 
report training records upon request, the FAA does not envision that 
this requirement would be overly burdensome for PAC operators. 
Accordingly, Sec.  111.225 requires that when a PAC operator maintains 
training records, the operator must enter those records into the PRD 
upon receipt of a request in accordance with Sec.  111.215(b). The 
reporting entity should include any training records available to the 
extent those records are compliant with the requirements in Sec.  
111.225. As discussed in the NPRM, the FAA believes there is value in 
reporting of employer-specific training records, to the extent they 
exist, as many operators complete training outside an approved training 
program. The FAA does not intend the PRD to create additional record 
keeping requirements. Instead, this rule makes some records that a 
reporting entity already maintains available in a central database for 
hiring employers. AC 120-68J describes in detail the possible record 
elements for entry in the PRD.
    The PRD Act does not apply to part 142 training centers or any 
other entity that has not employed the pilot, as discussed further in 
Section V.A.1.
xi. Other Comments Regarding Training Records
    Ameristar and ALPA commented on the proposed reporting elements for 
training records. Ameristar recommended that the FAA rewrite the 
paragraph to read: ``Result of an event as satisfactory or 
unsatisfactory,'' and delete the rest of the paragraph, and amend 
proposed Sec.  111.220(c)(7) to require comments explaining a result 
that is unsatisfactory. ALPA said it agrees with the proposed 
requirement in Sec.  111.220(c)(6) for every ``Result of the event'' to 
be reported as either ``satisfactory'' or ``unsatisfactory'' because 
the approach promotes uniform and objective reports. ALPA said it 
opposes the proposed requirement to include a brief comment explaining 
the basis for any ``unsatisfactory'' event. ALPA asserted this proposed 
requirement contradicts the language and intent of the PRD Act and is 
unwise as a matter of policy.
    Atlas Air also commented on the importance of ensuring awareness of 
a pilot who initiated but did not finish a training program. The 
commenter noted the proposed rule requires reporting of training 
segments that end ``Satisfactorily, Unsatisfactorily, Complete, 
Incomplete, Pass, or Fail,'' but it does not give direction as to the 
description of what an ``Incomplete'' is and how it should be described 
in the free text areas of the PRD. The commenter stated the air carrier 
must provide the specific reason the training was not completed as 
related to pilot proficiency. Atlas Air stated the FAA needs to provide 
guidelines about the specific information to be reported in the free 
text areas to resolve inadequacies with the current PRIA system. CAA 
and RAA similarly recommended the FAA require carriers to report the 
reason a pilot did not complete a training course. CAE also questioned 
whether a pilot who, in training, shows consistent difficulty with a 
task or area of operation over more than one training event yet 
ultimately passes each event

[[Page 31037]]

successfully will be trackable in this system.
    Noting that the pilot involved in the Continental Flight 3407 
accident had training issues that included three instances of 
additional training while a first officer, Atlas Air and another 
commenter said it is unclear whether records of these types of 
additional training will be available in the PRD. The commenter stated 
none of that information would have been published in the PRD under the 
current proposal.
    Ameristar asked the FAA to clarify ``subpart of the title'' in 
proposed Sec.  111.220(c)(4). Ameristar also said proposed Sec.  
11.220(c)(4) and (5) appear to focus only on training but do not seem 
to include proficiency checks, line checks, or other checks. The 
commenter suggested references to regulatory sections only, and not to 
a company's training program, which would be meaningless to a reviewing 
entity. Ameristar noted that training under part 121, Appendix E, may 
have well over 100 elements for which a satisfactory, unsatisfactory, 
or incomplete grade could be given to each element. The commenter asked 
whether the FAA intends records of all such events would be included, 
even if the pilot satisfactorily completes the type rating or 
proficiency checks. If so, the commenter asserted, this would be 
extremely burdensome for a reporting entity and would not serve any 
purpose or enhance safety. Ameristar said it believes that 
indoctrination ground training is not relevant as it is not aircraft 
specific.
    Two individual commenters recommended the FAA remove the reporting 
requirement for pilot currency records. Commenting on the proposed 
requirements to report other training and qualification events (as well 
as drug testing results), a commenter also suggested that the final 
rule include language to protect operators from potential liability 
from a pilot taking legal action against an operator for reporting 
these factual items.
    Cummins, Inc. suggested that the length of time a pilot needs to 
complete training should not result in adverse implications or negative 
connotations, including impact on future career options. Cummins stated 
the employer could discriminate inadvertently based on a disability, as 
a reasonable accommodation applied in some circumstances is allowing 
additional time to complete a test. Another commenter was concerned 
about the prospect of a pilot failing the check due to a temporary 
physical, emotional, or mental situation impacting the pilot's ability 
to perform satisfactorily in a high stress situation, and stated there 
should be some adjustments available to account for such circumstances.
    An individual commenter said records maintained and reported for 
this section need to be limited to those events and training that occur 
while employed with the certificate holder or operator. This commenter 
also said the prohibition against reporting flight and duty time ``is 
negative to safety and allows for continued fraudulent activity in the 
aviation industry.'' The commenter asserted that providing certificate 
holders and operators with the ability to check stated experience 
against a trusted database and the pilot's own logbook would increase 
safety and eliminate the possibility that flight time does not appear 
to match skill level.
    A4A and RAA asked the FAA to clarify a record element, ``Line 
Operating Flight Time,'' because it appears that the FAA meant to use 
the Line-Oriented Flight Training (LOFT), as defined in AC 120-35D, 
instead of Line Operating Flight Time.
xii. FAA Response
    The FAA removed the reference to ``currency'' in Sec.  
111.225(a)(2) as adopted. The FAA reevaluated the language of the 
proposed regulation and confirms that it does not intend to collect 
currency records in this part. This revision is further supported by 
the exclusion of recent flight experience \54\ in Sec.  111.225(b)(3). 
The FAA notes, however, that operating experience under the supervision 
of a check pilot or evaluator will be included in the PRD. These events 
are an assessment of pilot proficiency at a critical stage in a pilot's 
service for an operator.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \54\ The FAA notes that the term ``currency'' refers to meeting 
the appropriate airman and medical recency requirements specific to 
the operation or activity. See 14 CFR 61.2(b). It includes recent 
flight experience.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Specific flight information normally found in a pilot's logbook 
such as departure point, destination, and flight time details will not 
be reported to the PRD, as the PRD is not intended to be a duplicate 
flight logbook. The FAA also determined it will not require reporting 
of items associated with Sec. Sec.  61.56 (flight review) and 61.57 
(recent flight experience). The FAA understands that pilots will often 
share the existence of these records with employers and that some 
employers may actually keep additional copies of the records. However, 
the pilot is under no obligation to share these records with employers 
for their recordkeeping. Commercial air tour operators, corporate 
flight departments, and entities conducting public aircraft operations 
may indeed have these records, which are maintained by the pilot, but 
there will be many instances where operators will not have these 
records as the burden of compliance is on the pilot.
    For training, proficiency, and qualification records for all 
reporting entities, this rule includes the items required to be 
reported in accordance with Sec.  111.225(c)(7) to indicate the 
inclusion of specific detail about unsatisfactory events, which 
includes incomplete events. Such inclusion will ensure the amount of 
information provided to a reviewing entity is at least as much as is 
provided under PRIA. Where the result would be complete or incomplete, 
events that are complete would be considered ``satisfactory'' and 
events that are incomplete would be considered ``unsatisfactory.'' The 
form for reporting these records will distinguish between incomplete 
events and other unsatisfactory events. For such records, a reporting 
entity would provide further detail about the specific maneuvers or 
events that were unsatisfactory or incomplete. AQP validation events 
conducted by evaluators are an assessment of pilot proficiency, and the 
comments of the evaluator will be valuable to a reviewing entity. Such 
comments, including an indication of which events or maneuvers were 
unsatisfactory or incomplete, should also be included.
    Ameristar asked if the FAA intended for the PRD record to include 
each maneuver or task included on a typical proficiency record. The 
forms used for proficiency checks include several items which could be 
accomplished during the checking event and normally, a check pilot or 
evaluator indicates whether an item is applicable, satisfactory, or 
unsatisfactory. The FAA agrees that requiring every specific item, 
satisfactory or unsatisfactory, to be reported in the PRD record would 
be overly burdensome. However, in the case of an unsatisfactory 
checking event, a reviewing entity needs to be able to determine 
exactly what task or maneuver was unsatisfactory. To that end, as 
discussed in the previous paragraph, the FAA will require reporting 
entities to indicate which tasks or maneuvers were unsatisfactory or 
incomplete while not requiring satisfactory items be listed in such 
detail.
    The free text areas of the PRD will exist exclusively for comments 
related to a checking event and for an indication of events that are 
unsatisfactory or incomplete, as discussed previously. The FAA 
considers incomplete events to be unsatisfactory, as described above. 
The

[[Page 31038]]

form of the record itself will distinguish between incomplete events 
from other unsatisfactory events, based on the event type. The record 
entry for those events will also include specific detail indicating 
whether specific items were unsatisfactory or incomplete, as explained 
previously.
    In response to the comments regarding second in command (first 
officer) training, as required by Sec.  121.415(j), approved training 
programs must provide training for pilots who have been identified as 
having performance deficiencies during training and checking and/or 
multiple failures during checking. For AQP programs, Sec.  
121.913(b)(4) specifies that a special tracking curriculum is required 
when an air carrier has assigned a pilot to an augmented schedule of 
training, checking, or both. Reporting entities must include records of 
remedial training or special tracking when those records apply. These 
records, in addition to the other training, qualification, and 
proficiency records specified in AC 120-68J, will assist the reviewing 
entity in making an assessment of the pilot's history.
    Regarding comments about the clarity in the regulatory text when 
the FAA refers to training, checking, and proficiency records in 
proposed Sec.  111.220(c)(4) and (5), approved training programs are 
generally comprised of various curricula. Most curricula then include 
various training (e.g. Sec.  121.427 recurrent training) and checking 
events (e.g. Sec.  121.441 proficiency checks). The FAA considered what 
curricula and related events apply to the various training programs and 
which of those would provide meaningful information to a reviewing 
entity, the objective being to find the appropriate balance between 
providing sufficient detail in the PRD against the burden that may be 
placed on reporting entities. Part of this review by the FAA considered 
that while most records for a particular curriculum or training event 
are most often satisfactory, that record becomes much more telling to 
the reviewing entity when it is unsatisfactory. The FAA has included 
some records because, although a rare occurrence, noting unsatisfactory 
or incomplete performance by a pilot is an important part of the 
assessment and must be made available to a reviewing entity in the 
interest of safety. As described in AC120-68J, the FAA believes only 
particular record elements provided in the PRD will be applicable to a 
pilot. For example, reporting entities will enter various curriculum 
completions or withdrawals such as basic indoctrination or upgrade 
curriculum. Various checking events such as line checks and maneuvers 
validations when completed as part of a continuing qualification 
curriculum will also be reported. Another example as reflected in 
AC120-68J is that in most cases, the FAA has removed the reporting 
element of ``Upgrade ground training and upgrade flight training.'' 
Instead, only a single record of the Upgrade training curriculum is 
entered. AC120-68J also includes certain specific training records such 
as extended envelope training.
    The FAA agrees that a variety of circumstances could affect a 
pilot's ability to perform satisfactorily in a high stress situation 
but does not agree that the PRD should account for such a situation. 
Operating an aircraft often causes high stress situations for a pilot, 
regardless of a temporary situation affecting a pilot's ability to 
perform, and a pilot completing or satisfactorily passing a check 
regardless of external circumstances is a helpful indicator for a 
hiring employer. The FAA intends the PRD to prompt conversations; in 
this regard, a pilot is free to offer an explanation to an employer 
regarding a check failure or a delay to complete training and 
encourages pilots and potential employers to engage in a robust 
dialogue during the hiring process.
    As discussed extensively in the NPRM, all records entered by 
reporting entities, including training, qualification, and proficiency 
records, must only be the records they have generated or are otherwise 
maintaining for their own operational needs. For example, a reporting 
entity would not report a record it received in response to a PRIA 
request. AC 120-68J states that records received in response to a PRIA 
request or records obtained from the PRD should be maintained as 
separate records and should not be stored with the other pilot records. 
This is to prevent those records obtained under PRIA or via the PRD 
from being entered again into the database or otherwise released to 
another operator in response to a PRIA request.
    PAC operators that elect to keep records from training centers or 
when provided by pilots would report those records to the PRD even 
though they did not directly create those records as the records are 
serving that operator's direct operational needs.
    The FAA clarifies that, when it mistakenly used the term Line 
Operating Flight Time in the NPRM, it was referring to Line Oriented 
Flight Training (LOFT). The FAA has since determined reporting 
individual LOFT events to the PRD is not appropriate and that the PRD 
will instead accept information regarding training curricula, but not 
the individual training sessions they include.
    Lastly, the PRD does not collect flight and duty records as this 
information is not particularly useful to a reviewing entity. These 
records would also impose a significant burden for reporting entities. 
A commenter opined that review of such records could help validate a 
pilot's logbook records if the PRD recorded flight and duty records. 
The commenter suggested a reviewing entity could compare the flights 
shown in the logbook against the flights shown in the PRD. This would 
only be true if the PRD contained every flight record, including 
records for flights performed unrelated to a reporting entity. It is 
not feasible to ensure every flight record could be entered in these 
cases. If the PRD included some of the flight and duty records but not 
others, the PRD would be inadequate for validating against a pilot's 
flight records. Additionally, the PRD does not perform any data 
validation to compare records entered against the various applicable 
regulations. For example, the PRD does not check that a pilot has 
performed a line check when required or that a pilot has successfully 
completed all required training. The PRD simply accepts the record and 
redisplays it to a reviewing entity. It is the responsibility of the 
reviewing entity to use the information found in the PRD to help assess 
a pilot when making a hiring decision and of the reporting entity to 
report accurate information.
    This section also includes reporting deadlines. In the NPRM, the 
FAA proposed including reporting timelines in a different section 
(proposed Sec.  111.250). The FAA has reorganized part 111 to move the 
expected timelines for reporting into each record section. The 
remainder of Sec.  111.225 is adopted as proposed.
7. Final Disciplinary Action Records--Section 111.230
    As required by the PRD Act, the FAA proposed to include records of 
final disciplinary actions in the PRD. The FAA proposed including 
written warnings, suspensions, and terminations. The proposal excluded 
any disciplinary actions subsequently overturned as a result of a 
settlement agreement, the official decision or order of any panel or 
individual with authority to review employment disputes or by any court 
of law, or other mutual agreement between the employer and the pilot. 
The FAA also

[[Page 31039]]

proposed certain data elements to be included in the record.
i. Comments Received
    The NTSB, A4A, NBAA, CAPA, ALPA, Ameristar, and individuals 
addressed the proposed requirement to report final disciplinary action 
records to the database. CAPA and four individual commenters opposed 
the proposed requirement to report final disciplinary action records to 
the PRD. The remaining commenters sought clarification from the FAA on 
the types of final disciplinary actions for which records must be 
reported or addressed other aspects of the proposed requirement.
ii. General Comments on Inclusion of Disciplinary Action Records
    CAPA and several individual commenters objected to the reporting in 
PRD of any records related to disciplinary actions. These commenters 
argued that such information is too subjective and that including it in 
the PRD could open the door for false reports of disciplinary actions 
by vindictive or biased employers and could unfairly affect future 
employment opportunities.
iii. Comments Addressing the Types of Disciplinary Actions Reportable 
to the PRD
    The NTSB, ALPA, NBAA, and A4A commented on the types of 
disciplinary actions that would be reportable to the PRD. Noting that 
it has identified deficiencies in pilots' adherence to standard 
operating procedures as contributing causal factors in aviation 
accidents, the NTSB expressed support for the FAA's proposal to expand 
upon what is required in PRIA to include in the PRD, ``[r]ecords of an 
activity or event specifically related to an individual's completion of 
the core duties and responsibilities of a pilot to maintain safe 
aircraft operations, as assigned by the employer and established by the 
FAA.'' ALPA expressed support for the FAA's proposal to limit 
disciplinary actions that may be entered into the PRD to only those 
``pertaining to pilot performance,'' excluding any disciplinary records 
arising out of actions or events unrelated to the pilot's completion of 
core duties and responsibilities to ensure the safe operation of the 
aircraft. NBAA asserted, however, that ``pilot performance'' is quite 
broad and that the FAA should clarify in the regulatory text that 
reportable disciplinary action is limited to ``pilot performance 
related to the execution of aeronautical duties,'' as stated in Draft 
AC 120-68J at paragraph A.1.1. NBAA contended this clarification should 
be contained in the regulation itself to mitigate any malfeasance by a 
noncompliant or malicious operator.
    A4A said that the definition of ``final disciplinary action 
record'' is unclear because it combines two distinct types of 
employment action--corrective and disciplinary--and is silent as to a 
third component that is often a required element of a disciplinary 
action, which is loss of pay or benefits. The commenter said the final 
rule should clarify that loss of pay or benefits is not necessary for 
an employment action to constitute a ``final disciplinary action.'' A4A 
asserted that the proposed rule is unclear because it conflates 
corrective actions with disciplinary actions by stating in proposed 
Sec.  111.225(d)(1) that employers must report ``the type of 
disciplinary action taken by the employer,'' and then stating in 
proposed Sec.  111.225(d)(3) that employers must submit ``a brief 
summary of the event resulting in corrective action.'' A4A noted that 
some employers define ``corrective action'' as a non-disciplinary 
action taken by employers to remedy a perceived performance short-fall 
or minor misconduct, treating it as a training event, not a 
disciplinary event. The commenter said that it is unclear whether the 
FAA meant for the two types of actions to be identical or distinct.
    A4A also noted that the proposed rule requires only that final 
disciplinary actions be reported, creating a potential years-long gap 
between when misconduct or performance failure occurs and when it is 
reported in the PRD, due to internal company grievance procedures. A4A 
said the final rule must address this gap and allow for the transparent 
transfer of relevant pilot records information to enable hiring 
carriers to make informed decisions.
    ALPA strongly objected to the FAA's proposal to require carriers to 
add written descriptions about disciplinary actions.
    ALPA and A4A commented on the proposal to prohibit entry of any 
record of disciplinary action that was subsequently overturned. ALPA 
expressed general support for the proposal, but for disciplinary 
actions overturned after entry into the database, the commenter urged 
the FAA to require carriers to submit requests for correction to the 
PRD within 5 days of such overturned action, instead of the 10 days 
proposed. A4A also noted that the proposal does not define what 
``overturned'' means and said the final rule should clarify whether 
all, or some, settlement agreements constitute an ``overturning.'' A4A 
noted that the preamble points to language in House Report 105-372 
(Oct. 31, 1997), clarifying that ``subsequently overturned'' includes 
discipline that has been rescinded as a result of a ``legitimate 
settlement agreement,'' and that a ``legitimate settlement agreement'' 
could include instances in which the parties agree the action that was 
the subject of discipline did not occur or was not the pilot's fault; 
however, it should not include instances where the air carrier agrees 
to wipe the pilot's record clean in order to pass the pilot onto 
another unsuspecting carrier. A4A argued that these examples in the 
preamble represent two unlikely scenarios occurring at the margins and 
do not address the majority of settlement agreements, which are entered 
into to avoid protracted litigation without admission of fault by the 
pilot or concession by the employer. A4A expressed concern over a 
perceived contradiction in the proposed rule, which clearly bars entry 
of disciplinary records when overturned by a settlement, without regard 
for the basis of that settlement. A4A suggested the FAA clarify whether 
all settlement agreements overturning a disciplinary action bar 
reporting of that action or whether Sec.  111.225(b)(1) is limited to 
only those settlement agreements that recognize the pilot was not at 
fault.
    Ameristar referred to Table 3 in the preamble to the NPRM, which 
contains the data elements required to be entered into a pilot's 
historical record, and questioned why aircraft type is relevant to a 
disciplinary action.
    NBAA expressed concern about proposed Sec.  111.260 and the 
definition of ``Final Disciplinary Action,'' which would require 
``other operators,'' presumably including certain part 91 operators, to 
have a documented process for resolving disputes related to 
disciplinary action records included to the PRD. NBAA asserted that for 
a two- or three-pilot, two-aircraft operation, this could be 
impractical or ineffective, as few individuals are typically involved 
in human resources in a small or even mid-sized flight operation and 
some such operators may not even have or retain these types of records. 
NBAA argued that this is a reason why most part 91 operators should not 
be subject to the PRD.
iv. FAA Response
    The FAA reiterates that the PRD Act requires reporting of 
disciplinary action records. In response to comments regarding whether 
loss of pay or benefits is necessary for an action to constitute a 
disciplinary action, the FAA defines

