Understanding FAA PRIA Records – by Swayne Martin

Understanding FAA PRIA Records – by Swayne Martin

When you’re going through flight school or thinking about applying to the airlines, you’ll start to hear the word PRIA thrown around a lot. It stands for the FAA’s Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996. It’s a way for the FAA and employers to track records relating to pilot qualifications, experience, performance, drug and alcohol testing, and your driving record. These records are a lot more basic than rumors you may have heard, so don’t be worried that your day to day performance during training or at work is somehow being tracked by PRIA. When you apply for an airline job, you’ll have to fill out a lot of PRIA paperwork that releases your employer to do an FAA background check.

You can find your PRIA records through the FAA’s pilot database records website, or FAA PDR. It’s a good idea to check these records every now and then to make sure your information is being reported accurately. There are three categories of records: FAA records, records from previous employers, and records from the National Driver’s Register. 

First, FAA records cover three things and three things only. Your current airman certificate with type ratings and limitations, your airman medical certificate with any limitations, and summaries of any FAA legal enforcement actions including certificate suspensions, civil penalties, and certificate revocations. The FAA does NOT automatically report check-ride failures without a freedom of information request from a 3rd party. This information can only be released to future employers with your signed consent as the pilot. Again, check-ride failure documentation is not an automatic or standard part of PRIA reporting, but it can be reviewed by future employers who request your consent to see it.

Next up is records from your previous employers. They enter information regarding your performance as a pilot, discipline, drug and alcohol testing records, and your release from employment information. Performance as a pilot seems pretty broad, and it is. This can include your performance following procedures and flight safety on the ground during preflight or post-flight, and of course while operating the airplane itself. Training and checking events are recorded too. Discipline includes anything that brings into question your aeronautical competency. It does not include non-flying concerns like attendance, dress code, morality, or disputes with other employees. Drug and alcohol testing records will be included too, with numerous requirements to submit records for failed or refused testing. Finally, how you were released from employment is one of the most important parts of PRIA records. These include each action taken concerning your release from employment, in addition to the physical or professional disqualification of a flight crewmember. Your previous employer has a checkbox to say whether you were eligible for rehire with a few lines to explain why.

The third and final set of PRIA records come from the National Driver Register, or NDR. Records provided include the status of your current driver’s license, and a simple negative or positive report. If your records are marked as negative, you have a clean record. If you’re flagged with a positive record, the requesting party must then submit an NDR request to that state for information about your driving history. PRIA driving records marked positive only include the suspension or revocation of driver’s license within 5 years and any DUI conviction within 5 years. 

That’s it. Once you get a new job, the hardest part of PRIA is just filling out the paperwork. PRIA records are fairly straightforward, so don’t stress over them.