By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Under the recently passed Pilot’s Bill of Rights, airmen under investigation by the FAA have the right to request air traffic data such as recordings from control towers and flight service stations, and the FAA said this week it has posted information and links online to facilitate that process. Since air traffic data are stored for only short periods — usually about 5 to 45 days — it’s important for airmen to submit their request “expeditiously,” the FAA said. The FAA website provides details and an email address that airmen can use to make the request.
The FAA notice posted on Tuesday also advises pilots how they should go about asking for the data. “It is important for the individual to provide as much detail as possible regarding the air traffic data being sought,” the FAA said. “Such things about the aircraft operation as the local time of day, the heading of the aircraft, and its altitude will increase the chances that the appropriate data can be located, retrieved, preserved, and transmitted in accordance with the requirements of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights.” The PBR, which became law on Aug. 3, requires the FAA to notify an individual who is the subject of an investigation relating to the approval, denial, suspension, modification or revocation of an airman certificate that he or she is entitled to access or otherwise obtain air traffic data. However, the FAA said it may delay in providing such notification if it is determined that such notification “may threaten the integrity of an investigation.”