tv [untitled] CSPAN July 2, 2009 3:00pm-3:30pm EDT
>> i'm sure you are aware that it is perfectly acceptable to the faa for the repair work to be done and noncertified stations. i mean, you aware of that, right? >> you're maintaining today all of them may network is being done because this is one of the problems we have right now is that repair station does not have to be certified by the faa in order for it to be utilized by either the commercial carriers or the regional carriers. are you aware of that? >> senator, again, it's my
understanding on the maintenance that the heavy maintenance here that we are talking about, the heavy maintenance checks that cmd checks are conducted by what i am assuming art faa certified -- >> if you will check that because i would be surprised if that were the fact. we have done a fair amount of work on this issue and there are a large number of, not just kick the tires, but serious and substantial maintenance and repair work that is being done by noncertified repair stations, both foreign and domestic. and so i would certainly appreciate you following up on that. because one of the issues, of course, is why do we have certified repair station if people aren't required to use them.
and that's in fact what the legislation that senator specter and i have introduced would require you to use, the certified repair stations. as i said to faa at couple of different times in this room, i assume getting one certified is a good thing. if it's a good thing why are we requiring people to use them. and if it's not a good thing, why are we spending taxpayer money supporting them. it doesn't make sense to me, just using good old fashioned common sense that we would go to a certification process and do not require it. so if you would get back to me i would really appreciate it because of the faa does not have good data on this. they will admit they do not know how much of the maintenance is being done at certified versus noncertified repair station. >> we will get you all the information. >> thank you very much. mr. may, that same question to you for the national carriers. can you give me any kind of figures as to what percentage of the maintenance is being done in certified versus noncertified
repair stations? >> i do not have at hand but i will be happy to provide that you. >> that would be terrific. and while you're at it, mr. cohen is represent that none of this is being outsourced beyond the united states in terms of the regional carriers. i am confident it is being outsourced beyond the united states for the large commercial carriers. does your association have a number of what percentage of that maintenance is being outsourced? >> i don't. i'm sure we have and to do that. i don't happen to have it with me. i would be happy to provide. >> if you have it that would be terrific. it has been a very difficult, the information is difficult to come by from the faa. they have not, i don't think, prioritized looking at this issue and i don't think the american flying public realizes to what extent maintenance has been outsourced in an effort to cut costs. and what one of the problems is, in many of these places doesn't
not even alcohol and drug testing. and it seems weird to me that we have domestic certified repair stations, and because we don't have as many of them anymore, because so many have been outsourced, there are faa inspectors that hang out there. that are really looking over the shoulder, and then you travel to indonesia, and if there is ever an faa inspector that shows up, by the way, the united states pays for that, the taxpayers pay the cost of the faa inspectors to go look at foreign repair stations, not the airline. so the taxpayers are actually undermining these outsourcing. they aren't even doing drug and alcohol test, and we talked about in this hearing before they are actually locations that have been on the state department watch list for terrorist activity where there have been repair stations that have been utilized. so if you would get back to us with whatever information your association have on this
information, i think will be helpful as we move forward trying to get these important reforms and on any area of maintenance and repair. thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. we will attempt to get all of the information. i am well familiar with the issue of the inspections and the repair stations. i mean, we have in fact written about one of the carriers that flies at anti-airbus 322 el salvador for repair, and implies an empty 320 back to united states after having it repaired in el salvador, or inspected or maintained. my guess is that's probably another issue of dollars and cents. let me go back to just a moment ago on icing. i just pull the transcript again. this copilot said i've never seen icing conditions, i have never deiced. i have never deiced. i have never experienced any of that. i don't want to have to experience that and make those kind calls.