[[Page 31040]]

disciplinary action for purposes of part 111 without mentioning loss of 
pay or benefits because neither is necessary for an event to constitute 
a disciplinary action. The FAA does not adopt any employer-specific 
definitions of these events. The FAA notes that insofar as an operator 
might internally consider certain correctional records as non-
disciplinary, this final rule intends to extend the same expectations 
regarding record reporting to the PRD as was required under PRIA. 
Operators should continue a similar posture to reporting disciplinary 
records to the PRD as was the case under PRIA. It is incumbent on the 
employer to include events falling within the general description this 
rule provides, regardless of an employer's internal definition. The FAA 
emphasizes, however, that the disciplinary action, as defined in this 
rule, must be relevant to pilot performance.
    The FAA has reviewed comments suggesting the FAA require operators 
submit a correction within 5 days instead of 10 days for actions 
overturned after they are submitted to the database. The timeframe the 
FAA proposed in the NPRM is appropriate as it permits slightly more 
than one working week in the event the responsible person or other 
users are unavailable for five working days. This rule adopts the 
requirement, as proposed.
    Section 111.230(b)(1) and the PRD Act prohibit inclusion in the PRD 
of disciplinary action records where the disciplinary action is 
subsequently overturned. The threshold question in determining whether 
a settlement agreement would cause a record to be removed or not 
reported is whether the settlement agreement invalidates the 
disciplinary action that prompted the creation of the record. When 
considering what agreements should cause a record to be removed or not 
reported, the interest of aviation safety supports narrowing that class 
to those agreements arising from situations in which parties agreed the 
action did not occur or was not the pilot's fault. As referenced by 
A4A, the ``legitimate settlement agreement'' language quoted in the 
NPRM further supports such a limitation.\55\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \55\ 85 FR 17684.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Accordingly, the FAA updates the regulatory text for this section 
and for Sec.  111.235 regarding separation from employment actions to 
reflect that the FAA only considers such actions to be overturned for 
purposes of removing or not reporting the record where there is a 
finding in either the agreement or in the decision of the person or 
panel with authority to adjudicate employment disputes or a court of 
law that the underlying event did not occur or the pilot was not at 
fault. An affirmative finding is required; an agreement or adjudication 
does not suffice to overturn an action where it merely leaves 
unresolved whether the event occurred or whether the pilot was at 
fault. If an agreement does not overturn the disciplinary action or 
separation from employment action in accordance with the terms set 
forth by the FAA in this part, then the record of the disciplinary 
action must be in the PRD. The FAA fully expects employers to act in a 
manner consistent with the PRD Act by not engaging in conduct that 
would wipe the pilot's record clean in order to pass him or her onto 
another unsuspecting carrier, as that effectively would undermine the 
purpose of the PRD.
    The FAA also updates this section and Sec.  111.235 to change 
``settlement agreement'' to ``documented agreement'' and remove ``other 
mutual agreement.'' The FAA reconsidered inclusion of this provision 
and determined that the only acceptable agreement between a pilot and 
an employer for purposes of determining that a disciplinary action 
record or a separation from employment action is overturned would be a 
documented agreement. Whether the agreement could be deemed a 
``settlement'' agreement or some form of ``other mutual'' agreement is 
not germane; rather, the crux is that an informal, undocumented 
agreement between a pilot and an employer would not be sufficiently 
robust and verifiable to support removing or not reporting a record 
from the PRD.
    The FAA will not require reporting of an aircraft type when 
entering final disciplinary actions. The FAA agrees with commenters 
that this data element is not relevant as part of the PRD record. Cases 
might exist in which a reviewing entity considers aircraft type; 
however, as stated previously, the PRD is not meant to be the final 
source of data when assessing a pilot during the hiring process. The 
PRD will be a baseline or starting point for discussion between the 
pilot, reviewing entities, and previous employers.
    It is incumbent on the operator or entity employing the pilot to 
determine when an action is final. Once no further action is pending, 
this rule requires a record of the action. In determining that the 
action is final, the operator or entity should conclude that the action 
is not subject to any pending dispute, including any form of grievance 
procedure or litigation. The PRD Act only permits entry of disciplinary 
action records that were not subsequently overturned. As a result, 
internal resolution processes that precede the record being final must 
be complete prior to entry of that disciplinary action in the PRD. The 
FAA acknowledges that, as the A4A noted, the PRD Act's prohibition on 
recording actions prior to the final record could create a ``years-
long'' gap between when misconduct occurs and when it is reported in 
PRD. The FAA concurs with A4A's example that if a disciplinary action 
were ``effective'' that it could also be final, depending on the 
operator's determination that the action is not subject to pending 
dispute. The FAA does not have oversight over each operator or entity's 
disciplinary system, and defers judgement to an operator to decide when 
the action is a ``final'' record. Once an action is final, the record 
must be entered within 30 days.
    Many commenters asked for clarification concerning the meaning of 
``any final disciplinary action record pertaining to pilot 
performance'' and core duties and responsibilities of a pilot as they 
relate to sexual harassment, discrimination, or other misconduct. 
Section V.A.3, Definitions, includes a description of the FAA's 
considerations about which records pertain to pilot performance.
    The FAA adopts Sec.  111.230 with some changes to the regulatory 
text, primarily to incorporate text regarding reporting timelines and 
to add the possibility for certain operators to report records in 
accordance with the process set forth in Sec.  111.215. In the NPRM, 
the FAA proposed including reporting timelines in a different section 
(proposed Sec.  111.250) but after further evaluation, decided to 
instead include the expected timelines for reporting in each record 
section. The new text also reflects the new method for reporting for 
certain types of disciplinary action records, explained previously in 
Section V.C.4
    This rule will not require a reporting entity to include a brief 
summary of an event resulting in the corrective action. The FAA 
explained in the NPRM that the PRD would include a text field limited 
to 256 characters. The FAA reviewed comments on this topic and 
concluded that 256 characters is not a significant amount of text in 
which to explain such an event and that establishing a version on which 
the employer and pilot agree may not be possible. Instead, consistent 
with the FAA's view of the PRD as a source of basic information but not 
the dispositive authority about a pilot's history, the database will 
include several options for categorization and a place to enter the

[[Page 31041]]

date. Additionally, this final rule requires reporting entities to 
retain documents relevant to a final disciplinary action record 
reported in accordance with Sec.  111.230(a) for five years after 
reporting that event, if those documents are available. Reporting 
entities will also be required to provide those relevant documents to a 
reviewing entity upon request. Under this provision, ``relevant'' means 
that the documents form the basis for the record reported to the PRD. 
The FAA envisions the relevant documents that reporting entities will 
retain and share would be any information that would have been used to 
develop the summary record proposed by the NPRM, such as a written 
record of a suspension detailing the circumstances of the event that 
led to the action. Additionally, the FAA would consider these relevant 
documents to be available if the documents exist. The FAA does not 
expect that there would be a difference between the types of 
supplemental relevant documents retained under this provision and the 
types of documents currently shared between employers under PRIA about 
final disciplinary actions and separation from employment actions.
    The FAA notes that this final rule also adopts an identical 
approach for any documents relevant to a separation from employment 
action. The FAA's objective in adopting this provision is to ensure 
that if more detailed information about complex employment actions 
exists, reviewing entities have access to that information if desired 
when making a determination about whether to hire a pilot. The FAA has 
determined this requirement is commensurate with the frequency with 
which potential employers are likely to seek more information about 
final disciplinary action events. The FAA anticipates that most 
reviewing entities will make a determination about a pilot based on the 
information about the event that appears in the PRD, but encourages 
reviewing entities to request further information if it would be 
helpful in the hiring process.
    A reporting entity must also provide a copy of such information to 
the subject pilot upon request, as would be required for any record 
reported to the PRD, and a pilot can submit a dispute resolution 
request for this information to a reporting entity through the PRD if 
that pilot disagrees with the content of the additional records. The 
reporting entity must provide these supplementary records within 14 
days of receiving the request, consistent with the FAA's timeframe for 
other record reporting provisions.
    As adopted, the final rule requires an indication of whether the 
disciplinary action was a written warning, a suspension, or a 
termination; whether the disciplinary action resulted in a temporary or 
permanent removal from aircraft operations; and the date the 
disciplinary action occurred. For PAC operators, only disciplinary 
actions that resulted in a temporary or permanent removal from flight 
operations must be reported upon the action becoming final. Any other 
disciplinary action may be reported upon request from a reviewing 
entity, in accordance with the process set forth in Sec.  111.215(b).
    The remainder of Sec.  111.230 is adopted as proposed, with 
renumbering from the NPRM as reflected throughout this section.
8. Final Separation From Employment Records--Section 111.235
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed including separation from employment 
records in the PRD, in accordance with the statutory requirement to 
include such records. The FAA proposed requiring an employer to keep 
records under separate regulations, as well as other separation from 
employment records kept by the employer, specifically those related to 
pilot performance. The FAA also proposed prohibiting inclusion of 
separation from employment records where the action was subsequently 
overturned.
i. Comment Received
    RAA, A4A CAPA, Ameristar, PlaneSense, Inc., and many individuals 
commented on the proposed requirement for operators to enter into the 
PRD certain information pertaining to a pilot's final separation of 
employment. Ameristar asserted that ``[r]ecords pertaining to pilot 
performance'' is vague, is redundant of proposed Sec.  111.230(a)(1), 
and appears to include non-pilot related information that is outside 
the scope of Sec.  111.230(a)(1).
    Commenting on separation from employment that an operator initiates 
but that is not due to pilot performance, an individual commenter 
asserted the FAA did not propose to allow the pilot's end-of-employment 
disposition to reflect that the termination was unrelated to 
performance. In such instances, the commenter noted, the operator would 
indicate that the reason for the pilot's release from employment was 
``Termination,'' but there would be no further explanation and no 
opportunity for the pilot to add commentary. This commenter also noted 
that no path exists for a pilot to provide or deny consent to comments 
or records provided by anyone who registers as an authorized user 
manager, which allows an authorized user to submit comments or records 
on any pilot, even pilots not under the user's supervision. Addressing 
a situation in which a pilot resigns after being asked to engage in an 
unsafe operation, another individual suggested employers will fabricate 
a reason for separation to affect the pilot negatively.
    Commenting on separation from employment that an operator initiates 
and that is related to pilot performance, RAA requested clarification 
regarding whether any termination related to a pilot's performance 
would automatically create two entries into the PRD for the same 
incident--one record of the disciplinary action resulting in 
termination and another record of the termination, based on the 
underlying incident. RAA also noted that operators sometimes use both a 
primary and secondary reason for termination and questioned whether the 
operator must report both reasons or only the primary reason for 
termination.
    A4A said the final rule should clarify that only those professional 
disqualifications related to pilot skills are reportable. A4A noted the 
FAA provided examples of professional disqualifications that would have 
to be entered into the PRD (at 85 FR 17687), which include a pilot who 
has been disqualified as a PIC due to a failed proficiency check and 
referred to SIC training and requalification. A4A stated the NPRM is 
unclear as to why this is listed as an example of a separation record 
when the pilot is still employed. A4A characterized this example as a 
failed training event, not a termination event. A4A suggested that 
including this example implies a carrier would be required to create a 
separate record each time a pilot is disqualified for any reason, even 
if that reason has no bearing on piloting abilities. A4A said that 
requiring a PRD report upon loss of such qualifications would be 
excessively burdensome and would not further safety.
    A number of commenters, including CAPA and PlaneSense, addressed 
the proposed requirement for operators to submit ``a brief summary of 
the event resulting in separation from employment.'' The PlaneSense 
commenters objected to this proposed requirement and requested that the 
FAA either remove it from the final rule or that the final rule provide 
employers with immunity from legal action brought as a result of the 
summary. These commenters argued that this requirement is beyond the 
scope of the PRD Act, could violate pilots' medical

[[Page 31042]]

privacy, and could make carriers vulnerable to lawsuits.
    An individual commenter recommended that the FAA amend the language 
in proposed Sec.  111.230(d)(6) to read: ``For separation of employment 
a brief summary of the separation should be included.'' The commenter 
said this would eliminate the loophole many pilots and air carriers 
use, in that non-performing pilots might be asked or told to resign 
instead of being terminated. The commenter argued this industry 
practice passes poor-performing pilots from carrier to carrier without 
a means to catch issues of performance found in the training 
environment. The commenter pointed to the First Officer of the Atlas 
Air 3591 crash in Trinity Bay, Texas, who ``was found to have resigned 
multiple times for personal reasons.'' However, A4A went on to state 
that ``examination of data in the NTSB docket indicates that he wasn't 
performing at these carriers as expected, but was allowed to resign 
without consequences.''
    CAPA objected to the proposed 256-character limit for summaries 
terminations, arguing that such cases should not be subject to 
arbitrary limits.
    NBAA noted ``furlough'' is not typically used in part 91 or part 
135 operations and explained that few business aviation operators 
furlough their employees. This commenter indicated that furlough status 
may deter a prospective employer from hiring a candidate who is 
furloughed from a part 121 air carrier position, as the candidate 
remains eligible to return to the candidate's previous position. NBAA 
recommended that the FAA replace ``furlough'' with ``laid off'' or 
``position eliminated'' (temporary or permanent).
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA agrees, after considering all comments received, that for 
many cases, a 256 character summary would not be sufficient. Adequate 
opportunity must exist to explain sufficiently a separation from 
employment action. Therefore, the FAA is removing the requirement for a 
summary. Employers will designate by category what type of separation 
from employment it was, and the date. As discussed in the previous 
section regarding final disciplinary actions, this final rule requires 
reporting entities to retain documents relevant to a final separation 
from employment action record for five years after reporting that 
event, if such documents are available. Reporting entities will also be 
required to provide those relevant documents to a reviewing entity upon 
request. The FAA is adopting this requirement instead of requiring 
reporting entities to draft a 256 character summary of the event as 
proposed in the NPRM, and envisions the relevant documents that 
reporting entities share would be any information that would have been 
used to develop the proposed summary of the event. This amendment 
addresses the comments expressing concerns related to possible legal 
action as a result of the employer posting a summary.
    As mentioned in the NPRM, the FAA understands situations might 
arise in which a pilot may resign without facing repercussions for poor 
pilot performance. Reporting entities should accurately construe the 
separation from employment action in the PRD. Even if a pilot is 
permitted to resign despite poor performance, a disciplinary action 
associated with that poor performance in the PRD would likely exist. In 
that situation, the FAA anticipates the hiring employer would review 
the resignation and disciplinary action as a consideration worthy of 
discussion with the pilot, and ask the pilot and former employer for 
information about the incident.
    The FAA also removes the term ``furlough'' from the regulation, 
because it would also be considered an ``employer-initiated separation 
unrelated to pilot performance.'' Furlough entries should only be 
reported once the separation from employment has been final for 30 
days.
    If an event results in multiple outcomes, an identical disciplinary 
and separation from employment action for a pilot might exist. In such 
cases, the entity may report the event in the PRD as a termination as a 
result of a disciplinary action and a separation from employment 
resulting from pilot performance. All such information is relevant and 
must be included in the database. The pilot has an ability to request a 
correction or commence a dispute regarding any record, discussed 
further in Section V.C.11.
    Generally, Sec.  111.235 is adopted as proposed, with corresponding 
edits to reflect changes made to the previous section, including 
reference to compliance with Sec.  111.215(b), moving details about 
timelines for reporting into this section, and adding amended language 
categorizing the type of separation from employment. The different 
categorizations available in the PRD, such as a termination as a result 
of pilot performance, including professional disqualification related 
to pilot performance, physical (medical) disqualification, employer-
initiated separation not related to pilot performance, or any 
resignation, including retirement, will provide sufficient detail to 
give a reviewing entity a picture of any topics worthy of discussion.
    As discussed in the previous section in reference to disciplinary 
action records that were subsequently overturned, the FAA also makes 
corresponding changes to this section to reflect that a record is only 
subsequently overturned if there is a finding in a documented 
agreement, from a person or panel with the authority to review 
employment disputes, or from a court of law that the underlying event 
did not occur or was not the pilot's fault.
    The FAA otherwise adopts this section substantively as proposed. As 
discussed in the previous section, the FAA made corresponding updates 
to this section to reflect the new process adopted in Sec.  111.215 and 
to reflect that PAC operators must report termination records related 
to pilot performance contemporaneously.
9. Verification of Motor Vehicle Driving Record Search and Evaluation--
Section 111.240
    The FAA proposed that each operator subject to the requirements of 
Sec.  111.110 must report to the PRD verification that it met the 
requirements of Sec.  111.110. The verification would be required 
within 45 days of the PRD Date of Hire. In Sec.  111.240, the FAA also 
proposed prohibiting the inclusion of any State driving records in the 
PRD. Section 111.240 is adopted as proposed, with edits to reflect 
reorganization of the regulatory text. The 45-day timeline for 
verification was removed from Sec.  111.250 and placed into the text of 
Sec.  111.240. The FAA notes that this verification should be marked as 
complete after the NDR report is received and the reviewing employer 
has requested records from any States that the NDR indicated would have 
records regarding the individual. Comments on NDR review are discussed 
in Section V.B.3.
10. Special Rules for Protected Records--Section 111.245
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to prohibit the inclusion of records 
protected by 14 CFR part 193 in the PRD. RAA and A4A supported the 
proposal. This section is adopted as proposed, with clarifying edits. 
No records reported as a part of an Aviation Safety Action Program or 
any other approved Voluntary Safety Reporting Program in accordance 
with part 193 may be reported to the database, as those records are 
designated as protected by the FAA. Records not designated as protected 
by the FAA about an event are still subject to reporting in accordance 
with this part.

[[Page 31043]]

11. Correction of Reported Information and Dispute Resolution--Section 
111.250
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed a process for correcting errors that 
an operator becomes aware of with respect to information that an 
operator reported previously to the PRD. The FAA also proposed to 
require an employer subject to part 111 have a process in effect for 
handling disputes regarding pilot records that an operator reported to 
the PRD.
i. Comments Received
    Many comments addressed the proposed process for identifying and 
reporting errors and requesting corrections to pilot records in the 
PRD. Several commenters suggested the PRD automatically alert pilots 
when changes are made to their records, require pilots to digitally 
sign off on the accuracy of the changes, and provide pilots a free copy 
of their record annually.
    Many commenters, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots 
Association (AOPA), expressed concern that the proposed rule did not 
provide a clearly defined process for who is responsible for 
identifying and correcting inaccurate information in the PRD. They 
recommended those who have access to and might include information on a 
pilot's record, including the FAA and past employers, must be 
responsible for correcting inaccuracies that are brought to their 
attention. ALPA commented on proposed Sec.  111.255, which would 
require an operator to submit a request for correction within 30 days 
after discovery of its submission of erroneous or inaccurate 
information to the PRD. ALPA asserted prompt corrective action is 
necessary, and stated that notices of correction are quick actions. As 
such, ALPA recommended the FAA require correction of erroneous 
information within 5 days.
    AOPA and NATA noted that no requirement exists for removing 
inaccurate information, even if the information was demonstrably false. 
AOPA indicated the proposed rule did not require the FAA to make a 
notation concerning disputed information, only that the pilot may make 
the request. AOPA recommended that the FAA evaluate and remove or 
correct inaccuracies in the PRD if the employer is unwilling or unable 
to do so, consistent with the Privacy Act.
    Several commenters, including AOPA, NATA, ALPA, and GAMA were 
concerned that the FAA provides no guidance on how a dispute resolution 
process should be structured and stated it is imperative that the 
dispute resolution procedures involve meaningful review with well-
established, mutually agreed-upon procedures. They urged the FAA to 
maintain oversight of the procedures to ensure a fair process. NATA 
also commented it would be useful when managing disputed records for a 
comment field to exist for all entries because similar challenges could 
arise from omitting an entry for a pilot or entirely missing a pilot 
entry, making it appear the pilot was never employed by the carrier. 
NATA further commented that the proposed rule did not clearly address 
how the FAA will manage pilot records of businesses that have closed. 
NATA asked, if a pilot identified an error by a prior employer that is 
now closed (and was neither acquired nor subject to bankruptcy 
proceedings), to whom the pilot should direct the request for 
correction and what outcomes are possible.
    A4A commented on the process for resolving disputes over 
information documented in the PRD, asking the FAA to clarify the 
meaning of ``dispute,'' ``documented process for resolving disputes,'' 
and ``investigation.'' A4A recommended the FAA limit ``disputes'' to 
errors and inaccuracies in the PRD and foreclose any substantive 
challenge to the information contained within the record. A4A also 
recommended that the FAA provide a form on the PRD site (which the FAA 
would manage), in which pilots would enter their disputed claim. A4A 
recommended the final rule clarify that the dispute notation will 
remain in the PRD only during the pendency of the dispute. A4A also 
recommended that the final rule clarify that a negotiated grievance 
procedure under a collective bargaining agreement or, where applicable, 
other administrative grievance procedure meets the requirements of 
proposed Sec.  111.260(a). Further, A4A asked the FAA to clarify that 
the collective bargaining agreement resolution process would satisfy 
carrier information correction requirements under the PRD. A4A said the 
final rule should not permit multiple disputes of the same information. 
Finally, A4A asked the FAA to clarify that when a carrier corrects an 
error in the PRD, only the new or corrected record will remain in the 
PRD.
    With respect to historical records, NATA indicated it is possible 
there are no current air carrier employees with first-hand knowledge of 
prior pilots and the events recorded for them, and asked what carrier 
actions the FAA would consider reasonable. NATA argued complications 
associated with historical records support the need for the ability to 
upload copies of physical documents to the PRD, the creation of larger 
summary text fields, and for adding those summary text fields to any 
record. NATA requested that the FAA provide additional information on 
how a carrier should proceed if there are gaps in their historical 
records.
    Several commenters raised concerns about the potential for misuse 
of the information in the PRD. AOPA and an individual commenter noted 
the potential exists for employers to use the PRD in a coercive manner 
against current and former employees. CAPA commented that during 
periods of rapid growth, a carrier wishing to avoid pilot turnover 
could prevent its pilots from being considered for employment by other 
airlines by including training comments intended to discourage their 
selection. Several individuals noted the potential for an employer to 
purposefully or accidentally input incorrect or biased information 
about a pilot.
    ALPA said the FAA should confirm that it has a legal responsibility 
to ensure data entered into and maintained in the PRD complies with the 
law. Where a pilot complains that data has been entered in violation of 
section 203 of the PRD Act, or has not been removed as required, ALPA 
stated the FAA should provide a procedure to remedy such actions. ALPA 
recommended the FAA provide pilots with a right of appeal through NTSB 
appeal procedures, according to 14 CFR part 821, to resolve any such 
unresolved claims.
    A4A recommended that the FAA clarify explicitly in the final rule 
that air carriers and proxies have the option to access the PRD to 
review and correct information the air carrier reported to the PRD.
ii. FAA Response
    In the NPRM, Sec.  111.250, Duty to Report Records Promptly, 
provided timelines for required records to be submitted to the FAA in a 
timely fashion. Section 111.250 listed required records and included 
specific days within which the records must be reported to the FAA. The 
FAA removes this regulatory section in its entirety and places each of 
those timeframes within the respective regulatory sections that 
discussed the underlying record requirement. As a result, the 
regulatory sections are renumbered, and proposed Sec.  111.245, 
Requests for correction of reported information, is renumbered and re-
titled Sec.  111.250, Correction of reported information and dispute 
resolution. This section now also contains the provisions regarding the

