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Job-Hunting Pilots

Understanding PRIA

By Peter Forman & Thomas Hiltner
December 30, 2019

A reference document for airline pilot applicants

This article is under review. Hiring carriers must use the PRD as of December 7, 2021.

Updated to include the Pilot Records Database (PRD) December 2017 rollout and some additional developments. There are a lot of misunderstandings and general confusion concerning PRIA (Pilot Records Improvement Act), how it relates to the pilot screening, selection, and hiring process, what responsibilities fall on the individual pilot, and what information is contained in PRIA reports. FAPA is determined to give its members actionable information for their career decisions.


PRIA is an inter-industry communication mechanism that involves three parties: previous pilot employers of the last 5 years, the FAA, and the National Driver’s Registry (NDR). It is important to know that there is no such thing as “PRIA records” that a pilot may request. PRIA is merely a protocol that air carriers must follow when hiring a pilot.

PRIA was enacted as a result of seven fatal commercial aviation accidents between 1987 and 1994. During the accident investigations, it was found that during the hiring process of the pilots involved, in all cases each airline had limited access to, or failed to obtain pilot records.

According to the FAA, the “PRIA statute is unusual because it is a self-executing statute. That is, the statute prescribes what is to be done without the need for the FAA to issue additional regulations, so as a result, PRIA is not found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) but all applicable air carriers must comply.”

How PRIA applies to pilots

An individual pilot is not authorized to complete and submit any of the PRIA forms on their own. The PRIA 8060 series forms (all six listed below) is strictly for industry use, specifically by air carriers and operators under parts 121, 125, and 135. The sole method of obtaining your “PRIA records” is to be actively applying for a pilot position at an air carrier.

The main purpose of this document is to provide actionable information for FAPA.aero members and to educate members on the reporting required under the PRIA of 1996.

Pilots should note the most important aspect of pilot applications, records, and reports is honesty and transparency. Airline recruiters understand people make mistakes. Problems undoubtedly arise when a pilot “forgets” to disclose a check ride failure, FAA action, or other PRIA reportable event. Once the application is submitted it becomes a legal document the hiring airline assumes is complete, current, and accurate.

Simply stated, when in doubt, disclose it. According to Judy Tarver, president of Pilot Counseling Services, most negative aspects of your application can often be put in a positive context or minimized during the interview. This is a skill taught during Judy's interview preparation services. Judy provides FAPA members a $25 discount on her service.

The goal of the hiring carrier is not to uncover every traffic violation and failed check ride in an effort to not hire an applicant. They are however looking for a trend of ‘mistakes’. Pilot screening and selection embraces the idea that past performance can be indicative of future performance.

As stated above, the sole method of obtaining copies of your “PRIA records” is during the airline application process. Several things will happen during the process that will provide you a copy of your “PRIA records.” The vast majority of airlines do not ask the applicant to fill out any PRIA forms (and therefore not triggering the below three items) until after you are invited for an interview.

In December 2017 the FAA released the beta version of the Pilot Records Database (PRD). It is important to understand that this phase is completely voluntary for both air carriers and airmen. Air carriers must request to participate and a prospective new hire pilot (airman) must agree to release their records through the PRD, similar to how records would be released under the current PRIA procedures. If an airman does not wish to participate, the air carrier should request FAA records using the current PRIA procedures (8060-10 paper form).

The initial phase of the PRD includes the FAA records portion of the database. This phase automates the current PRIA process and may be used in lieu of completing the manual PRIA process for FAA records. The FAA records, such as pilot certification and failed practical tests that occurred on or after August 1, 2010, will be available in phase I so an air carrier or operator can make an informed hiring decision. Air carriers and operators will continue to be required to request records from an individual’s current and/or previous employer(s). The beta release of the PRD was originally limited to carriers operating under 14 CFR Part 121 with voluntary participation, and has since been expanded to include Part 135 carriers as well.

