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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 20, 2009 4:30pm-5:00pm EDT

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the history of the world from a collection of 600 short stories. it also airs sunday night at 9:00 eastern. also sunday, books on the economy, a former investment banker john talbott exposes the myths about the recession and what it will take to recover, and jay richards on why he thinks capitalism is the best way to protect the environment. also, the end of overt eating. david kessler explains how americans program to buy too much sugar, salt, and junk can control their eating habits. there are lots more books and authors of this weekend on "book tv." the website has the entire schedule, and great features including streaming video, easy searches, and ways to share your favorite programs. >> up next, a hearing on
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aviation safety. the circumstances surrounding the february crash of flight 3407 in buffalo new york. this is a hearing held by the transportation subcommittee on aviation operations. it is about two hours. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i thank you again for conducting these hearings. i would just add my comments to yours. i agree with everything said about the concerns of this flight. a lot of us get on regional flights every week, going back and forth to our home states. we assume a lot when we get on a plane. i know all americans do. we need to make sure there is a standard of safety for every american. i am looking forward working
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with the chairman on language that would reveal the pilot record. some things seemed to make common sense right now. i do have the pleasure of introducing mr. scott maurer, who is the father of a 30-year- old who was in the 3407 crash. he was born and raised in at reading, pa., where they raised their daughter. he currently lives in south carolina. the appreciate you taking the time to come to washington. i think this is his third week here, and i know it is difficult for you to continue recounting this tragedy in public as well as private. if he comes as a representative of over 150 people -- he comes as a representative of over 150 people from the 3407 group. they come with the goal of making changes in the airline industry, the faa, hoping to
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keep an accident like 3407 from happening again. and saving many other families the sadness they are continuing to endure. he is also joined this morning by his wife, terri. i am deeply impressed with the work of the maurers and all the families of the victims of flight 3407. as the father of four and grandfather of two, i cannot begin to imagine the pain that comes from tragically losing a loved one. it speaks very highly of all the families here today that you are working to take what must be such deep sorrow and focusing on improving airline safety and helping other americans. i am looking forward to hearing your testimony and recommendations this morning, and both the chairman and i -- i know i speak for everyone on the committee -- we thank you for
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the sacrifice you are making to try to improve the system for others. >> let me ask others if they would limit opening comments to two minutes. >> mr. chairman, very quickly, thank you for calling this hearing. though our flight safety record is still outstanding when we look at the total aviation services, the situation with the colgan flight is one that shook our bodies, minds. the plane took off from newark liberty international and february and cost the lives of 50 people. it told us we need to address
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pilot training, flight hours of service, and implement consistent safety standards for regional and large beer carriers. last year, was all disturbing reports for the faa let airplanes filled with passengers take off with cracked parts. this forced the cancellation of thousands of flights from airlines may not have taken the safety as seriously. we are anxious to learn whatever we can about the failure of good precautions with flight 3407. we extend our sympathies also to mr. maurer, and we would like to make a promise when we're finished with these hearings that we will have done whatever we can to make his excellent
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safety record that exists with american aviation even better. we look with interest on our witnesses. >> mr. chairman, thank you. my comments will be very brief. let me tell you what i am thinking about hoping to accomplish through this process. i think the burden is on the airlines to prove to the american people that when we get on for the price of our ticket, whatever that is, we have a well experienced crew who will treat us politely and decently, an airplane that is safe as can possibly be. i think really the burden is there. when i think about this flight, and i feel so badly for these families, but this hearing is bigger than that one flight.