[[Page 31044]]

dispute resolution process. The FAA considered all comments received on 
the error correction and dispute resolution process and made revisions 
to clarify certain aspects of the process.
    The FAA received many comments on the NPRM requesting the FAA 
include more detailed, prescriptive requirements concerning dispute 
resolution, and for the FAA to confirm it has a legal responsibility to 
confirm data entered into the PRD complies with the law. However, as 
noted in the NPRM and in this final rule, the FAA is not required to 
verify the accuracy of data that reporting entities submit to the PRD. 
Operators are obligated by regulation and statute to enter accurate 
information and are in the best possible position to ensure that 
information is accurate. The PRD Act does not require the FAA to 
provide prescriptive requirements concerning disputes over information 
or to oversee a dispute resolution process. The FAA discusses the 
agency's privacy obligations in the Privacy Impact Assessment for PRD, 
which will be posted on the docket for this final rule. Nonetheless, 
the FAA has included requirements in this rule that ensure pilots are 
afforded remedies if they believe reporting entities have reported 
erroneous data. These requirements will limit misinformation or misuse 
of the PRD. Reporting entities must provide final disposition of record 
disputes to pilots who believe information provided by the entity is 
inaccurate and to identify disputed records within the PRD system. 
These processes fulfill the statutory requirement that individuals may 
make written requests to the Administrator, who will provide 
individuals a reasonable opportunity to submit written comments to 
correct any inaccuracies contained in the record.
    Finally, although the FAA does not determine the accuracy of 
records provided by reporting entities, pilots may submit requests for 
amendment under the Privacy Act to the FAA if they believe records 
created and maintained by the FAA in its databases, as described in 49 
U.S.C. 44703(i)(2), are inaccurate.
    As mentioned previously, a pilot always has the option of 
requesting correction to a record with which the pilot disagrees. A 
reporting entity is obligated to correct any information that the 
employer confirms is inaccurate. If a pilot can demonstrate to the 
reporting entity that the information it entered in the database is 
inaccurate, the reporting entity must correct the information. Any 
abuse of the PRD by a reporting entity through the misreporting of 
information about a pilot would be both a regulatory and statutory 
violation and of great concern to the FAA. Fraud or intentional 
falsification of records reported to the PRD is prohibited under Sec.  
111.35. Pilots can report fraud or suspected intentional falsification 
of records to the FAA for investigation.
    With respect to comments regarding the potential for employers to 
use the PRD in a coercive manner, the FAA acknowledges that this is an 
inherent concern for any exchange of records about a person, and 
arguably exists under PRIA. The provision of appropriate statutory and 
regulatory opportunity for pilots to note disputes mitigates the 
potential for misuse.
    The FAA clarified in Section IV.C.7 and 8 that summaries of the 
separation and disciplinary action records are not being required to be 
submitted under this final rule. The FAA recommends that reviewing 
entities to communicate with the pilot and the reporting entity about 
the exact nature of the disciplinary or separation action record, 
appropriately categorized.
    In response to ALPA's comment regarding 14 CFR part 821, that part 
is codified in NTSB regulations and only applies to certificate 
actions, rather than resolution of disputes concerning pilot records. 
The FAA cannot amend another agency's regulations.
    A pilot dispute of an error or inaccuracy could be substantive or 
non-substantive in nature. Pilots may flag the error or inaccuracy in 
the PRD directly, but the request for correction goes through the PRD 
directly to the reporting entity and would be resolved by that entity. 
No FAA approval is necessary to correct the record. The dispute 
notation will remain in the PRD only during the pendency of the 
dispute. The pilot may remove the dispute indicator if the pilot is 
satisfied that the record has been corrected. If a reporting entity 
corrects an error in the PRD, only the new or corrected record will 
remain visible in the PRD.
    A negotiated grievance procedure under a collective bargaining 
agreement or, where applicable, other administrative grievance 
procedure would meet the requirements of Sec.  111.255. The FAA does 
not set requirements for the details of employers' dispute resolution 
processes.
    Information correction requirements under the PRD are complete once 
a record has either been corrected or the dispute process is complete. 
Because the FAA does not have a basis to determine the accuracy of 
industry records, if a reporting entity goes out of business and there 
is no trustee in bankruptcy to handle dispute resolution obligations, 
the record would remain in dispute in the PRD indefinitely. The FAA 
expects a pilot would explain the nature of the disagreement to a 
hiring employer.
    The FAA adopts the proposed provisions with edits to consolidate 
the regulation. The FAA also revised the reporting timeframe for record 
correction to occur within 10 days, unless the reporting entity engages 
the pilot in its dispute resolution process.
    If an operator disagrees with the request for correction of 
erroneous information, it must engage the pilot requesting the 
correction in its direct dispute process. The operator must initiate 
investigation within 30 days, and, within a reasonable amount of time 
in consideration of the proceedings to establish the accuracy of the 
record, provide final disposition to the PRD. As mentioned previously, 
these capabilities will all be built into the functionality of the PRD.
12. Duty To Report Historical Records to the PRD--Section 111.255
    Proposed Sec.  111.420 incorporated the statutory requirement for 
air carriers and operators subject to PRIA to enter historical records 
into the PRD. For air carriers, the PRD Act requires that records 
dating from August 1, 2005, be entered into the PRD. For other persons, 
the Act requires records dating from August 1, 2010 must be entered 
into the PRD. The FAA adopts this provision in the final rule in 
subpart C.
i. Comments Received
    A4A recommended adopting a final rule that does not include a 
historical documents requirement. A4A stated that the obligation to 
provide ``records that the air carrier or other person is maintaining 
on such date of enactment'' under 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(4) must be read in 
the context of the continued obligations to comply with PRIA until the 
PRD final rule is in effect. A4A stated the FAA accepted this 
implicitly when it discussed Alternative 4 in the Regulatory 
Flexibility Determination section of the NPRM and did not argue that 
this alternative is contrary to law.\56\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \56\ Alternative 4 would require air carriers and operators to 
report present and future pilot records to the PRD, but continue to 
send historical records under PRIA until the PRD has 5 years of 
pilot records (by the start of 2025, the PRD would have data from 
2020 to 2024), at which point PRIA could be discontinued. 85 FR 
17701, March 30, 2020.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A4A opposed requirements for historical records of positive drug 
and alcohol test results or of a refusal to take the test. A4A 
suggested Congress may have intended to reference Sec. Sec.  120.111(a) 
and 120.219(a), which only require certain records be retained. The

[[Page 31045]]

commenter stated that neither of these sections require the return-to-
duty tests for more than a year, and for this reason, the FAA cannot 
expect all carriers to have retained more than one year of these 
records.
    A4A commented that the proposed regulation captures significant 
historical records that are not relevant to the hiring determination. 
The commenter also stated that, because of the significant burden of 
providing historical records and the nominal value of doing so, the FAA 
should not subject carriers to undisclosed or future intention to 
report additional historical information. One commenter noted that 
recordkeeping obligation of fractional operators in Sec.  91.1027(a)(3) 
and (b) is to maintain records for a minimum of 12 months.
    CAPA noted the backfilling of past pilot records accurately could 
be time consuming and expensive, if not impossible, and future guidance 
on recording training events that might result from this new rule may 
not translate accurately to previous recordkeeping practices. This 
commenter argued a requirement to provide historical records during the 
current COVID-19 public health emergency is unreasonable, and the new 
regulation should provide a consistent methodology to record and report 
data and have a defined future starting point.
    The FAA received other comments on historical record reporting 
format; these comments are addressed in Section V.C.3. regarding the 
format for reporting records.
ii. FAA Response
    As discussed extensively in the NPRM, the FAA is required by 
statute to include historical records in the PRD and does not have 
discretion to adjust the dates or records that the PRD must include. 
A4A's analysis disregarded critical text in 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(4). The 
subsection cited in the PRD Act, particularly (h)(4)(B)(ii)(II), 
requires air carriers and other persons to report ``[r]ecords that the 
air carrier or other person is maintaining, on such date of enactment 
pursuant to subsection (h)(4).'' As stated above, subsection (h)(4) 
encompasses the 5-year period preceding the enactment of the PRD Act. 
Alternative 4 was not accepted for legal reasons. This alternative was 
discussed per the initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis of impacts on 
small entities prepared for the NPRM as a means of addressing potential 
cost. At the time of the NPRM, the FAA presented Alternative 4 as a 
potentially legally permissible option, but on further review, 
determined that this was not the case. If it were legally permissible, 
Alternative 4 might be a less costly solution than the final rule; 
however, given the lack of available data, the FAA is not able to 
ascertain whether including historical records only in a manner that 
mimics PRIA would achieve the purpose of the PRD Act. This final rule 
provides the lowest cost legally-permissible solution. The FAA will 
include a summary of commenters' concerns regarding the lookback period 
for historical records in its next triannual report to Congress, as set 
forth in 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(12).
    Regarding drug and alcohol testing records, Section IV.C.5. 
contains a response to A4A's statement regarding recordkeeping 
requirements for return-to-duty test results.
    The FAA adopts this regulation as proposed, with some changes. 
Paragraph (c) is revised to list the specific types of operators that 
do not have to comply with the historical records reporting 
requirement. That group is the same as from the NPRM, but now more 
clearly defined. Additionally, the deadline for reporting historical 
records is now three years and 90 days after publication of the rule to 
coincide with sole compliance with part 111. The FAA also added a 
provision to establish interim timelines for historical records 
reporting. The FAA understands that operators uploading historical 
records may have significant records to provide to the PRD. To 
facilitate a PRD transition that focuses on the most relevant records 
in accordance with concerns expressed by the NTSB and the Families of 
Continental Flight 3407, the FAA will prioritize uploading historical 
records that date on or after January 1, 2015. Those historical records 
must be uploaded within two years of the date of publication of the 
final rule. All other historical records must be uploaded prior to the 
last date of PRIA usage, which will be three years and 90 days after 
publication of the final rule.
    The section will include opportunity to request deviation from the 
compliance dates provided in (d) of this section. The FAA will consider 
providing deviations based on an evaluation that the delay in uploading 
historical records is due to circumstances beyond the control of the 
air carrier or other operator and that such a delay would not have an 
adverse effect on safety. Any operator seeking a deviation must include 
all information listed in subparagraph (2) in order for the FAA to be 
able to consider the request for deviation. The Administrator may 
terminate the grant of deviation at any time upon notice to the 
operator. During the term of the deviation, the operator must continue 
to retain historical records for reporting to the PRD and would be 
required to provide individual pilot records upon request, if a request 
arises.
    The FAA intends to engage with the responsible persons for each 
subject entity upon approval of a responsible person's application. The 
FAA is eager to begin the implementation process. The FAA will work 
with responsible persons to facilitate setting up PRD user accounts and 
to begin mandatory FAA records review. Over the course of the next 
year, the PRD program manager will also work closely with responsible 
persons from reporting entities to ensure technical challenges are 
overcome along the path to compliance. AC 120-68J accompanies this 
final rule, and further guidance will continue to follow as the 
implementation process progresses. The FAA is committed to working with 
industry to facilitate a smooth transition from PRIA to PRD and to 
ensure that all pertinent records, as required by the statute, are 
included in the PRD. Over time, once contemporaneous reporting is 
ongoing for five years and PRD compliance is normalized, the FAA 
expects operators will benefit from a cost savings.
    The remainder of Sec.  111.255 is adopted as proposed.

D. Subpart D--Pilot Access and Responsibilities

1. Applicability--Section 111.300
    The FAA proposed in the NPRM that subpart D would apply to pilots 
holding an airline transport or commercial pilot certificate under 14 
CFR part 61, as well as any remote pilots operating with a part 107 
certificate or any individual who is employed as a pilot by an operator 
of a public aircraft. As adopted, this subpart will apply to any pilot 
meeting the criteria in Sec.  111.1, regardless of the certificate, in 
accordance with revisions made for consistency with Sec.  111.1. The 
FAA notes that in response to a comment from AOPA about whether pilots 
without a commercial certificate would be able to access their records: 
Only pilots that would be employed by an operator subject to this part 
would have industry records in the PRD. Any other records would be FAA 
records with which the pilot would likely already be familiar.
2. Application for Database Access--Section 111.305
    In this section, the FAA proposed regulations governing pilot 
access to the PRD and the minimum information

[[Page 31046]]

necessary to gain access. The FAA also proposed to require submission 
of an application seven days prior to the anticipated date of access 
and that continued access would be subject to compliance with Sec.  
111.25.
i. Comments Received
    One commenter stated the proposed requirement for pilots to provide 
a current U.S. mailing address and telephone number would prevent many 
pilots, who live outside the U.S. but are employed by U.S. air 
carriers, from being able to access their database records. 
Furthermore, it may inhibit pilots who live abroad but hold FAA-issued 
airman certificates from applying for jobs with U.S. based companies, 
as companies might not seek to work with paper-based release from 
liability agreements that would be required for access to a pilot's 
records. This commenter recommended the FAA allow those pilots access 
to the PRD through another means of validation that does not require a 
U.S. mailing address.
ii. FAA Response
    The FAA adopts Sec.  111.305 as proposed with three changes. The 
first change is that a pilot must first request access to the PRD for 
the purposes listed in Sec.  111.305(a) if the pilot is requesting 
access to the pilot's own records, except as provided in Sec.  
111.315(c). Second, in response to concerns from commenters about the 
requirement for a U.S. mailing address, the FAA determined that for 
purposes of this regulation, a requirement for the pilot to have a U.S. 
mailing address is unnecessary. However, the FAA notes that system 
capabilities may be functionally limited for web access outside the 
United States. The FAA acceptance of an address does not guarantee an 
ability to access the PRD while located physically outside the United 
States. Third, the FAA removed the provision proposed in (d), which was 
duplicative of the denial of access provision adopted at Sec.  111.25.
3. Written Consent--Section 111.310
    In Sec.  111.310, the FAA proposed to require air carriers and 
other operators obtain consent from a pilot for review of both PRD 
records and any State motor vehicle driving records about that pilot. 
The FAA amends proposed Sec.  111.310 to include affirmation of pilot 
employment history dating back five years. Inclusion of this pilot 
employment history addresses concerns from commenters, and in 
particular the NTSB, that there could be a gap in history for certain 
pilots, particularly if not all pilot records are uploaded 
contemporaneously, as discussed in Section V.C regarding Sec.  111.215. 
By requiring a pilot to provide an affirmation that their employment 
history for five years preceding the date of consent is accurate and 
complete and also by requiring employers to upload records that 
indicate problematic pilot performance, the FAA will ensure that a 
potential employer has access to all pilot records for review prior to 
permitting the pilot to begin service. The FAA otherwise adopts Sec.  
111.310 without substantive changes. The FAA did not receive any 
comments specific to this provision.
4. Pilot Right of Review--Section 111.315
    The PRD Act provides a statutory right of review for a pilot of his 
or her records. The FAA proposed to codify this right to review in 
Sec.  111.315. The pilot has the right to review both the pilot record 
reflected in the PRD, as well as a copy of any State motor vehicle 
driving records that may have been provided to a prospective employer. 
The FAA adopts this section substantively as proposed, and adds 
paragraph (c), which allows a pilot to submit a request to the FAA so 
that the pilot can review all records contained in the PRD pertaining 
to that pilot, without credentials issued in accordance with Sec.  
111.305. The PRD record would be transmitted external to the database, 
so the pilot could access his or her record without accessing the PRD 
database. The FAA did not receive any comments specific to this 
provision.
5. Reporting Errors and Requesting Corrections--Section 111.320
    In the NPRM, the FAA proposed to require operators to have a 
process enabling a pilot to report errors and provide corrections to 
the pilot's PRD record. This process would involve flagging the record 
as incorrect and submitting comments explaining why that record is 
incorrect. The FAA would also flag that record as ``in dispute'' if a 
disagreement exists with respect to the content of the record. It would 
remain ``in dispute'' until resolution of that dispute between the 
pilot and an air carrier or other operator is complete.
    The FAA reorganized this section to delete proposed (a) and (b). As 
the PRD Act requires the Administrator to provide an opportunity for an 
individual to submit written comments correcting his or her record in 
the PRD, a separate requirement in this section is not necessary and 
paragraph (a) is removed. Furthermore, proposed paragraph (b) was 
duplicative of proposed paragraph (c), and therefore removed.
    Paragraph (a), as adopted, requires a pilot to report any error or 
inaccuracy to the PRD in a form and manner acceptable to the 
Administrator. If the record was entered by a current or former 
employer, the pilot can use the PRD to flag a record as incorrect. This 
request will go through the PRD to the reporting entity. The PRD 
administrator will flag an FAA record manually, if disputed by the 
pilot, but that dispute resolution process occurs in the FAA system 
where the original record resides, such as CAIS or EIS. To correct an 
error or inaccuracy in a record, the pilot would need to request a 
correction under the Privacy Act. For FAA records, the AC 120-68J 
includes a description of the appropriate office to contact for each 
type of FAA record to request correction through the Privacy Act.
    The process of adding a notation to a pilot record disputed by the 
pilot is automatic. The FAA does not review requests for notation. For 
discussion of further comments regarding dispute resolution, please see 
Section V.C.11.

E. Other Amendments

    The FAA proposed to amend Sec.  91.1051 to replace the pilot safety 
background check required by this section with compliance with part 
111. The FAA instead removes Sec.  91.1051, effective upon September 9, 
2024, and consolidates applicability for part 111 in Sec.  111.1. The 
FAA also withdraws proposed amendments to parts 91, 121, 125, and 135, 
for the same reason.
    The FAA received comments on this topic from the PlaneSense 
commenters. These commenters indicated that fractional operators have 
an obligation under current Sec.  91.1051 to conduct a pilot safety 
background check within 90 days of hiring a pilot, and the operator 
must request FAA records and records from previous employers spanning 
the prior 5 years of the pilot's flight-related employment records. 
These commenters note this section does not impose a recordkeeping 
requirement on the fractional operator, as Sec.  91.1027 imposes that 
obligation.
    Fractional operators would comply with the PRD as set forth in the 
applicability of part 111. A fractional operator would begin reviewing 
records in the PRD one year after the date of publication of the final 
rule and continue to comply with Sec.  91.1051 where records are not 
yet available in PRD until three years and 90 days after the rule.

[[Page 31047]]

F. Other Comments

1. Comments on Requests To Extend the Comment Period or Provide Further 
Rulemaking Documents
    Several commenters, including the NBAA, Cargo Airline Association, 
Ameristar, Experimental Aircraft Association, and the National Air 
Transportation Association, requested that the FAA extend the public 
comment period. Many of these commenters indicated they needed more 
time to review the proposed rule and prepare their responses to the 
many detailed questions that the FAA posed, particularly because the 
proposal was published during the unprecedented COVID-19 public health 
emergency, which has affected the air transportation industry.
    NBAA commented that the significant number of requests for 
information by the FAA preceding the NPRM, and the contradictions 
between the various documents supporting the proposal, suggests the FAA 
should have published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking. NBAA 
suggested developing a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking 
(SNPRM) or holding a public hearing may result in a more effective 
rulemaking effort and alleviate some industry concerns. For these 
reasons, NBAA recommended the FAA issue a SNPRM to reflect industry 
input on the FAA's list of questions.
2. FAA Response
    The FAA refers commenters to its Denial Letter for Extension of 
Comment Period (FAA-2020-0246-0038), which the FAA posted to the 
rulemaking docket on June 12, 2020. The FAA reiterates this rationale 
and emphasizes the FAA's determination to move forward with adoption of 
this rule. This final rule clarifies specific points of confusion 
raised by commenters in response to the NPRM. Moreover, the FAA will 
work closely with industry to ensure a common understanding of the 
regulatory requirements in part 111.
3. Comments on Electronic Records, LOAs, MSpecs, and OPSpecs
    NBAA commented that, by implementing an electronic PRD, the FAA 
has, by example, determined electronic records are valid and constitute 
sufficient evidence of regulatory compliance. NBAA asserted if the FAA 
mandates that air carriers, operators, and other entities use and 
submit electronic records through the PRD but also requires 
authorization to use electronic recordkeeping through LOA, MSpec, or 
OpSpec, the FAA must include in its economic analysis the cost of 
preparing policies and procedures for electronic recordkeeping, then 
requesting authorization for the LOA, MSpec, or OpSpec, plus the 
ongoing cost of maintaining electronic records, or risk establishing an 
unfunded mandate.
4. FAA Response
    The FAA acknowledges receipt of this comment but notes that these 
points and the associated costs are beyond the scope of this 
rulemaking.

