1. The Laws of New York
  2. Consolidated Laws
  3. General Business
  4. Article 14: Aircraft


Section 251-B Flight school background checks

General Business (GBS)

1. For the purposes of this section:

  "Criminal history information" shall mean a record of all convictions of crimes maintained on an individual by the division of criminal justice services pursuant to paragraph (c) of subdivision four of section eight hundred thirty-seven of the executive law.

  2. (a) Any aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning offering air or flight instruction shall require an applicant for such instruction to provide criminal history information, as required in this section, to the division of criminal justice services.

  (b) An aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall request and is authorized to receive from the division of criminal justice services criminal history information concerning each new and prospective applicant for flight instruction, and to consider such information in accordance with article twenty-three-A of the correction law, subject to the following restrictions:

  (i) an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall designate one person in its employ who shall be authorized to request, receive and review criminal history information, and only such person and the new or prospective applicant to which the criminal history information relates shall have access to such information; provided, however, that criminal history information may be disclosed to other personnel authorized by the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning who are empowered by such aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning to make decisions concerning new or prospective applicants and provided further that such other personnel shall also be subject to the confidentiality requirements and all other provisions of this section. An aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall notify the division of criminal justice services of each person authorized to have access to criminal history information pursuant to this section. The division of criminal justice services is authorized to exchange fingerprint data and criminal background information with and receive criminal history record background information from the federal bureau of investigation for use in performing background checks;

  (ii) an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning requesting criminal history information pursuant to this section shall do so by completing a form developed for such purpose by the division of criminal justice services. Such form shall include a sworn statement of the person designated by the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning to request, receive and review criminal history information pursuant to subparagraph (i) of this paragraph certifying that (1) the person whose criminal history information is requested is not presently enrolled but has applied to be a flight student; (2) such criminal history information will be used by the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning solely for purposes authorized by this section; and (3) the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning and its staff are aware of and will abide by the confidentiality requirements and all other provisions of this section; and

  (iii) the person designated by an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning for receipt of criminal history information pursuant to subparagraph (i) of this paragraph shall upon receipt immediately mark such criminal history information "confidential", and shall at all times maintain such criminal history information in a secure place. Any person who willfully permits the release of any confidential criminal history information contained in the report to persons not permitted by this section to receive such information shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Any unauthorized disclosure of fingerprints or criminal history information obtained by an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning pursuant to this section shall also entitle the subject of such fingerprints or criminal history information to recover from the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning a civil award of damages resulting from such unauthorized disclosure, together with costs and reasonable attorney's fees.

  3. To the extent permitted by law, an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning may request from a new or prospective flight student a statement of his or her prior criminal convictions in this state or any other jurisdiction. Prior to requesting criminal history information concerning any new or prospective flight student, each aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall:

  (a) inform the new or prospective flight student in writing that the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning is required to request his or her criminal history information from the division of criminal justice services and review such information pursuant to this section;

  (b) inform the new or prospective flight student that before the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning requests such criminal history information, the new or prospective flight student has the right to obtain, review and seek correction of his or her criminal history information pursuant to regulations and procedures established by the division of criminal justice services;

  (c) obtain the signed informed consent of the new or prospective flight student on a form supplied by the division of criminal justice services which indicates that such person has:

  (i) been informed of the right and procedures necessary to obtain, review and seek correction of his or her criminal history information;

  (ii) been informed of the reason for the request for his or her criminal history information;

  (iii) consented to such request; and

  (d) upon receiving such written consent, obtain the fingerprints of such new or prospective flight student pursuant to regulations established by the division of criminal justice services.

  4. A new or prospective flight student may withdraw from the application process, without prejudice, at any time regardless of whether or not he or she has reviewed his or her criminal history information or the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning has received criminal history information. Where a new or prospective flight student withdraws from the application process, any fingerprints and criminal history information concerning such new or prospective flight student received by the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall, within ninety days, be returned to such new or prospective flight student by the person designated for receipt of criminal history information pursuant to paragraph (b) of subdivision two of this section.

  5. In all cases the fingerprints and criminal history information concerning a new or prospective flight student shall be returned after ninety days to such person by the person designated for receipt of criminal history information upon the denial of an application for enrollment or instruction at such aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning.

  6. Within fifteen business days after receiving a request for criminal history information pursuant to this section, the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services shall review such criminal history information and, in accordance with article twenty-three-A of the correction law, determine whether clearance for such instruction shall be granted or denied. Such commissioner shall promptly notify the new or prospective student and the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher education of his or her determination in this regard.

  7. If such clearance is granted, the division of criminal justice services shall promptly provide requested criminal history information and return fingerprints to the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning.

  8. No applicant shall be permitted to receive air or flight instruction from an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning unless the division of criminal justice services provides written notification to the chief administrative officer of the aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning of the commissioner of the division of criminal justice services' determination that the applicant may receive such instruction.

  9. The commissioner of the division of criminal justice services shall promulgate all rules and regulations necessary to implement the provisions of this section, which shall include convenient procedures for new and prospective flight students to promptly verify the accuracy of their criminal history information and, to the extent authorized by law, to have access to relevant documents related thereto.

  10. No cause of action for damages against an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning shall exist when an aeronautical facility, flight school or institution of higher learning has reasonably and in good faith relied upon the accuracy and completeness of a criminal history report furnished pursuant to this section.