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i think about questions like, it is that airplanes safe? what is the inspection background of this airplane? what would the service records show me if i looked at them? i asked myself, does the crew have that training, talon, background, discipline? have they got a good night's sleep silicon handle situations? i had a pilot, dear friend of mine who flew small planes. he said to me, flying is hours and hours of boredom followed by moments of sheer terror. that always stuck with me. i ask myself, it does the crew know when they're entering a situation that is beyond their capability? or their airplanes capability? are they trained well enough and they have the talent and experience and background to see this situation and say, i am not going to expose my passengers to that risk, i don't care what
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somebody above me is trying to set? and those are the things i hope to accomplish in this hearing. my hope is we focus on some of those questions and others, and i will wrapup by saying, mr. chairman, thank you for calling this such important topic and i'm just glad be here today. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be very brief. i will be looking at this from two perspectives, one as the united states senator, and one who lost a family member, my father, in a plane crash. i will be anxious to ask several questions. i do not want you to take any of them personally. if i think this is an important issue, as described by several senators here, in regards to safety for our air flights. people walk on airplanes assuming they are safe. it is important we make sure they continue to improve on the
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record they have today. i will be coming from two perspectives and i hope you recognize that. thank you very much. >> i also want to thank you for calling the hearing and think the panelists for being here, especially you mr. maurer. our condolences to you and all the families. very tragic incident, and i applaud you for committing yourself to making sure this does not happen to any other families. thank you for your efforts and for the courageous work you are doing. coming from a state like mine, we have a heavy reliance on regional airlines. they play an important role transporting some passengers that otherwise would not have air service. no one is arguing which not take the overall aviation safety record for granted, but we also need improvement. we want to make sure the
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airlines and and they are doing everything they can to improve the overall safety record when it comes to all airlines. i particularly want to hone in on something we spoke about last week which is the need to incorporate more information regarding the background of pilots. i think it makes sense that we work to ensure the faa inc. in more accurate picture of eight prospective pilots' flight history when it -- i think it is important at the faa incorporates a more accurate picture of perspective pilots. it i think there is more congress can require when it comes to updating the pilot improvement act and i hope will make some of those changes. that clearly came into play in this tragic incident. thank you for holding the hearing and i want to thank our panelists and i look forward to hearing from you. >> as several of my colleagues mentioned, we look at these
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issues through the lens of tragedy, regrettably, but in many cases, we hope that what we learn will save all their lives and improve airline safety. all of us i think would embrace that goal. with that in mind, we have four what is this. i want to call on jim ma first. we have discussed all of the issues this morning, the same as the case with mr. cohen. let me say to all four of you, your entire segments will be made part of the permanent record and we ask that you summarize your remarks. and would you pull that very close and turn it on. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and good morning. let me also sure my condolences with the representatives of the
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families who lost families on the colgan air flight. airline industry safety is our highest priority. we try very hard to ensure we never compromise safety because of economic conditions. we work closely with all members of the aviation community, including regional airlines, to achieve extraordinary records, no fatalities for mainline characters in the past number of years, and it really is in that spirit that i appear before you today with an understanding that no accident is acceptable. we have irresponsibility to understand through verse and a searching inquiry the causes of accidents and take whatever single or multiple corrective measures are needed. we are very fortunate that there are three expert government forums in which scrutiny is happening today right now. this is as it should be.
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the public needs to be confident and responses to aviation safety issues. of the national transportation safety board's ongoing investigation will produce a far more complete picture than we have today. in this as previous accidents, the board is the authoritative source for making that determination and recommending corrective action. in addition, the department of transportation's inspector general recently began an assessment of federal aviation administration oversight of certification, pilot qualification, training, and other issues in response, mr. chairman, to your very direct inquiry. when this review was announced, we immediately offered our resources and full cooperation to the inspector general. his evaluation and constructive suggestions that we know will result from a it will augment the ntsb's effort. finally, the faa call to action on monday of this week is a
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broad based initiative to look at safety issues, including those raised at this morning's hearing. we attended, multiple representatives attended the meeting, and were impressed by the focus on concrete issues and their understanding of the need for very prompt solutions. we look forward to being engaged with the faa and other interested stakeholders in his final work. -- in this vital work. we'd have a full and frank destruction -- discussion about safety and the factors contributing to it. let me suggest six or seven steps that need to be pursued right now today. first, i think we need to apply flight operation quality assurance programs used by major air carriers to regional airlines. it works.
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the collection and analysis of data recorded during flights improves safety. second, apply aviation safety programs that have voluntary reporting of safety issues as they come to the attention of employes on regional airlines that currently do not have a program. third, identify advanced training best practices of mainline carriers to be used by regional carriers. fourth, we need a centralized data base of pilot records to give airlines easy access to complete information about applicants, from the time the very beginning. fifth, let's see if the fda needs to increase compliance with the sterile cockpit rule and what measures it should use to do that. sixth, let's examine flight crew preparedness when pilots report to work. this means looking at crew member commuting.
