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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 22, 2009 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

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>> okay. and for our last question, let's see, oh, so someone is asking in this time of economic uncertainty what do you look for in individuals to hire? [laughter] >> and do you stay away from entrepreneurs? [laughter] no, i think, i think the key to, say, if we're taking on managers at virgin, what we look for is people who are great motivators of people, people who look for the best in people, people who praise and don't criticize, and, and if you can find those kinds of people, you have a happy, a happy company. and do we look for
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entrepreneurs? i don't believe in competition, and so we don't look for entrepreneurs. [laughter] thanks very much. >> thank you very much for coming today. [applause] i'd like to thank you all for coming today, i'd also like to thank melinda cook, pat nelson, joann booze and howard rothman. also thanks to the npc library for its research. the video archive is provided by the national press club's broadcast operations center. our events are available for free download on itunes as well as on our web site. nonmembers may purchase transcripts, audios and videotapes by calling 202-662-7598 or e-mailing us at archives at for more information about the national press club, please go
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to our web site at thank you very much, and we are adjourned. >> the supreme court begin to wind down its term with several decisions ruling today narrowly in the a challenge to the voting rights act exempting a key provision of the civil rights law. the court with only one justice in partial dissent avoided the major constitutional questions raised by the case. they also upheld a federal government permit to dump waste from an alaskan gold mine into a nearby lake even though all the fish would be killed by a 6-3 vote today. the justices said a federal appeals court wrongly blocked the permit on environmental grounds. another ruling makes it easier for parents of special education students to be reimbursed for the cost of private schooling for children. that also a 6-3 decision in favor of a teenage boy from don
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who is parents sought to force the local public school district to pay the $5200 a month it cost to send their son to a private school. and just awarded, they will not revive a lawsuit that former cia operative valerie plame brought against former members of the bush administration, refusing to hear an appeal from ms. plame and her husband, former ambassador joseph wilson. the senate convenes for general speeches before working on a bill to bring more foreign tourists to the u.s., also they plan to debate the 2010 homeland security spending bill and continue marking up health care legislation. live senate coverage here on c-span2 beginning at 2 p.m. the u.s. house returns tomorrow at 10:30 eastern before beginning legislative business at 2. this week house members work on spending issues including the homeland security department and interior and environmental agencies. we also expect house debate and votes on the 2010 authorization
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bill. live coverage of the u.s. house tomorrow on c-span. .. witnesses at the hearing include the head of the federal aviation administration, senator dorgan chairs the committee on aviation operations, this was about two hours.
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>> we will call the hearing to order, the hearing of a subcommittee in aviation. i want to thank all of you for joining us today to talk about the importance of the issue of aviation safety. this is the second hearing we have held this month to discuss the subject of aviation safety it with particular focus on the safety of regional carriers. it in this hearing will receive testimony from robin savages of network carriers and regional carriers, from the air transport association and the regional airline association respectively. it will also hear from the air line pilots association and mr. scott -- scott mauer representing the families of the continental express flight 3407 which crashed on february 12th of this year in new york. i do want to say as well as mr. this hearing and that i had intended it and wished to have
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representatives of the carriers themselves at a hearing and so we did not accomplish that today. i am not minimizing and all other representatives of the 80 a but i will wish to expand invitation and have representatives of the airlines themselves here within the next month or so. it is important i think that they wouldn't accept an invitation to, and so i will extend those invitations again. in this country i think it is safe to say that we have a remarkably safe system of air travel. it is not my intention with hearings about aviation safety to alarm anyone about taking a flight to on a regional carrier when our carrier. we operate aircraft all across this country everyday and provide critical air service to
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many people who would not otherwise have that kind of transportation service or that kind of option. but we do have responsibility is seems to me to ask questions as to get answers to the questions of do we have at one level of safety? do we have one standard of safety that now exists? or have we drifted some? if the traveling public ever has doubts about the consistency of safety, in our airspace system or with airline travel, it will inevitably suffer. and so we have to move together to make certain that people have a reason to question the oversight or application of aviation safety across the country. i have said before that i have read extensively about the most recent crash that occurred in our country, the crash in buffalo, new york. frankly, a number of things happened on that flight that caused me great concern. there were a number of mistakes
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that occurred, and number of things that to me were revelations that were quite stunning and led me to question was this an aberration, was it something that happened only in the cockpit of this one plane or is there something else at work? is there a set of standards that is applied one way in the one set of carriers and another way in another set of carriers? i don't know the answer but i think it is important that we ask those questions. the plane that crashed in new york was a q400 operated by a captain and co-pilot to have communicated long distances to get to work to meeting, found to have had a reasonably a little rest before the flight, the co-pilot raised issues in the transcript that i read in of the conversation in the cockpits of her inexperience with icing conditions. clearly that evening they were flying is significant icing.
