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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 11, 2009 7:00am-7:30am EDT

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him the 10th pick in the draft and grady sizemore will hav >> coming up on espnews, it's not a rivalry if one team keeps winning. so far this year it's been a one-sided affair between the red sox and yankees. new york city is one of the most expensive places to live. why mark sanchez won't have any trouble buying a new home -- or two. and kobe bryant is the best closer in the nba. how he and the lakers have left the door wide open for dwight howard and the magic. captioning by captionmax ♪ >> we are keeping you ♪ ♪ >> we are keeping you current with the latest news, scores and highlights, this is espnews available in high definition,
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along with j.w. stewart, mike yam with you, and sports fans love streaks but the yankees not a fan of this one. >> yammer, dating back to last year, the red sox have beaten the yankees seven in a row, tied for their second longest win streak against their archrivals. johnny damon says, "hopefully, we'll beat them sometime soon." bottom two, dustin pedroia off chien-ming wang, nick swisher giving chase, but it's into the seats for a ground-rule double. george kotteras scores. red sox up 3-1. seventh, mark teixeira, after johnny damon homered the yanks go back-to-back, tex's a.l. leading 19th of the year. yanks within one. top nine. jonathan papelbon on to close it out. yanks have the tying run on second. jorge posada to left. a >> the w.t.p., kids, "warning track power." red sox lead the a.l. east by one game, chien-ming wang gets the loss.
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his 21.61 e.r.a. is the highest in major league history for any starter through his first five starts of a season. this is chilling, chilling to everyone. and if you have had a loved one on that plane, it's beyond chilling. it's unforgivable it seems to me. so i want to get to a letter that senator snowe and i sent to secretary lahood. and we said some tough things, mr. babbitt, and i want you tell me if you think we were too serious. they talked to carriers about duty time, that's a direct quote, talk about carriers on b-about duty time and this is about this flight and pilot fatigue. the faa must become a proactive agency and nearly talking
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doesn't fulfill the primary mission to ensure the safety of the flying public. we can no longer afford to act after it is discovered that inspectors are overly friendly with the airlines they oversee. and we cannot continue to wait until another tragedy occurs before we implement training requirements much less simply enforcing existing regulations. so -- i mean, that's a tough charge. we are suggesting that there's too much coziness between the faa and the airlines that they regulate. could you respond to that. >> yes, senator boxer. as i mentioned, i'm not sure if you were in here. i was part of the internal review team that was set up by the department of transportation under secretary peters. and we looked into this very charge. there was a question in both the american airlines case southwest case that the relationship had something to do. we certainly have reported a number of things in that report and findings and as i stated in
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this hearing, and in that report, we'll follow-up on that. >> but i'm not asking you specifically about this, really. it is in the context of the crash. but it's in the institutional relationships here. it's in the culture and we need to hear that that culture must change. so talk to me about how you feel about this 'cause you are -- you've been around -- my god, you went into these aircraft and you had the passengers safety on your back. >> sure. >> if anybody can change the culture over there, it's you but can you tell me, are you doing anything to change the culture? >> we're certainly trying. i've only been there -- >> i know. >> my tenure on my watch. >> i know. >> but, yes -- >> but i'm asking for a commitment that you will look into this charge that we made olympia and i and get back to us and what -- and be honest like the ntsb is honest. don't cover up anything 'cause i'll tell you, you've got too
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much responsibility on your hands. and we want to help you. that's the purpose of this. this isn't an inquisition here. we don't want to be back here on another day about another crash. thank you. >> thank you, senator klobuchar? >> thank you so much, chairman dorgan, for chairing this and to our witnesses, many of whom, mr. rosenker and i worked extensively on the 35w bridge collapse and mr. scoval, thank you. i was ironically working at the beginning of this hearing having to get a speech done in honor of paul wellstone he and his wife are getting a big award from a mental health association and i had crossed off about the part of their tragic plane accident. as i sat here then listening i flipped over to what we were doing here thinking about that their plane went down. it was a private plane because of icy conditions as well as pilot issues that were not
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dissimilar to this with training and things like that. so it hit home to me. my colleagues have done a great job of asking some good questions in the areas of fatigue and icing and other things so i thought i would follow-up with some of these ideas i'm trying to get at with the clear problem with the issues and training issues with these pilots. and one of the things that i thought about a lot was that the regional carriers and senator dorgan are both in states where we have a lot of regional flights and they fly short flights to airports. and this means regional pilots unlike their counterparts at the large carriers are more likely to fly many short flights; is that right, administrator babbitt? >> yes, it is. >> and so instead of doing one long flight they're doing a budget of short flights sometimes and i would think that that could mean that they are more prone to fatigue and stress. that it's more difficult? >> that's correct. one of the things that we're looking into -- it's been a challenge of mine.