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if this means examining flight and duty time issues, i think that is perfectly appropriate, but tie it to the commuting side of the equation. as long as any examination is based on science, not anecdote. each of these initiatives can and should be achieved in short order. we're looking for door with this committee, the faa, ntsb, as cooperative. -- we are looking forward to working with this committee, the faa, ntsb and will be very cooperative. >> chairman dorgan, i am roger cohen, and i'm president of the regional airline association. i want to express our deepest sympathies for the lives of the passengers and crew of flight 3407 that were lost and for the families affected by the crash. we deeply share in their grief.
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i also want to express today not only for our member airlines but for our 60,000 highly trained professionals are total unwavering commitment to safety. -- our total unwavering commitment to safety. let's make sure this post accident process does not have to be repeated. we will take whatever steps are necessary so that our flight crews and aircraft are safe as humanly possible. the safety of our nation skies is a shared responsibility. at monday's faa summit, five of our regional airline ceos joined with federal agencies, major airlines, and union representatives to candidly explore all of the issues making headlines over these past few months. regional airlines have but one objective, and that is to
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prevent any future accidents. as we do that, as this committee has noted, it is important keep our perspective and reassure the american public that flying is extremely safe. in fact, until this recent tragedy, commercial airlines had gone the longest time in aviation history without a fatal accident. working collectively, rolling up our sleeves, with all parties, government, labour, and manufacturers, airlines have steadily improved their safety record of the course of many decades of safety initiatives, investigations, and reviews of accidents and incidents large and small. nevertheless, we must do better. but our industry's number one goal has been and always will be zero accidents and zero fatalities. mr. chairman, at your request, are member airlines provided the committee very detailed information about their
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operations, training, hiring, and employees. today, we will try to better define the regional airline industry to clear up some of the misconceptions. more importantly, we will talk about the steps that regional airlines have already taken and the actions we plan to take to further focus our total commitment to safety and accident prevention. our plans typically carry up to 100 passengers. more than 50% of all scheduled airline passenger flights in the united states are on regional airlines. most notably, three out of every four commercial airports in this country are served exclusively by regional airlines. our airlines largely operate in seamless partnership with the major airlines. regional airlines provide the crew and aircraft while major
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airlines said the flight schedules, fares, and customer service policies. it regional airlines and our major airline partners operate as a single integrated system. one ticket, one trip, one safety standard. all passenger airlines are subject to the exact same faa safety standards and requirements. it has been this way more than a decade. our goal is to prevent accidents, and that is why we are earnestly and eagerly supporting the faa's called action and why the regional airline association has embarked on our own strategic safety initiative to underscore our safety culture and help prevent accidents. this initiative has four elements. first, we will be bringing together safety professionals to review all procedures and address and the issue that can
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even be perceived as a contributing factor to an accident. second, we will conduct a thorough review of fatigue, looking at all the human factors in the scientific field to minimize the risks associated with fatigue. third, we will implement a fatigue awareness management program so that our airlines keep this issue top of the mind for both our flight crews and, just as important, airline management. fourth, we will reach out and partnerships with you in congress, across the government, and with our fellow stakeholders in labor and throughout the aviation industry to explore the full range of issues which could help us improve safety and prevent future accidents. among those are, number one, establish a single integrated faa data base of public records. second, explore random fatigue testing. third, examine the practice of
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commuting. fourth, extend the time of background checks from five years to 10 years. fifth, seek to analyze the information from cockpit voice recorders in other than accident investigations. and mine all this tremendous data to look for trends to help prevent future accidents. mr. chairman, the regional airline association thank you for the opportunity to testify today and for opening the dialogue on these critical issues. we look forward to keeping you informed, and i welcome any questions you might have. >> thank you very much for your testimony. next, we will hear from the president of the airline pilots association. >> thank you. we commend this committee for calling this hearing to taking a closer look at some of the critical issues affecting the airline pilots and our charges.
