tv [untitled] CSPAN June 11, 2009 2:30am-3:00am EDT
the carriers and i think you're going to see us begin to move toward toward, maybe everybody should be doing that, if one particular pilot is failing over and over again, that is not acceptable and i do think we need to deal with that. >> is there any concern about the -- in the towers, you know, newark, for instance. required 36 fully trained controllers in the tower. we have 26 or 27. seven of them are controllers in training. as we all know, we have a fantastic aviation system. we have lots of brilliant people. but we don't have enough and if you were to go in the operating room with a radiologist short
you wouldn't say that is good for the patient. say that is good for the patient. so, are we concerned enough, mr. administrator, that we have enough people to take care of the needs presently and the-- that are right in front of us? >> appreciating i am relatively new on the job i certainly have been looking into this. i will say everyone starts a job somewhere as a rookie and the way that is handled whether it is in the cockpit, every pilot makes a first flight and those with a training captain with him. a every comptroller, at some point is going to pick up the microphone for the first time in control traffic in standing next to him is going to be fully trained, fully qualified comptrollers watching him and mentoring him as he learns but everybody has to start in the training program so yes sir
there may be sometimes in some conditions where there is a training comptroller but the provisions are there that there is always a fully trained comptroller with them or in the case of a cockpit-- >> i don't want to put too much pressure on your of learning curve in this short period of time but that is a question i will be asking repeatedly until we get the answer i want. >> hopefully i will deal to say, yes sir they are all train now. >> a recent report, from one of the state to inspectors over the same type of airplane that crashed in buffalo earlier this year. it is also said that this inspector may have been retaliated against for raising these concerns. now, once again i know you were a new thereby your inexperienced person with aviation. what might we do to prevent, what would you recommend we do to prevent intimidation of
whistle-blowers and blocking their points of view? >> interestingly, you might recall i was a member of the irt which was a special committee appointed by former secretary peters and we looked into some of these cases, and what we found, and that board by the way had a former chairman of the ntsb. we did number of safety experts on that panel and we looked into this particular allegation. at the time it was an allegation about the conduct and the retaliation. i was reasonably convinced that the member of the committee that the faa took appropriate action. i was not with the faa then. we were critiquing the faa and it was pursued by the ig and it seems to us that the time that it was handled in accordance with what we should do. having said that i will tell you that i want to make sure those procedures, there were a number of steps that forward in that
report and i want to make certain those steps are followed, that we do actively pursue and make certain no one is subject to retaliation or is ever inhibited from raising a state the question without fear of reprisal. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> center lautenberg thank you very much. senator isakson. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. mr. babbitt we have tremendous confidence in you. i was very impressed with their meeting before your confirmation. you certainly have the record and the training to be a quality minister rader of the faa. my understanding is that faa requires that all pilots have adequate rest before they fly. is that correct? >> yes sir. >> they are the ones that certify that, is that correct? >> yes sir. >> in the case of the flight that crashed as i understand, the pilot had committed that day
from tampa florida and had slept in a pilot lounge and there was no record of accommodation. the co-pilot had flown from seattle to memphis, to newark before they flew-- did not flight as a pilot but a passenger before they flew on the flight that ended up crashing in buffalo. .. should there be some requirements on the time in the air whether you're flying as a passenger to get to the polite that you're going to fly as a pilot or a co-pilot. >> we might want to look at that. i will tell you from my own personal experience, i had over 20 years of flying and i commuted myself for five of those years but i took it upon
myself to go the night before and get a good night's rest. the professionalism, that's another reason why we're pulling people in. there seems to be some gap. this type of thing doesn't go on at the major carriers and i think the semantics here, we talk about one level of safety. there is, in fact, one standard of safety and that is the federal regulations. however we're seeing them at some levels, people far surpassing that with either their own inspired professionalism or their carrier. m or carrier indication some of the carriers have remarkably good training programs and that is what we are going to try to do is is they're better practices out there, is there a better way because currently all the regulations do is ensure the pilot is rested when he is on duty. we have defined duty and defined rest. when someone comes back from
