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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 11, 2009 3:00am-3:30am EDT

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into this charge that we@@@@@@@) mr. rosenker and i worked together on the 235 bridge collapse, and mr. schogol, thank you. i was working at the beginning of this hearing to get a speech done in honor of paul wellstone, he and his wife are getting a big award from a medical help association and across of the part about their approach tragic accident because it was too
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negative for this award ceremony as sat here listening i flipped over what we were doing thinking their plane went down, it was a private plane but because of icing conditions and pilot issues that were not similar to those with training and things like that. so that hit home to me. my colleagues have done great job asking great questions on the area of fatigue so i thought i would follow up with some of these ideas i am trying to get with a clear problem of the issues and training issues with these pilots and one of the things i thought about a lot with the regional carriers and senator dorgan and i are both in states where we have regional airlines and flight the when they typically fly short flights to hub airports and this means regional pilots on like their counterparts at the large carriers are more likely to fly short flights; is that right administrator babbitt? >> yes it is. >> so instead of doing one
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flight they're doing a bunch of short flights sometimes and i would think that could mean they are more prone to fatigue or stress, that it's more difficult. >> that's correct. one of the things we are looking into that's been a challenge of mine and i stated in my confirmation hearing we want to take the lead curtailed flight time and duty. there's different types of being on duty 12 to 40 hours, there's the nonstop flight to detroit and there is the 12 stop flight never leaving the state of michigan and those are dramatically different environments. we have science and knowledge -- >> see you were looking at changing the regulations on the rest requirements to reflect these different flying experience is, would that be fair? is that something you've recommended before? >> senator, we have recommended that and we want to close a loophole which enables a pilot to continue to fly eight hours for example which is the legal amount during the day and then continue on in part 91 or ferry
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status where there's no passengers on the aircraft and they loved and maintenance site which could be another hour or two or three away. we believe that needs to be changed. >> the second thing i was thinking about from the common sense are the pilots from the regional carriers flying shorter differences and low were altitudes and can that lead or at least that's how i feel it feels harder when you were down close. is that right? >> certainly you are exposed to more convected whether although i would note humorously every airplane i ever fluke was. [laughter] >> but you have an argument because they are on these shorter flights and might be more -- deal with worse weather and going back to the training, do they have to deal with more difficult situations if they're doing multiple flights edouard altitudes? >> that is true and there's another thing we have to take
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into consideration and that is where the science comes in again, the focus at shooting a very tight instrument approach, if you are going to shoot an approach down to 200-foot minimum or something like that there's a lot of focus in the cockpit and if you are going to do that six or eight times a period, eight hour period that is considerably more fatigued than two or three flights and flights and three our lengths. we need to address with science what is the right way to do this and it's been an open question in my opinion way too long. i have made it a challenge and commitment and we will follow-up. >> the other thing i was reading up on with the co-pilot which was an issue in the private plane that flew paul wellstone was the inexperience of the second pilot and in this case on this regional airline, the first officer told the pilot of never seen icing conditions and i've never experienced any of that,
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and what we have heard some industry experts say is copilots or first officers basically can be an apprentice position on regional flights and the pilots only a few these positions as short-term assignments, steppingstones for a job with a major carrier. if this is looked at with regional airlines with the number two position as something of a farm system for them to get to the major leagues this that present training challenges as well? >> i think it raises a good question for us to look at and that is the difference in training. qualitative versus quantitative, you know there's been suggestions maybe we should require four hours. my suggestion maybe we should look at the quality of the training people are getting. to have 1500 hours again, if that is flying in the command 20 hour legs at a time that isn't a lot of experience with takeoff and landing.
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someone else with high-quality training and less time could in fact be a better trained pilot and that is one of the things we are going to try to glean from bringing this together to look at training and do we make a distinction? should we make the distinction between the quality of the training people are exposed to versus just an arbitrary measure and amount of flying time and i think that is a very legitimate question. >> does anybody want to add anything on the training? >> administrator babbitt is on target. it's not always high numbers of hours. we have investigated unfortunately a number of accidents where we've seen 15,000 our pilots make mistakes. the question is is a quality, is it a performance standard base and are we getting the best people we possibly can in to this career so that they can do this safely and efficiently? >> mr. begich? >> i want to refer the kennedy to the report, the interesting
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part of the report is it was stimulated by this committee. it does address all these issues we are talking about. the panel was staffed by experts from the field, training, operating, and so all of these issues have been addressed. specific recommendations were applied to the ntsb, faa industry in general and congress. >> very good, mr. scovel? >> i will note in the committee asked my office to investigate the matters and training will be the first phase of the ongoing review. >> i appreciate that and also i know senator snowe and i have a bill focusing on some of the inspections and relationship with faa we hope to be included in the reauthorization and we can talk about that and the cooling off period at another time. >> thank you. >> senator klobuchar, thank you. senator from?
