Senator Nozzolio Announces Law Requiring Background Checks For Students Attending Flight School

Michael F. Nozzolio

September 11, 2006

Albany – On the fifth anniversary of the tragic September 11th attacks, New York State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio announced legislation he sponsored requiring that flight training schools administer background checks to applicants has been signed into New York State law. Under the new law, flight school applicants must receive approval from the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) prior to being admitted for instruction.

"With this new law we are taking another important step in protecting innocent people from evil terrorists who would do us harm,” said Senator Nozzolio. “On the anniversary of September 11th, this legislation is another reminder of the tragic loss of lives and the brave sacrifices made by so many to protect and save innocent victims.”

The terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11th were carried-out by 19 members of Al-Qaeda who hijacked 4 commercial passenger jet airplanes. After the attacks, it was determined that each team of hijackers contained one member who received flight training in the United States.

The new measure would require that applicants for flight instruction at aeronautical facilities, flight schools or institutions of higher learning authorize a review of their criminal history information by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) as a condition of being admitted to a flight program. The review by DCJS will be conducted using fingerprint data and criminal history information obtained by both the State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

In addition, flight school applicants will be required to receive clearance for flight instruction from the Director of DCJS' before being permitted to receive instruction in a flight program.

In order to protect the privacy of flight school applicants, the law would make it a misdemeanor to willfully permit the release of an applicant's confidential criminal history information to unauthorized individuals or entities.