vacation we don't know how much rest they got before the day they came but that is true in every profession so we've depended upon perhaps unfortunately but we've depended upon the professionalism of the pilot to show up arrested and ready for work, and he has an obligation to exercise the privileges of his or her airmen certificate that he is obligated to do that and we need to make sure they take that seriously. >> your answer on what you have imposed on yourself was responsible, and i would venture to say it was probably partially ingrained in the corporate culture you flew for in the corporation you were in; is that correct? >> yes, sir. >> don't want to make any indictment but if you have two pilots in a plane to crash, both of commuted the 24 hours it might not be as the chair said an anomaly but it could be a part of the corporate culture where there was less restrictive
approach to the port corporation might be true at another airline. would that be a fair statement to make? >> will certainly the professionalism certainly wasn't being pushed from the top down and one of the things we are going to have to look at and i mentioned mentoring from the major carriers i happen to know one carrier who is if they don't already have they are about to have a requirement that everyone who provides capacity purchase service meaning they are bringing their passengers, they have their logo on the tail of the carrier, they're gwen to require them to have a program and require them to have an asap program. we are going to go west up further and request their safety folks mentor some of these younger pilots. let's face it. when an airline expands rapidly it isn't inconceivable you have a pilot with two years sitting in the left and a pilot with six months in the right. how much mentoring is going on in that environment, but i think
we have an obligation at the faa and chance protection system to make sure they're getting that professionalism instilled in them. >> mr. rosenker, i & one of the top six recommendation at mtsb is that all turboprop aircraft the handblown during icy conditions; is that correct? >> it is something we have recommended, yes, sir. >> and mr. babbitt, they have no use of the hand pilot or turbo flying in a i see conditions? >> it may well be but might newness and preparation for the hearing i am not aware of a requirement. >> i think from a transcript from the cockpit there was the first officer although she had 2600 hours flying but had never flown in icy conditions, i believe that's correct?
>> i believe my understanding reading some of that transcript was she was describing -- she had flown in icing conditions however she did in fact have early line experience and she was describing that earlier experience await concern her and she was actually looking to get more experience building time. she suggested it should be promoted to captain she wanted more time northeast before she could accept it. >> my time is running out but when mtsb makes a recommendation which they have made regarding icing and turboprops, how does faa cwc you have a response procedure or do you take it or leave it depending where you think? >> my understanding of the process today, and i will let you know what i've added, we evaluate every single one and i don't think honestly there is an expectation on behalf of mtsb that we should adopt every single one they make.
i've actually had some discussions with former chairman to that effect. what i've suggested i will do going forward. in my opinion one of three things should happen to the mtsb recommendation to the faa. we should be adopted as date suggested, number two, modified because of some reason, reasonable or otherwise, and explained why were third if we don't adopt i think we have an obligation to explain to the mtsb and the public why we didn't adopt and what is the rationale we didn't. >> id is ackley the right answer and i appreciate your candor. >> senator cizik said, thank you. i'm going to call on senator begich but i want to make two points. one, i read back and read the icing issues this morning on the transcript and the copilot -- this is a quote from the transcript, i've never seen icing conditions, i've never
deiced or experienced that. i don't want to have to make those calls. i would like to -- i would have seen this much ice and thought all my god we are going to crash. if you read the several descriptions from the person in the cockpit about this i think it does and why this person had minimum icing experience. the other point i want to make that senator isaacson asked about, mr. babbitt, when you travel and commuted and got a full night's rest my guess is that someone that is making 20,000, or $22,000 traveling all the way across the country isn't going to be paying rent on a hotel room or crash bed to find a place to stay because they probably can't afford it so i just want, that's a very important issue senator isaacson is raising. i apologize to my colleagues.
