tv FAA Administrator Confirmation Hearing CSPAN2 May 15, 2019 11:16pm-1:16am EDT
senate confirmation hearing of t he faa administrator nominee answered question about the certification of the boeing 737 plane and air traffic control modernization. the hearing of the senate commerce science and transportation committee is two hours. >> mr. dixon i would ask at this point you make your way to the witness table. the committee now convenes to consider the nomination of stephen dixon for the position of administrator of the federal aviation administration prior to
the retirement last year he served as senior vice president of the flight operations for delta airlines and began his career with nearly 30 years ago with delta and as a pilot following over a decade of military service as an air force fighter pilot. a graduate of the air force academy and george state university's law school. the president has nominated mr. dixon to be the administrator in the especially challenging time for the agency. the world's gold standard for aviation safety. however the recent overseas crashes off the 737 aircraft have raised serious questions about the role in aircraft certification. i hope to hear how he plans to restore the full confidence in the agency. if he is confirmed. i can assure him the committee will continue its oversight and hold the faa accountable for any
mistakes we uncover but we also stand ready to work on any necessary reforms. although safety is the foremost responsibility, the agency must also facilitate innovation in our airspace and we held a hearing last week on the integration of new entrants in the national airspace. unmanned aircraft are increasing every day tools with over 2 million drones projected to be operating over the next five years the commercial space launch sector is set to increase the number of launches and three entries through the airspace on way to and from outer space. urban air mobility companies are fast developing air taxis which will revolutionize travel and i want to be among the first customers. the bottom line is that the airspace especially at low altitudes is going to get busier and they must help manage the safe and efficient integration
of all users new and existing. if confirmed, he will also need to ensure long-standing efforts to modernize the traffic control system a specialty nexgen stay on track. the inspecto inspector general d accountability office have documented the cost overruns, significant delays and other problems in the modernization programs. mr. dixon has experienced working in these areas and if confirmed i hope he will be able to improve the overall management of these critical efforts so i look forward to the testimony and question and answer and i now turn to that is english ranking member for her opening statement. >> thank you for that productive markup and working together with our staff to work together through those issues and i want to thank our coffee
distinguished women are working on the bill. we definitely need more women and definitely wants to express my appreciation moving forward on such an important piece of legislation. >> if the distinguished ranking member would yield, thank you for once again pointing out that cooperation we have received on both sides of the aisle from our professional staff. this may have seemed like a rather quick 15 minute mar 15 mp that represents hours and hours of painstaking and knowledgeable work on behalf of some very talented staff members so i was once again as i will try to do throughout my chairmanship salute the staff of both parties for making this move and bipartisan.
thank you for building on it. >> it is great to use you again and thank you for being here today. i appreciate the willingness to serve the nation and the opportunity last week to discuss aviation issues and many of the challenges that would face you if you are confirmed. welcome to your family if anybody is confused which side they are on they are the ones without the notebooks on the other side. [laughter] i am pleased to have such a qualified nominee before us, a long career industries served him well and he's had a very distinguished military career, 27 years as a pilot and senior vice president for flight operations and served as a very important member of a lot of our key industry boards, faa and nexgen implementation task force that you just mentioned. i hope if you are confirmed he
will continue to provide strong leadership in those areas. the implementation is critical and as the skies continued to grow more crowded and congested we can't wait for the benefits that it would bring. if confirmed he will have plenty of issues that you will need to address. the recent tragic accidents of the 737 macs have brought a renewed focus to aviation safety and security. we can never let up on those issues in light of america's commercial industry remains extraordinarily safe, we need to keep working to make improvements in all areas of the industry and in all parts of the world. i'm glad to see we have families here from the 3407. and they've been consistent and resilient in continuing to help us focus on these issues. thank you for helping us focus on the cost of not prioritizing these issues. the advocacy of the families first officer classification