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i stated it in my confirmation hearing that we want take a look at flight time and duty time. there's different types of being on duty 12 our 14 hours. there's a nontop flight from nor rita to detroit and the flight leaving the state of michigan. those are dramatically different environments. we have science. we have knowledge >> and so you're looking at potentially changing the regulations on rest requirements to reflect these different flying experiences; would that be a fair thing. >> yes >> is that something you have recommended it before. >> we have recommended that and we want to close a loophole which enables a pilot to continue to fly his eight hours, for example, which is the legal amount during the day and then continue on in a part 91 or a ferry and there's no passenger in a character which they move it to a maintenance site. we believe that needs to be changed >> all right. then the second thing i was thinking about from just commonsense is that the pilots
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for the regional carriers are flying these shorter distances and they are flying at lower t altitudes it seems harder when you're down close; is that right. >> certainly you're exposed to more convective weather although i would note almost humorously every airplane i flew i got one that would clear all the weather and i never indigent one that would. >> you'd have an argument because they're on these shorter flights and they might be more -- deal with this worse weather i'm just thinking it again goes to the training requirements that they may have to deal more often with more difficult situations if they're doing multiple flights that are at lower altitudes. >> that's absolutely true and the focus of shooting a very tight instrument approach -- if you're going to shoot an approach down to 200 foot minimums or something like that,
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there's a lot of focus in the cockpit and if you're going to do that six or eight times in a duty period, in an eight-hour flying period that's considerably more fatiguing than just making two or three flights and flying three-hour legs. what is the right way to do this and it's been an open question for way too long. i made a challenge and a commitment and we will follow up on it. >> okay. and the other thing i was reading up on this and with the second the copilot which was an issue in the private plane that flew, paul wellstone, the inexperience of the second pilot and in this case, on this regional airline, the first officer told the pilot, i've never seen icing conditions. i've never de-iced. i've never experienced any of that. copilots or first officers basically can be an apprentice position on regional flights and that the pilots only view these
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positions as short time assignments, a stepping stone for a job with a major carrier. if this is looked at -- with regional airlines with that number two position as something of a farm system for them to get to the major leagues, does that present some training challenges as well? >> well, i think it raises a good question for us to take a look hat that's the difference in training, qualitative versus quantitative. there have been suggestions that maybe we should require more hours. my suggestion would be we should perhaps look at the quality of the training that people are getting. to have 1500 hours, again, if that's, you know, flying in the sack command, you know, 20-hour legs at a time that's not a lot of experience with takeoffs and landings. someone else with high quality training and much less time could, in fact, be a better-trained pilot and that's one of the things we're going to try to glean from bringing this industry group to look at training and do we make a
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distinction. should we make a distinction for the quality of training that people would be exposed as based on an arbitrary amount of flying training time. and that's an arbitrary question. >> administrator babbitt is right on target. it's not about high number of hours. we have investigated, unfortunately, a number of accidents where we have seen 15,000-hour pilots make mistakes. the question again is, is it quality? is it a performance standard base and are we getting the best people we possibly can into this career so that they can do this safely and efficiently? >> okay. >> in want to refer again the committee to that report. the interesting part of that report it was stimulated by this committee. it does address all of these issues we're talking about. the panel was staffed by experts from the field, training,