>> [inaudible] >> senator begich? >> i apologize to the panel have to leave after my questions. but for me, this is not only an important discussion. my father perished in a plane crash, so i'm very familiar with issues and impact it can have on a family so i appreciate you all here today. i have from the velázquez perspective is the small plane capital of the world. small planes are like vehicles, that's how we get around so as we think of safety issues we have to keep that in perspective especially in the rural areas so i am very aware of that could be an impact by. i want to follow-up on a couple of questions and it was intriguing to me as i was listening to the recommendations and mr. babbitt, we've had good conversations in regards to the faa and your new role and you've come in with a fire hose and
you, but i want to make sure i understood what you said and then i saw your body language so i'm going to try to connect the two. i can't imagine you would make recommendations that are not necessarily recommendations you're looking to have implemented so i want to make sure i heard you right, and that is the mtsb is making the recommendation my assumption is you want to see elements were those implemented, yes or no? >> that is correct. >> what i heard you say is not all of them are looking to have implemented. i don't think you meant that but i want to make sure i'm clear because as soon as you said that i saw i don't want to say recoil, but [laughter] bye salles movement, and so can you clarify that to make sure we are on the same page because otherwise they shouldn't make the recommendations of they are not implemented. i spent time, as i mentioned
with this i.r.t. and on that i.r.t. was the former chairman and in our discussions, we talked about this, that there are a number of recommendations and they are excellent. ntsb does a great job and it is a great honor the help us. we heard the statistic that the f.a.a. adapts somewhere in the range 82-85, that's where the former chairman said we have an obligation to report everything. >> that's where i wanted to make sure we were clear. that other 18-50% is to make sure what happened and for the ntsb to know why it didn't implement those and that's one of the reasons and where do you go from there? that is the point i tried to
say. perhaps i didn't make it clear. >> i saw the recoil ochre and want to make sure we are clear but i want to make sure that your policy that you are going to implement and now look at the you are going to implement is the percentage that is not taken into a full recommendation. you are going to respond in some way that the ntsb can see and the public can see why. >> yes, sir. >> that would also draw potential pathway, maybe or maybe not depends what happens. >> yes, sir. >> i'm struggling and the chairman said it again about the salary levels. i just struggle with this because i know in our state, we pass and i don't want the regionals to call me after i make this comment the regionals representing the audience please don't call me, i know that won't work but, you know, we had bus
drivers, school bus driver incidences', quite a few and we made the requirement of a certain minimum pay levels in order to ensure we have the quality and they are now taking second jobs or third jobs or whatever might be and has had a very positive impact. is that a discussion by anyone who wants to comment on this and i will start with you, mr. babbitt. $16, and assume it is a full year of pay is barely above minimum wage. >> i think the carrier did correct the minimum, it was about 23,000. >> okay so $7.69 it is about maybe $8.10 an hour. >> it might surprise you there are major carriers to start pilots at that number. >> that does surprise me to be frank with you. >> there are some the start considerably higher, there are some major carriers flying
larger planes the start that low. this is an area i think, you know, captain skullenberger mentioned in testimony. the area i was in very badly dating myself into the 60's, but probably half of the people that were hired when i was hired as a pilot model the came out of the military, half of them came out of military academies, so we had a wonderful. of course the service of the time was training, we had 50,000 pilots flying in vietnam's we had a lot of extras and seasoned people that came disciplined and they were well trained and educated. they had other options so if you wanted a pilot like that you were going to pay because they had other options. they could go be an engineer or going into another profession. >> but it's an area of interest. anyone else want to comment -- does anyone disagree that is an area that has to be looked at?
>> senter i will note the committee asked my office to examine pilot pay. it's an important factor as several members of the committee have pointed out as an influence on the question of fatigue and also perhaps a proxy for the question of experience and how that would relate to performance in the cockpit. >> let me -- i'm sorry go ahead. >> as we continue our investigation of the colgan accident facts will continue to be analyzed and we could end up with some form of recommendation dealing with fatigue that could also have relevance to lowercase skills. >> compensation issues. >> senator from maine. if you refer back to the statement we submitted for the record there's a copy of reference, bloomberg panel report stimulated by hearings held by this committee back in
1990. that report covers preemployment requirements for airlines. it covers salary ranges for pilots, it covers what kind of basic training should be provided by the civilian flight schools because at that time the primary reason for the report was the committee's interest why there was such a drain on military pilots. so i think if we would look at that report again we would find the 13 recommendations made by that particular panel speak directly to the issues we are talking about today. that was back in 1990. >> thank you very much. i know my time has expired, but i hope this is just a yes or no, and that is for each one of you i will start mr. babbitt, i will start with you, do you believe that you have the necessary resources within the organizations you are working to do the job with regard to safety?