G. Comments Related to Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    The FAA received comments regarding costs associated with reporting 
records, the scope of applicability of part 111, the benefits of this 
rule, and the FAA's assumptions and data concerning both costs and the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.
1. Comments on Costs Associated With Reporting Historical Records
    A4A stated it agrees generally with the potential benefits of the 
proposed rule but asserted the FAA significantly underestimated the 
costs of the rule. A4A stated that it surveyed its members to respond 
to the FAA's requests for comments on the impact of the proposed rule, 
but that it faced several challenges in collecting the information it 
sought.
    A4A noted that in the regulatory impact analysis of the proposed 
rule, the FAA states it anticipates most existing electronic record 
systems can export data through XML for uploading into the PRD and that 
carrier export utilities need to be configured initially to match the 
expected fields of the PRD. A4A said that estimating costs for what to 
report, but not how to report it, is extremely challenging, especially 
given the diversity of record formats over the 15-year historical 
records period. A4A described challenges such as a lack of technical 
requirements for reporting records accompanying the proposal and the 
absence of a pilot program.
    A4A noted that its member survey resulted in 8 out of 10 members 
providing extensive information on the impact of the proposed rule, 
with descriptions of how the carriers would comply, the number of full-
time employees that would be needed to comply, and cost estimates. 
Those eight members included four large part 121 carriers and four mid-
size part 121 carriers. A4A estimated the average cost for a large part 
121 carrier to transfer historical records electronically to be 
$602,875. A4A estimated the average cost for a mid-size part 121 
carrier to transfer historical records to be $175,000.
    A4A noted that its member survey revealed that almost all carriers 
store electronic documents in different systems for different 
categories of documents. A4A suggested carriers will have to engage a 
variety of software experts to advise them on how to transfer the 
information that the FAA seeks.
    Other commenters expressed concern about the cost to convert 
historical records to XML. Noting that most operators have some form of 
digital record such as a PDF, one commenter said allowing bulk uploads 
of such records would alleviate the economic impact on small operators 
substantially. The commenter also recommended allowing operators to 
send PDF copies of records to the FAA, which can then convert them into 
any format the FAA feels is appropriate. The commenter recommended 
taking advantage of existing recordkeeping requirements, such as part 
142 training center records, to populate the database and reduce the 
burden on part 91 operators.
    A4A also believes that the FAA underestimated costs for the manual 
entry of historical records. A4A stated that, based on its member 
survey, the FAA should use the maximum estimated historical records as 
the basis for determining the cost of manual entry of historical 
records into the PRD because that estimate more accurately reflects the 
number of manual records.
    A4A also urged the FAA to correct its cost-per-pilot estimate to 
enter manual records to ensure realistic manual entry burdens are 
captured. The commenter recommended the FAA use an average of 20 
minutes for manual entry of a pilot training/checking record, 15 
minutes to set up a new pilot in the PRD, and 10 minutes to input 
manually both disciplinary records and termination events.
    A4A also commented that the regulatory impact analysis for the 
proposed rule did not include costs to retrieve, search, and review 
historical files and that the FAA limited the costs of manually 
reporting historical records to the cost to type the data into the PRD 
once it has been collected. The commenter stated this grossly 
underestimates the actual burden to air carriers to report historical 
data manually to the PRD, particularly for historical drug and alcohol 
testing records, and the FAA should include such burden in its 
analysis. A4A encouraged the FAA to reassess its cost analysis for 
manually reporting drug and alcohol testing records.

[[Page 31048]]

    A4A estimated the number of pilots who have worked at covered 
carriers since 2005 that are still alive is at least 130,000. A4A 
calculated total labor costs of $540 to input a single pilot's 
historical records into the PRD, then multiplied these labor costs by 
130,000 pilots to arrive at an estimate of $70,200,000 in total costs 
for part 121 carriers to retrieve, search, and review historical 
documents and ensure sensitive information not required by the PRD is 
excluded. This estimate includes both manual entry and electronic data 
entry. A4A recommended that, given these substantial additional costs, 
the FAA should eliminate the requirement to provide historical 
documents or, in the alternative, require no more than 5 years of 
historical documents from the final rule compliance date.
    An individual commented on the FAA's estimate for the time it would 
take to enter a pilot's information manually, estimating instead that 
it would take approximately an hour per pilot. The commenter noted it 
has paper records, so it will have to find the records, sort through 
years of training certificates, and then enter records going back 15 
years for each pilot. The commenter noted that 40 percent of its pilots 
have been employed with the company for more than 10 years. The 
commenter said that if it goes back 15 years, it would have to enter 
records for 251 part 121 pilots alone. The commenter noted that 
entering records for these 251 pilots would take 6.3 weeks of doing 
nothing but data entry. The commenter called this overly burdensome and 
expensive.
    A4A recommended that the FAA adopt Alternative 4 from the initial 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis as the final rule.\57\ A4A stated that 
Alternative 4 is the most effective option for capturing historical 
records. A4A stated that this would only require accessing records 
through both the PRD and PRIA for 5 years, as opposed to 2 years under 
the proposed rule. A4A stated the benefit of not having to input 18 
years of pilot records would outweigh the burden of accessing pilot 
information through both PRIA and the PRD for three more years. ALPA 
also supported Alternative 4, and quoted the PRD ARC stating pilot 
records from training events accessed more than 5 years ago would be of 
no value to the hiring process.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \57\ Alternative 4 would require air carriers and operators to 
report present and future pilot records to the PRD, but continue to 
send historical records under PRIA until the PRD has 5 years of 
pilot records (by the start of 2025, the PRD would have data from 
2020 to 2024), at which point PRIA could be discontinued. 85 FR 
17701, March 30, 2020.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A4A also commented that it is crucial for the FAA to stand up a 
working group immediately after a final rule is published. Further, A4A 
noted that, even though carriers may have some historical records in 
electronic format, this does not guarantee they can convert such 
records for the PRD. A4A stated none of its members has its drug and 
alcohol records systems connected to other systems; accordingly, the 
carriers will have to configure separately each set of historical 
records for reporting the PRD. A4A estimated the costs of reporting 
historical records will multiply based upon the number of systems from 
which an air carrier must collect and report data to the PRD.
2. FAA Response
    The FAA has updated the regulatory impact analysis of the final 
rule with data A4A provided for increased costs of reporting records to 
the PRD and the costs of searching, retrieving and reviewing historical 
records. Details are provided in the comment responses below. The FAA 
also updated the regulatory impact analysis of the final rule using the 
electronic data costs referred to above for part 121 operators. The 
other commenters did not submit data on the costs to convert historical 
records to XML.
    The FAA made the decision not to accept PDF because of data storage 
concerns and because personal information would have to be redacted; 
however, as mentioned previously, the FAA will provide a means to 
accomplish electronic batch upload of records. As discussed in section 
V.C., the PRD Act does not permit record reporting by part 142 training 
centers, as the PRD Act is restricted to entities that employed a 
pilot.
    In the final rule, the FAA includes the cost for manual entry of 
drug and alcohol testing, verification of NDR search, and pilot 
disciplinary actions, where required. The FAA does not agree that it 
should use the maximum estimated historical records as the basis for 
determining the cost of manual entry of historical records. The final 
rule analysis continues to use the average of minimum and maximum 
estimated historical records.
    The FAA includes the cost of entering disciplinary and termination 
records using 10 minutes as the time to enter each of these record 
types, as suggested by A4A. The FAA does not include the cost of 
setting up a pilot in the PRD for the first time, as it will occur via 
an automated script from the airman registry. The FAA does not agree 
with A4A's recommendation to use 20 minutes for manual entry of a pilot 
training record; instead, the FAA uses an average of 4 minutes to enter 
this type of record. This estimate of 4 minutes does not include the 
time it might take to locate the record from the official record 
keeping system. A4A appears to capture this time in its estimate of 
supplemental costs, which includes the cost to retrieve, search and 
review historical records. The FAA incorporated A4A's supplemental cost 
of $70.2 million in the final Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), 
available in the docket for this rulemaking.
    The FAA has increased the cost of retrieving, searching, and 
reviewing historical records for part 121 operators based on data 
provided by A4A, as explained below. While the FAA included a 
supplemental cost of reporting historical records for the NPRM, the FAA 
accepted A4A's estimate that it would cost part 121 operators $70.2 
million to retrieve, search, and review historical documents and ensure 
sensitive information not required by the PRD is excluded. For the 
final rule, the FAA updated its analysis to include this cost for part 
121 operators.
    The FAA acknowledges the lower costs of Alternative 4 but believes 
the technological capabilities of the PRD will, in a few years, reduce 
concern over electronic upload of historical records. The FAA 
considered all comments received requesting a different interpretation 
of the PRD Act's requirement to include historical records and 
maintains that the statute is explicit with respect to which records 
must be included, as discussed in Section V.C.12.
    The preamble of this rule includes discussion regarding the plans 
the FAA has for providing information to industry after publication of 
the final rule, beginning with the first compliance date for submitting 
a responsible person application, which is 90 days after publication of 
the final rule. The FAA also commits to providing a method for 
electronic transfer of records prior to the sunset of PRIA.
3. Comments on the Impact to Part 91 Operators
    GAMA, NBAA, the FL Aviation Corp., Cummins, Inc., and more than 500 
individuals commented on the costs and other burdens the proposed 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements would impose on part 91 
operators. Most of these commenters asserted that the proposed rule 
would impose significant costs and other

[[Page 31049]]

burdens on these operators with little-to-no associated benefits.
    GAMA commented that the administrative burden and associated cost 
of recordkeeping imposed on part 91 operators, which are not currently 
subject to the same recordkeeping requirements as part 121 and part 135 
operators, is unreasonable because these operators typically do not 
benefit from the information in the PRD.
    NBAA stated the proposed rule lacks a robust analysis of the 
effects on part 91 operations and ignores many consensus 
recommendations of the PRD ARC, resulting in a significant burden on 
numerous small entities with no clear nexus to part 121 carrier hiring. 
NBAA recommended that the FAA either remove part 91 operators from the 
rule or conduct a more accurate cost-benefit analysis in accordance 
with the Administrative Procedure Act and Executive Order 12866. NBAA 
also disagreed with the FAA's claim that the proposal would not require 
operators to collect new data for entry into the PRD and they and other 
operators pointed out that part 91 operators currently have no 
regulatory requirement to maintain certain records. These commenters 
contended that the new recordkeeping and reporting requirements would 
therefore require operators to revise completely current procedures 
they have used effectively for years, which will be costly.
    NBAA also commented that the FAA considers initial compliance for 
part 91 operators but includes no annual costs of compliance and 
provides no insight into the assumptions that built the costs or 
analysis of part 91 training and checking events per year. NBAA 
asserted that the assumption that part 91 operators maintain electronic 
databases is false.
    NASA's Aircraft Management Division stated that the level of data 
provided to the PRD is excessive and requires a recurring enormous 
effort. The commenter noted that NASA's primary records source is a 
paper-based personnel training and qualification file for each pilot. 
The commenter estimated that the rule's burdensome recurring data 
requirement would add a significant cost to NASA of approximately $1 
million annually.
    An individual commented that the FAA's cost analysis ignores the 
increased cost to part 91 operators and is therefore not comparable to 
the current PRIA structure, rendering it useless for cost savings 
comparison. This commenter also faulted the cost analysis for not 
estimating overall costs on a per user basis. The commenter questioned 
whether the FAA estimated the total number of users and what this rule 
would mean to each one. The commenter said it is incorrect to suggest 
there is no societal cost when there is no estimate on the burden to 
the individual user, especially ones who must absorb additional costs 
(part 91), rather than simply increasing ticket prices to cover the 
costs, as the scheduled air carriers have done.
    The FL Aviation Corp. expressed concern that the cost of 
transaction requests will triple their current cost of responding to 
record requests. The commenter appears to be referring to user fees. 
The FL Aviation Corp. also asserted that, without any background data 
or information, the FAA's cost estimate represents nothing more than 
opinions or speculation and appear arbitrary, especially given that 
part 91 operations have never previously been included in the records 
sweep.

4. FAA Response

    The FAA has reduced substantively \58\ the reporting requirements 
and therefore costs for corporate flight departments, public aircraft 
operations, and air tour operators in the final rule. These operators 
will only be required to provide records upon request from a hiring air 
carrier, unless the records reflect termination or certain disciplinary 
actions, in which case these operators must report the records 
contemporaneously. In addition, air tour operators must report drug and 
alcohol records contemporaneously.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \58\ However, estimated costs the FAA includes in this final 
rule are higher than those estimated in the NPRM because the FAA 
considered data on part 121 costs submitted by a commenter.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed rule required reporting only of records that the 
operator had accumulated; it did not propose that operators collect new 
data. The final rule as adopted also does not propose recordkeeping 
requirements that diverge significantly from PRIA; therefore, the FAA 
does not agree operators would have to revise current procedures, other 
than to enter records to the PRD, as required by the rule that they 
have accumulated.
    For the NPRM, the FAA erroneously assumed that corporate flight 
departments maintain all records in electronic databases and assumed 
that all records would transfer to the PRD in the first year. The FAA 
has reconsidered this assumption and, in this rule, includes annual 
costs to enter records manually for all operators.
    The FAA disagrees that the cost analysis ignores the increased cost 
to part 91 operators. The FAA detailed these costs in the analysis of 
the proposed rule and has updated them in this final rule. The FAA 
estimated cost savings due to discontinuation of PRIA and the costs of 
reporting records to the PRD. The FAA presents the distribution of 
costs over operator types in the analysis along with an estimate of the 
number of users. The FAA estimates some costs on a per record basis. 
Some operators may choose to pass these additional costs on in 
increased ticket prices and some may absorb these costs. Regardless, 
these costs are captured in the analysis.
    This rule does not include the user fee the FAA had proposed to 
include. Therefore, this rule does not estimate the cost of transaction 
requests.
    The FAA documented its assumptions and sources in the analysis for 
the proposed rule. When data was not available, the FAA relied on input 
from subject matter experts.
5. Comments on the Benefits of the Rule
    NBAA stated all the benefits of the rule identified by the FAA 
apply to part 121 and part 135 air carriers. NBAA said there are no 
benefits for part 91 and part 125 operators that would be subject to 
this rule, only burdens and costs.
    A4A disagreed with the FAA's assumption that one of the benefits of 
the NPRM is to lower the potential of inaccurate interpretation of 
pilot records by allowing for easier reading of pilot records, as the 
PRIA records might sometimes be handwritten and difficult to read. A4A 
said this is not a benefit of the PRD because the same concern exists 
with PRIA; carriers will have to interpret the same difficult-to-read 
handwritten files to comply with the PRD. A4A also identified an 
additional risk of incorrect or misinterpreted information being 
entered into the PRD and remaining there for the life of the pilot.
6. FAA Response
    This rule responds to a statutory requirement and was not motivated 
by a purpose to benefit one particular operator type over another; 
instead, Congress directed parameters for who would be reporting 
entities and reviewing entities. As a result of this rule, operators 
will be better prepared to make informed hiring decisions to support 
aviation safety. Although files may still be difficult to read, the FAA 
assumes that it is not as difficult for an operator to interpret its 
own historical records as it would be for an operator to interpret 
another operator's historical records.

[[Page 31050]]

7. Other Comments on Assumptions and Data
    A4A stated the FAA must revise its cost analysis to correct the 
assumption that if a carrier has the FAA's approval for a computer-
based recordkeeping system with OpSpec A025,\59\ then all records that 
carrier must upload to the PRD are already in an electronic format. A4A 
noted that, while a carrier must obtain A025 to use an electronic 
recordkeeping system to ensure the same data integrity used in a paper 
system, A025 authorization does not mean that every carrier system is 
electronic. A4A said its member survey revealed that many human 
resource files containing disciplinary records or separation records 
are paper-based. Furthermore, A4A noted that even carriers that store 
human resource records electronically responded that they would need to 
enter information manually into the PRD because human resources files 
contain sensitive information that cannot be shared.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \59\ OpSpec A025--Extension of Due Date for Required Action by 
Notice N 8900.368, OpSpec/MSpec/TSpec/LOA A025, Electronic 
Signatures, Electronic Recordkeeping Systems, and Electronic Manual 
Systems, available at https://fsims.faa.gov/wdocs/notices/n8900_395.htm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    A4A noted the FAA's estimate excludes transition upgrade training, 
which the FAA explained is because it does not know how frequently 
pilots train on new aircraft, but expects such training is infrequent. 
A4A stated the results of its member survey indicate that a mid-size 
and large part 121 carrier averages between 1,200 and 3,000 transition 
training events per year. A4A asked the FAA to amend the analysis to 
reflect this omitted data to assess the true impact and cost of this 
rulemaking.
8. FAA Response
    The FAA acknowledges some records it assumed to be entered 
electronically might have to be entered manually and the costs of 
manual entry may be underestimated for this reason. It is not clear 
from the A4A comment how many of these events will result in records 
required for the PRD. A transition-training curriculum consists of 
multiple training events. This number varies by approved training 
program. An event might be a ground school session or simulator 
session. All the events together make up the curriculum. After the 
pilot finishes all the events, they are considered to have completed 
the training curriculum. The PRD only accepts completion (or 
withdrawal) of the training curriculum. It does not accept records of 
each event that make up the curriculum. In other words, the PRD accepts 
one record documenting that the pilot finished the curriculum, not 
multiple records detailing each event in the curriculum. A4A's comment 
is unclear concerning whether the basis of the estimates is the count 
of transition curricula or the number of events inside the curriculum.
9. Comments on Paperwork Reduction Act Burden Issues
    One commenter stated that mandating dual recordkeeping for 2 years 
and 90 days post-implementation effectively doubles the workload for 
covered employers, which does not meet the requirements of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act. Another commenter remarked generally that the 
requirements of the proposed rule seems to contradict the purpose of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act.
10. FAA Response
    PRIA is maintained until the PRD is populated with the minimal 
records necessary to ensure that hiring air carriers have access to the 
records they need and that no gap exists. However, if the operator 
updates PRD with records before PRIA is phased out the operator does 
not have to report records via PRIA. There should be no dual reporting 
requirements, because an operator would provide records via either PRIA 
or PRD until PRIA is phased out. The FAA assessed the baseline 
incremental change in costs in the analysis of the proposed rule, 
noting that cost savings do not begin until PRIA is phased out. In 
addition, the FAA acknowledged that the analysis in the NPRM 
potentially overestimates costs as operators can transition to PRD 
before the date when PRIA is discontinued, yet cost savings are not 
captured until that date.

VI. Regulatory Notices and Analyses

    Changes to Federal regulations must undergo several economic 
analyses. First, Executive Order 12866 and Executive Order 13563 direct 
that each Federal agency shall propose or adopt a regulation only upon 
a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation 
justify its costs. In addition, DOT rulemaking procedures in subpart B 
of 49 CFR part 5 instruct DOT agencies to issue a regulation upon a 
reasoned determination that benefits exceed costs. Second, the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) requires agencies 
to analyze the economic impact of regulatory changes on small entities. 
Third, the Trade Agreements Act (Pub. L. 96-39) prohibits agencies from 
setting standards that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign 
commerce of the United States. In developing U.S. standards, this Act 
requires agencies to consider international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis of U.S. standards. Fourth, the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-4) requires agencies 
to prepare a written assessment of the costs, benefits, and other 
effects of proposed or final rules that include a Federal mandate 
likely to result in the expenditure by State, local, or tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more annually (adjusted for inflation with base year of 
1995). The FAA provides a detailed Regulatory Impact Analysis of this 
final rule in the docket for this rulemaking. This portion of the 
preamble summarizes the FAA's analysis of the economic impacts of this 
rule.
    In conducting these analyses, the FAA has determined this rule: (1) 
Has benefits that justify its costs; (2) is not an economically 
``significant regulatory action'' as defined in section 3(f) of 
Executive Order 12866; (3) is not ``significant'' as defined in DOT's 
Regulatory Policies and Procedures; (4) will have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities; (5) will not 
create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States; and (6) will not impose an unfunded mandate on State, local, or 
tribal governments, or on the private sector by exceeding the threshold 
identified previously. These analyses are summarized in this section.

