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Pilot record database moves forward

WASHINGTON – A pilot records database – the last unfinished item called for in the sweeping aviation safety law Congress passed after the 2009 crash of Continental Connection 3407 in Clarence – moved a step closer to completion this week.

The Office of Management and Budget, which reviews federal regulations, announced on Tuesday that it had concluded its review of the proposed database. The proposal now goes back to the Federal Aviation Administration, which will hone and publicly release it.

That will open a public comment period and, eventually, the implementation of the database, which is intended to weed out pilots with bad flying records before the commercial airlines hire them. Congress called for the creation of such a database because the pilot of Flight 3407 had a poor track record.

“The captain of Flight 3407 had only 600 hours of flight experience and failed three practical tests known as check rides," noted Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, said on the House floor Wednesday. "Still Continental, and its regional carrier Colgan Air, hired him."

Fifty people died in the crash, prompting legislation boosting pilot training as well as experience and rest requirements.

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