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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 11, 2009 2:00am-2:30am EDT

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we@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ p) @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ m& assistant we believe thrds there is no time to lose in acting on information that we have already gathered. it is designed to foster actions and voluntary commitments in four key areas. air carrier management responsiblies for aircrew and
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support. second and professional standards and flight discipline in the cockpit. cockpit. number three would be training standards and performance and forth, the mentoring relationships between mainline carriers and their regional partners. the colgan air accident and the loss of air france for 47 remind us that we cannot rest on our laurels of the great state the record and we must remain alert and vigilant to the challenges of our system. with got to continue to enhance the air safety and within the system. this is a business where one mistake is one mistake too many. so, senator dorgan, senator demint and members of the committee this concludes my prepared remarks and i would be happy to answer any questions you have as a follow-on. thank you. >> administrator babbitt thank you for being with us. next we will hear from the honorable calvin scovel.
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mr. scovel you may proceed. >> chairman dorgan, ranking member demint, members of the subcommittee we appreciate the opportunity to testify regarding the faa's roehl. safety is a responsibility shared among faa aircraft manufacturers, airlines and airports for the together all for it for me series of overlapping controls to keep the system safe. the past several years have been one of the sake its periods in history for the aviation industry. however the tragic accident in february of colgan flight 407 underscores the need for constant vigilance over aviation safety on the part of all stakeholders. last month, ntsb held a preliminary hearing into the cause of the cold in the accident in which some evidence suggests a pilot training in fatigue may have contributed to the crash. as a result mr. chairman, you along with chairman committee rockefeller, committee ranking member hutchinson and said committee member demint requested our office began an extensive investigation into
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some of the issues brought to light during the hearing. we have already begun work on this review. today, i will first address to a major weakness is related to faa oversight of the aviation industry and then move onto operational differences between main line and regional carriers. first, the subcommittee hearing in april 2008 how late it weaknesses and faa risk-based or sipe system and air carrier compliance. wahler were identified save the lapse in southwest airlines' compliance, many stakeholders were concerned that they could be symptomatic of much deeper problems with faa's air carrier oversight on a systemwide level. for example in 2002, we reported faa needed to develop national oversight process is to insure that it is effectively consistently implemented. in 2005, we found inspectors did not complete 26% of plan
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inspections. last year we reported that weaknesses in faa implementation allowed compliance issues and southwest's main its program to go undetected for several years. further, our ongoing work has determined that lapses and oversight inspections were not limited to southwest. f.a. oversight offices and seven other carriers also missed inspections. some had been allowed to lapse well beyond the five year inspection cycle. additionally faa's oversight of the other facets of the industry such as repair stations has struggled to keep pace with the dynamic changes occurring in the industry. these facilities are rapidly becoming air carriers primary source for aircraft maintenance. we have found faa relies heavily on air carriers to provide oversight of this repair stations however that oversight is not always been effective. we have reported that air carriers did not identify all
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deficiencies at repair stations and adequately follow up on deficiencies identified to insure problems were corrected. this is an area of particular concern for regional carriers who rely heavily on repair stations. according to data provided to the department of regional extending as much as half their what means to repair stations. ntsb's investigation into the crash of another air carrier in january 2003 identified serious lapses in the carrier's oversight of outsourced make ends. last month's ntsb hearing brought to light the need to closely examine the regulations governing pilot training and hurrah's requirements and the requisite oversight to insure compliance. these issues are particularly critical at regional carriers. the last six fatal accidents involving regional air carriers, ntsb cited pilot performance as a contributor factor in four of
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those six accidents. moving to our second concern related to operational differences between main line and regional air carriers it is critical there be one level of safety for all carriers but the regional flights represent one-half of the total scheduled flights across the country and regional airlines provide the only scheduled airline service to over 400 communities. in response to your requestor pull in mary audit war has identified differences in regional and mainline carriers operations and potential differences in pilot training programs and level of flight experience. we are also looking into faa's roland determining whether air carriers at mainline and regional air carriers have developed programs to insure pilots are adequately trained and have sufficient experience to perform their responsibilities. mr. chairman i would like to reiterate we will continue to do our part in advancing the school safety while all stakeholders are committed to getting it right our work is identified significant vulnerabilities that
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must be addressed. this will require action as well as other areas or faa will need to revisit differences in standards and regulations and rethink its approach to safety oversight. that includes my statement mr. chairman and i would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the committee may have. >> mr. scovel thank you very much for your testimony and for your work at the inspector general's office. next who would hear from the honorable mark rosenker, i hope i have the correct, the acting chairman of the safety board. mr. rosenker you may proceed. >> thank you. thank you mr. chairman. ranking member demint, distinguished members of the committee, i would like to begin my testimony this afternoon with a short summary of the ntsb's investigative actions to date. regarding the accident involving colgan air flight 3407.
