WASHINGTON - Senators urged the Federal Aviation Administration yesterday to implement a 2005 recommendation that airlines be required to check the training histories of pilots they hire, an issue in the deadly Feb. 12 plane crash near Buffalo.
Mark Rosenker, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told a Senate committee probing safety issues related to FAA oversight of regional airlines that the board urged three years ago that airlines be required to request a pilot's complete training history from the agency.
The FAA has declined to make the recommendation mandatory, choosing instead to tell air carriers they will provide training records if pilots sign a privacy waiver. The FAA administers the flight checks that pilots must pass to qualify to fly commercial jets.
Officials for Colgan Air Inc. have acknowledged they did not seek the training history of pilot Marvin Renslow when they hired him. Renslow, captain of the Colgan-operated Continental Express Flight 3407, did not disclose to Colgan that he had previously failed several tests of his piloting skills.
Renslow and all 48 others aboard Flight 3407, plus a man on the ground, were killed in the Feb. 12 crash.
Rosenker told the Commerce, Science and Transportation aviation subcommittee that the FAA had also failed to implement hundreds of other NTSB recommendations.
FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said that sometimes the safety board would urge steps or equipment for which the technology doesn't exist. Other times, he said, the FAA disagrees with board conclusions.