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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-093
Details
Synopsis: The use of over-the-counter (OTC), prescription, and illicit drugs is increasing in the US population. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is concerned about the possible safety implications of increased drug use in all modes of transportation. Yet, in most modes of transportation, data about drug use by vehicle operators is limited to a small proportion of operators and a short list of drugs. Aviation is the one mode in which the regulatory authority, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), routinely conducts extensive postaccident toxicology testing on fatally injured pilots. This study used the results from this testing to assess drug use in aviation. By assessing evidence of fatally injured pilots’ drug use prior to flying and the associated potential for impairment, this study addressed a serious aviation safety issue and a growing transportation safety concern.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require pilots who are exempt from medical certification requirements to periodically report to you their status as an active pilot and to provide a summary of recent flight hours.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA14SS003
Accident Reports:
Report #: SS-14-01
Accident Date: 2/11/2014
Issue Date: 9/23/2014
Date Closed: 7/17/2018
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 7/17/2018
Response: We issued this recommendation based on our conclusion that, because you do not collect information about pilots flying without a medical certificate, the accident risk they pose cannot be accurately determined. In your August 25, 2017, letter, you said that after reviewing this issue and the changes you had made to encourage voluntary reporting of flight activity levels, you did not plan to implement a separate reporting requirement for pilots who are exempt from the medical certification requirements, and that you considered your actions to satisfy this recommendation to be complete. When we replied on October 26, 2017, we asked that, before we closed the recommendation, you provide us with any analysis or basis that you had for concluding that your voluntary alternatives provide the same, or substantially similar, action to what we recommended. This information would allow us to determine if your actions were an acceptable alternative. Mr. Gottlieb summarized information that you previously sent describing your actions, reiterated your belief that you have effectively addressed this safety recommendation, and restated that you would not take any further action. However, Mr. Gottlieb’s letter did not contain any of the information that we requested, despite that we previously said that your actions to address the recommendation were not an acceptable alternative. Consequently, Safety Recommendation A 14-93 is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/13/2018
Response: -From Steven J. Gottlieb, Aviation Safety, Acting Executive Director, Office of Accident Investigation and Prevention: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reconsidered its response and reiterates its position regarding mandatory reporting requirements for pilots exempt from medical certification. On July 15, 2016, Congress passed the FAA Extension, Safety and Security Act of2016 (FESSA), implemented by the FAA on May 1, 2017 as BasicMed. This legislation included relief from holding a FAA medical certificate for certain pilots but did not include any provisions for airman activity reporting. The statutory language in FESSA was adopted by the FAA in BasicMed without interpretation or public comment, thus preventing the agency from adding any additional reporting requirements. Furthermore, the reporting of flight hours by pilots has never been a mandatory requirement on the FAA medical application. The FAA believes that the voluntary reporting of flight hours is sufficient, and any further mandate will not provide an added safety benefit. Pilots currently have an option for the voluntary reporting of flight hours. FAA Form 8710-1 can be used by pilots after completing a flight review or an instrument proficiency check (IPC). In addition, Advisory Circular (AC) 6 l-98C, Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check, was revised and published November 20, 2015. AC 6 l-98C includes the following guidance: When a pilot satisfactorily completes a flight review or IPC, the applicant should provide, and the evaluating CFI should submit, a completed Form 8710-1 to the Airmen Certification Branch (AFS-760). The FAA does not require Form 8710-1 for a pilot's flight review or IPC; however, the FAA strongly encourages all applicants and CFIs to follow this recommendation. An airman certificate application updates a pilot's FAA record. Pilots should ensure that their data is current because up-to-date records benefit everyone. For example, a pilot's total flight time and aeronautical experience determines insurance premiums. If a pilot loses his or her logbook, an FAA record is on file and available. Nevertheless, submitting Form 8710-1 for a flight review or IPC is optional. Additionally, the FAA amended the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) to also allow optional documentation of flight reviews and IPCs. IACRA provides the option to select "Flight Review" or "Instrument Proficiency Check" separately or allow for both to be selected. As of May I, 2017, the Civil A via ti on Registry provides information on flight hours reported by airmen.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 10/26/2017
Response: We issued this recommendation based on our conclusion that the accident risk for pilots flying without a medical certificate cannot be accurately determined because you do not collect information about them. In your December 1, 2014, letter about this recommendation, you said that you were moving away from using the medical certification process to gather data about pilot activity, even though you agreed such information is valuable. You described planned and recently completed revisions to other FAA activities as alternatives for collecting information about pilot activity levels, including the following: 1. Amendments to FAA Form 8710-1, “Airman Certification and/or Rating Application,” that allow it to be used to record pilot flight activity hours when a pilot completes a flight review. 2. Revisions to Advisory Circular AC 61-65, “Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors,” to recommend that flight instructors encourage pilots receiving a flight review to submit a completed FAA Form 8710-1. 3. Revisions to the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey to emphasize the survey questionnaire on pilot hours, including specifics on the type of pilot operations. When we replied on February 3, 2015, we said that these actions were not an acceptable alternative to the recommended action unless they could ensure all the active pilots who are exempt from medical certification requirements would be covered. We pointed out that the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey collects information about aircraft, not pilots, and that FAA Form 8710-1 is required only for new certifications or ratings. Simply encouraging a pilot at a flight review to file one of these documents voluntarily did not meet the intent of the recommendation. Accordingly, we asked that you reconsider your response. Your current letter said that, based on your review of this issue and the changes discussed above, you do not plan to implement a separate reporting requirement for pilots who are exempt from the medical certification requirements, and that you consider your actions complete. Before we close this recommendation, please provide us with any analysis or basis that you have for concluding that your alternatives provide the same, or substantially similar, action that we recommend, and we will reconsider our previous determination that your actions were not an acceptable alternative. Pending information showing that your alternative actions provide reliable information on the number of active pilots who are exempt from medical certification requirements and their recent flight activity levels, Safety Recommendation A-14-93 remains classified OPEN--UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/25/2017