A. Regulatory Evaluation

1. Benefits
    This rule promotes aviation safety by facilitating operators' 
consideration of pilot skill and performance when making hiring and 
personnel management decisions by using the most accurate and complete 
pilot records available and by making those records accessible 
electronically. The rule requires use of the PRD that includes 
information maintained by the FAA concerning current airman 
certificates with any associated type ratings and current medical 
certificates, including any limitations or restrictions to those 
certificates, airman practical test failures, and summaries of legal 
enforcement actions. The PRD will contain air carrier, operator, and 
FAA records on an individual's performance as a pilot for the life of 
the individual that could be used as a hiring tool in an air carrier's 
decision-making process for pilot employment.

[[Page 31051]]

    By requiring that pilot records be entered into the PRD and 
reviewed by the hiring air carrier, this rule will:
     Promote aviation safety by facilitating operators' 
consideration of pilot skills and performance when making hiring 
decisions by using the most accurate and complete pilot records 
available and by making those records accessible electronically. As 
previously discussed, a single algorithm does not exist that can tell 
the potential employer whether it should hire a pilot based on a ratio 
of satisfactory and unsatisfactory flight checks. However, providing 
this information electronically about the airman will assist the 
potential employer in making a hiring decision in a timelier and less 
cumbersome manner than is possible with PRIA.
     Allow for speedier retrieval of pilot records from the PRD 
than is possible with PRIA. Under PRIA, the hiring air carrier requests 
records from sometimes multiple carriers and waits to receive the 
records. With the PRD, the operator will merely log on to the database 
and, in most cases, search for the records.
     Lower the potential of inaccurate interpretation of pilot 
records by allowing for easier reading of pilot records, as the PRIA 
records might sometimes be handwritten and difficult to read.
     Allow for easier storage and access of pilot records than 
PRIA.
     Allow pilots to consent to release and review of records.
2. Cost Savings
    This rule results in recurring annual cost savings to industry 
because the PRD will replace PRIA three years and 90 days after the 
rule is published. Under PRIA, air carriers, operators, and pilots 
complete and mail, fax, or email forms to authorize requests for 
pilots' records to be provided. Under the PRD, most of this process 
occurs electronically. Over the 10-year regulatory period after the 
effective date of the rule (2021-2030), the present value cost savings 
to industry is about $21.2 million or $3.0 million annualized using a 
seven percent discount rate. Using a three percent discount rate, the 
present value cost savings to industry is about $27.4 million over the 
10-year period of analysis or about $3.2 million annualized. After the 
discontinuance three years and 90 days after the rule is published, the 
annual recurring industry cost savings will more than offset the 
recurring annual costs of the rule.
3. Costs
i. Net Regulatory Costs of the Rule
    After the effective date of the rule, operators will incur costs to 
report pilot records to the PRD and to train and register as users of 
the PRD. The FAA will incur costs of the rule related to the operations 
and maintenance of the PRD. Over a 10-year period of analysis (2021-
2030), the rule results in present value net costs (costs less savings) 
to industry and the FAA of about $67.0 million or $9.5 million 
annualized using a seven percent discount rate. Using a three percent 
discount rate, the rule results in present value net costs of about 
$71.0 million or about $8.3 million annualized.
    The cost driver of the rule is the reporting cost for air carriers 
to upload historical records before the discontinuance of PRIA three 
years and 90 days after the effective date of the rule. These up-front 
costs are discounted less in terms of present values than the recurring 
cost savings that occur after the discontinuance of PRIA. These 
historical record reporting costs represent about 87 percent of the 
total costs of the rule.\60\ As discussed previously, the statutory 
requirements limit FAA's discretion to reduce the requirements for 
operators to report historical records. This limits the FAA's ability 
to reduce the associated costs. However, the cost savings from the 
discontinuance of PRIA are expected to pay for these high upfront costs 
over the long run as the PRD becomes widely used.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \60\ Based on the Regulatory Impact Analysis of the final rule, 
about 88% of the historical record reporting costs are incurred by 
part 121 operators.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. FAA Costs To Develop the PRD
    In addition to future regulatory costs, the FAA has incurred costs 
to prototype and develop the PRD since 2010.\61\ From 2010 to 2020, the 
FAA estimates the present value PRD development costs are about $14.1 
million or $1.5 million annualized using a seven percent discount rate. 
Using a three percent discount rate, the present value PRD development 
costs are about $18.0 million over the same period or about $2.4 
million annualized. In the context of analyzing the impacts of the 
rule, these are ``sunk'' costs that already occurred and cannot be 
recovered. These sunk costs are contrasted with prospective costs, 
which are future regulatory costs of the rule. The FAA presents these 
sunk costs to inform the public of the total PRD development and 
regulatory costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \61\ On August 1, 2010, Congress directed the Administrator to 
establish the PRD (Pub. L. 111-216, Section 203 (49 U.S.C. 
44703(i)). OMB Circular A-4 asks agencies to consider costs of 
mandates based on a pre-statutory baseline. The FAA provides 
discussion of these costs to inform the total PRD development and 
regulatory costs.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

4. Summary of Benefits, Costs, and Cost Savings
    The following table summarizes the benefits, costs, and cost 
savings of the rule to industry and the FAA.

          Table 3--Summary of Benefits, Costs, and Cost Savings
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Benefits
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Promotes aviation safety by facilitating operators'
 consideration of pilot skill and performance when making hiring and
 personnel management decisions.
 Provides faster retrieval of pilot records compared to PRIA.
 Reduces inaccurate information and interpretation compared to
 PRIA.
 Provides easier storage of and access to pilot records than
 PRIA.
 Allows pilots to consent to release and review of records.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 
                                 Summary of Costs and Cost Savings * ($Millions)
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              10-Year present                   10-Year present
                  Category                       value (7%)    Annualized (7%)     value (3%)    Annualized (3%)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Costs.......................................            88.2             12.6             98.5             11.5
Cost Savings................................           (21.2)            (3.0)           (27.4)            (3.2)

[[Page 31052]]

 
Net Costs...................................            67.0              9.5             71.0              8.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Notes: Columns may not sum due to rounding. Savings are shown in parentheses to distinguish from costs.
  Estimates are provided at seven and three percent discount rates per OMB guidance. Industry and FAA costs are
  higher in the beginning of the period of analysis than industry cost savings that occur later in the period of
  analysis after the discontinuance of PRIA three years and 90 days after the rule is published. This results in
  larger annualized estimates of costs and net costs at a seven percent discount rate compared to a three
  percent discount rate.

5. Scope of Affected Entities
    The entities affected by this final rule are: Part 119 certificate 
holders, fractional ownership programs, air tour operators, corporate 
flight departments, and PAO, as well as individual pilots.
6. Changes to the Regulatory Impact Analysis Since the Proposed Rule
    The FAA updated its analysis for changes incorporated in the final 
rule and additional information and data identified during the comment 
period. The following is a summary of these changes.
     The analysis no longer includes the impacts of user fees. 
Industry will not incur user fees under the final rule. For the 
proposed rule, the FAA estimated the 10-year present value of the user 
fees were about $13.2 million or $1.9 million annualized using a 7 
percent discount rate in 2016 constant dollars. Using a 3 percent 
discount rate, the present value of the user fees were about $16.3 
million over 10 years or about $1.9 million annualized.
     The analysis reflects reduced PRD reporting requirements 
that reduce industry costs in the final rule compared to the proposal 
for air tour operators, public aircraft operations and corporate flight 
departments.
     The analysis incorporated additional data from commenters 
to update costs for reporting historical records to the PRD, increasing 
the estimates of costs under the final rule as compared to the 
preliminary analysis of the proposed rule. In the proposed rule and the 
preliminary Regulatory Impact Analysis, the FAA requested comments and 
additional data on costs and data uncertainties.
     Reporting of records begins one year after the rule is 
published rather than beginning in the year of publication of the rule, 
providing more time for operators to prepare to report.
     Reporting of historical records back to year 2015 occurs 
in year 2 and the remainder in year 3, rather than an even distribution 
over 2 years.
     The analysis uses updated wage data.
    The following table compares the net costs of the proposed rule as 
published, the net cost of the proposed rule with updates for cost data 
received from public comments, and the costs of the final rule with 
changes in requirements to reduce costs in addition to updates for cost 
data received from public comments.

                         Table 4--Comparison of Net Costs: Proposed Rule and Final Rule
                                                   [$Million]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Net costs                              Proposed rule   Proposed rule    Final rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10-Year Present Value (7%)......................................            12.8            80.8            67.0
Annualized (7%).................................................             1.8            11.5             9.5
10-Year Present Value (3%)......................................            11.5            87.8            71.0
Annualized (3%).................................................             1.4            10.3             8.3
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Updated for data from public comments.
+ Updated for changes in requirements and data from public comments.

    The FAA analyzed the impacts of this rule based on the best 
publicly available data at the time of this writing. The FAA 
acknowledges uncertainty exists in estimating the costs of this rule, 
given the variety of operators and record-keeping practices.
    The analysis of this rule reflects operator and industry conditions 
that predate the COVID-19 public health emergency. While there is 
currently a lack of data to forecast the timing of recovery from COVID-
19 impacts relative to implementation of the rule, the analysis 
provides information on the types of impacts that may be experienced in 
the future as the economy returns to baseline levels.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Determination

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-354) (RFA) 
establishes ``as a principle of regulatory issuance that agencies shall 
endeavor, consistent with the objectives of the rule and of applicable 
statutes, to fit regulatory and informational requirements to the scale 
of the businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions 
subject to regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required 
to solicit and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain 
the rationale for their actions to assure that such proposals are given 
serious consideration.'' The RFA covers a wide range of small entities, 
including small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and small 
governmental jurisdictions.
    Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. If the Agency determines that it will, Section 604 of the Act 
requires agencies to prepare a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
describing the impact of final rules on small entities.
    The FAA has determined this final rule will have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, 
under the requirements in Section 604 of the RFA, the Final Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis must address:
     A statement of the need for, and objectives of, the rule;
     A statement of the significant issues raised by the public 
comments in

[[Page 31053]]

response to the initial regulatory flexibility analysis, a statement of 
the assessment of the Agency of such issues, and a statement of any 
changes made in the proposed rule as a result of such comments;
     The response of the Agency to any comments filed by the 
Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in 
response to the proposed rule, and a detailed statement of any change 
made to the proposed rule in the final rule as a result of the 
comments;
     A description of and an estimate of the number of small 
entities to which the rule will apply or an explanation of why no such 
estimate is available;
     A description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping, 
and other compliance requirements of the rule, including an estimate of 
the classes of small entities which will be subject to the requirement 
and the type of professional skills necessary for preparation of the 
report or record; and
     A description of the steps the Agency has taken to 
minimize the significant economic impact on small entities consistent 
with the stated objectives of applicable statutes, including a 
statement of the factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the 
alternative adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other 
significant alternatives to the rule considered by the Agency which 
affect the impact on small entities was rejected.
1. Statement of the Need for and Objectives of the Rule
    Following the Continental Flight 3407 accident, Congress enacted 
the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 
2010, Public Law 111-216 (Aug. 1, 2010).\62\ Section 203 of the PRD Act 
required the FAA to establish an electronic pilot records database and 
provided for the subsequent sunset of PRIA. The PRD Act requires the 
FAA to ensure the database contains records from various sources 
related to individual pilot performance and to issue implementing 
regulations. It also amended PRIA by requiring the FAA to ensure 
operators evaluate pilot records in the database prior to hiring 
individuals as pilots. Congress has since enacted the FAA Extension, 
Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (FESSA), Public Law 114-190 (July 15, 
2016). Section 2101 of FESSA required the FAA to establish an 
electronic pilot records database by April 30, 2017. This final rule 
implements those statutory mandates.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \62\ Referred to as ``the PRD Act'' in this rule.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

2. Statement of the Significant Issues Raised by the Public Comments in 
Response to the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, a Statement of 
the Assessment of the Agency of Such Issues, and a Statement of Any 
Changes Made in the Proposed Rule as a Result of Such Comments
    A significant issue commenters raised was the concern that the 
proposed rule would impose significant burdens on small businesses with 
little-to-no associated benefits or could put small companies or flight 
departments out of business. Commenters were concerned about corporate 
flight departments and public aircraft operations, which the FAA 
considered along with air tour operators as potential gateway operators 
(i.e., operators from which pilots would transfer to air carriers). 
Commenters, in addition to describing the excessive burden that the 
rule would impose, stated that it was infrequent that a pilot would 
leave employment with these types of operators to seek employment with 
an air carrier. The FAA assessed these concerns and reduced the burden 
for these operators by requiring only that these operators report 
records upon request from a hiring air carrier, with an exception 
requiring that they report contemporaneous termination records and 
certain disciplinary records. Contemporaneous reporting of drug and 
alcohol records by air tour operators would also be required, even in 
the absence of a request for them.
3. The Response of the Agency to Any Comments Filed by the Chief 
Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration in Response 
to the Proposed Rule, and a Detailed Statement of Any Change Made to 
the Proposed Rule in the Final Rule as a Result of the Comments
    The Agency received no comments from the Chief Counsel for Advocacy 
of the Small Business Administration.
4. A Description of and an Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to 
Which the Rule Will Apply or an Explanation of Why No Such Estimate Is 
Available
    This rule will affect substantial numbers of small entities 
operating under parts 91K, 121 and 135, air tour operators, entities 
conducting public aircraft operations, and corporate flight 
departments. There are approximately four dozen small part 121 carriers 
and two thousand small part 135 carriers and operators. All part 125 
operators are small. Air tour operators are also typically small. These 
operators may consist of a couple of pilots flying less than five 
passengers per air tour. The FAA estimates that all fractional 
ownerships are large with revenues exceeding $16.5 million. The FAA 
also estimates that entities conducting PAO are associated with large 
governmental jurisdictions. The FAA assumes that any corporation that 
could afford a corporate flight department would have in excess of 
$16.5 million in revenues and is therefore a large entity. The table 
below offers more details on the operator types affected.

                                   Table 5--Summary of Small Entities Impacted
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Number of                                         SBA size
          Type/part               entities             NAICS code \63\              standard           Size
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 121 Air Carriers........              76  481111--Scheduled Passenger Air  Less than 1,500  45 small, 31
                                                Transportation; 481112--         employees.       large.
                                                Scheduled Freight Air
                                                Transportation; 481211--
                                                Nonscheduled Chartered
                                                Passenger Air Transportation;
                                                481212--Nonscheduled Chartered
                                                Freight Air Transportation.
Part 135 Air Carriers and               2,053  481111--Scheduled Passenger Air  Less than 1,500  2050 small, 3
 Operators.                                     Transportation; 481112--         employees.       large.
                                                Scheduled Freight Air
                                                Transportation; 481211--
                                                Nonscheduled Chartered
                                                Passenger Air Transportation;
                                                481212--Nonscheduled Chartered
                                                Freight Air Transportation.
Part 125 Operators...........              70  481219--Other Nonscheduled Air   Less than        All small.
                                                Transportation.                  $16.5M in
                                                                                 revenues.

[[Page 31054]]

 
Part 91.147 Air Tour                    1,091  481219--Other Nonscheduled Air   Less than        All small.
 Operators.                                     Transportation.                  $16.5M in
                                                                                 revenues.
Part 91.K Fractional                        7  481219--Other Nonscheduled Air   Less than        All large.
 Ownership.                                     Transportation.                  $16.5M in
                                                                                 revenues.
Public Use Aircraft..........             323  481219--Other Nonscheduled Air   Large            All large.
                                                Transportation.                  Governmental
                                                                                 Jurisdictions.
Corporate Flight Departments.           1,413  481219--Other Nonscheduled Air   Less than        All large.
                                                Transportation.                  $16.5M in
                                                                                 revenues.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Note: Size information is based on data available from eVID (FAA Management Information System, Vital
  Information Subsystem).

    While this rule will affect a substantial number of small entities, 
the FAA maintains that small entities will be affected to a lesser 
extent than large entities. This is because costs are a function of 
size. For instance, costs to enter data on pilots manually depends on 
the number of pilots who work and have worked for the operator. Both 
air tour operators and part 125 operators are comprised entirely of 
small businesses. The FAA estimated that an average of about 3 pilots 
work for an air tour operator and 10 pilots for a part 125 operator. 
Air tour operators would not be required to report historical records 
and would incur a cost of $43 per operator per year (or about $14 per 
pilot per year), and part 125 operators would incur a cost of $725 per 
operator (or about $72 per pilot) per year.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \63\ For definitions of the NAICS codes please refer to 2017 
NAICS Manual, pg. 380 https://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/2017NAICS/2017_NAICS_Manual.pdf. Also, please note that these 
definitions may not completely align with the definitions set out in 
the FAA Code of Federal Regulations.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

5. A Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping, and Other 
Compliance Requirements of the Rule, Including an Estimate of the 
Classes of Small Entities Which Will Be Subject to the Requirement and 
the Type of Professional Skills Necessary for Preparation of the Report 
or Record
    The rule requires air carriers, certain operators holding out to 
the public, entities conducting public aircraft operations, air tour 
operators, fractional ownerships, and corporate flight departments to 
enter relevant data on individuals employed as pilots into the PRD. The 
records entered into the PRD include those related to: Pilot training, 
qualification, proficiency, or professional competence of the 
individual, including comments and evaluations made by a check pilot; 
drug and alcohol testing; disciplinary action; release from employment 
or resignation, termination, or disqualification with respect to 
employment; and the verification of a search date of the National 
Driver Register. Requirements for corporate flight departments, air 
tour operators and public aircraft operations, many of which are small 
businesses, have been reduced in the final rule to only require 
reporting of most records upon request. Contemporaneous reporting must 
occur for records concerning termination and disciplinary actions for 
public aircraft and air tour operators and corporate flight 
departments. In addition, drug and alcohol records for air tour 
operators are also always required. The types of professional skills 
needed are clerical skills for data entry, computer skills for 
electronic data transfer, management pilot skills for reviewing and 
summarizing pilot records, training and development skills, and human 
resource management skills.
6. A Description of the Steps the Agency Has Taken To Minimize the 
Significant Economic Impact on Small Entities Consistent With the 
Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes, Including a Statement of the 
Factual, Policy, and Legal Reasons for Selecting the Alternative 
Adopted in the Final Rule and Why Each One of the Other Significant 
Alternatives to the Rule Considered by the Agency Which Affect the 
Impact on Small Entities Was Rejected
    By reducing reporting requirements on public aircraft and air tour 
operators and corporate flight departments, many of which are small 
businesses, the Agency has minimized the significant economic impact on 
small entities. This does not contradict the PRD Act.
    The FAA considered the following four alternatives in Regulatory 
Flexibility Determination section of the proposed rule. In Alternative 
1, the FAA considered requiring all of the past pilot historical data. 
This alternative was rejected because the FAA determined the proposed 
requirement would be sufficient to comply with the statute. In 
Alternative 2, the FAA considered other options for the form and manner 
in which historical records could be submitted to the PRD by operators 
employing pilots. These options included permitting the submission of 
records in portable document format (PDF), JPEG, bitmap (BMP), or other 
similar electronic file formats; the submission of records using coded 
XML; or the submission of specified information through direct manual 
data entry. The FAA rejected this alternative because it would result 
in extraneous and possibly protected or sensitive information to be 
submitted to the PRD, could impose a burden on the FAA to review, and 
is beyond the FAA does not think Congress intended PRD to be a 
repository of all the information available on a pilot. In Alternative 
3, the FAA considered interpreting the PRD Act broadly and requiring 
all employers of pilots to comply with the proposed PRD requirements, 
regardless of whether the information would be useful to hiring air 
carriers or not. The FAA rejected this alternative because it 
interpreted the requirement to apply to those most likely to employ 
pilots who might subsequently apply to become air carrier pilots. In 
Alternative 4, the FAA considered requiring operators report present 
and future pilot records to the PRD, but continue to send historical 
records under PRIA until the PRD has 5 years of pilot records, at which 
point PRIA could be discontinued. The FAA rejected this because the 
lack of a singular database would be detrimental to the purpose of the 
rulemaking and diminish efficiency of review of pilot records by 
employers who would have to access records through both PRIA and PRD. 
At the time of the NPRM, the FAA presented Alternative 4 as a 
potentially legally permissible option, but on further review, 
determined that this was not the case.
    Below is a more detailed description of Alternative 2 and the 
reasons it was

[[Page 31055]]

rejected. This alternative might have affected the impact on small 
entities.
    The FAA considered options for the form and manner in which 
historical records could be submitted to the PRD by air carriers and 
operators employing pilots. These alternative options included 
permitting the submission of records in portable document format (PDF), 
JPEG, bitmap (BMP), or other similar electronic file formats; the 
submission of records using coded XML; or the submission of specified 
information through direct manual data entry.
    While the submission of records in PDF, JPEG, BMP, or other similar 
electronic file formats might be most expedient and least costly \64\ 
for some air carriers and operators, the FAA rejected this option for 
multiple reasons. First, the PRD ARC highlighted an issue with the 
contents of historical records, indicating that many historical records 
maintained by the aviation industry contain information ``far outside'' 
the scope of the PRD. The acceptance of such file formats (e.g., PDF, 
JPEG, or BMP) would allow a large volume of extraneous data to be 
submitted to the PRD, possibly including protected or sensitive 
information on individuals or an air carrier or operator. The FAA would 
be required to review each individual pilot record and redact 
information as appropriate. This review may cause the availability of 
the uploaded records to be delayed until such time that the FAA could 
redact inappropriate information, if any existed within the file.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \64\ Submitting PDF, JPEG, BMP or similar electronic formats 
might be less costly because the operator would not have to 
transcribe records from one format to another.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the PRD should serve as an effective tool to assist an 
air carrier or operator in making hiring decisions, not as a catch-all 
repository for all existing information maintained by employers of 
pilots, or as a replacement for existing air carrier and operator 
recordkeeping systems. If an employer transmitted scanned documents or 
photographs of a pilot's record to the PRD, a hiring employer could be 
overwhelmed by the amount of information provided for review, some of 
which might not be relevant to the hiring decision and could impede the 
hiring employer's ability to consider relevant information quickly and 
efficiently.
    The final alternative adopted is what was proposed in the NPRM with 
changes, one of which reduces record reporting requirements for PAO, 
air tour operators, and corporate flight departments. The factual, 
legal, and policy reasons for the alternative adopted in the final rule 
are found in the preamble discussion preceding this section.

