tv Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology Commencement Address CSPAN May 31, 2016 8:03am-8:17am EDT
happened many all of senate history -- in all of senate history, the change of power during a session of congress. >> what the american people still don't understand in this bill is there's three areas in this bill that in the next five years will put the government in charge of everybody's health care. >> plus, an interview with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. >> and i'm sure i've made a number of mistakes in my political career, but voting against c-span televising the senate was one of them. >> watch 30 years of the u.s. senate on television beginning thursday on c-span. and to see more of our 30 years of coverage of the u.s. senate on c-span2, go to c-span.org. >> michael huerta has been in charge of the federal aviation administration since 2011. this month he spoke to graduates
of the vaughn college of aeronautic engineering, aviation and technology. his speech focused on technological advances in the aviation industry and how innovation is a necessity. >> well, good morning. and thank you. thank you for this exceptional recognition, and i can't tell you how much it means to me. thank you, chairman mckee, and thanks to all of you parents who have been through so much to see your sons and daughters here today. thanks to the distinguished guests, faculty, administrators and family. most of all, thanks to you, the students. it's an honor, and it is a privilege to be addressing the vaughn college class of 2016. now, i know the road to get here probably wasn't easy. many of you, i'm told, are part of the first generation of your
family to go to college and to reach this milestone. i know what it feels like. that was my story as well. i grew up in a little place called riverside, california. although both of my parents were born in this country, neither of them spoke english until they went to school. but my parents were big, big believers in the power of education, and they instilled that belief into their children, my three fors can -- sisters and myself. they taught us that learning equals opportunity. so there was never a question in their minds as to whether we were going to go to college. we would, and we did. and what i remember the most clearly from my graduation day was the look on my parents' faces. they were so proud that they --
and i think a little bit relieved that they could call me a college graduate. and they were thrilled about what this accomplishment meant for future generations of our family. as i look around this room, i see that same look on the faces of many parents, many siblings and you, the graduates yourselves. now, i know that getting here required hard work and sacrifice on the part of you, the graduates, and your families. and so really, congratrations to all of you -- congratulations to all of you. today is the culmination of your time here at vaughn. you've gotten a topnotch technical education, and you're entering an industry at a very unique moment in our history. aviation is safer than it has ever been. we've practically eliminated all the common historic to call
causes of accidents -- historical causes of accidents. our work is a model for aviation authorities all around world. and at the same time, we all know that technology is changing our industry at warp speed, and it's showing no sign of slowing down. and, in fact, aviation has changed very, very dramatically just in the time that you have been here at vaughn. back in 2012 unmanned aircraft were, if you pardon the exforfor expressinon, barely a blip on the raw day. -- radar. i saw at the consumer electronics show a flying drone taxi. now, with all these vanments, build -- advancements, building on our safety record is getting more challenging all the time,
and so how do we insure that our air space is going to work for everyone who wants to use it? and how do we do that without stifling innovation. >> now, we grapple with answers to those questions each and every day at the faa. we're working in an industry that's used to operate anything black and white. operating in black and white. but more and more the scenarios we're dealing with are shades of gray. queue probably been -- you've probably been taught that risk is a bit of a dirty word in aviation. we don't like it. we try to root it out in any way we can. i'm going to let you in on a little secret. our industry needs more risk takers. we need people who will challenge the conventional wisdom. we need people to think outside of the box, to ask questions that we are not considering, to
operate in those gray areas. risk takers are responsible for some of the greatest feats that we've had in aviation. the wright brothers defied the accepted science of their day when they designed and built the first airplane, and they proved that it was possible to take off and then to land in one piece. charles lind burg push -- lindbergh pushed the boundaries of what we thought aircraft were capable of when he completed his nonstop flight across the atlantic ocean in a single-engine airplane. amelia earhart became the first person to fly solo across the pacific ocean from honolulu to oakland x. risk takers today continue to hit new milestones. elon musk's spacex recently launched a rocket and landed the
booster in the oceaning on a barge -- in the ocean on a barge size of a football field. and then he did it again. that feat alone will reduce the cost of rocket launches by about 70%. now, all of these advancements were made possible because someone was willing to ask a very simple question: what if? and i bet each of you has a few what ifst in your mind right now, and with a degree from vaughn in your back pocket, you're ready to start answering some of those questions. now, that's exciting not only for me as head of the faa, but for our entire airuation try. aviation industry. because you're our next generation who will help us define what flight can be and where it's going to take us in the 21st century. we need your ideas, we need your talent, and we need you to be risk takers.