you know, i've freaked out. i've seen this much ice and thought oh, my gosh, we're going to crash. the actual transcript is of a copilot that appears to me to have had minimum training in icing conditions. now, the reason i mention this is because the training issue has been on the table here. what kind of training does someone have in that cockpit to fly in the conditions into which that airplane is headed. if they are flying to buffalo, new york, in the winter, one would expect you would encounter icing conditions of some sort. i come from the state of north dakota. i've learned to fly many, many years ago, and you know, i've been on airplanes, small airplanes, with a lot of buildup on the wings. watching it with flashlights. i've flown a lot of icing with pilots and with others. and so i think it's an important question. how much training exists before someone is put in a cockpit for this specific kind of conditions
that are likely to encounter. i want to ask about this issue of the time in an airplane because i think that's also important. in the buffalo crash, we were told that carrier had training that train their pilots on the stick shaker, but not the stick pusher. so if that's the case, i guess the first question in my mind is if you're in a cockpit with a device called a stick pusher, which is going to be a device that's going to automatically move you towards some sort of safety function in that flight, and have never had experience with it or not been trained in it, isn't that a significant deficiency? and how could that happen? captain prater, can you tell us? >> i would be glad you, sir. personal, every airplane has different characteristic,
different safety features, and pilots should be trained to be proficiency in each and every one of those. i cannot testify towards the conditions on the training of this individual airmen or cruel, but i can't say more generally is that there is a huge cost to training air men, so it does come down to dollars and cents. i have severe concerns that the regional industry who looks at their pilots as, if you will, part-time help, training help, may not want to spend as much money making sure they are aware of each and every facet. training has been shortened over my three decade as an airline pilot. i think we need to look at it very seriously and say, have we reduced it to below what should be the standard. >> mr. cohen. >> mr. chairman, in defense of the training programs that are regional airlines, this
committee was provided with very detailed information about the training programs, which are every bit as robust. one of the things we talked about at monday's call to action was to look at all of these types of training issues that have been laid on the table. certainly today and over the last several weeks. and to look at whether it's environmental, you know, additional training and environment, additional training on whatever. and that in all my years in the airline industry, and i've been in it since 1971, i have never seen, ever seen a decision by any airline regarding safety that, you know, would jeopardize safety because of cost. i just want to lay that. >> senator johanns was making the point, and a perfectly reasonable point that if we are flying through very difficult economic conditions.
if regional carriers are smaller companies having substantial difficulty, isn't it likely that you have substantial less experience in the airplane, you are paying lower salaries and so on. and does that have an impact on the capability of the airplane to fly through difficult circumstances? >> the airline industry has created for the most part in this country to different systems. one is a hub and spoke system and the other is a flying between city pairs with some low-cost carriers. and a hub and spoke system, in the old days a northwest airlines would serve my state would fly its jet carriers into that city, one of four cities in north dakota, with 720 sevens and a pilot and copilot and flight engineer. and i assume that the pilots that bid on those routes were probably pilots with less time in the company then somebody
that bid on a san francisco to noriko root. so i understand you know the longer routes and bigger planes and so on are going to get a pilot with more spirit. it seems to me that the way this hub and spoke system has morphed is that the network carriers have decided, you know what, we're going to move a lot of these spokes onto a commuter carrier and that commuter carrier is going to be out there with smaller planes, in most cases. it's going to cost us less, although they're going to wear our name on the fuselage, but it's going to cost us a lot less because, frankly, it can be a carrier that we, perhaps 100% ownership of or substantial ownership of but not the same contracts we have. so it will have pilots with less exteriors that they can hire for an entry-level of $18000 a year. it seems to me that just inevitably that you do have them
again without demeaning a pilot for the pilots ability, you do have the potential of a separate standard of capability. i'm not talking about training to safety minimum standard. i'm talking about a separate standard of capability. the major question that we started with today is the faa said in the mid- 1990s one standard. and passengers would get on an airplane when they walk through the airplane door, should expect the same standard on the cock pit of a commuter carrier or a network carrier. i think mr. prater says he believes that the enforcement to that standard is not as rigorous as passengers would expect, or as we would expect. mr. me, what's your impression of that? >> mr. chairman, we all adhere to 421 which is the single standard which was established in 1995. i think the reality is that