C. International Trade Impact Assessment

    The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (Pub. L. 96-39), as amended by the 
Uruguay Round Agreements Act (Pub. L. 103-465), prohibits Federal 
agencies from establishing standards or engaging in related activities 
that create unnecessary obstacles to the foreign commerce of the United 
States. Pursuant to these Acts, the establishment of standards is not 
considered an unnecessary obstacle to the foreign commerce of the 
United States, so long as the standard has a legitimate domestic 
objective, such as the protection of safety, and does not operate in a 
manner that excludes imports that meet this objective. The statute also 
requires consideration of international standards and, where 
appropriate, that they be the basis for U.S. standards. This rule 
addresses a Congressional mandate to promote the safety of the American 
public and it does not create an unnecessary obstacle to foreign 
commerce.

D. Unfunded Mandates Assessment

    Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (Pub. L. 104-
4) requires each Federal agency to prepare a written statement 
assessing the effects of any Federal mandate in a proposed or final 
agency rule that may result in an expenditure of $100 million or more 
(in 1995 dollars) in any one year by State, local, and tribal 
governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector; such a mandate 
is deemed to be a ``significant regulatory action.''
    The FAA currently uses an inflation-adjusted value of $155.0 
million in lieu of $100 million. This rule does not contain such a 
mandate; therefore, the requirements of Title II of the Unfunded 
Mandates Assessment Reform Act do not apply.

E. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3507(d)) requires 
agencies to consider the impact of paperwork and other information 
collection burdens imposed on the public. According to the 1995 
amendments to the Paperwork Reduction Act (5 CFR 1320.8(b)(2)(vi)), an 
agency may not collect or sponsor the collection of information, nor 
may it impose an information collection requirement unless it displays 
a currently valid Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control number.
    This action contains amendments to the existing information 
collection requirements previously approved under OMB Control Number 
2120-0607. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3507(d)), the FAA has submitted these information collection 
amendments to OMB for its review.
    Summary: The rule requires part 119 certificate holders, entities 
conducting public aircraft operations, air tour operators, fractional 
ownerships, and corporate flight departments to enter relevant data on 
individuals employed as pilots into the PRD. The records entered into 
the PRD include those related to: Pilot training, qualification, 
proficiency, or professional competence of the individual, including 
comments and evaluations made by a check pilot; drug and alcohol 
testing; disciplinary action; release from employment or resignation, 
termination, or disqualification with respect to employment; and the 
verification of a query of the National Driver Register.
    Use: The information collected in accordance with 44703(i) and 
maintained in the Pilot Records Database will be used by hiring air 
carriers to evaluate the qualification of an individual prior to making 
a hiring determination for a pilot in accordance with 44703(i)(1).
    The FAA summarizes the changes in burden hours and costs by subpart 
relative to the interim compliance dates of the rule. As previously 
discussed, air carriers and other operators currently comply with PRIA. 
The publication of this rule begins the transition to use of the PRD. 
For a modest duration of time, continued compliance with PRIA is 
required, to ensure appropriate, complete transition. The FAA also made 
changes to the regulatory text for compliance dates and added interim 
compliance markers in order to facilitate a smooth transition. These 
changes are discussed further in Sections V.A.2 and V.E. Where 
practical the FAA presents burden and costs over three years as 
typically presented for estimates of burden and costs for collections 
of information.\65\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \65\ The FAA estimates the change in burden and cost for these 
amendments over three years to align with the three-year approval 
and renewal cycle for most information collections.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. Subpart A General
i. Section 111.15 Application for Database Access
    Air carriers and other operators subject to the rule will submit 
application for database access 90 days after the publication of the 
rule. The

[[Page 31056]]

table below presents the number of users expected to apply for access 
to the PRD, the estimated time it will take each user to register, the 
hourly rate of the persons registering, and the estimated hour burden 
for all users to register.

                                                  Table 6--Burden for Application for Database Access *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                  Average      Average
             Users expected to apply/register                 Respondents   Hourly rate    Time to    Total costs  Total hours   costs per    hours per
                                                                                           register                                year *       year *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Responsible persons.......................................           5,033       $91.33         0.50     $229,832        2,517      $76,611          839
Pilots....................................................         175,860        46.28         0.33    2,685,804       58,034      268,580        5,803
Authorized Individuals....................................          10,066        91.33         0.50      459,664        5,033      153,221        1,678
Proxies...................................................           1,904        91.33         0.50       86,946          952       28,982          317
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.................................................         192,863  ...........  ...........   3, 462,246       66,536      527,394        8,637
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Notes: See the Regulatory Impact Analysis available in the docket for details on the hourly rates and costs. Average costs and hours are three-
  year averages.

2. Subpart B--Accessing and Evaluating Records
i. Section 111.240 Verification of Motor Vehicle Driving Records
    Air carriers and participating operators must be able to provide 
supporting documentation to the Administrator upon request that a 
search of the NDR was conducted, and that documentation must be kept 
for five years. The FAA considers this burden de minimis.
3. Subpart C--Reporting of Records by Air Carriers and Operators
    Each operator will report to the PRD all records required by this 
subpart for each individual employed as a pilot in the form and manner 
prescribed by the Administrator.
    Subpart C of part 111 requires all part 119 certificate holders, 
fractional ownership operators, persons authorized to conduct air tour 
operations in accordance with 14 CFR 91.147, persons operating a 
corporate flight department, entities conducting public aircraft 
operations, and trustees in bankruptcy to enter relevant data on 
individuals employed as pilots into the PRD. Relevant data includes: 
Training, qualification and proficiency records; final disciplinary 
action records; records concerning separation of employment; drug and 
alcohol testing records; and verification of motor vehicle driving 
record search and evaluation.
    Under the Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA), operators are 
required to provide these records to another operator upon request; 
therefore, this rule will not require collection of new 
information.\66\ This action contains amendments to the existing 
information collection requirements previously approved under OMB 
Control Number 2120-0607. Under this existing information collection, 
which is associated with PRIA and PRD, operators are currently required 
to maintain certain records in accordance with regulatory requirements 
and to maintain records that would be subject to PRIA in order to 
respond to PRIA requests. Under this action, industry would be required 
to report to the PRD those records that they are already required to 
collect. Therefore, the FAA has determined that this action amends the 
existing information collection only so far as to require submission of 
information to request access to the database and electronic or manual 
submission of the records already collected by industry. We estimate 
that burden here.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \66\ 49 U.S.C. 44703(h).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The rule requires that one year after publication new records be 
reported to the PRD. New records are all records generated as of that 
date.
    As previously discussed, there are two methods for reporting data 
to the PRD. The first method is to transmit data electronically using 
an automated utility such as XML, so it can be read by both the user 
and the PRD. The second method is manual data entry using the same pre-
established data field forms for each record type. The FAA estimated 
how many operators will likely report data directly from their own 
electronic databases. The FAA also estimated how many operators will 
likely enter data manually to the PRD. The following discussion 
summarizes the estimates of the burden and the cost of reporting 
records to the PRD.
i. Present and Future Record Reporting
    Air carriers and operators will incur a burden to transfer pilot 
records electronically from their databases to the PRD. The burden 
includes the time required for operators to develop an encoding program 
to transfer records from their electronic databases via an automated 
utility to appropriate fields within the PRD.
    The following table presents the number of respondents (operators), 
estimated hours, hourly rate, and the cost of electronic reporting, for 
electronic reporting of present and future records, both one-time 
burden and annual updating burden.

                                              Table 7--Electronic Reporting of Present and Future Records *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                  Initial
                                                                                                        Initial    Annual cost   hours  for
                       Operator type                          Respondents    Hours per   Hourly rate   cost  for        for      electronic     Annual
                                                                             respondent                electronic   electronic   reporting/     hours
                                                                                                       reporting    reporting       year
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small 121.................................................              51           20         $120     $122,400      $76,500          340        1,020
Mid-size 121..............................................              13           35           75       34,125       19,500          152          260
Large 121.................................................               4          400           89      142,400        6,000          533           80
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total 121.............................................              68          455  ...........      298,925      102,000        1,025        1,360
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small 135.................................................             234           20          120      561,600      351,000        1,560        4,680
Mid-size 135..............................................               2           35           75        5,250        3,000           23           40
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 31057]]

 
    Total 135.............................................             236           55  ...........      566,850      354,000        1,583        4,720
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small 125.................................................              18           20          120       43,200       27,000          120          360
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    1Total 125............................................              18           20  ...........       43,200       27,000          120          360
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 91K..................................................               4        1,897           95      720,800        6,000        2,529           80
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total 91K.............................................               4        1,897  ...........      720,800        6,000        2,529           80
                                                           ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total.............................................             326        2,427  ...........    1,629,775      489,000        5,258        6,520
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Notes: See the Regulatory Impact Analysis available in the docket for more details. Estimates may not total due to rounding.

    The following table summarizes the burden and costs for operators 
to enter present and future pilot records to the PRD manually.

                               Table 8--Manual Entry of Present and Future Records
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Type of operations                              Hours           Cost         Respondents
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 121........................................................             141         $12,269               8
Part 135........................................................           6,993         609,006           1,817
Part 125........................................................             192          16,654              52
Air Tours.......................................................              16           1,464           1,091
Part 91K........................................................             214          18,552               3
PAO.............................................................              21           1,831             323
Corporate Flight Department.....................................             106           9,265           1,413
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................           7,683         669,041           4,707
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Average.....................................................           2,561         223,014           1,569
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ii. Historical Record Reporting
    The rule requires that historical records will be reported to the 
PRD beginning one year after publication of the final rule. Parts 121 
and 135 air carriers will report historical records they have 
maintained back to August 1, 2005 through that date. Parts 125 and 135 
operators and 91K fractional ownerships will report historical records 
they have maintained back to August 1, 2010 through one year after 
publication of the final rule. Those operators with approved electronic 
databases will transfer data electronically. The table below summarizes 
the number of respondents, burden hours, and the one-time cost of 
electronic reporting.

                          Table 9--Burden of Electronic Reporting Historical Records *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                    Electronic      Electronic
    Type of operations/ size        Respondents       Hours/        Hourly rate      reporting       reporting
            groupings                               Respondent                         costs           hours
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small 121.......................              51              20            $120        $122,400           1,020
Mid-size 121....................              13           2,333              75       2,275,000          30,333
Large 121.......................               4           6,774              89       2,411,500          32,154
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total part 121 (1)..........              68           9,127  ..............       4,808,900          63,507
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small 135.......................             226              20            $120         542,400           4,521
Mid-size 135....................               2              70              75          10,500             141
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total part 135..............             228              90  ..............        $552,900           4,599
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Small part 125..................              18              20            $120          43,200             360
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total part 125..............              18              20  ..............         $43,200             360
Part 91K........................               4             385             $95         146,200           1,539
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Part 91K..............               4             385  ..............        $146,200           1,539
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Burden................             318           9,622  ..............      $5,551,200          70,068
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table Notes: (1) Includes carriers certificated under both parts 121 and part 135. Estimates may not total due
  to rounding.


[[Page 31058]]

    The following table summarizes the burden and costs for operators 
to manually enter historical records to the PRD.

                                  Table 10--Manual Entry of Historical Records
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Type of operations                           Respondents     Total hours     Total cost
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 121........................................................              18       1,439,468     $71,025,356
Part 125........................................................              33             853          80,370
Part 135........................................................           1,912          95,354       9,162,087
Part 91K........................................................               5           5,748         544,279
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................           1,968       1,541,423      80,812,091
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

iii. Reporting Pilot Employment History
    In addition to operators reporting pilot records, pilots will be 
required to enter five years of employment history at the time they 
give their consent for an air carrier to review their records. The PRD 
will provide the pilot an electronic form including a pull down menu 
allowing access to air carriers, which should make it efficient for a 
pilot to complete the employment history form. If the former employer 
is on the list, the data prefills from FAA data. In the case that a 
former employer is not available through the menu, the pilot can add 
the name of the employer and fill in the data. The FAA estimates it 
will take a pilot an average of 2 minutes to complete their employment 
history. The following table shows total costs for pilots to enter 
their employment history.

                        Table 11--Burden and Cost for Reporting Pilot Employment History
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Time to         Cost to
                                                                                     complete        complete
                        Number of pilots                            Hourly rate     employment      employment
                                                                                      history         history
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
175,860.........................................................          $46.28          2 mins        $271,293
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

iv. Request for Deviation
    Operators may request a deviation from the historical records 
reporting based on a determination that a delay in compliance, due to 
circumstances beyond control of the entity reporting historical 
records, would not adversely affect safety. While the deviation is in 
effect, the reporting operator would report records upon request under 
PRIA. The FAA does not envision that it would grant deviation authority 
past the sunset date of PRIA, but if that situation were to occur, the 
FAA expects that an operator would still be required to report 
individual pilot records upon request manually to the PRD during the 
term of the delay in uploading those records electronically.
    The FAA estimates that one percent of part 121 and part 135 
operators may request such a deviation in years 2 and 3 after the 
publication of the final rule.

                                          Table 12--Deviation Requests
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Operator type             Respondents        Hours        Hourly rate     Total hours     Total cost
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Part 121........................            0.76               2          $87.04            1.52            $132
Part 135........................           20.53               2           87.04           41.06           3,574
                                 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.......................  ..............  ..............  ..............           42.58           3,706
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The following table summarizes the total reporting burden and costs 
for the first three years after the publication date of the rule.

                                                         Table 13--Burden for First Three Years
                                                          [After the publication of the rule] *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                   Year 1                 Year 2                 Year 3                   Total
                 Section                     Respondents  ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                hours        Hours       Cost       Hours       Cost       Hours       Cost        Hours         Cost
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   111.15 Annual Registration burden.          69,761    14,305   $1,045,051     5,803     $268,563     5,803     $268,563       25,911   $1,582,177
Sec.   111.205(a) Reporting Present and
 Future Records:
Electronic Reporting:
    Initial costs........................             326  ........  ...........    15,773    1,629,775  ........  ...........       15,773    1,629,775
    Annual costs.........................             326  ........  ...........     6,520      489,000     6,520      489,000       13,040      978,000
Manual Data Entry:
    Annual costs.........................           4,707  ........  ...........     3,775      328,789     3,798      330,787        7,573      659,776
Sec.   111.255 Historical Record
 Reporting:
Electronic Reporting.....................             318  ........  ...........    23,356    5,551,200  ........  ...........       23,356    5,551,200
Manual Data Entry........................           1,968  ........  ...........   770,712   40,406,046   770,712   40,406,046    1,541,424   80,812,092

[[Page 31059]]

 
Sec.   111.310 Written consent                     17,586  ........  ...........     5,862       27,129     5,862       27,129       11,724       54,259
 (Employment History)....................
Sec.   111.255 Deviation request.........           2,129  ........  ...........        43        3,706        43        3,706           85        7,412
                                          --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total................................          97,121    14,305    1,045,051   831,843   48,704,408   792,738   41,525,231    1,638,886   91,274,691
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Estimates may not total due to rounding.

4. Effects of Reduced Burden From the Discontinuation of the Pilot 
Records Improvement Act
    The PRIA will be discontinued three years and 90 days after the 
effective date of the proposed Pilot Records Database. Once PRIA is 
discontinued there will be cost savings, which are captured in the 
analysis associated with this final rule. The following table provides 
a three year analysis of net burden and cost savings for the amended 
collection of information once PRIA is discontinued.

                                    Table 14--Reduced Burden From Discontinuation of Pilot Records Improvement Act *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Year 4                 Year 5                 Year 6                   Total
                 Section                    Respondents  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Hours       Cost       Hours       Cost       Hours       Cost        Hours         Cost
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   111.15 Annual Registration burden          52,758     5,803     $268,563     5,803     $268,563     5,803     $268,563       17,409      $805,689
Sec.   111.205 Reporting Present and
 Future Records:
Electronic Data Transfer................             326     6,520      489,000     6,520      489,000     6,520      489,000       19,560     1,467,000
Manual Data Entry.......................           4,707     3,881      337,996     3,894      339,100     3,904      340,097       11,679     1,017,193
Sec.   111.310 Written Consent                    17,586       586       27,129       586       27,129       586       27,129        1,759        81,388
 (Employment History)...................
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Cost..........................  ..............    16,790    1,122,688    16,803    1,123,792    16,813    1,124,789       50,407     3,371,270
Sec.   111.5 Discontinuation of PRIA--           101,999    31,831    4,813,969    31,831    4,813,969    31,831    4,813,969       95,493    14,441,908
 Total Savings..........................
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net Total Savings...................  ..............  (15,041)  (3,691,281)  (15,028)  (3,690,177)  (15,018)  (3,689,180)     (45,087)  (11,070,638)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Estimates may not total due to rounding.

    Individuals and organizations may send comments on the information 
collection requirement to the Office of Management and Budget, Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Attention: Desk Officer for FAA, 
New Executive Building, Room 10202, 725 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 
20053 by July 12, 2021.

F. International Compatibility and Cooperation

    In keeping with U.S. obligations under the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation, it is FAA policy to conform to 
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and 
Recommended Practices to the maximum extent practicable. The FAA has 
determined no ICAO Standards and Recommended Practices correspond to 
these proposed regulations.

G. Environmental Analysis

    FAA Order 1050.1F identifies FAA actions that are categorically 
excluded from preparation of an environmental assessment or 
environmental impact statement under the National Environmental Policy 
Act in the absence of extraordinary circumstances. The FAA has 
determined this rulemaking action qualifies for the categorical 
exclusion identified in paragraph 5-6.6f and involves no extraordinary 
circumstances.

H. Privacy Analysis

    The FAA conducted a privacy impact assessment (PIA) in accordance 
with section 208 of the E-Government Act of 2002, Public Law 107-347, 
116 Stat. 2889. The FAA examined the effect the final rule may have on 
collecting, storing, and disseminating personally identifiable 
information (PII) for use by operators subject to this final rule in 
making hiring decisions. A copy of the PIA will be included in the 
docket for this rulemaking and will be available at http://www.transportation.gov/privacy.

VII. Executive Order Determinations

A. Executive Order 13132, Federalism

    The FAA has analyzed this rule under the principles and criteria of 
Executive Order 13132, Federalism. The Agency determined that this 
action will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, or the 
relationship between the Federal Government and the States, or on the 
distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government, and, therefore, does not have federalism implications.

B. Executive Order 13211, Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy 
Supply, Distribution, or Use

    The FAA analyzed this final rule under Executive Order 13211, 
Actions Concerning Regulations that Significantly Affect Energy Supply, 
Distribution, or Use (May 18, 2001). The agency has determined that it 
is not a ``significant energy action'' under the executive order and it 
is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, 
distribution, or use of energy.

C. Executive Order 13609, Promoting International Regulatory 
Cooperation

    Executive Order 13609 promotes international regulatory cooperation 
to meet shared challenges involving health, safety, labor, security, 
environmental, and other issues and to reduce, eliminate, or prevent 
unnecessary differences in regulatory requirements. The FAA has 
analyzed this action under the policies and agency responsibilities of 
Executive Order 13609 and has determined this

[[Page 31060]]

action would have no effect on international regulatory cooperation.

VIII. How To Obtain Additional Information

A. Rulemaking Documents

    An electronic copy of a rulemaking document may be obtained by 
using the internet--
    1. Search the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov);
    2. Visit the FAA's Regulations and Policies web page at http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/ or
    3. Access the Government Printing Office's web page at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/.
    Copies may also be obtained by sending a request (identified by 
notice, amendment, or docket number of this rulemaking) to the Federal 
Aviation Administration, Office of Rulemaking, ARM-1, 800 Independence 
Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20591, or by calling (202) 267-9677.

B. Comments Submitted to the Docket

    Comments received may be viewed by going to http://www.regulations.gov and following the online instructions to search the 
docket number for this action. Anyone is able to search the electronic 
form of all comments received into any of the FAA's dockets by the name 
of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if 
submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.).