Phase I of the PRD includes: pilot’s consent to release records, previous employers that the individual served as a pilot as provided by the airman, current airman certificates, associated ratings, and any limitations to the certificate or ratings, date and certificate grade sought for any failed attempt to pass a practical test required to obtain a certificate or type rating under 14 CFR part 61 (on or after August 1, 2010), current medical certificate including its class and any limitations, closed enforcement information, and accident and/or incident event(s) summary.

Any pilot with a Commercial or Airline Transport Pilot certificate plus a current medical can create a login ID with the PRD. First step is to validate who you are by passing certain checks with MyAcess. The pilot can then enter the names of previous employers (optional step) and then the pilot can grant consent to the particular aviation employer who will be considering offering this pilot a job.

Pilot Record Database Participation User Guide is available here. The user guide is outdated in places and a more up to date guide to using the system is available as a YouTube video here.

At the present time, pilots may provide FAA data to a prospective employer either through the established PRIA Form 8060 process or online through the Pilot Record Database (PRD). At some point in the future, all FAA data provided to prospective employers will come from the PRD, and so it is in a pilot’s best interest to get comfortable using this system. Another advantage of the PRD is that it is a much faster process and you only need to enter information once then grant access to each prospective employer.

Alas, some state DMVs do not work well with MyAccess, and pilots in these states will not be approved to use the PRD. They must instead use the existing PRIA method of filling out the various 8060 forms. These include the 8060-11 if current and previous employers are not listed by the pilot in the Pilot Record Database (PRD), 8060-12 for drug and alcohol records, and 8060-13 for National Driver Register requests.

1. The FAA will automatically provide a copy of the PRIA 8060-10 report to the applicant, should you choose to file this PRIA form for FAA records rather than use Pilot Records Database. This copy will be mailed to the current home address of the pilot/applicant that is recorded by Airmen Certification. For this reason, form 8060-10A is not needed, only form 8060-10. However, if a pilot is requested to fill out the 8060-10A by the hiring carrier, FAPA recommends compliance.

2. Assuming applicants check the ‘yes’ block on FAA form 8060-11A, they will receive copies of training and other records from the current and/or previous employer(s).

3. The hiring air carrier must make a copy of the NDR (DMV) records available once the report has been received by them. They are not required to send a copy if it is not specifically requested by the pilot. There is no form to make this specific request. A pilot should simply ask in writing to “receive a copy of all NDR/DMV reports that were obtained” by the hiring company.

PRIA ‘8060’ Forms

8060-10 (FAA Records Request)

8060-10A (Airman Notice and Right to Receive Copy)

8060-11 (Air Carrier and Other Records Request)

8060-11A (Airman Notice and Right to Receive Copy)

8060-12 (Release of DOT Drug and Alcohol Testing Records Under PRIA)

8060-13 (National Driver Register Records Request)

Options to obtain your records before an interview

Alternatively, you may make three separate requests to different government entities that will provide you with virtually the same information a hiring air carrier will see when they submit requests for “PRIA records.” These requests can be made on your own and you don’t need to be applying for a position at an air carrier.

Judy Tarver says, “Knowing that your records are accurate will lessen the stress level in an interview”. Consider investing in interview prep to start the process of getting hired!

1. Complete Airman File

Template: Complete Airman File Request

Contains: Copies of all 8710 forms, knowledge tests, temporary certificates, records of failed check rides, and any correspondence that was received from the pilot.

Turnaround time: The time required for processing of a complete airman file from Airmen Certification depends on the current workload on the day your request was received. It can take up to eight weeks or even longer for your request to be processed and returned to you. During the processing period you can call Airmen Certification at 866-878-2498 to determine the status of your report.

It is important to understand that when you submit a request for a Complete Airman File it is actually a request made to three different FAA divisions, which will be processed at three different times, which means you will receive your records at three different times. Usually, your accident, incident and enforcement (AIE) report will arrive first, then your medical records, and finally your airman certification file. It will include a statement for the cost of the request which you must promptly pay or Airmen Certification may put a ‘hold’ on your airman file. This means you cannot request a duplicate certificate or any other action involving your certification records so it is very important that you submit a check or money order as soon as you receive your final records from Airmen Certification.