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>> thank you mr. chairman and gentlemen appearing before us today. i just want to follow-up with mr. rosenker if i can be read in your testimony the back pilot of coal and air 1407u quote the captain had a history of faa disapproval involving flight checks before his employment with colgan to read the captain didn't pass flight test in october 1991 and the commercial pilot's certificate may of 2002 and the multi injun certificate in april, 2004. in each case with additional training the captain subsequently passed the test and was issued a certificate. now i recognize that not every pilot is going to pass various flight tests on the first attempt. my question is what is the general pass failed percentage when it comes to instrument flight ratings, a commercial pilot certificates and multi
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engine certificates? >> i can't give you the specific. perhaps the administrator would have a better idea but before i turn over to the administrator if that's okay with you, one issue we are concerned about is the carrier themselves should have the ability when they are comparing new hires and candidates to say here is somebody that seems to demonstrate less than adequate proficiency over a period of time, and here is another candidate that seems to be demonstrating much better proficiency. that's the individual i want in my airline. as i indicated earlier in my testimony we believe some changes could do much to improve the situation and i will give you the metrics, administrator babbitt. >> thank you. yes, sir. as a rule of thumb, you know, the carrier, the inspector of the principal operations inspector would be the reviewing
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and training on growing at an airline. if he began to see a failure rate, written test and so forth and 80% -- if it got worse than 80% success he would be talking to that carrier about revisions to their training process. so, that's just the kind of rule of thumb. this is written task. that means if they are getting 75 and passing something is wrong they are now getting the training and we need to reevaluate that particular carrier and the need to reevaluate their curriculum. >> the you have -- what is that? do you have a pass failed percentage on each various test? >> the carriers, each poi -- i would tell you the past percentage is much higher, but that would set off an alarm. an inspector would say this is not acceptable. if the majority of your pilots, you know, are reflecting this and testing, than your
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instruction technique is lacking and let's reevaluate. it's either not being presented properly, you know, there's something wrong. the format, the techniques, something would be wrong and would be re-evaluated. again i can tell you in reality if you go out and inspector general did an audit i feel he will find and did find those training numbers are considerably higher. they take this very serious and i think it's worth noting there's probably no professional out there that gets tested more than airline pilots. a typical captain assuming he's stable in one airplane is going to take to physicals a year, three check wraps, to test his proficiency, another to test it is actually a check ride and then a random line check which somebody will show up and ride with him on announced so this is a lot of testing that goes on. the first officer has one physical and one check and an
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occasional line tech. so there's they are being well eckert mize and scrutinized by their peers with feedback mechanisms. >> senator if i may for just a moment, mr. babbitt referred to his service on the independent review team under then secretary peters. one of the findings is there was an unambiguous commitment to the core mission of safety on the part of faa safety stuff and that's been my experience as well since the time i've been observing faa in action. a follow on observation of the independent review however is there was, quote, remarkable degree of variation and regulatory ideologies among field office staff which could result in a wide variances and possible errors and regulatory decision making. in fact, there is no faa standard referring to training failures that you described, mr. babbitt of course is correct when he says that faa inspectors have a wide degree of latitude
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and they are expected to exercise significant judgment and discretion. so we will find from office to office, inspector to inspector, carrier to carrier significant variations, the next phase of my office's reef you will explore those in more detail. >> my understanding is that, and you talked about, mr. rosenker, and out possible amendments to pria that pria doesn't require a record failed flight checks and that the ffa does allow airlines ability to have pilots sign a privacy waiver so this information can be shared with prospective employe years but that the faa says such a process would be time consuming and controversy oil. and so i'm curious to know -- it seems to me at least that information being shared from a
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carrier to another prospective employer would be a very practical consideration and something that i wouldn't think would be overly time-consuming and controversy. >> i wouldn't disagree at all. the pile that record act requires the hiring carrier due to look back. i think what this instance and these cases are shining a pretty bright light on is there is a gap to my knowledge and i will stand corrected and provide the correction if i'm wrong but i believe we have an advisory circular that suggests the carriers should ask for the pilots at a record. the pilot does because privacy restrictions have to ask for a waiver. if i were hiring pilots and ask you to give me a waiver so i could look at your faa certificate of the past and your training and you deny it, i think it would raise my eyebrows.