mainline carriers more regularly far exceed that standard in 121 then our regional partners do. we have with virtually no exceptions foca programs, asap programs, more robust training, etc. and as part of the recommendations, that we have made before you today and in the house last week, and the faa, we would suggest that many of those programs be instituted at the regional level for our partners. >> let me ask you. the fact is it is your name, that is the name of your companies that you represent on the fuselage of these airplanes. >> that is correct. >> in many cases you own the regional carrier or own substantial portion of equity in the regional carrier. so it would seem to me that it would be any interest of the
network carriers to require the things that you have recommended today prior to these recommendations. >> i understand that, that thought, senator. there was actually a proposal made light in tsv back in about 1994 when this whole debate came to pass and win 121 was created, put the regionals in 121 to have the mainline carriers be the enforcement of 121 for the regional partners. that was specifically rejected by congress and the faa because they want to have a single level of enforcement as well as a single level of achievement. and i think that decision was the correct one at the time and i think it remains correct, that the faa needs to be the principal enforcer. we have openly said here today, and will continue to say, if we
need to change those standards and upgrade them, then that is something that we ought to look at doing. by the same token, i think the enforcement needs to rest with the faa. >> well, you know, i was just in another committee earlier this morning and described federal agency that was willfully blind, and cheerfully ignorant for about 10 years. and i don't ascribe that to the faa, except to say that i had a belly full of enforcement requirements by certain agencies that have completely neglected the opportunity or the requirement to do so. the faa as we said to randy babbitt the new administrator last week, we need new diligence here, a new level of interest in making certain that we have one standard. that passengers can rely on one standard when they board an airplane. and i think that's going to require some effort by the faa and may require some effort by this committee.
senator rockefeller and senator hutchison, myself, senator demint and others are going to be working on, we are putting together along with my colleagues the faa reauthorization act. we are right in the middle of that process now which will include modernization of air traffic control system and many other things. all of which have to do with safety. and so, i would say to those that have raised the questions this morning about pilots records and so on, my first expectation is that administrator bad is going to move quickly to address some of those issues, but we will administer registration is done the right way as well. senator begich, did you wish to make any other comments? let me thank the witnesses for being here. we will have another additional hearing at some point with the airline companies themselves and we appreciate mr. me and
mr. cohen, your representation of them here at this meeting. there is one other question i have not asked. i know there's a term of art called crew rest, these of the fatigue and we talked a lot about 50 today. i think one of the senator's raise the issue of crew rest but i've been on plenty of airplanes, plenty of airplanes that fly in here late because of storms and we land at midnight. at washington national. and i know that there is a requirement for a certain number of hours of rest, but i have sat with pilots and walked out of the plane with pilots who say, well, i've got to be back here at x. our, that needs the number of hours i need for rest but by the time i get to the hotel, by the time i check in, by the time i get to bed i'm going to have probably four hours of sleep tonight. that is a crew rest issue, and that is a regulatorregulatory issue. and i don't want people to think that fatigue is the only issue here. i think there are other issues with respect to crew rest that
we want to talk about as we go forward. >> yes, sir. it leads to the fatigue of that next day. if you are not allowed adequate time to recuperate from the up to 16 hour duty day that you had the day before, it and you're only away from airplane for eight hours, eight and a half hours, it's not enough. we need to ensure that the pilots are getting at least an adequate opportunity behind the hotel door to get eight hours of rest. >> one thing is certain about this country. we are all pretty mobile. we rely on a transportation system that is modern and is safe and reliable, and no insignificant part of that is the commercial airline industry. it's very important to our country, very important to all regions of our country. and we want it to be made as safe as is possible. i think the tragic crash in buffalo, new york, has activated a lot of interest in asking questions, did we drift along