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 
1996 requires the FAA to comply with small entity requests for 
information or advice about compliance with statutes and regulations 
within its jurisdiction. A small entity with questions regarding this 
document may contact its local FAA official, or the person listed under 
the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT heading at the beginning of the 
preamble. To find out more about SBREFA, visit http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/rulemaking/sbre_act/.

List of Subjects

14 CFR Part 11

    Administrative practice and procedure, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

14 CFR Part 91

    Air taxis, Aircraft, Airmen, Aviation safety, Charter flights, 
Public aircraft, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

14 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Air carriers, Air taxis, 
Aircraft, Airmen, Air operators, Alcohol abuse, Aviation safety, 
Charter flights, Drug abuse, Public aircraft, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

The Amendment

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Federal Aviation 
Administration amends chapter I of Title 14, Code of Federal 
Regulations as follows:

PART 11--GENERAL RULEMAKING PROCEDURES

0
1. The authority citation for part 11 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40101, 40103, 40105, 
40109, 40113, 44110, 44502, 44701-44702, 44711, 46102, and 51 U.S.C. 
50901-50923.


0
2. Effective August 9, 2021, amend Sec.  11.201 in the table in 
paragraph (b) by revising the entry for ``Part 111'' to read as 
follows:


Sec.  11.201   Office of Management and Budget (OMB) control numbers 
assigned under the Paperwork Reduction Act.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Current OMB
     14 CFR part or section identified and described        control No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                * * * * *
Part 111................................................       2120-0607
 
                                * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 91--GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES

0
3. The authority citation for part 91 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40101, 40103, 40105, 
40113, 40120, 44101, 44111, 44701, 44704, 44709, 44711, 44712, 
44715, 44716, 44717, 44722, 46306, 46315, 46316, 46504, 46506-46507, 
47122, 47508, 47528-47531, 47534, Pub. L. 114-190,130 Stat. 615 (49 
U.S.C. 44703 note); articles 12 and 29 of the Convention on 
International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), (126 Stat. 11).


Sec.  91.1051   [Removed]

0
4. Effective September 9, 2024, Sec.  91.1051 is removed.

0
5. Effective September 8, 2021, add part 111 to subchapter G to read as 
follows:

PART 111--PILOT RECORDS DATABASE

Subpart A--General
Sec.
111.1 Applicability.
111.5 Compliance date.
111.10 Definitions.
111.15 Application for database access.
111.20 Database access.
111.25 Denial of access.
111.30 Prohibited access and use.
111.35 Fraud and falsification.
111.40 Record Retention.
Subpart B--Access to and Evaluation of Records
111.100 Applicability.
111.105 Evaluation of pilot records.
111.110 Motor vehicle driving record request.
111.115 Good faith exception.
111.120 Pilot consent and right of review.
111.135 FAA records.
Subpart C--Reporting of Records
111.200 Applicability.
111.205 Reporting requirements.
111.210 Format for reporting information.
111.215 Method of reporting.
111.220 Drug and alcohol testing records.
111.225 Training, qualification, and proficiency records.
111.230 Final disciplinary action records.
111.235 Final separation from employment records.
111.240 Verification of motor vehicle driving record search and 
evaluation.
111.245 Special rules for protected records.
111.250 Correction of reported information and dispute resolution.
111.255 Reporting historical records to PRD.
Subpart D--Pilot Access and Responsibilities
111.300 Applicability.
111.305 Application for database access.
111.310 Written consent.
111.315 Pilot right of review.
111.320 Reporting errors and requesting corrections.

    Authority:  49 U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g), 40101, 40113, 44701, 
44703, 44711, 46105, 46301.

Subpart A--General


Sec.  111.1   Applicability.

    (a) This part prescribes rules governing the use of the Pilot 
Records Database (PRD).
    (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, this part 
applies to:
    (1) Each operator that holds an air carrier or operating 
certificate issued in accordance with part 119 of this chapter and is 
authorized to conduct operations under part 121, 125, or 135 of this 
chapter.
    (2) Each operator that holds management specifications for a 
fractional ownership program issued in accordance with subpart K of 
part 91 of this chapter.
    (3) Each operator that holds a letter of authorization issued in 
accordance with Sec.  91.147 of this chapter.
    (4) Each operator that operates two or more aircraft described in 
paragraph

[[Page 31061]]

(b)(4)(i) or (ii) of this section, in furtherance of or incidental to a 
business, solely pursuant to the general operating and flight rules in 
part 91 of this chapter, or that operates aircraft pursuant to a Letter 
of Deviation Authority issued under Sec.  125.3 of this chapter.
    (i) Standard airworthiness airplanes that require a type rating 
under Sec.  61.31(a) of this chapter.
    (ii) Turbine-powered rotorcraft.
    (5) Each entity that conducts public aircraft operations as defined 
in 49 U.S.C. 40102(a)(41) on a flight that meets the qualification 
criteria for public aircraft status in 49 U.S.C. 40125, unless the 
entity is any branch of the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, 
or reserve component of the Armed Forces.
    (6) Each trustee in bankruptcy of any operator or entity described 
in this paragraph, subject to the following criteria:
    (i) If any operator subject to the requirements of this subpart 
files a petition for protection under the Federal bankruptcy laws, the 
trustee appointed by the bankruptcy court must comply with the 
requirements of subparts A and C of this part.
    (ii) The operator may delegate its authority to the trustee 
appointed by the bankruptcy court to access the PRD on its behalf in 
accordance with Sec.  111.20 or the trustee may submit an application 
to the FAA requesting access to the PRD consistent with the 
requirements of Sec.  111.15.
    (7) Each person that submits or is identified on the application 
described in Sec.  111.15 and is approved by the Administrator to 
access the PRD.
    (8) Each person who is employed as a pilot by, or is seeking 
employment as a pilot with, an operator subject to the applicability of 
this part.
    (c) This part does not apply to foreign air carriers or operators 
subject to part 375 of this title.


Sec.  111.5  Compliance date.

    (a) Compliance with this part is required by September 9, 2024, 
except as provided in Sec. Sec.  111.15, 111.100, 111.200, and 111.255.
    (b) Beginning on September 9, 2024, the Pilot Records Improvement 
Act (PRIA) ceases to be effective and will not be an available 
alternative to PRD for operators, entities, or trustees to which this 
subpart applies.


Sec.  111.10  Definitions.

    For purposes of this part, the term--
    Authorized user means an individual who is employed by an operator, 
entity, or trustee and who is designated by a responsible person to 
access the PRD on behalf of the employer for purposes of reporting and 
evaluating records that pertain to an individual pilot applicant.
    Begin service as a pilot means the earliest date on which a pilot 
serves as a pilot flight crewmember or is assigned duties as a pilot in 
flight for an operator or entity that is subject to the applicability 
of this part.
    Final disciplinary action record means a last-in-time record of 
corrective or punitive action taken by an operator or entity who is 
subject to the applicability of this part in response to an event 
pertaining to pilot performance. No disciplinary action is considered 
final until the operator determines the action is not subject to any 
pending dispute.
    Final separation from employment record means a last-in-time record 
of any action ending the employment relationship between a pilot and an 
operator or entity who is subject to the applicability of this part. No 
separation from employment is considered final until the operator 
determines the separation is not subject to any pending dispute.
    Historical record means a record that an operator subject to the 
applicability of Subpart C of this part must generate and maintain in 
accordance with 49 U.S.C. 44703(h)(4) and must report to the PRD in 
accordance with 49 U.S.C. 44703(i)(15)(C)(iii).
    PRD Date of Hire means:
    (1) The earliest date on which an individual:
    (i) Begins any form of required training in preparation for the 
individual's service as a pilot on behalf of an operator or entity 
subject to the applicability of this part; or
    (ii) Performs any duty as a pilot for an operator or entity subject 
to the applicability of this part.
    (2) This definition includes both direct employment and employment 
that occurs on a contract basis for any form of compensation.
    Proxy means a person who is designated by a responsible person to 
access the PRD on behalf of an operator, entity, or trustee subject to 
the applicability of this part for purposes of reporting or retrieving 
records.
    Record pertaining to pilot performance means a record of an 
activity or event directly related to a pilot's responsibilities or 
completion of the core duties in conducting safe aircraft operations, 
as assigned by the operator employing the pilot.
    Reporting entity means an operator, entity, or trustee that is 
subject to the applicability of subpart C of part 111, including its 
responsible person, authorized users, and proxies.
    Responsible person means the individual identified on the 
application required by Sec.  111.15 and who meets at least one of the 
criteria in Sec.  111.15(e).
    Reviewing entity means operator that is subject to the 
applicability of subpart B of part 111, including its responsible 
person, authorized users, and proxies.


Sec.  111.15  Application for database access.

    (a) Each operator, entity, or trustee to which this part applies 
must submit an application for access to the PRD in the form and manner 
prescribed by the Administrator by September 8, 2021.
    (b)(1) Each operator or entity to which this part applies that 
plans to initiate operations after September 8, 2021, must submit the 
application required by this section to the FAA at least 30 days before 
the operator or entity initiates aircraft operations.
    (2) Within 30 days of appointment by a bankruptcy court as 
described in Sec.  111.1(b)(6)(i), a trustee must submit the 
application required by this section or receive delegation of access 
from the applicable operator or entity.
    (c) The application required by this section must contain the 
following information:
    (1) The full name, job title, telephone number, and electronic mail 
address of the responsible person who is authorized to submit the 
application in accordance with paragraph (d) of this section;
    (2) The name of the operator, entity, or trustee;
    (3) The FAA air carrier or operating certificate number, as 
applicable; and
    (4) Any other item the Administrator determines is necessary to 
verify the identity of all individuals designated by an operator, 
entity, or trustee to access the PRD.
    (d) The application required by this section must be submitted by a 
responsible person who holds at least one of the following positions, 
unless otherwise approved by the Administrator:
    (1) For each operator that holds an air carrier or operating 
certificate issued in accordance with part 119 for operations under 
part 121, a person serving in a management position required by Sec.  
119.65(a) of this chapter.
    (2) For each operator that holds an operating certificate issued in 
accordance with part 119 for operations under part 125, a person 
serving in a management position required by Sec.  125.25(a) of this 
chapter.
    (3) For each operator that holds an operating certificate issued in 
accordance with part 119 for operations

[[Page 31062]]

under part 135 using more than one pilot in its operations, a person 
serving in a management position required by Sec.  119.69(a) of this 
chapter.
    (4) For each operator that holds an operating certificate issued in 
accordance with part 119 for operations under part 135 authorized to 
use only one pilot in its operations, the pilot named in that 
certificate holder's operation specifications.
    (5) For each operator that holds a letter of authorization issued 
in accordance with Sec.  91.147 of this chapter, an individual 
designated as the responsible person on the operator's letter of 
authorization.
    (6) For each operator that holds management specifications for a 
fractional ownership program issued in accordance with subpart K of 
part 91 of this chapter, an authorized individual designated by the 
fractional ownership program manager, as defined in Sec.  91.1001(b) of 
this chapter, who is employed by the fractional ownership program and 
whose identity the Administrator has verified.
    (7) For any other operator or entity subject to the applicability 
of this part, or any trustee appointed in a bankruptcy proceeding, an 
individual authorized to sign and submit the application required by 
this section who is employed by the operator and whose identity the 
Administrator has verified.
    (e) Each operator, entity, or trustee must submit to the FAA--
    (1) An amended application for database access no later than 30 
days after any change to the information included on the initial 
application for database access occurs, except when the change pertains 
to the identification or designation of the responsible person.
    (2) An amended application identifying another responsible person 
eligible for database access in accordance with this section, 
immediately when the operator, entity, or trustee is aware of 
information that would cause the current responsible person's database 
access to be cancelled or denied.
    (f) Upon approval by the FAA of a request for access to the PRD, 
each person identified in paragraph (e) is authorized to:
    (1) Access the database for purposes consistent with the provisions 
of this part, on behalf of the operator, entity, or trustee for which 
the person is authorized, for purposes consistent with the provisions 
of this part; and
    (2) Delegate PRD access to authorized users and proxies in 
accordance with Sec.  111.20.


Sec.  111.20  Database access.

    (a) Delegation. The responsible person may delegate PRD access to 
authorized users or proxies for purposes of compliance by the operator, 
entity, or trustee with the requirements of subpart B or C of this 
part.
    (b) Terms for access. No person may use the PRD for any purpose 
other than to inform a hiring decision concerning a pilot or to report 
information on behalf of the operator, entity, or trustee.
    (c) Continuing access for authorized users and proxies. PRD access 
by authorized users and proxies is contingent on the continued validity 
of the responsible person's electronic access. If a responsible 
person's electronic access is cancelled, the database access of 
authorized users and proxies will be cancelled unless the operator, 
entity, or trustee submits an amended application for database access 
and receives FAA approval of that application in accordance with Sec.  
111.15.


Sec.  111.25   Denial of access.

    (a) The Administrator may deny PRD access to any person for failure 
to comply with any of the duties or responsibilities prescribed by this 
part or as necessary to preserve the security and integrity of the 
database, which includes but is not limited to--
    (1) Making a fraudulent or intentionally false report of 
information to the database; or
    (2) Misusing or misappropriating user rights or protected 
information in the database.
    (b) The Administrator may deny any operator or entity access to the 
PRD if the Administrator revokes or suspends the operating certificate 
or other authorization to operate.
    (c) Any person whose access to the database has been denied by the 
Administrator may submit a request for reconsideration of the denial in 
a form and manner the Administrator provides. Database access will not 
be permitted pending reconsideration.


Sec.  111.30   Prohibited access and use.

    (a) No person may access the database for any purpose other than 
the purposes provided by this part.
    (b) No person may share, distribute, publish, or otherwise release 
any record accessed in the database to any person or individual not 
directly involved in the hiring decision, unless specifically 
authorized by law or unless the person sharing or consenting to share 
the record is the subject of the record.
    (c) Each person that accesses the PRD to retrieve a pilot's records 
must protect the confidentiality of those records and the privacy of 
the pilot as to those records.


Sec.  111.35   Fraud and falsification.

    No person may make, or cause to be made, a fraudulent or 
intentionally false statement, or conceal or cause to be concealed a 
material fact, in--
    (a) Any application or any amendment to an application submitted in 
accordance with the requirements of this part;
    (b) Any other record reported to the PRD in accordance with the 
requirements of this part; or
    (c) Any record or report that is kept, made, or used to show 
compliance with this part.


Sec.  111.40   Record retention.

    (a) The Administrator will maintain a pilot's records in the PRD 
for the life of the pilot. Any person requesting removal of the records 
pertaining to an individual pilot must notify the FAA of the pilot's 
death in a form and manner acceptable to the Administrator.
    (b) The notification must include the following:
    (1) The full name of the pilot as it appears on his or her pilot 
certificate;
    (2) The pilot's FAA-issued certificate number; and
    (3) A certified copy of the individual's certificate of death.

Subpart B--Access to and Evaluation of Records


Sec.  111.100   Applicability.

    (a) This subpart prescribes requirements for the following 
reviewing entities:
    (1) Each operator that holds an air carrier or operating 
certificate issued by the Administrator in accordance with part 119 of 
this chapter and is authorized to conduct operations under part 121, 
part 125, or part 135 of this chapter.
    (2) Each operator that holds management specifications to operate 
in accordance with subpart K of part 91 of this chapter.
    (3) Each operator that holds a letter of authorization to conduct 
air tour operations in accordance with Sec.  91.147 of this chapter.
    (b) Compliance with this subpart is required beginning June 10, 
2022, except compliance with Sec.  111.105(b)(1) is required beginning 
December 7, 2021.
    (c) If an operator described in Sec.  111.1(b)(4) or an entity 
described in Sec.  111.1(b)(5) accesses the PRD to review records in 
accordance with this subpart, the operator or entity must comply with 
Sec.  111.120.

[[Page 31063]]

Sec.  111.105   Evaluation of pilot records.

    (a) Except as provided in Sec.  111.115, no reviewing entity may 
permit an individual to begin service as a pilot until the reviewing 
entity has evaluated all relevant information in the PRD.
    (b) Evaluation must include review of all of the following 
information pertaining to that pilot:
    (1) All FAA records in the PRD as described in Sec.  111.135.
    (2) All records in the PRD submitted by a reporting entity.
    (3) All motor vehicle driving records obtained in accordance with 
Sec.  111.110.
    (4) The employment history the pilot provides to the PRD in 
accordance with subpart D of this part. If, upon review of the 
employment history provided by the pilot and the records described in 
(b)(2) of this section, a reviewing entity determines that records 
might be available that the pilot's previous employer has not yet 
uploaded in the database, the reviewing entity must submit a request to 
the pilot's previous employer(s) through the PRD to report any 
applicable records in accordance with the process in Sec.  111.215(b).


Sec.  111.110   Motor vehicle driving record request.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, no 
reviewing entity may permit an individual to begin service as a pilot 
unless the reviewing entity has requested and evaluated all relevant 
information identified through a National Driver Register (NDR) search 
set forth in chapter 303 of Title 49 concerning the individual's motor 
vehicle driving history in accordance with the following:
    (1) The reviewing entity must obtain the written consent of that 
individual, in accordance with Sec.  111.310, before requesting an NDR 
search for the individual's State motor vehicle driving records;
    (2) After obtaining the written consent of the individual, the 
reviewing entity must submit a request to the NDR to determine whether 
any State maintains relevant records pertaining to that individual; and
    (3) When the NDR search result is returned, if the NDR search 
result indicates that records exist concerning that individual, the 
reviewing entity must submit a request for the relevant motor vehicle 
driving records to each chief driver licensing official of each State 
identified in the NDR search result.
    (b) Each reviewing entity must document in the PRD that the 
reviewing entity complied with this section, as prescribed at Sec.  
111.240.
    (c) Upon the Administrator's request, each reviewing entity must 
provide documentation showing the reviewing entity has conducted the 
search required by paragraph (a). The reviewing entity must retain this 
documentation for five years.
    (d) This section does not apply to operators described in Sec.  
111.100(a)(2) through (3).


Sec.  111.115   Good faith exception.

    Reviewing entities may allow an individual to begin service as a 
pilot without first evaluating records in accordance with Sec.  111.105 
only if the reviewing entity--
    (a) Made a documented, good faith attempt to access all necessary 
information maintained in the PRD that the reviewing entity is required 
to evaluate; and
    (b) Received notice from the Administrator that information is 
missing from the PRD pertaining to the individual's employment history 
as a pilot.


Sec.  111.120   Pilot consent and right of review.

    (a) No reviewing entity may retrieve records in the PRD pertaining 
to any pilot prior to receiving that pilot's written consent 
authorizing the release of that pilot's information maintained in the 
PRD.
    (b) The consent required in paragraph (a) of this section must be 
documented by that pilot in accordance with Sec.  111.310.
    (c) Any pilot who submits written consent to a reviewing entity in 
accordance with Sec.  111.310(c) may request a copy of any State motor 
vehicle driving records the reviewing entity obtained regarding that 
pilot in accordance with Sec.  111.110. The reviewing entity must 
provide to the pilot all copies of State motor vehicle driving records 
obtained within 30 days of receiving the request from that pilot.


Sec.  111.135   FAA records.

    No reviewing entity may permit an individual to begin service as a 
pilot unless a responsible person or authorized user has accessed and 
evaluated all relevant FAA records for that individual in the PRD, 
including:
    (a) Records related to current pilot and medical certificate 
information, including associated type ratings and information on any 
limitations to those certificates and ratings.
    (b) Records maintained by the Administrator concerning any failed 
attempt of an individual to pass a practical test required to obtain a 
certificate or type rating under part 61 of this chapter.
    (c) Records related to enforcement actions resulting in a finding 
by the Administrator, which was not subsequently overturned, of a 
violation of title 49 of the United States Code or a regulation 
prescribed or order issued under that title.
    (d) Records related to an individual acting as pilot in command or 
second in command during an aviation accident or incident.
    (e) Records related to an individual's pre-employment drug and 
alcohol testing history and other U.S. Department of Transportation 
drug and alcohol testing including:
    (1) Verified positive drug test results;
    (2) Alcohol misuse violations, including confirmed alcohol results 
of 0.04 or greater; and
    (3) Refusals to submit to drug or alcohol testing.

Subpart C--Reporting of Records by Air Carriers and Operators


Sec.  111.200   Applicability.

    (a) This subpart prescribes the requirements for reporting records 
to the PRD about individuals employed as pilots and applies to the 
following reporting entities:
    (1) Each operator that holds an air carrier or operating 
certificate issued in accordance with part 119 of this chapter and is 
authorized to conduct operations under part 121, 125, or 135 of this 
chapter.
    (2) Each operator that holds management specifications to operate 
in accordance with subpart K of part 91 of this chapter.
    (3) Each operator that holds a letter of authorization to conduct 
air tour operations in accordance with Sec.  91.147 of this chapter.
    (4) Each operator described in Sec.  111.1(b)(4).
    (5) Each entity that conducts public aircraft operations as 
described in Sec.  111.1(b)(5).
    (6) The trustee in bankruptcy of any operator described in this 
section.
    (b) Compliance dates for this subpart are as follows:
    (1) For a reporting entity already conducting operations on June 
10, 2022, compliance with this subpart is required beginning June 10, 
2022.
    (2) For a reporting entity that initiates operations after June 10, 
2022, compliance with this subpart is required within 30 days of the 
reporting entity commencing aircraft operations.
    (3) Specific compliance dates for historical records are set forth 
in Sec.  111.255.