requirements have been one of the important issues that i know we will continue to look at here in this committee and in congress as we have for many years. we also need to continue our focus and increasing opportunities for new pilots and getting them adequately trained. also as a result of our efforts, congress has passed a pilot records database requirement in 2010 which is not fully implemented. i know the faa is working on the database to solve technical issues, but we need to get this up and running so when an airline hires a pilot it can have access to all relevant information about the potential hire so they can make the best choices. lestelast year congress also paa major reauthorization bill. this legislation and implementation is ongoing and there are several issues that need attention. the bill requires flight attendants to receive at least ten hours of rest between the duties and flight attendants played a very critical role in flight safety so i'm pleased
that they addressed that in the bill last year and we hope the implementation of this will move quickly under his leadership. the bill also contains several positions and i would like to thank the senator for his leadership on getting that legislation done. several positions on the contact powers which we discussed in our meeting via they are imports into smaller parts across the country implied we need to continue to work collaboratively with them. the committee has worked on putting together and protecting the contract power program and we look forward to working with you on how to implement improvements from last year's legislation and finally when it comes to expanding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles we are waiting on the identification rule to unlock so many of the potentials and i can tell you from my state perspective they are playing a vital role in
helping us on important resource management issues and helping first responders at the scenes of accidents so i hope we can continue to work with you to get a remote process moving before the deadlines that have been sent. i expect we will continue to remain engaged with you on many of these issues on innovation so i look forward to talking during the q-and-a about some of those but again thank you for your willingness to serve, and thank you to your family and for helping to support you on this big end of her. >> thank you senator cantwell. before turning to mr. dixon at this point i would like to insert into the record a statement of support from senator johnny isakson which includes his regret that he is unable to attend the hearing today. senator isakson will be
accompanying delegation senators at the funeral of senator lugar today, so we certainly understand senator isakson is in support of mr. dixon and also very much wanted to be a part of honoring senator lugar. with that said, mr. dixon, we turn to you for your opening statement and feel free to introduce your family. thank you, sir. >> thank you esther chairman, ranking member cantwell and members of the committee it is an honor to appear before you today as the president's nominee for administratonomineefor admil aviation administration and if confirmed, i look forward to working with you and the congress to enable and strengthen our world-class aviation system. as mentioned, i appreciate the
kind and generous introduction submitted by senator isakson. i'm humbled by this nomination and the opportunity to serve the nation. i'd like to thank president trump and the secretary for their confidence in me to lead to the faa during this important time. i also like to thank my good friend of the acting administrator for his strong principled leadership of the agency. but before i begin my remarks i would like to introduce my family, including a few who couldn't be here today, my father is feeling a bit and was unable to make the trip and my mother, they both lived in florida and i extend to them by love and gratitude for all of their support and encouragement over the years and also my father-in-law in georgia. you need to get above 500. i'm sitting here in the
territory and we need to keep the pressure on. i'd also like to introduce my family that i'm extremely proud of that have joined me today. sitting right behind me starting in the red, my wife som, the fay ceo and my wife. we are blessed with my children most of whom are here today, not all that my sons, andrew and nicholas and dan and his wife emily and our amazing daughters, elizabeth, her friend austin and bree and her husban son jordan. steve = jordan. and of course we also have with us today my niece and her husband. down on the end is the esteemed celebrated as the day and holds the guinness book of world records for most photographs in
the first year of life. thank you all for being here and for your love, support and encouragement. as you've heard i grew up in a family with a strong military tradition that places a high value on service to our country. my own career in aviation stands nearly 40 years. after graduating from the united states air force academy and completing air force pilot training i went on to instruct the t. 38 tactical fighter to beat a fighter pilot for several years and after completing my military service i've moved to delta airlines qualifying on the 727, 737, 750s of an, 767 and also the airbus a320 series aircraft. last october i retired after serving the last 12 years as the senior vice president of flight operations there was responsible
for the safety and operational performance of the company's global flat operations. i've also had the privilege over the years of collaborating with u.s. and international aviation industry leaders to advocate for commercial aviation safety and improvements to the national airspace system. the u.s. aviation system is the most dynamic, diverse and complex in the world and is a key contributor to the economy. as the safety regulator and operator of the national airspace system the faa provides the programs and infrastructure that helped to deliver unprecedented safety and mobility to the traveling public. if confirmed, i will work to ensure the faa remains focused on the secretary's priorities of safety, infrastructure investment and innovation and fulfills its mission with accountability to the american public. of all of the priority is none is more important than safety