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this is still an ongoing investigation and there is significant work left for our investigation. my testimony today therefore will be limited to those that sui of identified to date and i will steer clear of any analysis of what we have found so far and avoid any altman conclusions that might be drawn from that information. on february 12, 2009 at 10:17 eastern standard time colgan air flight 3407 crashed during an instrument approach to runway 2-3, buffalo niagra it and report. the flight was operating as a 121 scheduled passenger flight from liberty international airport in new york new jersey. the four crew members and 45 passengers were killed. the aircraft was destroyed by impact forces. one person and a house was also killed and two individuals escape the house with minor
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injuries. on may 12th, 2019 tsp, the three day public hearing on the accident in which we explored airplane performance, cold weather operations, sterile cockpit compliance, flight crew training and performance and fatigue management. i would like to note that all of these issues are pertinent to every airline operation for a major air carriers as well as regional air carriers. our investigation continues and we continue to make progress every day. i would now like to discuss some of the sports importance safety recommendations we have made over the years. the ntsb has issued numerous recommendations to the faa on stall training, pie lit records, a remedial training, situational awareness, pilots monitoring skills, low airs ditto alert systems, a pilot professionalism and fatigue as well as aircraft icing. two of the series, aircraft
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icing in human fatigue are on the boards most wanted list for safety improvements. while there are currently more than 450 open recommendations to the faa, on january 12th of this year, the faa took action on some of those recommendations when they published a notice of proposed rulemaking addressing pilot training and qualifications. the notice also proposes to amend issues including the requirement of flight training simulators in traditional training programs and adding training requirements and safety critical areas. it addresses issues raised in numerous safety recommendations that we issued to the faa. in 1995 the ntsb issued recommendations to the faa to require an airline to evaluate an applicant pilot's experience, skills and ability before hiring the individual. following the year congress enacted the pilots' records
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improvement act. that came in 1996 and required any company hiring a pilot from air transportation a request and receive records from any organization that it previously employed the pilot during the previous five years. however the-- does not require faa records a failed flight checks. the board is recognized that additional data contained in faa records including records of flight check failures and rechecks would be very beneficial for a potential employer to review and evaluate. therefore in 2005 the ntsb issued another recommendation to the faa to require airlines considering an applicant for private physicians to perform a complete review of the airmen records, including any notices of this approval for flight checks. in response to the ntsb's recommendation the faa's stated notices of this approval for flight check certification and
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ratings are not among the records explicitly required by 1996 and therefore demand air carriers obtain such notices would require law making or change in itself. to the credit of the faa november 7 of 2007 and advisory circular was issued in forming carriers that they can ask pilots to sign a consent form giving the carrier access to any notices of this approval. the recommendation is currently classified open acceptable alternative response however today, the faa has not taken any rulemaking action or ask congress to modify the act. mr. chairman this concludes my testimony and i will be glad to answer any questions at the appropriate time. >> mr. rosen curd thank you very much. finally we will hear from john o'brien, a board member of the flight safety organization. misstroke ryan we will be
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pleased-- >> chairman dorgan, senator the men and members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. we commend you mr. chairman and the committee for focusing on these critically keeshan safety topics. we submitted a record statement. i'm here today representing the flight safety foundation but i also speak to you as a pilot u.s. are for 22 years as director of air safety frugal deroy don't speak-- and participated in more than 50 x and investigations of these issues are near and dear to my heart. the flight safety foundation was founded 60 years ago, a neutral forum where competitors and work to sure information, ideas and best practices for safety. today we represent over 1,000 organizations from 142 nations. as the committee requested artis money is focused on measures that may be appropriate to improve pilot training prevent errors from crew fatigue ayn grass issing hazards but in the
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interest of time i would highlight for the committee to topics that the particular attention. these topics cut across all of the committees issues. the oldest and most vulnerable safety tool is active investigation. these investigations identify causes the league findings and recommendations. objective investigations will always be in the central part of the air safety question but today they are only part of the more complex picture. today there is the management approach that can do more. the technique is a systems approach to radiation safety. this system will allow the fda to carry out its inspection and oversight responsibilities in a more effective way and allow the up reduced to also insure they are complying with the regulatory requirements. aviation safety professionals know that much more work with which they can adopt a more pro-active safety management approach and identify risk and prioritize actions by collecting data from many sources. steady show this type of data can give us
