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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 22, 2009 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT

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blas. . it had to be after the tragedy and that is a shame, that if there is a tool out there that
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can be used to help prevent accidents, that is getting information about how to prevent accidents before they happen and we are not even touching it, that is a real tragedy. >> capt. >> i would like to respond, we are talking band-aids. we need to look at the system. the thought that somehow we can monitor cockpit voice recorders and somehow improve the safety or the compliance of pilots, let us focus on the professionalism and the training of those air man who do this a day in and day out. we're missing something, missing that these airmen have been doing their job. now, let's not take this accident and try to say it was caused because pilots were talking in the cockpit. you have to communicate, you have to relay. i'm not going to talk about this one obviously because it is still under investigation and we
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are analyzing. we want to improve it yes but where do learn to become a professional? learn from the men and women your respect. if you break the chain and keep moving around flying and where to get that experience -- always said in a new first officer is fine with somebody who's only been flying for three years. that would have happened if airlines wouldn't keep pushing flying around the system. it took me 12 years to make captain. that used to be the norm. we went through 12 years or eight years or five years of airline operations. now it is much quicker. >> let me just -- you object through random reviews of a cockpit recordings just to verify that we are keeping sterile cockpits and falling other rules -- you object? >> i don't as long as it is done in the system like an asap program where it is protected and learn about safety. if you want to be used to monitor you will actually create
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a cockpit that may not be as safe let's not mistake a sterile cockpit means we are focused upon flying the airplane at critical points. that is standard, that is what goes on in. i think we are assuming a little too much. if it is protected and used as safety data then we should be able to find a way to make the system safer and that is our shared goal. >> i know just about every service company i call on the telephone now, bank or whatever is going to say this call may be audited for quality purposes and you can't improve which you don't measure. i think to assume that one time training scheme is going to monitor potential problems over the lifetime of a pilot is like assuming the same thing for an airplane so i'm a little concern that you consider that a band-aid. you consider getting the records
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keeping records of pilots over their career in? is that a band-aid? >> again are we going to compare apples with apples? which training school they come out of? if you don't want to create a system where, joe, go to xyz training school because they don't flaunt anybody, you don't have anything on your record or do you want them to go to the heart of school out there where they push you to your limits, pushy to a failure not of a check ride but all these are maneuvers that we must be trained in over and over whether emergencies or back to basic flying skills. so you don't want to create a system that actually finds a way of getting around that, don't create a loophole. >> can we allow mr. maurer to comment to the suggestions? >> i guess i would just like to remind everybody, when you are sitting in the passenger section
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of the plane again if you are aware of who is up there on the other side of those stores. full disclosure, is it too much of a thing to ask when your life is at hand? and other comment -- chairman doriden had that chart up there. my commute to work is 7 miles. members of the senate, i know you come from a pretty far away, but you have to a residence here. you have some place here. perhaps in the airline industry needs to consider providing for that kind of thing. if we are going to allow pilots to commit these great distances, i happen to travel probably every other week and is not uncommon for me to be sitting side by side with pilots who are
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commuting to their base location. they are tired in. i get in conversations with all the time, they are tired, those hours don't count for the critical restriction. i mean, these are things we've got to take into account. we learned in our accidents of the long hours that were taken just getting to work and then you're going to climb on a plane and fly. so i just, let's keep the human element in mind. let's not be defensive. >> senator lautenberg. >> thanks. i think there was a response to a question by senator dorgan that kind of a miss spoke about the relatively modest wage, wages that are paid to people
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such as the fellow who flew copilots in flight 3407. because you said is a the kind of a pay scale that might be in applied in other professions. but i think the point was missed. because if someone is not making enough money to take care of themselves and their families, it will typically mean a second job, his second opportunity to learn some more money in the cards. as a consequence, there is more average, there's more opportunity for fatigue to creep in the to the individuals operation. and so i think that when we talk about the profession in the year my pay $20,000 a year, we are talking about that is almost minimum wage for any kind of a job whether it is a janitor or
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otherwise, a bank teller. so we have to look at the is in real time. and you know, at the previous hearing that we held a on aviation safety, one of the questions that i raised was how many times does and the inability to pass tests be allowed before is three strikes or whenever the number is and you are out? i mean, would anyone here want to go into major surgery -- hart, head, whatever -- and have a position there who flunked his tests five times? before they squeeze into the operation and put life in his hands. i think there is a point in time were you have to say, if you