and if confirmed as the administrator safety will be my number one priority as well. despite the track record of aviation safety in the u.s. over the past decade and more, we must never rest. humidity is always in order. as the gold standard among the aviation safety regulators and the wealth of the faa responsibilities go beyond the borders. i look forward to the opportunity to bring to the agency the knowledge and experience i gained in aviation operations and leaving stakeholder groups as it focuses on continuously improving safety performance not only for those who use the airspace but for those who use u.s. aviation industry products and services around the world. safety regulatory decisions should be rooted in the analysis from sound science and data with risk-based analysis that identifies precursors and prevents access before they happen and considers both the cost and benefits of the new
rulemaking. beyond safety, if confirmed also focuses on the stakeholder engagement, change of management, global leadership and people. i found over the years become a way to get things done is to foster a collaborative environment that welcomes diverse points of view and includes all perspectives and provides transparency. wheltd. hopefully manage the changes we are experiencing in the system today in terms of technology and the force. if confirmed, it would also be one of my highest priority is to ensure that we maintain preeminence as the global aviation leader in safety continuous improvement and innovation. finally none of what i've discussed up to this point is possible without supporting people. i worked with professionals for many years. we have the most professional dedicated workforce in the world whether you are talking about
air traffic controllers, inspectors, engineers or technicians. the team has an opportunity to shape the transformation of our aviation system. the chance to leave at this time is an honor and one i contemplate with humility and gratitude and if confirmed by will ensure people are supportive of the value and they know i have her bac your back wt comes to safety and new ideas. if confirmed i intend to perform my world of accountability to the stakeholders including the american public. it's always my priority and we will also be driven by the values of honesty, integrity and mutual respect. thank you for your consideration. i'm excited about the opportunity to serve the nation and i appreciate your time today very much i would be happy to answer any questions. >> we very much appreciate your statement. i need to ask you as we do all the nominees, if confirmed, will you pledge to work collaboratively with this
committee and to provide thorough and timely responses to our requests for information as we work together to address aviation policy? >> yes sir i will be happy. >> appreciate that. you mentioned in your written and oral statements you still consider the faa as the global gold standard. if confirmed, what will you do to restore the confidence in the united states and around the globe that indeed it is still a fact and will continue to be a fact? >> a big part of the process is occurring today by getting
confirmed eater at the head of the agency and one that has past experience and brings a fresh perspective to the agency. there is the 5,000 employees involved in daily operations and aviation safety in all aspects. a lot of good people and they need leadership and need to be supported so i look forward to doing that. we also take certainly the groups that are looking into the particular issues around 737 certification process to make sure that those recommendations are taken seriously and if there are any failures or processes that need to be adjusted that i would certainly follow up on that if confirmed. >> thank you. and then let me ask you also about commercial space. the office of commercial space transportation which is often
referred to as ast was established in 1984 as part of the office of the secretary of transportation and was transferred from the secretary's office to the faa primary function to regulate commercial space launch and reentry is in the spaceports. given the national importance of maintaining u.s. leadership in space, if confirmed, will you support the expansion and growth of the commercial space sector as he worked to integrate commercial space into the national airspace system and give your thoughts on that if you don't mind. >> i look forward to working with the committee and the agency and department on continuing to grow our commercial space capabilities. as i think you all know, the number of commercial space space
launch is projected folaunches r is rising by about 25%, and the trendline continues year by year so we certainly want to foster those opportunities and continue to innovate while at the same time protecting the safety of the existing aviation system that will also be occupying some of the same during launch and reentry operations i look forward to making a contribution and providing leadership to move all of that forward. >> thank you very much. senator cantwell. >> thank you again for your willingness to serve. there are so many questions i will just try to rush through some of the broad issues first and get to a more substantive question on the flight rules for that airline pilots obviously you are a pilot yourself.