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by protecting this data and acting on it early, lives are saved. safety data is an invaluable commodity. but if compromises the results can be catastrophic. in wake of recent judicial decisions and the use of investigation reports and civil litigation and criminal prosecutions around the world, we believe there is a need for protection against use of voluntary self-disclosed programs. we're calling for legislative qualified reporting programs similar to that which is provided in u.s. law and discovery and in recordings and transcripts. the foundation recommends legislative against disclosure
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in any proceedings except that the court may allow limited discovery ing party has demonstrated a unique information-- need in the party would not receive a fair trial ebsen the information. in the event any discoveries permitted the foundation urges that only be made available to a party and a protective order and not made available to the public. we believe this legislative protection is absolutely necessary and will save lives. with regard to the issues of pilot training fatigue and anti-issing programs including those raised by the colgan crash we work strongly the faa's call for action with one common. we suggest dfa avery examine the report described in our submission for the record. this report contains the scotians and recommendations on aspects of training in qualification beyond airline pilot training and qualifications and the faa might wish to investigate why these
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measures in countermeasures training modules described in a written testimony concerning aircraft icing and fatigued have not produced resul that they were intended. thank you very much for allowing us the opportunity to testify before you today and i will be happy to take any of your questions. >> mr. o'brien, thank you for your testimony. mr. babb at my understanding a commercial airplane, a 737, a dc-9, perhaps an airbus hasn't record summer and everything that is gone wrong or all the maintenance, all the work that has been done on that airplane has been recorded so someone can see everything that exists about that airplane since its birth. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> is the same true of the pilot, the person in the cockpit of the airplane? is it possible to find all the information that he might want to find about the human factor in that plane, whether a pilot
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pastore failed the mall tien jen rating, a commercial license, instrument rating, so the reason i ask the question is a pilot that has been described here had i believe five failures in various exams, and i believe the carrier did not know that, so if you can learn everything there is to know about an airplane, why do we not at this point have a central repository of everything there is to know about it pilots' records? >> yes sir, that the shiny little light on an area that we really have to look at in currently the record exists. i think the issue that surrounds the concern is the exits into different places. any testing that was done rid nor weatherwise with dfa airs recorded by the faa however when it parlett goes to work for an airline, if he is receiving routine training, whether it is the upgrade, transition, proficiency checks, those records are not reported to the
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faa but instead they are maintained by the carrier. and i think it was alluded to here by some of the witnesses that perhaps we better take another look at how we join or provide access so everyone can determine that information. >> but they are not easily available and i think someone said the pilot would have to sign a waiver request, in which case the company simply goes back five years and gets what records exist. and it seems to me that we need to fix that and fix that soon because there is no reason to know everything you need to know about the airplane but not the pilot that is flying the airplane. i would like to ask the question about commuting and the issue of the tea. i want to put up a chart that i understand i think it's an ntsb chart that shows, this happens to be colgan air pilots, probably not too different from other air carriers. colgan air products committing
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to the newark base to begin work. you see that they live in one part of the country and commute to their duty station in oelrich and then get on an airplane to fly. the issue of fatigue has been cited by some as a potential significant issue. perhaps in that cockpit, both the pilot and co-pilot were affected by the key issues. would this chart look different if we were talking about another commuter or a trunk carrier? is this unusual, mr. babbitt? >> no sir. one of the issues that comes forward and should be interesting to know for the record that it was a new service provider, the capacity sale of their seats and service to continental airlines and hence the reason they are committing to new work. the same carrier could sign an agreement six months from now and be commuting to memphis and
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so the pilots often don't move immediately. underlined that there are regulations. the regulations are enforced the require the look back as far as their airline dooby is concerned. there is no reference. the pilot has an obligation, a professional obligation just like everyone else going to work. >> i am less interested in what regulations are enforced rather than how regulations are in for so i would ask this question. mr. o'brien, is it your sense that we have one level of safety as between commuters been trunk carriers these days? >> there certainly is a goal. the ability to attain this goal is still being sought after very diligently. however there is work to be done in this area. >> mr. scovel, your impression? >> mr. chairman i don't believe
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we do. what level of safety has become code within the aviation industry and among stakeholders to describe the move of regional air carriers from part 135 to 121 in 1995. you mentioned earlier that when an american gets aboard an aircraft in this country and had to pay a ticket and understands that aircraft is subject to faa peculation he/she could reasonably think the level of safety would be the same no matter what aircraft or carrier yet that is thought entirely true. >> if that is the case mr. rosen kirk, it is i assume a fact that the major carriers in this country have an enormous stake in the records of commuters, because they paid their airplanes with their colors and their name and consumers often are able to make a distinction or don't make the distinction whether they are on the commuter or the main carrier.