Responsible entity:

Airmen Certification (AFB-720)
(405) 954-3261 or 866-878-2498
Fax: (405) 954-4105

2. Accident, Incident, and Enforcement History (AIE)

Note: Not necessary to request if you are also requesting a complete airman file (number 1 above) and you check the "Accidents, Incidents, and Enforcement Information" box.

Template: AIE Request

Contains: Verification of an airman’s record of accident/incident or enforcement (AIE) history.

Turnaround time: If you choose to request a separate AIE report it will be processed within 2 to 4 days depending on the workload on the day it was received. Email is the fastest way to request and receive your AIE report. This is the same report that is processed when you request a Complete Airman File so it is not necessary to request both.

May be requested by: companies, agencies, third parties, foreign requestors, or individuals.

Responsible entity:

Aviation Safety Data Branch (AFS-620)
Fax: 405-954-4655

Again, it’s far easier to use the Pilot Records Database to share FAA records and view these records than to fill out the above forms and grant the necessary permissions.

3. National Driver Register

Driving records and speeding tickets are common points of concern for pilot applicants. FAPA Premier Membership featuring Interview Prep includes solid advice on how to overcome obstacles such as a rash of moving violations, DUIs, and other driver related offenses. Sign up for FAPA Premier Membership today to start working through those concerns.

Template: NDR Request

The below is directly from nhtsa.gov

The National Driver Register (NDR) is a division in the National Center for Statistics and Analysis under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NDR maintains the computerized database known as the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) that contains information on individuals whose privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked, suspended, canceled or denied or who have been convicted of serious traffic-related offenses.

You are entitled, under the provisions of the Privacy Act, to request a PDPS check to see if you have a record on the PDPS. As a private citizen, you must send a notarized letter or “privacy act request” to the NDR requesting a PDPS check.

It is important to note that the NDR is not a comprehensive driver history report. Under PRIA, the hiring carrier is only required to have a PDPS check through a state and is not required to obtain full driver records. Some air carriers may require pilot applicants to provide a full or partial (3-5 year, etc.) driver history report. This process varies for all 50 states but it is recommended you obtain a driver history report or similar in all states in which you’ve held a driver’s license or have been issued a ticket/citation for a moving violation or other serious offense.

FAPA recommends that you disclose all traffic citations on an airline application, even if it does not show up on a NDR/PDPS report and/or a search of state DMV records.

Requests must be made in writing, via notarized letter and mailed to the following address. Requests will NOT be completed over the phone/fax or through email.

To have a search performed on your name (these services are free of charge):

Send a notarized request to:
National Driver Register
1200 New Jersey Avenue
S.E. NVS-422
Washington, D.C. 20590

Include in your request:
Your full legal name

The following are optional*:
State and Driver License Number*
Social Security Number*
Eye Color*

*Optional PII helps to eliminate you from possible matches/probable identifications.

For example, John Doe requests a check of the PDPS. There are 2 other John Doe’s with birthdays in July, in close proximity. This could be a probable match. But John also includes his SSN, which does not match the SSNs of the 3 John Doe listed in PDPS. As a result of this NDR staff will be able to differentiate the requesting John Doe from others.

The NDR itself seldom processes the many requests that originate from PRIA background checks so in lieu of the above, the following procedure is an acceptable alternative to the NDR:

The hiring air carrier may submit a request to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the respective State where the pilot is from (their home State) or the State where their driver’s license was issued.

The hiring air carrier may also instruct their pilot/applicant(s) to obtain their own driving record from the appropriate DMV and either mail it to the prospective air carrier employer or bring it with them to the interview.

This is a departure from the original intent of PRIA but has been approved by the FAA, and as stated before, is an acceptable procedure for the hiring air carrier. This should provide some relief from the air carriers’ workload.