you know we have a car g cargo carveout what do you think about that issue in trying to rectify this guy is and having everybody on the same standard? >> thank you for the question. it's important that we have one level of safety in the aviation system. however, many of the roles have developments and performance-based elements and all carriers whether they are cargo work passenger within the 121 world in any case realized there's preauthorization issues with expanding that to 135 and other disciplines, but everyone is required to have a management program that is approved by the faa and that includes cargo carriers. they may have a different way of getting to the same level of safety but it does get to the
same safety are. i understand this is an item of interest to many stakeholders and i think a continued dialogue on the subject is appropriate, and i look forward to working with you. >> and we look forward to working with you as well. on the flight attendants, you will help move along quickly? >> yes, senator. i realized it was a significant part of the reauthorization, and i don't have visibility into the specifics of how all of the items are being implemented, but i look forward to working with you to move forward. >> obviously it highlights the diligent efforts we need to continue on the safety at-large and obviously we have some pulmonary findings suggesting its impact on those accidents. technology and automation are going to continue to be parts of
aviation, and we don't want to see an overreliance on technology. we want those skills to continue to be there and this is something i didn't realize we were certified on all of those different types of carriers, but how do you view this as a potential for overreliance on automation, as both a possible detriment to the basic flying skills and healt how to best mae the human element in testing on these technology issues? >> as you know, we discussed this at some length in our office visit and it's one of the most important issues facing us today. it's existed for a number of years. the interface between the pilot
and machine is extremely important and as automation hasn continues to advance in capabilities, it provides many benefits in terms of workload management and being able to get the job done on the flight deck. however, it can create risks we need to mitigate, and over the years it's important to make sure pilots are maintaining their flight skills. i know a number of carriers in recent years have initiated programs to track playing skills as well as develop exercises that allow recurring training for pilots to move between the various levels of automation. they certainly need to continue those efforts and support them and work with the carriers. >> do you think we have the adequate tools in place today?
>> i do. i think that it continues to be in an area that needs to be developed, and the focus on the flight path management rather than automation itself is actually a more holistic to address the issue because it encompasses not only the manual flying skills but the various levels of automation a pilot may encounter during a particular flight, so it is more a strategic way to address the issue. the other thing that's nice about airplanes there are hundreds of new aircraft that have been delivered over the last seven or eight years, and it's much easier for carriers to manage performance on those airplanes to see here seeing not as much practice as we might like to see. >> my time is expired i just want to say our sympathies are still with the families impacted
by this tragedy and i'm glad to hear you say holistic because aviation is in the only issue this committee is dealing with. our two colleagues have been working on advanced vehicle legislation, so i'm sure their goal is to make this safer than we currently are today with our roads and highways and get this committee has to play a role of understanding how we move forward with a technology that will help us and make sure the oversight on the human aspects are considered so we will be focusing on every agency involved in moving us forward and thinking about this human interface and again back to the columbia explosion it took a long time for us to figure this out because we haven't really looked at things in a holistic way. we haven't looked at the entire
system nobody figured out that they would have a problem at a certain degree so i'm glad to hear you say that a holistic approach would be helpful. >> thank you senator cantwell. >> glad to see you here and you are willing to serve. in the last congress i have a privilege to chair the aviation subcommittee and senator of ther cantwell and i worked closely to represent the senate view of that and the package we negotiated there were a number of bipartisan provisions. i'm going to ask about two of them specifically. one is contract power and one is essential air service programs. the inspector general has validated the contract power program as cost-effective and what it does, serves over 250 smaller airports and i would also like to note almost half of all the military operations out