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do you think that what this happened is we have migrated to standards and if so, is that not contrary to the interests of the major carriers? >> i don't believe mr. chairman we have migrated. what i do believe, as the witnesses have indicated, we are looking to achieve what level of safety and that is a high level of safety. in fairness, at about 50%, perhaps a little more of the air passengers-- excuse me, the flights that are mader done by these commuter carriers. we want to make a state industry and overall as you indicated in your introduction, we enjoy a very safe aviation industry in the united states. the objective is to raise that even higher. not only with the regional carrier but the major carrier as well. weech as recently investigated
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the two major air carrier accidents, one in december, one in january, where we lost the entire hall of the aircraft. thank goodness no one got hurt. everyone got off. we are looking with their counterparts in france right now for that outcome was not a success. >> my time is about up. i want to say i have read all i can read about this particular accident in buffalo and i know that we have put-- we put a magnifying glass on this and bucket every part of it but i was stunned frankly learning what i learned it and i wondered, is this a complete and somalia? is it just happenstance that in his cockpit, below 10,000 feet insignificant icing conditions there was discussion about careers and career choices and things that deal with i think one of the mentioned professionalism?
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clearly that was not what the requirements would be at that point, and the amount of time and the equipment, the compensation paid to the pilot, the fatigue of potentially both, what appears to be an inappropriate response to controls that gave them appropriate warning. a whole series of things then you look at that and you think, this is a stunning said the failures. is it just something that is byzantine end unusual tibet cockpit, or is this a harbinger of something that is much broader and that we ought to be concerned about. that is why mr. babbitt you assume the reins of an agency that is very important and you have flown these airplanes in a career as a pilot and we are going to rely on you in future hearings to help steer as to the
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right conclusions here and we appreciate very much the work of the ntsb. we are going to have a lot of information from the inspector general to be very helpful to us as we proceed. let me thank all of the witnesses and let me cullen senator lautenberg. >> thanks mr. chairman. as we listen to the testimony read you the matters that got us to this point, and investigation we see that the captain of the colgan plight had several test failures. i asked mr. babbitt, how many strikes put you out? should there be a measure there that says look, if we have to squeeze you lafree that's what are you going to do when the pressure is on? i think there ought to be something that says if you can get there it in a couple of turns, you are not fit for this kind of a post.
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what do you think? >> senator that is an excellent question. let me address that if you would indulge me for a second. there are a couple of things to look at. number one, the regulations require in the carrier standards require training to a level of proficiency. people are human. they have a bad day and you can have a situation where a pilot, a good pilot takes an excellent check ride. i that situations of my own career of taking a check right in parallel with someone and what someone that i knew was a good pilot who did not feel well and feel that. is that grounds to terminate their career? >> if you want to go up in a shuttle and they give you a bunch of times to pass the test? i hope not. >> polling qanta that we would take that pilot, that particular element and train them and proficiency. i think there's another human aspect that we have to look at.
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for whatever the number is, one strike, two strikes, three strikes and you are out. the check pilots, were raising them by that decision authority. just a training jet pilot and now somebody else's career is in my hands. if i feel this pilot that is the end of their career. my concern would be you might have the wrong reaction. instead of saying you busted this portion, go back come and get trained, combat when you get this right as opposed to i am not going to end his career. >> mr. babbitt i have great respect for you and others at the table but i would say this to you. i would rather end his career than have my wife and children on the airplane, i can tell you that. these are things that we saw with the brilliance of captain sollenberger, who took that airplane down, pass my apartment
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building by the way, on the way to the river. i was not home then but you know how do we know that the react time that the training is sufficient, as the captain did on the united flight, save over 150 lives and they think i think, the picture of them standing on the wing will go down in history of an icon of what safety is about. >> i wanted to add one other point and your point is a good one and i appreciate that but there mechanisms and this is one of the reasons we are bringing everyone together. we have carriers that have good practices, where they have training review boards. at dfa a you would look at to things. it is a particular pilot showing an excessive failure rate and they did the training program >> what what you have stood training review board at


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