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the captain had failed a number of flight tests during his career which the carrier themselves were unaware of. and did not have information about. we are going to hear from those that are investigating this, the ntsb i know is to a substantial investigations, but the larger question before me here is what about the airlines and the faa's ability to prevent a double standard or two different standards of experience in the cockpit. what about the enforcement of rules with respect to familiarity with certain kinds of conditions, familiar did commit -- equipment. we are supposed to be having dating back to the '90s the level of safety quote on quote for both regional and major carriers and i want to hear from our witnesses whether you think that is the case, whether the system has kept up with changes or whether they have been changes that occurred that
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drifted us away from one standard. i'm particularly concerned from some of the things i have learned in the last hearing for example, that a carrier does not easily have full access to the records of pilots and they are considering hiring, all the records. they have access to the records of everything that has occurred with respect to an airplane. air plan that comes off the line and put in service, everything that happens to that particular airplane is a matter of record that anyone can access and that is not the case with respect to the record of the pilots are the people in the cockpit. i think that there is some reason to be encouraged by what the new administrator, randy babbitt, has done, he called for a meeting monday of this week which reflects a concern that he wants to understand these things quickly and take whatever action is necessary. it is also the case that he
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indicated that after two years after the ntsb suggested a rulemaking on access to records for pilots that mr. babbitt indicated in that the next time he came to a hearing and asked the question have to begin a rulemaking he indicated he expected the answer to be an affirmative rather than -- so i think we're making progress here, but this is very important and it is something that we have to ask questions about. they are tough questions but necessary and important questions. i want to thank the witnesses for being with us. senator demint is the ranking member and i know he wishes to make a comment and i think also introduce mr. mauer who is a member of your state. >> thank you mr. chairman and i thank you again for conducting these hearings. i would just add my comments to yours. i agree with everything you said about the concerns about this flight. a lot of us get on regional flights ourselves every week going back and forth to our home
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states that we assume a lot when we get on a plane and i know all americans do, and we do need to make sure that there is a standard of safety for every american in. i know i am looking for to looking -- working on the language with the chairman that would reveal all the pilot records and just as we have at them for an airplane and something seemed to make common sense right now, but i do have the pleasure of introducing mr. scott mauer this morning. he is the father of a 30 year-old flight -- 30 year-old who was on a the flight 3407 crash, laurin. he was born and raised in the red ink, pennsylvania or he and his wife raised their daughter, lauren. he currently lives in south carolina and i appreciate him taken the time to come to washington, this is his third week here, this is very difficult for him to continue to
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recount. this tragedy in public as well as private. mr. mauer comes before this committee as a representative of over 150 people and families, the flight 3407 group. they come together as a result of a terrible tragedy with a goal of making changes in the airline industry in the faa hoping to keep an accident like flight 3407 that from happening again. and saving many other amylase the sadness that they are continuing to endure. he is also joined this morning by his wife, terri, lawrence boyfriend, kevin. i'm deeply impressed with the work of a them and all the families of the victims of the flight 3407. as a father of four and grandfather of two, i can't begin to imagine the pain that comes from so tragically losing a loved one.