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operating and so all of these issues have been addressed, specific recommendations were made that apply to the ntsb, the d.o.t., the faa, the industry in general and to congress. >> all right. >> senator, i will note again that the committee has asked my office to investigate these matters, training will be the first phase of our ongoing review. >> i really appreciate that and i also another time administrator babbitt senator snowe and i have a bill looking at the inspections and the relationship with the faa that we hope to be included in the reauthorization and we can talk about that and the cooling-off periods at another time. thank you. >> thank you. >> senator klobuchar, thank you very much. senator thune? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, gentlemen, for appearing before us today. i just have -- i want to follow up with mr. rosenker if i can. in your testimony regarding the
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background of the pilot of the flight, you noted the captain had a multiple faa check disapprovals before his employment. he had not initially pass tests for the flight rating in 1991, the commercial pilot certificate, may of 2002 and the multiengine certificate in april 2004. in each case, with additional training, the captain subsequently passed the flight test and was issued the rating or the certificate. now, recognizing, you know, not every pilot is going to pass various flight tests on the first attempt, my question is, what is the general pass/fail percentage when it comes to instrument flight ratings, commercial pilot certificates and multiengine certificates? >> i can't give you the specific metrics. perhaps the administrator would have a better idea to that. before i turn it over to the administrator, if that's okay with you, senator.
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theier themselves should have the ability when they are comparing new hires and candidates to say, here is somebody who seems to demonstrate less than adequate proficiency over a period of time and here is another candidate that seems to be demonstrating much better proficiency, that's the individual i want to have in my airline. as i indicated earlier in my testimony, we believe that some changes could do much to improve that situation. i'll give you the metrics, administrator babbitt. >> thank you. yes, sir. as a rule of thumb, you know, the carrier, the inspector, the principal operation inspector would be reviewing the training that's ongoing in an airline. if he begins to see a failure rate in the 80%, you know -- that got worse than 80% success, he would be talking to that carrier about revisions to their
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training process. so that's just a kind of a rule of thumb. just a written test. that means, you know, if they're getting 75s they're passing but something is wrong because they're not getting the training. we need to reevaluate the training at that particular carrier and they need to reevaluate their training curriculum. >> what is that -- do you have a percentage pass/fail percentage on each of those tests? >> no, the carriers, each p.o.i. it's much higher than that. the pass percentage is much higher than that. but that would -- that would set off an alarm. an inspector would say, this is not acceptable. if we're not -- if the majority of your pilots, you know, reflecting this in their testing, then your instruction technique is lacking. and let's reevaluate it. you're not getting it to them. it's either not being presented to them properly. you know, there's something wrong. the format, the training techniques -- something would be
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wrong and it would be reevaluated. again, i can tell you that in reality if you go out -- if inspector general, you know, did an audit i think you'd find and i think he will find that that those training numbers are considerably higher. i think it's worth noting too there's probably no profession out there that gets tested more than airline pilots. a typical captain will take two physicals a year. he's going to three check rides. he's going to take one to test his proficiency and he'll have a random blind check that will show up with him unannounced. this is a lot of testing that goes on. of the first officer has one physical and one check. and an occasional line check. they're being rel scrutinized with their professional standards and feedback mechanisms. >> senator, if i may just for a moment. mr. babbitt has referred to his
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service on the independent review team under then-secretary peters. one of the findings of the team was that there was unambiguous commitment to the core mission of safety on the part of faa safety staff and that has been my experience as well since the time i've been ig and observing faa in action. a follow-on observation of the team, however, was that there was, quote, a remarkable degree of variation and regulatory ideologies among field office staff which could result in wide variances and possible errors in regulatory decision-making. in fact, there's no faa standard referring to training failures that you described. mr. babbitt, of course, is correct when he says faa inspectors have a wide degree of latitude. they're expected to exercise significant judgment and discretion so we will find from office to office inspector to inspector, carrier to carrier