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: On July 15, 2016, Congress passed the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (FESSA), implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on May 1, 2017, as BasicMed. This legislation included relief from holding a FAA medical certificate for certain pi lots but did not include any provisions for airman activity reporting. The statutory language in FESSA was adopted by the FAA in BasicMed without interpretation or public comment, thus preventing the Agency from adding any additional reporting requirements. Furthermore, the reporting of flight hours by pilots has never been a mandatory requirement on the FAA medical application. The FAA believes that the voluntary reporting of flight hours is sufficient, and any further mandate will not provide an added safety benefit. FAA Form 87 10- I remains an option for all pilots to complete after a flight review or an instrument proficiency check. Advisory Circular (AC) 6 l-98C, Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check, was revised and published on November 20, 2015. AC 6 l-98C includes the following guidance: When a pilot satisfactorily completes a flight review or IPC, the applicant should provide, and the evaluating CFI should submit, a completed Form 8710-1 to the Airmen Certification Branch (AFS-760). The FAA does not require Form 8710-1 for a pilot's flight review or IPC; however, the FAA strongly encourages all applicants and CFIs to follow this recommendation. An airman certificate application updates a pilot's FAA record. Pilots should ensure that their data is current because up-to-date records benefit everyone. For example, a pilot's total flight time and aeronautical experience determines insurance premiums. If a pilot loses his or her logbook, an FAA record is on file and available. Nevertheless, submitting Form 8710-1 for a flight review or IPC is optional. Additionally, the FAA has amended the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) to also allow optional documentation of flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks. IACRA will have the option to select ·' Flight Review" or "Instrument Proficiency Check' ' separately or allow for both to be selected. After that time, the Civil Aviation Registry will be able to provide information on flight hours reported by airmen. This change is currently effective in the software as of May 2017. Based on our review of this issue and the changes noted above, we do not plan to implement a separate reporting requirement for pilots who are exempt from the medical certification requirements. l believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/3/2015
Response: Although our study found an association between fatally injured pilots flying without a medical certificate and increased evidence of such pilots using drugs with impairing effects, we found no corresponding increase in the proportion of accidents in which impairment had contributed to the accident. We concluded that the accident risk for pilots flying without a medical certificate cannot be accurately determined because the FAA does not collect information about the number of these pilots or their flight activity. We issued this recommendation because you would need to require pilots without a medical certificate to periodically identify themselves as active pilots and report a summary of recent flight hours before you would be able to accurately assess their associated accident risk. We note that, although you agree there is value in gathering data to determine pilot activity, you are moving away from using the medical certification process to collect this information. In your letter, you summarized revisions you have made to other FAA activities that you designed as alternatives to collecting pilot activity levels. These revisions include amendments made to FAA Form 8710-1, “Airman Certification and/or Rating Application,” that allow the form to be used to record pilot flight activity hours when a pilot completes a required flight review. You also plan to revise Advisory Circular 61-65, “Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors” to recommend that flight instructors encourage pilots receiving a flight review to submit a completed FAA Form 8710-1. Finally, you plan to revise your General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey to include a new emphasis in the survey questionnaire on pilot hours, including specifics on the type of pilot operations. We disagree that the combination of new information from FAA Form 8710-1 and the General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey constitutes an acceptable alternative to the actions we recommended. Safety Recommendation A-14-93 specifies that, in order for pilots to make use of the medical exemption, they must identify themselves as doing so and provide their flight hours. If an alternative can ensure 100% coverage of active pilots who are exempt from medical certification requirements, your plan might constitute an acceptable alternative; however, we do not believe it can do so. The General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey collects information about aircraft, not pilots, and FAA Form 8710-1 is required only for new certifications or ratings. Simply encouraging a pilot at a flight review to file one of these documents voluntarily does not meet the intent of the recommendation. Accordingly, we ask that you reconsider your response. Pending such consideration and completion of the recommended action, Safety Recommendation A-14-93 is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 12/1/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: While the FAA agrees there is value in gathering data to determine pilot activity. We are moving away from using the medical process as a method to collect this pi lot information. The FAA recently published amendments to FAA Form 8710-1, Airman Certification and/or Rating Application. These amendments allow the form to be used to record pilot hours when pilots complete a flight review as required by Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations § 61.56 or an instrument proficiency check described in§ 61.57. This form applies to all pilots regardless of the medical requirement. The FAA also plans to issue a revision to Advisory Circular (A C) 61-65, Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors. The revisions would recommend that flight instructors encourage pilots receiving a flight review required by § 61.56, or an instrument proficiency check described in § 61.57, to submit a completed FAA Form 8710-1 to the FAA. The FAA also plans to make changes to its annual General Aviation and Part 135 Activity Survey. The changes would include new emphasis in the survey questionnaire on pilot hours, including specifics on the type of pilot operations (e.g., sport pilot, commercial pilot). We believe the combination of new information from FAA Form 8710-1 and the General Aviation survey would improve statistical data quality allowing us to better assess accident risk.