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many of these issues -- pilot training and hiring standards, training and mentoring -- are the top of the agenda at the faa's call to action summit in which we participated monday. will this meeting was a critical for step toward developing solutions to these problems, we encourage the faa to take a more structured approach in working with the airlines and labor to establish and agree to implementation plans for all parties to adopt. in recent years, we have to look more at the system. the major airlines have come to rely heavily on arrangements with these so-called regional airlines to connect large, mid- size, and small cities in the u.s., canada, and mexico to their international hubs. this has resulted in the exponential growth of the regional sector of the industry. still, the major air carriers exert a great deal, almost total pressure, on the regional
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airlines to provide air service at the lowest possible price. they control ticket pricing and schedules, and they regularly move flying between the original partners. this exacerbates breaking the chain of pilot experience, coupled with 160 or more bankruptcies in the airline industry and airline pilots leaving the industry because there has been no way to protect and retain that experience in the cockpit. we start over again and again. some of the major airlines even today are outsourcing their flying to the regionals and laying off pilots, losing those decades of experiences in the profession. these experienced pilots cannot afford to work for one of the so-called regional carriers as a newly hired first officer. as a result, small regional carriers hire pilots near the faa minimum standards and not employed adequate screening processes -- did not employ
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adequate screening processes. as was brought out during the ntsb's recent hearing on the tragic accident in buffalo, many pilots to fly for the regional airlines are not getting adequate training or enough rest. airlines are requiring pilots to work longer days and more of them each month. fleet and frequent base changes are forcing pilots to decide between competing or possibly -- between commuting or taking another pay cut to train on their equipment. the consequences of pollock -- quality airline careers has been diminished and severe erosion of benefits and quality of life are motivating experienced aviators to move to other professions. current trading practices do not take into account the drastic change in pilot applicants experience. instead, they assume that pilots are far more experience than they may actually be. there must be a new focus on standardization and even on fundamental flying skills. to meet this challenge, airlines
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and other training providers must develop methodologies to train for that lack of experience and to train for judgment. current trading practices need to be adjusted to account for the source and experience level of that new pilot entering the initial training with his or her airline. we also believe there should be more stringent academic requirements to obtain both commercial and airline transport pilot ratings in preparation to start a career as an airline pilot. the faa should develop and implement a structured and rigorous ground school in testing procedures for pilots who want to qualify to fly for 121 airlines. we also recommend airlines provide specific command and leadership training courses for new captains, to instill in them the necessary skills and traits to be a real leader on the flight deck. airlines should also implement mentoring programs for both captains and first officers as
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they first enter operations in their new crew positions to help them apply the knowledge and skills to line operations from more experienced peers. flight experience and public capabilities cannot be measured by mere flight hours. we must remember that each and every pilot out there today hazmat the faa standards, hazmat and trained and exceeded -- has met the faa standards and traded exceeded for them. another area of concern, two decades we have heard me and my predecessors speak about the problem of pilot fatigue. this time. we need to address those rules and change them. we also agree with mr. may, data collection programs need to be shared across the industry and then modify practices to make sure the best practices are
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being used by the entire family of airlines. in order to allow this program to grow and make these reports more readily attainable, additional legislation will be needed to limit the use of data in civil liability cases and insurer the information is used to increase safety. the best safety device on any airplane is a well-trained, well rested, highly motivated pilot. a strong safety culture must be instilled and consistently reinforced from the highest levels, from within the airline and among its cochair regional partners. think for the opportunity to address you. i will be ready to take any questions. -- thank you for the opportunity to address you. >> finally, we will hear from mr. scott maurer was a representative of the families of continental flight 3407. i know that your daughter was a passenger on that flight and is
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likely difficult for you to speak publicly about these issues. on behalf of the families, i think they want you to do that, and i am pleased to give you that opportunity, and our thoughts and sympathies are with you and the families. >> thank you, and bear with me. on behalf of the families of flight 3407, we would like to thank you and all the sub committee members of aviation for the opportunity to speak to you today. my name is scott maurer. you have heard that my daughter was a passenger on continental flight 3407. tomorrow night at 10:17, it will be 18 weeks since our lives were changed forever. the minutes, hours, days, and weeks that have passed since this tragedy have been an unbelievable nightmare for all bus. that is a pain that you'll never know, and certainly one we hope no one else will


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