AOPA tells ANN that if
you were involved in an accident or incident that was reported to
or investigated by the FAA, chances are that your personal
identification information, like your pilot certificate number or
name, is still on record with the FAA — and would be
indefinitely if you didn't specifically ask for that information to
But all that is changing now with the FAA's announcement Tuesday
that it has started expunging airmen identification from certain
electronic incident and accident records if the incident or
accident took place more than five years ago.
"AOPA has been a vocal advocate of removing the personal
information from dated records," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director
of regulatory and certification policy. "In 1989, AOPA and other
aviation organizations recommended establishing an expunction
policy, but the FAA hasn't acted until now."
While personally identifying information will be removed, the
case report number, pilot experience, description of the event, and
aircraft type and N number will not be removed. The FAA uses this
information to conduct statistical research and research the
accident history of an aircraft.
Even though the records can be accessed only by FAA personnel at
the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters or field and regional
offices, or by aviation safety inspectors, they are considered
basic qualification information and can be released to the
"Don't dismiss the idea that your personal information might not
be in the FAA's accident/incident database. Even incidents such as
temporary flight restriction (TFR) and air defense identification
zone (ADIZ) violations are included," Gutierrez said.
"And remember, even after your personal information is expunged,
you still must report that you have had an accident or incident if
asked on an insurance or job application."