>> yes, sir, i do and having said that, we depend heavily on input from a number of the people here. we certainly respect what the ig has to say and the ntsb and with those tools together, yes, sir. >> generally i would agree. the program's the faa has in place properly implemented would allow it to exercise proper safety oversight. it's always a question of implementation verses the plan itself. >> sir, the faa is doing as good a job it can do. i believe these are well intentioned people. these people care about safety as much as any of loss due, but they have a lot to do. they have the objective and mission of making sure our
aviation system is as safe as it possibly can be and with that, it will take oversight, it will take new 21st century equipment, and that comes with money, and i am not here to lobby on behalf of my colleague because i could use money for my organization at the same time. >> so the answer is simply a little bit helps. >> a law would help these people, yes, sir. >> and last, mr. o'brien? >> i believe the faa could do much more with a little bit of help. >> thank you very much for the testimony again for my personal perspective. thank you for everything you do to ensure error safety at the highest level possible. there's always room for improvement and that is what we are here to do. >> senator boxer? >> thank you so much mr. chairman for this important hearing and thank you all and good luck to you, administrator
babbitt. i have had problems with faf safety for so many years i can't even tell you, and had nothing to do with if it was a republican president or a democratic president, i just felt the ntsb which was one of my hero agencies and government all my life, one of the agencies that tells the truth and they come right out and say that they have been ignored and ignored and ignored and gets to me and it is upsetting and i hope we will have a change with this administration and if we don't you will be hearing from me. i want you to succeed but think you need to be honest about what youeed and you know, i would ask mr. rosenker, how many years have you been on the in tsp? >> six years. >> so you have a good background. it seems over the years there from dozens and dozens of recommendations that have been
ignored; am i correct by the faa regardless who is president? >> 450 are outstanding today many of which are ten to 15-years-old. >> that's an outrage. 400 -- my friend mark and suffered such a loss in his family, he needs to hear this, 450 recommendations in the ntsb have been ignored by the faa over the years. that is an indictment of the faa. it's not about anybody personally. it's the institution and the way they think and it's very disturbing to me. now, i want to pickup on a very disturbing transcript and i am going to quote from the buffalo news and i think senator dorgan for his intense interest in this. senator snowe and i had written a letter to the honorable ray lahood about the buffalo accident and as we read this a lot to us and i am going to
share this article in part. captain marvin rim slobodan the last hour of his life in beijing autopilot on the continental connection flight 3407. he said autopilot in gauged. all right replied the co-pilot, rebecca shaw. it's probably a good thing, prince low implied. those words show both pilots with lack of experience. rents low complained and the shaw said she's never flown on an icy night. they start panicking once the plane lost control. while engaging in the idle banter in the last minutes of the flight from slow and shaw stop checking the plane's instruments and failed to recognize, failed to realize the plane was flying so slowly it could stall but flight 3407 troubles apparently began far
earlier. renslow might have been joking when he said was a good thing the plan was on autopilot but in reality it wasn't a joke. the safety board recommends the pilots turn off all the pilot and flight manually wind icing could a minute later renslow noted he was hired with just 620 hours of flying experience. quote, that isn't much back when you get hired, shaw said. a minute later shia complained about her own and experience. the crew then lowered the flaps and landing gear and the plan quickly encountered trouble. the stick shakers stalled warning device activated, 10:16 for nearly seven seconds and a horn sounds to signal the autopilot was disconnecting at the board renslow pulled back pushing the dow was up word, that altered the air flow of the
wings and sent the plane tumbling. and then a quote from mr. rosenker, acting chairman told reporters renslow and shaw violated regulations banning conversation once a plan to send blood in thousand feet. clearly there were violations of the cockpit rules which ban such conversations he said. critical phases of flight the career direct focus without doubt there is a risk of mistakes. this is a chilling to everyone, and if you have had a loved one on that play and it is beyond chilling. it is unforgivable it seems to me, so i want to get to a letter that senator snowe and i sent to secretary lahood and we said some tough things, mr. babbitt. we are troubled by reports suggesting the faa would talk to carriers about duty time, that
is a direct quote, talked to carriers about duty time, this refers to this flight and pilot fatigue. the faa must become a proactive agency and merely talking doesn't fulfill their primary mission to ensure the safety of the public. we can no longer afford to act after it is discovered inspectors are overly friendly with the airlines they oversee and we cannot continue to wait until another tragedy occurs before we implement improvements and training requirements much less simply enforcing existing regulations. so, i mean, that is a tough charge. we are suggesting there is too much coziness between the faa and the airlines they regulate. can you respond to that? >> yes, senator boxer, as i've mentioned i am not sure if you were in here, i was part of the internal review team set up by the department of transportation under secretary peters and we looked into this very charge.
there was the question in both the american airlines case and southwest case that the relationship had something to do. we certainly reported a number of things in the report findings and as i stated in this hearing and in that report we will follow-up on that. >> but i am not asking specifically it is in the context of crashed the institutional relationships it's in the culture, and we need to hear that culture must change. so, talk to me about how you feel about this because you are, you've been around -- my god you had the passengers' safety on your back all those years. if anybody can change the culture over there is you but can you tell me are you doing anything to change the culture? >> we are certainly trying. i've only been there -- i can count my tenure on my watch. >> i know what i'm asking for a