What’s the FAA looking for in the screening process to disqualify a potential pilot?
Take a look at FAA 61.15 and disqualification mostly relates to criminal activity surrounding drugs or alcohol. And under 61.18 a person may be disqualified if the TSA deems the pilot candidate ineligible and issued a “Final Notification of a Threat Assessment.”
It makes sense that the FAA is concerned about drugs and alcohol and if a person has been marked as a threat by the TSA to decide if a person can have a pilot’s license, BUT should YOU use the same disqualifications to decide to lease out planes or train student pilots?
More than one in four U.S. adults, about 65 million people, have an arrest or conviction on their record. Close to six million Americans, one in 40 adults, have a current or previous felony conviction. Based on the statistics it makes sense the criminal element is seeping into aviation.
A person wanting to commit a crime may enter the aviation world through a friend or acquaintance and because I find the “aviation circle” is still trusting strangers more than most other high risk industries, a criminal can operate unnoticed.
How do we know this is an issue?
Because we screen student pilots and pilots leasing planes!
Here is a short list of some of the crime we have found: federal fugitive wanted for stealing airplane parts, drug trafficking, airplane explosive offenses, airport trespass, vandalism, counterfeiting, and grand larceny. We also had a person convicted of manslaughter.
Thankfully the cases we find are not found often, but I believe relying on the FAA pilot screening disqualification as a screening tool is a huge mistake for security of your aviation business.
With a background check release form and a small applicant fee, you will know when serious offenders are targeting your business. The alternative way to find out about a person with a criminal history may be devastating to your business.