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significant variations. the next phase of my office's review will explore those facts in more detail. >> is it -- my understanding, though, and you talked about -- mr. rosenker, about possible amendments to pria that pria does not require an airline to retain faa records of failed flight checks. and that -- the faa does allow airlines the ability to have pilots sign a privacy waiver so that this information can be shared with prospective employers but the faa has said such a process can be time-consuming and controversial and so i'm curious to know -- it seems to me at least bad info being shared from a carrier to another employer would be a practical consideration and something that i wouldn't think would be overly time-consuming and controversial. >> no, sir. i wouldn't disagree with you at
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all. the pilot records act allows and, in fact, requires that the hiring carrier do the look-back. i think what this instance and these cases are shining a pretty bright light on is there is a gap to my knowledge and i will, you know, stand corrected and provide you the correction if i'm wrong. but i believe we have an advisory circular that suggests the carrier should ask for the pilot' faa records. the pilot does because of privacy act restrictions the pilot would have to ask a waiver. and if i ask you to give me a waiver so that i could look at your faa certificate actions of the past and your training and you denied it, i think it would raise my eyebrows. >> yeah. well, it seems to me, mr. chairman, that may be one part of proposals to reform that statute that would make sense. thank you. thank you all very much. >> senator thune.
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thank you very much. we did talk about that a bit earlier. we have to propose some legislation that it fixes that. but let me ask mr. babbitt, if -- if, in fact, the recommendation had been made -- now, you weren't there but the ntsb had made the recommendation to the faa, what, two years ago? >> the recommendation was actually made a number of years ago. but an advisory circular came out, to their credit, which suggested that this can be done by having the waiver signed. we would like to see it -- >> well, i understand that. you can go get a signature on a waiver form but you had recommended i believe that the faa do a rule-making and proceed to allow an easy access to the complete records of the pilot just as they have easy access to the complete records of the airplane. now, i guess, mr. babbitt, based on your knowledge of the culture
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of the faa, why a couple of years after this recommendation was made would the faa not initiated a rule-making? >> to be honest with you, i can't answer that. i don't know why they didn't. i'll certainly look into it. and i'll certainly get the information back to you. >> i mean, of all the issues here, the one that is just filled with commonsense is, you ought to know the same about the pilot that you know about the plane. >> uh-huh. >> the record from the day the guy -- the person started flying and yet we don't. and it is not as if we don't know that doesn't exist. the ntsb says it doesn't and we should make it accessible to the airlines. the captain, as you know, had failed -- or had flight crew disapprovals of the private pilot check right i assume it is. the commercial multiengine, atb sub 340 and the first officer
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flight instruction -- those must be the five failures but the point is that commuter airline that hired this captain did not know this information. they have indicated to us they did not -- they were not aware of this. the other question is, mr. rosenker, you've stressed several times today that the investigation is not complete. i understand that. but having read a lot of what the ntsb has done and learned, it's pretty impressive to me what is there that you have to yet have to learn. at this stage of the investigation, it appears to me you're well down the road. so what -- what remains that you expect to learn? >> senator, mr. chairman, we actually only yesterday, would get in the simulator, to fly those same patterns, those same
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actions to understand more about the human performance factor and the aircraft performance factor and there's analysis that's going on at this moment. we literally sent a crew to that simulator to enable us to understand more of what happened in that cockpit. so there is a good deal of analysis which still must be done if we're going to cross every t and dot every i and that's what we do in our investigations. >> why are you only able to get in a simulator in june? >> it's the kind of -- one, we just finished a public hearing on this. we go through a process which, in fact, takes us to various stages of an investigation. >> i see. >> so in this particular time it's when we could put everything that we had learned from our public hearing into what we needed to do and test in the simulator. >> mr. scovel, you mentioned something, i think, that is