now, sometimes taking risks is incredibly scary. especially right now when you're first starting out. i'm sure you're already feeling the pressure to immediately get on the right path. for some of you, maybe it seems like there are a hundred different doors to choose from. and all of those options can feel pretty paralyzing. you don't want to make a mistake. for others it may seem like the specialized education you received has already wed you to one industry. you might be getting cold feet. no matter where you are, rest assured it's normal. you're not supposed to have everything figured out right now. your future is going to be filled with unexpected opportunities and unanticipated setbacks. if you can accept that now, you can find a lot of freedom. i want to tell you a quick story
about one woman and life's unpredictable turns. from the time jerry cobb climbed into the cockpit of her dad's 1936 biplane, she knew she wanted to follow him into the air. she got her commercial license the day she turned 18, but there weren't a lot of opportunities out there for a female pilot. it was 1949, and too many boys home from the war needed jobs. now, jerry didn't let that stop her. she took the gigs no one else wanted, and she spent time owning her skills -- honing her skills. and after setting records for speed, for distance and for altitude and after becoming the first woman to fly at the paris air show, the opportunity to fly even higher than she had ever dreamed was presented to her. she was chosen to become part of the mercury 13, the first group
of women to train as astronauts. but when the time came for nasa to select their crews, they decided that all potential astronauts needed military test pilot experience. and since women weren't allowed to fly in the military at that time, jerry and the rest of the mercury 13 were grounded. now, that would be devastating news for anybody, but jerry was pretty resilient. she found comfort in her lifelong passion for flight, and she began performing work as a missionary in south america. and for the next 35 years, she transported supplies to tribes in the amazon jungle and mapped new air routes to remote areas throughout south america. now, the world took notice of her humanitarian effort, and she
was nominated for pa nobel peace prize in 1981. i'm not telling you this story because i think you have to go out there and win the nobel prize, though i'm pretty sure everyone here at vaughn would not mind if you did. i'm telling you this because sometimes you're going to miss out on the dream job, or you're going to make a wrong turn, or you're going to need to start over. that's okay. you're going to have setbacks. it's how you deal with them that will define the height of your success. it's really easy the get hung up on having the right title or being associated with the most prestigious project. but when you look back on your career, what you're going to be more likely to remember is how your work affected people. your job is only one part of who you are. make time for your family, be there for the important moments
and never get so caught up in what you're doing that you forget why you're doing it. our aviation system is vast, and it's complex, and it has a million moving pieces to it. but all of it, every single bit can be traced back to one day, december 17, 1903, on a sandy stretch of beach near kitty hawk, north carolina. on that day orville and wilbur wright laid the first brick on what would become the foundation for our industry. and people like charles lindbergh and jerry cobb and elon musk have been building on it ever since then. now, for the last four years you've studied all the greats who came before you, and you've learned from your own mentors here at vaughn college.
and now it's time to make your own contributions to the great legacy of american aviation and american aerospace. but you won't just be defined by those contributions. one day it's going to be your turn to give back and to help cultivate a new crop of risk takers. i guarantee you, some bright kid someday is going to call you up for advice, and you may be too busy. you're going to wonder what you could possibly say to them that they would find useful. take that call anyway. because that conversation will have the potential to change someone's life. and that is how you build your legacy in this industry. by taking risks, by pursuing work that matters and to help the next generation do more than