[[Page 31064]]

Sec.  111.205   Reporting requirements.

    (a) Each reporting entity must provide the information required in 
paragraph (b) of this section for any individual employed as a pilot 
beginning on the PRD date of hire for that individual.
    (b) Each reporting entity must report the following records to the 
PRD for each individual employed as a pilot:
    (1) All records described in Sec. Sec.  111.220 through 111.240 
generated on or after June 10, 2022;
    (2) All historical records required by Sec.  111.255 of this part, 
as applicable; and
    (3) The PRD date of hire.
    (c) No person may enter or cause to be entered into the PRD any 
information described in Sec.  111.245.


Sec.  111.210   Format for reporting information.

    Each reporting entity must report to the PRD all records required 
by this subpart for each individual the reporting entity employed as a 
pilot in a form and manner prescribed by the Administrator.


Sec.  111.215   Method of reporting.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section of this 
part, all records created on or after June 10, 2022, and required to be 
reported to the PRD under this subpart must be reported within 30 days 
of the effective date of the record, or within 30 days of the record 
becoming final when the record is a disciplinary action record or a 
separation from employment record.
    (b) Each operator conducting an operation described in Sec.  
111.1(b)(4), entity conducting a public aircraft operation, operator 
conducting an air tour operation under Sec.  91.147, or a trustee for 
such an operator or entity must either comply with paragraph (a) of 
this section or report and retain pilot records in accordance with all 
requirements of this paragraph.
    (1) Operators, entities, or trustees listed in this paragraph (b) 
must report a record described in Sec.  111.225, Sec.  111.230, or 
Sec.  111.235 to the PRD upon receipt of a request from a reviewing 
entity within 14 days, unless the record memorializes one or more of 
the following:
    (i) A disciplinary action that resulted in permanent or temporary 
removal of the pilot from aircraft operations as described in Sec.  
111.230, which must be reported in accordance with paragraph (a) of 
this section.
    (ii) A separation from employment action resulting from a 
termination as described in Sec.  111.235, which must be reported in 
accordance with paragraph (a) of this section.
    (2) If no records are available at time of request from a reviewing 
entity, the operator, entity, or trustee must provide written 
confirmation within 14 of the days of the request to the PRD that no 
records are available.
    (3) An operator, entity, or trustee must retain a record eligible 
to be reported upon request under paragraph (b)(1) of this section for 
five years from the date of creation, unless the operator or entity 
already reported that record to the PRD.
    (c) For records created before June 10, 2022, and maintained in 
accordance with PRIA, an operator, entity, or trustee listed in 
paragraph (b) of this section must continue to maintain all records 
that would have been provided in response to a PRIA request for five 
years from the date of creation of the record, and must report that 
record upon request from a reviewing entity in accordance with 
paragraph (b).


Sec.  111.220   Drug and alcohol testing records.

    (a) Each operator or trustee required to comply with part 120 of 
this chapter and subject to the applicability of this subpart must 
report to the PRD the following records for each individual whom the 
reporting entity has employed as a pilot:
    (1) Records concerning drug testing, including--
    (i) Any drug test result verified positive by a Medical Review 
Officer, that the Medical Review Officer and employer must retain in 
accordance with Sec.  120.111(a)(1) of this chapter and 49 CFR 
40.333(a)(1)(ii);
    (ii) Any refusal to submit to drug testing or records indicating 
substituted or adulterated drug test results, which the employer must 
retain in accordance with 49 CFR 40.333(a)(1)(iii);
    (iii) All return-to-duty drug test results verified by a Medical 
Review Officer, that the employer must retain in accordance with 49 CFR 
40.333(a)(1)(ii) or (iii) or (a)(4);
    (iv) All follow-up drug test results verified by a Medical Review 
Officer, which the employer must retain in accordance with 49 CFR 
40.333(a)(1)(v).
    (2) Records concerning alcohol misuse, including--
    (i) A test result with a confirmed breath alcohol concentration of 
0.04 or greater, which the employer must retain in accordance with 
Sec.  120.219(a)(2)(i)(B) of this chapter;
    (ii) Any record pertaining to an occurrence of on-duty alcohol use, 
pre-duty alcohol use, or alcohol use following an accident, which the 
employer must retain in accordance with Sec.  120.219(a)(2)(i)(D) of 
this chapter;
    (iii) Any refusal to submit to alcohol testing, that the employer 
must retain in accordance with Sec.  120.219(a)(2)(i)(B) of this 
chapter and 49 CFR 40.333(a)(1)(iii);
    (iv) All return-to-duty alcohol test results, that the employer 
must retain in accordance with 49 CFR 40.333(a)(1)(i) or (iii) or 
(a)(4);
    (v) All follow-up alcohol test results, which the employer must 
retain in accordance with 49 CFR 40.333(a)(1)(v).
    (b) Each record reported to the PRD in accordance with paragraph 
(a) of this section must include the following:
    (1) In the case of a drug or alcohol test result:
    (i) The type of test administered;
    (ii) The date the test was administered; and
    (iii) The result of the test.
    (2) In the case of alcohol misuse, as described in paragraph 
(a)(2)(ii) of this section:
    (i) The type of each alcohol misuse violation;
    (ii) The date of each alcohol misuse violation.
    (c) In addition to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  120.113(d)(3) and 
120.221(c), operators required to report in accordance with this 
section must report records within 30 days of the following 
occurrences, as applicable:
    (1) The date of verification of the drug test result;
    (2) The date of the alcohol test result;
    (3) The date of the refusal to submit to testing; or
    (4) The date of the alcohol misuse occurrence.


Sec.  111.225   Training, qualification, and proficiency records.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each 
reporting entity must provide to the PRD the following records for each 
individual whom the reporting entity has employed as a pilot:
    (1) Records establishing an individual's compliance with FAA-
required training, qualifications, and proficiency events, which the 
reporting entity maintains pursuant to Sec.  91.1027(a)(3), Sec.  
121.683, Sec.  125.401 or Sec.  135.63(a)(4) of this chapter, as 
applicable, including comments and evaluations made by a check pilot or 
evaluator; and
    (2) Other records the reporting entity maintains documenting an 
individual's compliance with FAA or employer-required training, 
checking, testing, proficiency, or other events related to pilot 
performance concerning the training, qualifications, proficiency, and 
professional competence of the individual, including any comments and 
evaluations made by a check pilot or evaluator.
    (b) No person may report any of the following information for 
inclusion in the PRD:

[[Page 31065]]

    (1) Records related to flight time, duty time, and rest time.
    (2) Records demonstrating compliance with physical examination 
requirements or any other protected medical records.
    (3) Records documenting recent flight experience.
    (4) Records identified in Sec.  111.245.
    (c) Each record reported to the PRD in accordance with paragraph 
(a) of this section must include:
    (1) Date of the event;
    (2) Aircraft type, if applicable;
    (3) Duty position of the pilot, if applicable;
    (4) Training program approval part and subpart of this chapter, as 
applicable;
    (5) Crewmember training and qualification curriculum and category 
of training as reflected in either a FAA-approved or employer-mandated 
training program;
    (6) Result of the event (satisfactory or unsatisfactory);
    (7) Comments of check pilot or evaluator, if applicable under part 
91, 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter. For unsatisfactory events, the 
tasks or maneuvers considered unsatisfactory must be included.
    (d) An operator, entity, or trustee that complies with Sec.  
111.215(b) must report records in accordance with paragraphs (a) 
through (c) of this section upon request, if that operator or entity 
possesses those records.
    (e)(1) Each reporting entity must provide a record within 30 days 
of creating that record, in accordance with Sec.  111.215(a), unless 
the reporting entity is an operator, entity, or trustee complying with 
Sec.  111.215(b).
    (2) An operator, entity, or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b) 
must provide records described in this section or a statement that it 
does not have any records described in this section within 14 days of 
receiving a request from a reviewing entity.


Sec.  111.230   Final disciplinary action records.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each 
reporting entity must provide to the PRD any final disciplinary action 
record pertaining to pilot performance with respect to an individual 
whom the reporting entity has employed as a pilot.
    (b) No person may report to the PRD any record of disciplinary 
action that was subsequently overturned because the event prompting the 
action did not occur or the pilot was not at fault as determined by--
    (1) A documented agreement between the employer and the pilot; or
    (2) The official and final decision or order of any panel or person 
with authority to review employment disputes, or by any court of law.
    (c) If a reporting entity receives notice that any disciplinary 
action record reported to the PRD under paragraph (a) of this section 
was overturned in accordance with paragraph (b), that entity must 
correct the pilot's PRD record in accordance with Sec.  111.250 within 
10 days.
    (d) Each final disciplinary action record that must be reported to 
the PRD under paragraph (a) of this section must include the following 
information:
    (1) The type of disciplinary action taken by the employer, 
including written warning, suspension, or termination;
    (2) Whether the disciplinary action resulted in permanent or 
temporary removal of the pilot from aircraft operations;
    (3) The date the disciplinary action occurred; and
    (4) Whether there are additional documents available that are 
relevant to the record.
    (e) An operator, entity, or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b) 
must report records described in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this 
section upon request, unless the disciplinary action resulted in 
permanent or temporary removal of the pilot from aircraft operations. 
If the disciplinary action resulted in permanent or temporary removal 
of the pilot from aircraft operations, the operator, entity, or trustee 
must report the record in accordance with Sec.  111.215(a).
    (f)(1) A reporting entity must provide records of final 
disciplinary actions no later than 30 days after the action is final, 
unless the reporting entity is an operator, entity or trustee complying 
with Sec.  111.215(b).
    (2) An operator, entity or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b) 
must report records described in this section, or state that it does 
not have any applicable records, within 14 days of receiving a request 
from a reviewing entity.
    (g) Each reporting entity must:
    (1) Retain documents relevant to the record reported under 
paragraph (a) of this section for five years, if available; and
    (2) Provide such documents upon request within 14 days to:
    (i) A reviewing entity; or
    (ii) The pilot that is the subject of the record.


Sec.  111.235   Final separation from employment records.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, each 
reporting entity must provide to the PRD the following records for each 
individual whom the reporting entity has employed as a pilot:
    (1) Records concerning separation from employment kept pursuant to 
Sec.  91.1027(a)(3), Sec.  121.683, Sec.  125.401 or Sec.  135.63(a)(4) 
of this chapter; and
    (2) Records pertaining to pilot performance kept concerning 
separation from employment for each pilot that it employs.
    (b) No person may report to the PRD any record regarding separation 
from employment that was subsequently overturned because the event 
prompting the action did not occur or the pilot was not at fault as 
determined by--
    (1) A documented agreement between the employer and the pilot; or
    (2) The official and final decision or order of any panel or 
individual given authority to review employment disputes, or by any 
court of law.
    (c) If a reporting entity receives notice that any separation from 
employment record reported to the PRD under paragraph (a) of this 
section was overturned in accordance with paragraph (b) of this 
section, that entity must correct the pilot's PRD record in accordance 
with Sec.  111.250 within 10 days.
    (d) Each separation from employment action record that must be 
reported to the PRD in accordance with paragraph (a) of this section 
must include a statement of the purpose for the separation from 
employment action, including:
    (1) Whether the separation resulted from a termination as a result 
of pilot performance, including professional disqualification;
    (2) Whether the separation is based on another reason, including 
but not limited to physical (medical) disqualification, employer-
initiated separation not related to pilot performance, or any 
resignation, including retirement;
    (3) The date of separation from employment; and
    (4) Whether there are additional documents available that are 
relevant to the record.
    (e) An operator, entity, or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b) 
must report the records described in paragraphs (a) through (d) of this 
section upon request, unless the separation from employment action 
resulted from a termination. If the separation from employment record 
resulted from a termination, the operator, entity, or trustee must 
report the record in accordance with Sec.  111.215(a).
    (f)(1) A reporting entity must provide any records of separation 
from employment actions no later than 30 days after the date of 
separation from

[[Page 31066]]

employment is final, unless the reporting entity is an operator, 
entity, or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b).
    (2) An operator, entity, or trustee complying with Sec.  111.215(b) 
must report records described in this section or state that it does not 
have any applicable records within 14 days of receiving a request from 
a reviewing entity.
    (g) Each reporting entity must:
    (1) Retain documents relevant to the record reported under 
paragraph (a) of this section for five years, if available; and
    (2) Provide such documents upon request within 14 days to:
    (i) A reviewing entity; or
    (ii) The pilot that is the subject of the record.


Sec.  111.240   Verification of motor vehicle driving record search and 
evaluation.

    (a) Each operator subject to the requirements of Sec.  111.110 of 
this part must document in the PRD within 45 days of the pilot's PRD 
date of hire that the operator met the requirements of Sec.  111.110.
    (b) No operator may report any substantive information from State 
motor vehicle driving records pertaining to any individual obtained in 
accordance with Sec.  111.110 for inclusion in the PRD.


Sec.  111.245   Special rules for protected records.

    No person may report any pilot record for inclusion in the PRD that 
was reported by any individual as part of any approved Voluntary Safety 
Reporting Program for which the FAA has designated reported information 
as protected in accordance with part 193 of this chapter.


Sec.  111.250   Correction of reported information and dispute 
resolution.

    (a) A reporting entity that discovers or is informed of a perceived 
error or inaccuracy in information previously reported to the PRD must 
correct that record in the PRD within 10 days of identification, or 
initiate dispute resolution in accordance with paragraph (b) of this 
section.
    (b) Each reporting entity must--
    (1) Initiate investigation of any dispute within 30 days of 
determining that it does not agree that the record identified is 
inaccurate.
    (2) Provide final disposition within a reasonable amount of time to 
any request for dispute resolution made by an individual about PRD 
records.
    (3) Document in the PRD the final disposition of any dispute made 
by a pilot in accordance with this paragraph (b) and Sec.  111.320.


Sec.  111.255   Reporting historical records to PRD.

    (a) Each operator that holds an air carrier certificate issued in 
accordance with part 119 of this chapter and is authorized to conduct 
operations under part 121 or part 135 of this chapter must report to 
the PRD all historical records kept in accordance with PRIA dating from 
August 1, 2005 until June 10, 2022, in a form and manner prescribed by 
the Administrator.
    (b) Each operator that holds an operating certificate issued in 
accordance with part 119 of this chapter and is authorized to conduct 
operations under part 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter or that holds 
management specifications to operate in accordance with subpart K of 
part 91 of this chapter must report to the PRD all historical records 
kept in accordance with PRIA dating from August 1, 2010, until June 10, 
2022, in a form and manner prescribed by the Administrator.
    (c) If an operator required to report historical records to the PRD 
in accordance with this section is appointed a trustee in a bankruptcy 
proceeding, the trustee must report the operator's historical records.
    (d) Compliance for reporting historical records that date on or 
after January 1, 2015, is required by June 12, 2023. Compliance for 
records that date before January 1, 2015, is required by September 9, 
2024.
    (e) An operator or trustee subject to the applicability of this 
subpart must maintain all historical records reported to the PRD in 
accordance with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section for at least 
five years after reporting those records.
    (f) An operator or trustee is not required to report historical 
records for any individual who is 99 years of age or older on June 10, 
2022.
    (g)(1)The Administrator may authorize a request for deviation from 
paragraph (d) of this section based on a determination that a delay in 
compliance, due to circumstance beyond control of the operatoror 
trustee reporting historical records, would not adversely affect 
safety.
    (2) A request for deviation from paragraph (d) of this section must 
include the following information:
    (i) The name of the operator or trustee;
    (ii) The name of the responsible person;
    (iii) The name of the pilot(s) who are the subject of the record;
    (iv) Historical record type for which deviation is requested;
    (v) Date range of records; and
    (vi) Justification for the request for deviation, including a 
description of the circumstance referenced in (g)(1).
    (3) Operators and trustees granted deviation in accordance with 
this paragraph must continue to retain historical records and respond 
to requests for such records for the term of that deviation in a form 
and manner prescribed by the Administrator.
    (4) The Administrator may, at any time, terminate a grant of 
deviation issued under this paragraph.

Subpart D--Pilot Access and Responsibilities


Sec.  111.300   Applicability.

    This subpart applies to each individual who is employed as a pilot 
by, or is seeking employment as a pilot with, an operator or entity 
subject to the applicability of this part, as set forth in Sec.  111.1.


Sec.  111.305   Application for database access.

    (a) A pilot must request electronic access to the PRD by submitting 
an application in a form and manner acceptable to the Administrator. 
Except as provided in Sec.  111.315(c), electronic access to the PRD is 
required when--
    (1) The pilot seeks to review and obtain a copy of that pilot's own 
comprehensive PRD record;
    (2) The pilot gives consent to a particular operator to access that 
pilot's comprehensive PRD record; or
    (3) The pilot exercises any other privileges provided by this part.
    (b) The application required in paragraph (a) of this section must 
include, at a minimum, the following information:
    (1) The pilot's full name as it appears on his or her pilot 
certificate.
    (2) The pilot's FAA-issued certificate number.
    (3) A current mailing address and telephone number.
    (4) An electronic mail address.
    (5) Any additional information that the Administrator might request 
to verify the identity of the pilot requesting access to the PRD.
    (c) The application required in paragraph (a) of this section must 
be submitted at least 7 days before the pilot seeks to access the PRD.


Sec.  111.310   Written consent.

    (a) Before any operator may access a pilot's records in the PRD, 
that pilot must apply for access to the PRD in accordance with Sec.  
111.305 and provide written consent to the FAA for release of that 
pilot's records to the operator, in a form and manner acceptable to the 
Administrator.

[[Page 31067]]

    (b) Provision of consent must include an affirmation that the 
employment history of the pilot for five years preceding the date of 
consent is accurate and complete. If the pilot finds the employment 
history is not complete, the pilot must update the employment history 
to list all past employers.
    (c) Before an operator submits a request to the NDR for an 
individual's motor vehicle driving record for purposes of compliance 
with Sec.  111.110, the individual must provide written consent 
specific to the NDR search.


Sec.  111.315   Pilot right of review.

    (a) Once a pilot has received electronic access in accordance with 
Sec.  111.305, the pilot may access the PRD to review all records 
pertaining to that pilot.
    (b) A pilot who submits written consent to a reviewing entity in 
accordance with Sec.  111.310(c) may request a copy of any State motor 
vehicle driving records obtained by the reviewing entity in accordance 
with Sec.  111.110.
    (c) A pilot may review all records contained in the PRD pertaining 
to that pilot, without accessing the PRD and without obtaining 
electronic access issued in accordance with Sec.  111.305, upon 
submission of a form provided by the Administrator to confirm the 
pilot's identity.


Sec.  111.320   Reporting errors and requesting corrections.

    A pilot who identifies an error or inaccuracy in that pilot's PRD 
records must report the error or inaccuracy to the PRD in a form and 
manner acceptable to the Administrator.


Sec.  111.10   [Amended]

0
6. Effective September 10, 2029, amend Sec.  111.10 by removing the 
definition of ``historical record''.


Sec.  111.15   [Amended]

0
7. Effective October 8, 2021, amend Sec.  111.15 by removing paragraph 
(a) and redesignating paragraphs (b) through (f) as paragraphs (a) 
through (e).


Sec.  111.100   [Amended]

0
8. Effective June 10, 2022, amend Sec.  111.100 by removing paragraph 
(b) and redesignating paragraph (c) as paragraph (b).

0
9. Effective June 10, 2022, amend Sec.  111.200 by revising paragraph 
(b) to read as follows:


Sec.  111.200   Applicability.

* * * * *
    (b) Compliance is required for this subpart as follows:
    (1) Compliance with this subpart is required within 30 days of the 
reporting entity commencing aircraft operations.
    (2) Specific compliance dates for records described in Sec.  
111.205(b)(2) are set forth in Sec.  111.255.
* * * * *

0
10. Effective September 10, 2029, further amend Sec.  111.200 by 
revising paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  111.200   Applicability.

* * * * *
    (b) Compliance with this subpart is required beginning within 30 
days of the reporting entity commencing aircraft operations.
* * * * *


Sec.  111.205   [Amended]

0
11. Effective September 9, 2024, amend Sec.  111.205 by removing 
paragraph (b)(2) and redesignating paragraph (b)(3) as (b)(2).

0
12. Effective September 9, 2024, amend Sec.  111.215 by revising 
paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  111.215   Method of Reporting.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, all 
records required to be reported to the PRD under this subpart must be 
reported within 30 days of the effective date of the record, or within 
30 days of the record becoming final when the record is a disciplinary 
action record or a separation from employment record.
* * * * *


Sec.  111.215   [Amended]

0
13. Effective September 8, 2027, further amend Sec.  111.215 by 
removing paragraph (c).


Sec.  111.255   [Removed]

0
14. Effective September 10, 2029, Sec.  111.255 is removed.

    Issued in Washington, DC, under the authority of 49 U.S.C. 
106(f), U.S.C. 106(f), 106(g) 44701(a), 44703, 44711, 46105, and 
46301 on or about May 25, 2021.
Steve Dickson,
Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration.
[FR Doc. 2021-11424 Filed 6-9-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4910-13-P