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it speaks very highly of all the families today that you are working to take what must be such a deep sorrow and focusing in on improving airline safety and helping other americans. i am looking for to hearing your testimony, mr. mauer, and the recommendations this morning and to both the chairman and i and i know i speak for everyone on the committee, we thank you for the sacrifice that you are making to try to improve the system for others. >> thank you very much, let me ask others if they limit opening comments to two minutes and will have seven minutes for rounds when we've heard from the witnesses. senator lautenberg. >> mr. chairman, very quickly thank you for calling this hearing because though our flight safety record is so outstanding when we look at the total aviation services, the situation in the flight is one
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and that -- is one that shook our bodies, our minds. the plane took off from the newark liberty international in february and cost the lives of 50 people. flight 3407 and taught us that we need to improve pilot training, address flight crew hours of service and implement consistent safety standards for both regional and large air carriers. and just last year we saw disturbing reports about safety inspection failures for the faa and let's planes filled with passengers take off with cracked holes. and these failures forced the cancellation of thousands of flights by airlines to may not have taken safety as seriously. and so we are anxious to learn whenever we can about the
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failure of the good precautions with flight 3407. we extend our sympathies also had to it mr. mauer every july to be able to break a promise when we're finished with these hearings, mr. chairman, that we you will have done whatever we can to make this an excellent safety record that exists with the american aviation even better. and we will look with interest that our witnesses have to say. >> thank you. >> mr. chairman, thank you. my comments will be in a very brief, but let me tell you what i'm thinking about and hoping to accomplish through this process. i think the burden is on the airlines to prove to the american people that when we get on for the price of our tickets what ever that is that we're going to have in it tooele experienced crew who will treat
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us politely and decently, an airplane that a safe as impossibly be and i think really the burden is there. when i think about this flight and i felt so badly for these families, but this hearing is bigger than that one flight, i think about questions like is of the planned safe? what is the inspection background of this airplane? but with the service records show me if i were to take a look at them? i ask myself, is of the crew having the training, the talents, the background, the discipline? have they gone a good night's sleep? so they can handle all situations. i had a pilot, a dear friend of mine who flew a small planes who said to make, you know, flying is hours and hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror. and you know, that always stuck
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with me. i ask myself, doesn't approve new when they are entering a situation that is beyond their capability for their airlines capability? are they trained it well enough and do they have the talent and experience and background to see this situation and say, i'm not going to expose my passengers to that risk. i don't care what somebody above me is trying to say and those are the things that i hope to accomplish in this hearing so my hope is we can focus on some of those questions and others and i will wrap up by just saying, mr. chairman, thanks for calling this such important topic and i'm just glad to be here today. >> thank you very much. >> thank you mr. chairman, i will be very brief, i look for to the questions and answers but will be looking at this from two perspectives -- one is as a u.s. senator but one who lost a family member, my father in a
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plane crash, so i looked at from two different perspectives and i will be anxious to ask several questions and i don't want you to take any personal. i think this is an import issue as described by several senators in regard to safety for our air flights as people to walk onto the plains assuming they are safe transportation modes and it will be important that we make sure they continue to improve on the record you have today but i will be coming from two perspectives and i hope you recognize that. thank you very much. >> senator thune. >> i want to thank you for calling the hearing and thank our panelists for being here, especially you mr. mauer. our condolences to you and your family and all the families, very tragic incidents. i applaud you for committing yourself to making sure this doesn't happen two any other families. thank you for your efforts and the courageous work you are doing. coming from a state like mine,
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we have a heavy reliance on regional airlines and a play in a poor role in transporting passengers from smaller communities who otherwise would not have scheduled air service and while i don't think again that we can, no one is arguing we should take our overall aviation safety record for granted, i believe there is room for improvement and we want to ensure that the faa and airlines are doing everything they can to improve the overall safety record when it comes not only to regional airlines but all airlines and particularly want to hone in on something we discussed at the subcommittee hearing last week, mr. chairman, and that is the need to incorporate more information regarding the background of pilots. i think it makes sense that we work to ensure that the faa incorporates a more accurate picture of a prospective, provo -- prospective pilots fly history when looking to make a hiring decision and voluntarily requesting disinformation it just isn't good enough. i think there is more that
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congress can require tecumseh updated the piatt records improvement act and i hope that we can work on that in this committee to make some of the changes because i think clearly that came into play in this very tragic incident. but again thank you for holding the hearing and i want to thank our panelists and look for to hearing from you. >> thank you very much. as several of my colleagues have mentioned, we look at these issues through the lens of tragedy regrettably, but in many cases i expect mr. mauer is. the hope that what we learn will save other lives and improve and airline safety and all of us would i think embrace that goal. and so with that in mind, we have four witnesses and i want to call on the mr. james may today. as president and chief executive officer of the air transport association of america. you and i have discussed all of the issues discussed this morning. the same is the case with mr.