here and allow the creation of a couple of different standards in training and so on in enforcement. we will know more about the answer to that as more disclosures come from the ntsb and so on. and we are learning some from last week's hearing in this week's hearing. and for that we are indebted to the people who are witnesses. mr. amar, we are especially indebted to you and the families who have decided to, and the names of those you loved, find a way to make a difference and make certain that others do not experience the same fate. so we appreciate all four of you being here. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] an [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> president barack obama is expressing disappointment over the latest employment numbers. the government says employers cut 467,000 jobs last month, raising the jobless rate to 9.5%. president obama says too many families are worried about whether they will be next. the president making those comments today during a rose garden media event. also, the white house says vice president joe biden is in iraq. the associated press reports he is there to visit u.s. troops
to. >> these places reminded of modern cathedrals that donors would build wings on hoping they would go to heaven. >> walter kern princeton class at 1983 would like to see changes to the higher education system. >> i think princeton's philosophy selection should be on the web. i think these wonderfully, concentrated islands of talent and wealth and erudition should
be opened up to the larger society, not kept separate, which they still are and i can't understand why. >> walter kern, lost in a meritocracy, the under education of an overachiever on q&a sunday night at eight on c-span. >> now a house hearing on regulating the insurance industry. specifically in the financial sector. we will hear about efforts to revise those regulations. this is about three hours. >> this hearing of the subcommittee will come to order. pursuant to agreement with the ranking member opening statements today will be limited to 10 minutes for each side. without objection all members opening statements will be made part of the record. >> we need to continue our discussion of insurance regulation, which the capital markets subcommittee has debated
in great depth for several years on the eve of the administration's unveiling of its plan to strengthen the oversight of our overall markets. it also appears likely that we will soon consider reforms aimed at mitigating systemic risk. as such, it makes sense to us to drive a bit deeper today into the issue of systemic risk and the insurance industry. while we have yet to learn about the specifics of the administration's plan for insurance reform, we have spent enough time debating these issues to come to some conclusions. for example, i believe that only ostriches can now deny the need for establishing a federal insurance resource center and a basic federal insurance regulatory structure. insurance is a complex and important part of the u.s. financial industry with more than 6.3 trillion in assets under management, and one point to 3 trillion in annual premiums.
we need to recognize this reality by modernizing the overall regulatory treatment of insurance. we also need to protect against the risk certain sectors of industry may pose, and address the greater sensitivity of some industry segments have two extra. during this crisis, we saw a company that started out as an insurer spread far and wide in its activities and its international presence. american international group, however, lacked a federal regulator with real expertise about its vast insurance operations, rather the holding company purchased a small thrift and shows the office of thrift supervision as its supervisor. currently several other insurance holding companies have a federal banking regulator as their primary supervisor. and more than six dozen similar entities avoid any form of federal oversight with selected states instead monitoring them on a consolidated basis.
because a number of these businesses could pose systemic risk, i believe that the federal government should directly examine all complex financial holding companies, including those whose primary activities involve underwriting insurance and those who play with credit to fault swaps. in addition, our financial services markets are global and complex. insurance is no exception. in order for effective communication and dialogue to take place on the international stage, we must have a single point of contact for the united states on these matters. moreover, insurers must have a federal regulatory voice on par with the banking and security sectors in our financial markets so that the industry can communicate with its regulars at home. in short, we can no longer sweep insurance regulation under the rug and cross our fingers that nothing will go wrong.
we tried it before and learned that such an action may hide the mess for a short-term, but pose a greater problems in the long term. as such, when the administration reveals its white paper tomorrow, i very strongly hope that it will recognize today's market realities and call for the establishment of better oversight for insurance holding companies and certain insurance activities, especially those most likely to pose systemic risk. moreover, i am confident that this administration will recognize the wisdom of creating a federal insurance office to advise a systematic risk overseer of the risks of the insurance sector, provide expertise in administration and congress on insurance policy matters, and communicate with foreign governments. i have long advocated for such an office by introducing and advancing the insurance information act. as part of the congressional research or