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>> it@ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ @ two years ago? >> the recommendation was actually made a number of years ago. but an advisory circular came out to their credit that suggested this can be done by having the waiver signed. we would like to see it. >> we understand you can go get a signature on the waiver form but he had recommended i believe that the faa do rulemaking and
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proceed to allow easy access to the complete records of the pilot just as they have easy access to the records of the airplane. i guess mr. babbitt i would ask based on your knowledge of the culture of the faa why a couple of years after that recommendation was made with the faa not have initiated a rulemakings? >> to be honest with you i can't answer that. i don't know why they didn't. i will certainly look into it and get the information back to you. >> of all of the issues the one that is filled with common sense is youught to know about the pilot that you know about the plane, the record from the day that the person started flying, and yet we don't and it is not as if we don't know that doesn't exist. ntsb said it doesn't and we should make it accessible to the airlines, and the captain as you know had failed or had flight
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disapproval of the pile that instruments, excuse me, private pilot instruments, commercial pilot, commercial multi engine, atv sob 40, those must be the five failures. the mind is that that commuter airline hired this captain didn't know this information. degette indicated to us they were not aware of this. the other question is, mr. rosenker, you stressed several times today the investigation is not complete. i understand that. but having read a lot what the ntsb has done it is impressive to me. what is there you yet have to learn? at this stage of the investigation it appears you are well down the road, so what remains do you expect to learn?
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>> senator, mr. chairman, we only yesterday the day before yesterday were getting into a simulator we could fly the same parameters, the same patterns, the same actions to understand more about the human performance factor and aircraft performance factor and there is analysis going on at this moment. we literally sent a crew to that simulator to enable us to understand more of what happened in the cockpit so there's a good deal of analysis that must be done if we are going to cross every t and got everybody and that is what we do in our investigations. >> why are you only able to get into a simulator in june? >> we just finished a public hearing on this and we go through a process that of an investigation. so, in this particular time it is when we could put everything we learned from our public
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hearing into what we needed to do and test in the simulator. mr. scovel -- thank you. mr. scovel, you mentioned something i think is unlikely not related to this particular issue but may well be related and as related to safety and that is outsourcing of maintenance. tell me again your testimony about that and judgment about it. and the reason i ask is you suggested that the evidence is that there is greater outsourcing of maintenance among commuters the major carriers although what i have understood that the major carriers is increasing amount of maintenance is not outsourced. >> you're correct, mr. chairman, major out sorcerers are all of their maintenance where they did it in house and are looking to have it done by a maintenance contract providers.
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among regional carriers research shows up to 50% of maintenance needed by regional carriers is now being outsourced. my office has examined owls horse maintenance in 2003, 2005, 2008, a key finding of hours is the new risk-based safety oversight system for repair stations initiated by the faa in 2005 is currently an effective in our judgment due primarily to the fact that faa has not yet got a handle on exactly what type of maintenance, how much maintenance and where it's being conducted and outsourced and until it gathers that data and is able to feed that into the risk-based system it won't be able to assign the inspector resources where it is needed. mr. scovel in a book that i wrote i described maintenance by
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one large carrier, one of the carriers i should say and which they would fly empty 320 airbus from they do best to el salvador to do the maintenance, and then fly the mt 320 back after they did the maintenance. can you tell me what the equivalent standards are or if the standards are equivalent in terms of the faa ability to inspect a maintenance station in el salvador for example, versus outsourcing or contract and maintenance in detroit or chicago? >> there are a number of factors that go into the faa inspection of repair stations wherever they are located, sir, whether in the united states or overseas. if it's a certificated repair stations, faa has deep wide latitude to go in and expect. if it is non-certificated companies may still use it. faa might still inspect but they won't be by inspectors dedicated
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to the inspection of the facility or it will be by inspectors following airlines use of the facility and they will follow the aircraft into the repair facility in order to do their inspections as well. it results in a tenuous inspection trail if you work. the conclusion of my office over the years has been the key point is not where the outsource maintenance is conducted with the is in the u.s. or overseas or not even whether it is certificate or non-certificate, but the quality of faa oversight over the process. >> i am going to ask more about that at some other location. let me talk just a minute with this issue of fatigue because i think fatigue played a role here in the crash this prominently mentioned during this hearing and let me put up again the