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cohen, the mccaul on you. let me say to all four of you that you're entire statements we've made a part of a permanent record and we would ask that you summarize your remarks. and as you pull that very close internal zaun, thank you. >> thank you mr. chairman and good morning. let me share my condolences with mr. mauer and the other representatives of the families that lost loved ones aboard a the air flight. it is a terrible tragedy. in the airline industry's safety is our highest priority. we try very hard to assure that we never compromise safety because of economic conditions. we were closely with all members of the aviation community including regional airlines to achieve extraordinary records. no fatalities from airline carriers in the past number of years and there really is in that that i appear before you today. with an understanding that no accident is acceptable, we have
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responsibility to understand through rigorous as searching inquiry the causes of the buffalo accidents and then to take whatever single or multiple corrective measures are needed. in light of that responsibility we are very fortunate that there are three experts government forums in which scrutiny is happening today right now. this is as a should be, the public needs to be confident and responses to aviation safety issues. the national transportation safety board's ongoing investigation is going to produce a far more complete picture than we have today. in this as in previous accidents the board is in the authoritative source for making that determination and recommending corrective action. in addition, the department of transportation inspector general recently began an assessment of federal aviation administration oversight of certification, pilot qualification, training and other issues that is in response mr. chairman to your
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very direct inquiry. when this review was announced we immediately offered our resources and full cooperation to the inspector general, his evaluation and constructive suggestions that we now will result from it will augment in the ntsb efforts. finally, the faa's call to action held on monday of this week is a broad base initiative to look and safety issues including those raised at this morning's hearing. we attended multiple representatives of ata and were impressed by the participants focused on concrete issues and their understanding of the need for a very proper solutions. we look for to being in days with the faa and other interested stakeholders in this vital work. now, i don't believe that any topic should be off the table in the call to action. we need to have a full and frank discussion about safety and a practice that contribute to its.
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and there are disparities between main line and regional safety programs, if so they should be closed and close quickly. let me suggest six or seven steps that need to be pursued right now today. first, i think we need to apply five operational quality assurance programs used by major carriers to regional airlines. it works, the collection and analysis of data recorded during flight safety improve safety. second applied aviation safety action programs which encourage voluntary reporting of safety issues and events that come to the attention of employes to those regional airlines that don't currently have such a program. third, identify advanced training best practices of mainline carriers to be used by regional carriers. is in a kewpie program in the jargon. fourth, we need to have a centralized database of pilot records to give airlines easy
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access to complete information about applicants from the time in the very beginning of their flying career. fifth, let's see if the faa is to increase compliance with the sterile cockpit rule and what measures it should use to do that. sixth, let's examine a flight crew prepared mess when pilots report to work, this means looking at crewmember commuting. if this means examining flight and duty time issues, i think that is perfectly appropriate but tied to the commuting sight of that equation. as long as an examination is based on science, not anecdotes. each of these in -- initiatives can and should be achieved in short order. we're looking for to working with this committee, the faa, the ig, the ntsb as cooperative in a fashion as possible. thank you mr. chairman, i'd be pleased to answer questions. >> mr. may, thank you. next we will hear from mr. cohen, you may proceed.
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>> thank you. chairman dorgan, senator demint and members of the subcommittee, i emma roger cohen, president of the regional airline association. i want to express our deepest sympathies for the lives of the passengers and crew of flight 3407 that were lost and for the families affected by the crash. we deeply share in their grief. and i also want to express today not only for our member airlines but for a 60,000 highly trained professionals, our total unwavering commitment to safety. as we work toward insuring this -- let's make sure this post accident process does not have to be repeated. we will take whatever steps are necessary so that our flight crews and our aircraft are as safe as humanly possible. the safety of our nation's guys is a shared responsibility.
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at monday's faa the summit, five of regional airline ceo's and other senior evaders, five of the ceos joined with federal agencies, major airlines and union representatives to candidly explore all of the issues making headlines over these past few months. regional airlines have but one objective -- and that is to prevent any future accidents. and as we do that, as this committee has noted, it's important to keep our perspective and to reassure the american public that flying is extremely safe. in fact, until this recent tragedy, commercial airlines have gone along this time in aviation history without a real accident. working collectively, rolling up our sleeves with all parties, governments, labor, manufacturers, airlines have steadily improved our safety record over the course of many decades of safety initiatives, investigations and reviews of
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accidents and incidents large and small. nevertheless, we can and must do better. our industry's number one goal has been and always will be zero accidents and zero fatalities. mr. chairman, and your request i remember airlines provided the committee very detailed information about their operations, their training, they're hiring, their employees. today we will try to better define the regional airline industry to clear up some of the misconceptions. more importantly, we will talk about the steps that regional airlines have already taken in the actions we plan to take to further focus our total commitment to safety and accident prevention and. our airplanes typically carry up to 100 passengers, more than 50 percent of all of a scheduled airline passenger flights in the un


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