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can't master this into or three times, then find something else to do. people love to fly. i know a lot of pilots, i sat in a lot of second seed in small airplanes and flying is a glamorous job, it really is. i don't know how it is as a commercial operation when you are sitting in seats to fly back home or otherwise away from home etc., but i think there is a point in time in capt. prater that you say this is not a the kind -- of the simulators have a regulated -- replicative emergency situations. >> very much so. you can really do a good job of training for emergency use. it doesn't replicate though the fact that when you're in an airplane is much more
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three-dimensional, all the forces on you so sometimes you have to go back to that basic airmanship, but your point. at most of the airline said that three strikes and you're out is just about the way it works. it is oversimplified, but we give and airmen to chances. there is a training review board or the company, the industry, we may even sen the pilot out for a physical and psychological exam and fitness for duty. is there something going on why that individual, but basically by the third time of that failure trying to master the same maneuver or the same airplane, and a pilot's job are at risk at that point can add. >> so this was an oddity that the captain of this plight failing five times over years records that did not go back far enough to dig out the information.
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>> again i think we have to make sure we are comparing apples with apples. if he had problems in his private pilot's license or a commercial pilot license with basic airmanship skills and had to be retrained their but we can get away from the fact that he met all of the faa standards and he met the standards that their employer had sat as required by the faa. >> is of the testing, the training for a regional pilot to the same as it is foreign pilots in the major airlines? >> this is senator. >> is. do the regular airline companies come aviation companies pay as little as $20,000 a. put someone even along side and the trained capt. and the
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cockpit? >> senator, as a practical matter, the pilots that are hired by the mainline have significantly more seniority on average and are paid at a higher level. pay is a function of collective bargaining and it is generally also conditioned on number of hours, number of hours in a particular type of aircraft, whether or not they have been a pilot in command, whether or not first officer so there are a number of factors involved in pay, but it is effectively the exclusive jurisdiction of collective bargaining in seniority. >> before some and achieves the status of capt., is there a requirement in the regionals that day and apply in particular number of hours flown, a particular number of hours, mr. cohen. >> they require 1500 hours to be age 23 years old, that is the
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basics, that is not a lot of time. in many cases pilots into a seed that before they check out as captain, but in rapidly expanding environments it is of a concern. it is also a big concern of how much actual experience. time is of the only generator. if you flew a b-52 for 20 our missions it's not the same amount of training as making six takeoffs and landings a day in an airline environment, so time does not cure all. >> senator, excuse me if i might for the record our average capt. regional airline has a 500 hours. that is pretty experienced an average first officer well over 3,000 hours. >> maybe not dealing with averages but rather with specifics, it might be called for to say the captain of an airplane that has less skilled co-pilot has to be, have had
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more experience than the basic experience. that might be a good rule to put in to play. but if you're going to take someone who is new at this job and again considering all of the factors that are complicated as can be, but when you look at what is required of the passenger flow today in major airlines were originals, that passengers are examined so thoroughly to make sure that they can't bring down an airplane. a while we look at the skills and the training and reaction ability of a pilot, that is much more casually donna and i think we can learn from that. in not to change to the security process, but rather to say that the person who is up in the front of that airplane has do it
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really be able to manage all situations. mr. maurer, i know that it is painful for you to review this, but you aren't doing a noble job when you say let my loss be a lesson and four others and i think we have to take that very much too hard to. thank you. >> thank-you, senator johann. >> thank you mr. chairman. mr. cohen, how many regional airlines are in operation out there today? how many would that be? >> mr. chairman, senator, again as it has been talked about the term regional airline is more of a term almost of the arts rather than a science. there are 31 member raa member airlines and those 31 members carry 90 plus% of the passengers
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in scheduled service. >> how many of those would be profitable today? how many are actually making money? >> mr. chairman, senator, many of them and, some of them are privately held so and do not report to and i just don't have that information available. >> of those who are now privately owned, could you get that information? >> we would be glad to get it to you and provide it to the committee. >> live the understand your business model because i think that bears some issues here. as i understand, the cost of the ticket that i would purchase is not determined that by that original, it is determined by the carrier they contract with. is that correct? >> for the majority of a vast majority of business operations yes ken balckout are your revenues determined two then?