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likely not related to this particular issue but may well be related, certainly is perhaps related to safety and that is the issue of outsourcing maintenance. tell me again your testimony about that and your judgment about it and the reason i ask the question you suggested that the evidence is that there is a greater outsourcing of maintenance among commuters than the major carriers, although what i have -- what i have understood about major carriers that an increasing a. of their maintenance is now outsourced. >> you're correct, mr. chairman. major carriers are outsourcing an increasing amount of all of their maintenance whereas formerly they did it inhouse and now they are looking at it for major contract providers. our research shows that up to 50% of maintenance needed by regional carriers is now being outsourced. my office has examined outsource
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maintenance in 2003/2005/2008. a key finding of ours is that the new risk-based safety oversight system for repair stations initiated by faa in front 2005 is currently ineffective in our judgment due primarily to the fact that faa has not yet got a handle off exactly what type of maintenance, how much maintenance, and where it's being conducted, when it's being outsourced. and until it gathers that data and is able to feed it into this risk-based system, it won't be able to assign its inspector resources where it's needed. >> mr. scovel i wrote described -- one of the carriers i should say in which they would fly an empty airbus from the u.s. to el salvador to do the maintenance and then fly it back
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after it did the maintenance. can you tell me what the equivalent standards are or if the standards are equivalent in terms of the faa's ability to inspect a maintenance station in el salvador, for example, versus outsourcing or contracting maintenance in detroit or chicago? >> there are a number of factors that go into faa's inspection of repair stations wherever they're located, sir, whether in the united states or overseas. if it's a certificated repair station, faa has much wider latitude in order to go in and inspect. if it's noncertificated, companies may still use it. faa may still inspect but it won't be by inspectors dedicated to the inspection of that facility. rather, it will be by inspectors who are following airlines' use of that facility and they'll follow the aircraft into the repair facility in order to do their inspections as well.
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it results in a more tenuous inspection trail if you will sir. the conclusion of my office has been really the key point is not where the outsource maintenance -- where the maintenance is conducted, whether it's in the u.s. or overseas, not whether it's certificated or noncertificated. but the quality of faa's oversight over the process. >> i'm perhaps going to ask you more about that at some other occasion. i know that you've done some work on it and so i'll be interested in evaluating that. let me talk just for a moment about this issue of fatigue because i think fatigue likely played some role here in a crash that is prominently mentioned during this hearing. and let me put up again the chart -- if we can future on an easel, perhaps. i especially want to ask mr. babbitt about that because you say you commuted for five
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years. the one with the description of the commuting. the map. is there a one with a map, all right, thank you. that shows -- and again, this perhaps would show the same kind of thing for virtually any commuter airline that we would talk about and perhaps the same map for any major trunk carrier. would most of you agreeing with that? and i think the question that remains in the minds of many as evidenced by the questions today from members of the committee is, does this matter? does it make a difference? and if several pilots are in seattle or portland or los angeles or wherever and fly to the east coast to start their duty station and start their work, is fatigue something that we should be concerned about? and mr. babbitt, you indicated that as a contentious pilot you would go early.
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you would check into a motel and you'd get your rest. and i understand that and applaud that. it is clear to me, however, that's probably not likely going to be the case with someone who's a new hire that's making $23,000 a year to go find a place to rent. the reason i ask these questions is, i fly a lot on a lot of airlines and i have sat next to a lot of -- a lot of crew members who are flying to get to their duty station, in some cases very long distance. has this ever been discussed at the faa? has there ever been an effort to decide does this contribute to fatigue in a way that is significant enough to want to do more than just ask people, well, you're on your own. we're going to expect you to have adequate rest and that's about all we can do? is there something more than that that exists here because, again it, starts with the question i asked at the front

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