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Fri, Feb 18, 2011

APA Teamsters Local 1224 Members Tapped To Serve On Pilot Records Database ARC

FAA Panel Mandated By Congress Last Year

The FAAs Pilot Records Database Aviation Rule Making Committee (ARC) which held its first meeting on Tuesday includes members of the APA Teamsters Local 1224. As a result the "Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010", Congress mandated the FAA to create numerous Aviation Rulemaking Committees (ARCs) to adequately address and review many aspects of this important aviation legislation. 

One of the many changes outlined in this legislation is a mandate for more transparency and disclosure of flight crewmember records.  The changes mandated by the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010 will require the FAA to maintain an electronic database containing (1) FAA records of airman certificates, ratings, and medical certificates and closed legal enforcements, (2) air carrier and other records pertaining to individual pilot performance to include training records, disciplinary records, and records relating to release from employment, and (3) National Driver Register (NDR) records.

The primary objective of the Pilot Record Database ARC will be to establish best practices for the FAA's electronic pilot records database.   The committee is comprised of two dozen participants from various sectors of the aviation community including flight crewmember unions and associations, airlines, regulators and airline associations. 

"Over the past few years, Local 1224 along with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) has been intimately involved with congressional representatives as they sought counsel from industry experts prior to the implementation of the Airline Safety and FAA Extension Act of 2010," said APA Teamsters Local 1224 President Joe Muckle.  "We have seen first-hand the positive impact professionals can have when they take the time to share their valuable experience.  We are thrilled that several of our members were chosen on behalf of the Teamsters Airline Division and CAPA to participate in these FAA Rule Making Committees.  It is a true testament to our memberships' depth of experience and to our local's reputation."

CAPA was asked to chair the Pilot Records Database ARC.  Upon recommendation, Russ Leighton, APA Teamsters Local 1224 Safety Director and International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division (IBTAD) Safety Coordinator, was selected to chair the ARC on CAPA's behalf. "Russ has an extensive aviation education and notable experience with airline safety issues," said Local 1224 President Joe Muckle. "His relationships with so many airlines make him an ideal candidate to chair any aviation committee."

Leighton, who formerly served as an aircraft accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), has worked closely with CAPA to develop a comprehensive safety strategy for the industry and most recently represented the IBTAD on the FAA's Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee, said, "I am honored to have been selected to chair this committee on behalf of the IBTAD and CAPA. I look forward to facilitating a discussion that will allow the ARC to make the recommendations necessary for the FAA to be able to write the best regulation possible."

APA Teamsters Local 1224 Business Agent John Herron will fill a seat as a member of the committee appointed to the Teamsters Airline Division.

As a pilot, Herron has 6,000 flight hours and is a type-rated B-767 with domestic and international experience. A former pilot for ABX Air, he has 10 years experience as a pilot in airline operations. He earned a law degree from Temple University and currently represents pilots in labor, FAA and TSA matters. "We must ensure individuals retain the ability to be fully aware of what records are on file with the FAA and also have the ability to challenge those records in the event inaccuracies exist," said Herron. "Carriers need to take responsibility for the training they provide and the background checks they perform. We need ensure we cultivate an environment where our check airmen and instructors remain motivated to be good teachers in addition to check airmen."

Additionally, Local 1224 member and USA 3000 Airlines Captain Juliana Haacke will serve as an alternate for Herron. Captain Haacke has been an active Teamster member since 1999. She was a pilot for Horizon from 1999 to 2002 then transitioned to fly for USA 3000 Airlines where she has been since. She was selected for this role because of her meticulous attention to detail and willingness to devote herself to advance causes that impact her fellow crewmembers and the aviation profession.

The APA Teamsters Local 1224 Pilot Records Database ARC representatives are giving their all to the process and ensuring the input they provide is accurate and representative of views of the entire membership. They are developing surveys and proactively reaching out to every member of the Teamsters Airline Division, seeking valid feedback and personal experiences.

A few of the issues which the committee is already considering include: standardization between carriers for obtaining and disclosing records; procedures which provide a crewmember the ability obtain records and, potentially, dispute the accuracy of disclosed information; exceptions for allowing crews to fly before a carrier receives Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) records; and ensuring training instructors and check airman maintain a 'training' focus. The Pilot Records Database ARC is currently scheduled to meet for six weeklong sessions between now and May, and will provide the FAA with their recommendations concerning the development of requirements to meet this new law. The committee will issue a final report to the FAA on or before May 31, 2011. The report will encompass committee key findings and an outline of recommendations.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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