Q: What if my previous carrier has closed, went bankrupt, or otherwise ceased operations?

A: From a pilot’s perspective, very little changes. You are responsible for providing the best available information. You should do your best to find the most accurate/current contact information required for the 8060 forms. If the carrier is unresponsive it would be advisable to contact the hiring carrier and update them on the situation. From their perspective, they only need to show a “good faith” effort that they attempted to contact the former carrier for records. Essentially, if the hiring carrier attempts to contact the former carrier and they don’t receive a response they can include the term “good faith exception” in the pilot’s file and they are legal to hire that pilot. There is slightly more to it than this but it is beyond the scope of this document.

Depending on the situation there may be a trustee appointed to handle record requests. However, the trustee “might not be able or willing to comply with the request and very likely may not even respond to the request at all.”

See FAA InFO 08020 for more information.

Q: Why isn’t there an “A” form (Airman Notice and Right to Receive Copy) for 8060-12 and 8060-13? Do I not have a right to receive a copy of these?

A: For 8060-12 if you checked the “YES” box on 8060-11A you will automatically receive a copy of your 8060-12 records as well as your 8060-11 records.

For 8060-13, the form states “a copy of the records, once received, will be furnished to the applicant if they so desire.” The applicant must specifically request a copy from the hiring company. There is no standard form for this supplied by the FAA or NDR.

Q: What is reported to the FAA?

a) Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) reports and their respective Event Review Committee (ERC) findings: in which cases are ASAP reports PRIA reportable? In which cases are they not?

b) Failed check rides in part 61, 141, 121, 135, and 142 training environments? How do events under Advanced Qualification Program (AQP) apply?

A: ASAP records are NEVER disclosed by any request that is received by AFS-620 under any circumstance. Notices of Disapproval (failed check rides) reside at Airmen Certification, and until the new Pilot Records Database (PRD) has been deployed, are not furnished by a PRIA request.

However, these records may be requested and received via a request to Airmen Certification. At this time, it is vitally important for a pilot/applicant to honestly disclose all failed check rides that may be in their past history. Failure to do so may result in the pilot/applicant being charged with falsification-of-application, which could endanger their future aviation career.

PRIA only reports 4 things: verification of the medical and airman certificates, closed enforcement actions, and revocations. Letters of no action, correction and warning notices are all administrative actions which expunge 24 months after the final action date. Again, they are not reported by PRIA but would be available by a Privacy Act (PA) or a FOIA request. This is why most carriers submit two requests, one for PRIA and another for a PA or a FOIA.

A reliable interview preparation company can help determine what should and should not be disclosed on an application.

Q: Referencing this page on faa.gov:
Does any of this apply without the existence of a PRD?

A: This website was designed for PRIA only, before the existence of the Pilot Records Database (PRD), so it will pertain to PRIA only. For additional information, the pilot/applicant may refer to the current version of the PRIA Advisory Circular: AC120-68G (current at the time of this writing).

Q: What are the benefits of a Certified file (complete airman file)?

A: Even though a Complete Airman File is generally not necessary for the interview process, all professional pilots should have a copy of their complete certification records in case they need to reference a particular action on a certain date. It will also document the flight hours that you had at the time of each particular action. A “Certified File” as listed on 8060-68 is not necessary for pilot hiring related uses. This would generally only be required for other cases, such as use in a court of law.

Q: Are there any other requests a pilot can/should make regarding their records? Is a FOIA request ever a good idea for a pilot applicant?

A: Any person or employing entity may certainly choose the FOIA for their AIE request; however, the FOIA report will be identical to the Privacy Act report mentioned above, the processing time may take longer, and the FOIA system may become overloaded with these requests.

For these reasons, the Privacy Act requests for AIE are favored over FOIA, and was actually designed to retrieve and report airman data from a system of records. Also, since the processed reports are identical, it is unnecessary to request both a PA and a FOIA.

We appreciate your ideas and input. Please email your comments or questions about this article to: support@fapa.aero.

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