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is it based on that ticket cost? >> there is a variety of the business arrangements which are proprietary in nature, but it is my general understanding that it can be one of a couple of ways that probably the predominant way is now what is called before departure or that basically the regional airline is given a schedule and is paid in some fashion based on a number of flight hours, the number of trips, the performance of those trips and so forth. there are regional airlines that are wholly owned subsidiaries of major airlines. that may be a different relationship. there are some independent flying regional airlines that is a smaller group. and there are some business models that actually have a
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little bit where the ticket price may be split, but that is a very small percentage of. >> is impacted by the number of people on the plane so if you are flying 50 vs five of your revenues are going to be better? >> only in those where the regional carrier would be sharing in the rest of the revenue for the flight. >> okay. >> but again these are proprietary, i've never seen one. that is my general understanding. >> there are statistics as to how many of these regionals have gone bankrupt because, of course, that is a public sort of event. tammany would that be? >> i have been the presidents of the regional airline association for a little over two and half years and of our members i believe to may have gone out of business in those two years of our members but again i get to
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the exact information. >> okay. on the pilots themselves. i started out as a young lawyer and had to ask me at age 23 are you ready to handle the most complex cases in a courtroom setting at would have said absolutely. i got my law degree, i've got my bar certificate, let's go. i wasn't anywhere near ready. is the regional airline regarded as of the training ground for pilots? you go there, you pick up some hours, you do some flying back and forth to endeavor and pick up those hours and the mentally hopefully get to a big carrier nab and eventually go transcontinental, i don't know what the next eds would be. it is that the case? >> unfortunately that is what this system has produced and is
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not the safest model. >> uc, mr. cohen, averages mean nothing to me. when i walk on that airplane and stick my head in the cockpit and say i feel so good in that the average salary here is what ever you told me it was. i would never say that. i want to know that they are trained and ready and can handle thunderstorms and i sing and keep me out of trouble. so your average is just all land anywhere with me, they miss the mark completely. what would be the minimum salary per year that a pilot would be hired to come on board? >> mr. chairman, i don't have a -- senator, i don't have a the the minimum again. the average which is -- i believe we provided some information to the committee. i can get to that of our member
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airlines. we can provide that. >> i want you to get that. and your averages mean nothing. the. >> that new pilot would be making between 16 and $18,000 a year for a full-time job unless he or she is on reserve. >> and doing that kind of commuting practice. >> yes search. >> okay, i have travelled extensively when i was in the cabinet. i must admit i got tired of it. one of the things that really really hammered me was a constant time changes, the poor diet, the lack of exercise because you never have a schedule. when these folks are traveling from out of the west coast over to the east coast and have gone through all those time changes, how does that compute? if you see somebody that has spent the whole night, can they literally land in new jersey and get on an airplane and start flying? >> maybe the pilot.