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chart that shows, put it on an eisel perhaps, and i want to especially ask mr. babbitt about that because you said you commuted for five years. the one with the description of the commuting. the map. is there one with the map? thank you. that shows -- this perhaps would show the same kind of thing for virtually any commuter airline we would talk about and perhaps the same map for any major trunk carrier. what most of you agree? and i thi the question that remains in the mind of many as evidenced by the questions today from members of the committee is does this matter? does it make a difference? and if several pilots or in seattle or portland or los angeles or wherever and flight to the east coast to start their
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work is a fatigue something we should be concerned about and mr. babbitt, you indicated as a conscientious piling you would go early, check into a motel or wherever and get your rest, and i am stand that and applaud that. it is clear to me however that is probably not likely going to be the case with someone that is a new hire making $23,000 a year to go find a place to rent. the reason i ask the question is on a fly a lot on a lot of airlines and i sat next to a lot of crew members who are flocking to get to their station in some cases long distances. has this ever been discussed at the faa or has there been an effort to decide if this contributes to fatigue in a way that is significant enough to want to do more than just ask
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people well, you are on your own. we are going to expect you to have adequate rest and that's all we can do the? is their something more than that that exists because again it starts with the question i asked up front end of the hearing was the circumstance in this cockpit a complete anomaly or is it referencing symptoms we should be concerned about? >> well i think the map, you know, clearly is based on fact locations where people who live. i think and what we are focused on here is people who didn't professionally deal with what they should have in other words they didn't have the adequate rest that a professional would suspect they should. it doesn't mean those people commuting most of them were not doing it the right way. they were coming the night before. we can't tell from that -- >> that is that the key, you don't know. that's the reason i ask the question. >> different carriers have
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different methodologies. i know some of the cargo operations don't care where you are based, they will actually buy you a hotel room and they expect you to come in the night before and they will pay for the hotel room and that's a solution they've looked at it. they don't want their pilots' fatigue so again i want to go back to that is exactly why we are bringing everybody in. if this is going on and there's better ways to do it we need to know about it and know about it now. >> and you are bringing them next monday? >> yes, sir. >> you and i talked about that, and that makes sense. we should address the issue rather than ignore. mr. rosenker, you've obviously been looking at this issue. your reaction? >> we have concerns about commuting. we want to make sure that those management and the pilots have a responsible outlook on how this can be done in a safe and efficient way.
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the reality is these people are going to live where they wished to live. many places don't exist where they would like to live and some of the bases are in very high economic cities where in fact it costs a fortune to try to buy a home or rent an apartment. the business and practice of commuting has been around since commercial aviation. pilots are allowed to get inexpensive if not free transport any time they wish, so we realize this is a fact of life and we are trying to strive for is the most safe way we can get their because we can't ignore it. but we have made recommendations to the faa concern and fatigue. fatigue is a very insidious condition and many times people will not even know they are fatigued on till one fortunately it is too late. so we are hoping that dfa will be taking recommendations and incorporating them into some
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regulations, and we believe that if implemented it will go a long way of reducing the insidious effect of fatigue. >> what% of the flights in the country are by commuter carriers? >> about 50% of the flights representing 20% of the passengers. >> 50% of the flights by commuters. do you have data that is accessible with respect to accidents in the last ten years, commuters forces major carriers? >> i don't have that handy. we could get that if you wish and supply that to you. >> the reason i ask the question is my understanding it is around seven of the most recent nine accidents were accidents with commuter carriers. does that sound reasonable to you? >> that may not be including the three accidents we are investigating right now which include the hudson river, denver 737 continental.
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these were not fatal but they were major air carrier, major loss and of course now air france that we are participating with the french authorities. >> we should say that we are discussing this through the lens of a tragedy and understand always that's the case and the tragedy exist in the cockpit as well. in some ways i feel bad about talking to to people who flew an airplane that can represent themselves and get we are very concerned about what happened and what could have been done differently and how we make shrek others reporter plants understand things we can learn from this crash will be implemented. mr. babbitt, one final question. you will no doubt appear before this committee many times. i understand that when you are asked whether you have sufficient funding at the faa i believe most


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