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>> well, it is possible and it is also true that may have flown back flight across the country by our flight in the middle of the night and then be expected to sit around for a couple of hours as many as five or six hours and then fly the trip. so i would put it in the terms of where is it -- is it any more restful sitting in a coach seat try to get to work for two hours or driving to an airport? for two hours. i think we have to look back. obviously the subject of commuting has some focus especially on our first duty day -- is that first duty day, are you sufficiently rested to do your next 16 hours of duty? as we have to look at, those extensive periods, but i think in this case when also is forgotten it is a that co-pilot could have flown that chip instead of just written on it and been legal to fly that
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afternoon and fly that trip. that is a fact. >> let me and i am out of time so i will zero on this in a very focused way. but let's say i grew up in florida and i get my training in florida and i am used to thunderstorms, but i have no idea what i have seen a -- navy gas and training on icing the but no experience whatsoever. could a regional high army to fly a northern route? >> mr. chairman, no, that person would be trained extensively in this type of operations that he or she is going to be flying at. >> capt., how much -- >> at disagree with that statement from this point -- that pilot has checks pass to the minimums for all types of operations and all types of weather and his or her experience has been specifically in one area or one region of the
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country, they could be thrown into the worst weather of the northeast or the mountain flying or whatever without further training and we have to talk about specific training at different points. when you move pilots around the system, we must continue that training cycle and i think it is deficient in that area. >> i will just wrap up mr. chairman with this very quick thought. i asked these questions and i will be very candid about it because i worry that because of economics or whatever, we are trying to do this on the cheap. and we are hiring pilots and a very low wage -- i don't know how you live on that salary and juno year at indianapolis people are trying to build their hours to move out of the regional system. if that is the case, that is very worrisome. now, mr. cohen, you represent
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these five folks in prove to me is wrong. the burden is on the airlines to prove the safety of our travel. and thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. mr. maurer, thank you very much for your testimony and as i said in my opening, you know, i have experienced tragedy in my family in a plane crash with my father but even two more in a statement that the plane was never recovered. and it took a tragedy back then to change the rules of requiring locator beacons in planes because of that incident. and it was the largest air recovery attend to this country's history. and so it seems so is when we deal with air traffic safety is always a tragedy that moves us to the next day so i appreciate your being here. i am very very sympathetic from personal reasons, but as i was
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listening to the testimony, mr. cohen, i feel like you are on the hot seat and i appreciate your being here but as i listen to you i asked my staff because i know all associations have conferences and meetings and so forth, so while you were testifying and said go get me a copy of you're last conference which was held in mid may. it is a four or five day conference, this is now two or three months after the significant incidents as you described, in receiving an incident in the regional airline's history. and yet when i looked to the conference agenda of four and a half days i see very little mention of safety except in the last -- let me just finish -- and the last couple of days. i am assuming to discuss some of the conference you had conversations. i know as a former mayor when the pitcher in a disaster happening, we spent the whole
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conference on because of the importance of safety in our communities. and so as you talk about the ideas and suggestions, i want to and i think senator joe hanna said it clearly, it is on you and i can only look at what has been done in your comments today so i want to take a couple of steps. if you want to quickly comment on the convention that is great. in and i'm not going to read the agenda because you know was there and the things you covered, but it just seems that that should have been for front. maybe it was in your agenda on your website does not show that. it seems such an important issue. >> if i might, to that point, senator, hour -- the reason why raa was created and every year for the last 34 years has been to promote the safety within the industry, the safety directors of our member airlines need for
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the entire length of that conference. that is a meeting at which everything is sharon it again to protect these issues with the faa, with members of the ntsb that are there and is not a public meeting so that they can share those experiences. and so you're exactly correct, that was not on the public website. they meet for 10 hours a day in a windowless room and we would urge you when the next time when they meet here, they meet regularly. i would urge members of this committee to,, you are invited and would love to have read their. >> would you share the outcome of their last conference meetings from that with the committee? and these to be confidential or what ever the rules are i'm happy to oblige. let me go to another issue, the senator asked in regards to the pay rates. i am not going to debate to peer
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and a it surprised me you did not know the beginning salary or a range so you -- do you have a. has the association ever done and association salary analysis over the years you've been in existence and if so can you provide that to the committee? >> mr. chairman, senator, we'll provide do the information of our member carriers what is publicly available and will get that to you. >> i would pursue a little further. we have rules we can keep things proprietary information so i would like to stretch further if you can. >> will do so. >> the issue on the play and i know you mentioned that the compensation the pay is not necessarily a driving factor. i would disagree with you so it is clear on that fact because i can as a former mayor managing over 500 police officers and 300 public safety people in the area of paramedics and fire, what i would never want


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