of civilian airports go in and out of contract at our airports given the importance of those and what they have to say about them in the bill, are you committed to working with the congress to ensure the continued success of the program? >> i very much support program and look forwartheprogram and lo working with the committee to move it forward. >> on the essential air service its authorized through 2023 the faa obviously has a role to play in analyzing the program cost ensuring compliance by participating the carriers can you give your commitment as mandated in the recent faa asked? >> i understand the importance of the program and i fully
support them and look forward to working with them. >> let me cover one other topic on the papers i looked at this morning, it said the faa basically outsourced the certification of equipment to boeing. i'd like you to talk about your view of how they work with manufacturers, and if you have this information hell does this compare with what happens in the eu for example? >> thank you for the question. i told the story of your referring to come in my experience is within flight operations i have not been directly involved in aircraft te aircraft certification process so it's difficult for me to say at the outside looking in exactly what happened in this particular instance. i can tell you in the flight operations for the there is a
delegation of certain types of flight standards into certifying pilots by the carrier and that has been very powerful over the years. if they did the fda a much better regulator and the carriers say for and improved the quality of pilots that are being qualified. it also has facilitated sharing of data that is becoming more and more important not only to the private sector but as a regular safety data sent to the extent that happens in the certification process i think that is very beneficial. how it was applied in the certification of this particular aircraft is certainly something i look forward to digging into if i am confirmed, and i believe
the various review groups that are looking into this, i think i would call particular attention at this point of the special committee on the aircraft certification to provide some very strong recommendations on how to improve that process going forward. >> two other quick follow-up on that. one, is it realistic to assume that they could pay for personnel to check everything in the checklist as opposed to designating trained personnel if they are certified by the faa? >> again that's something i would need to look into. i think in my own experience, it would be even if you could throw enough resources at it, working with the private sector with the
controls and protocols is going to allow the regulator to be more effective and add a lot more safety value than just throwing extra resources added. we can certainly talk about this at the appropriate time. >> i would also like you to look at what the eu countries do and what we compete with in terms of producing better product. what they do and how they do it. do you have any information on that today? >> my understanding, senator, it's pretty rudimentary at this point but my understanding is in most cases that actually delegates less of the work to a manufacturer then you see in some other jurisdictions including the eu that this is something the special committee and others will benchmark as they look into the certification process. >> you will look at the raise will based on that additional
information. >> absolutely whether they are process failures or gaps that need to be addressed that will certainly be right at the top of my list of confirmed. >> thank you, senator blunt. senator blumenthal. >> thank you for your service and to your family for their service. the chairman asked you how you would restore confidence and the simple fact of the matter is the f. a. a. faces a crisis of confidence, and if anything for the levels of distrust and doubt have been increasing in some of the reports that we have seen over recent weeks. one of them, i'm not sure if this was the reports to which my
colleague referred to pee appean "the wall street journal" and it describes in pretty impressive detail how the federal aviation administration has determined in its preliminary inquiry that the agency officials failed to participate or monitor some of the crucial safety assessments of the flight control systems for the 737 max. they delegated that review and faa engineers and mid-level managers detoured and in fact a separate report appearing today by cnn reported that the company boeing did not perform a flight test on a scenario with the software system malfunctioned
which is essentially what happened not once but twice, and disregarded a member of the complaints made by pilots. so, my question to you is will you commit to reverse the delegation to the extent that it has been done and excessively in overbroad of them abandonment responsibility with that duty the faa has to actively and proactively oversee because essentially safety on the cheap, which is what it does has been neither cheap nor safe and it gives the perception that the
fox in charge of the henhouse and the manufacturer in charge of oversight and that's why i've called for a new independent robust assessment of the 737 before it was allowed to fly again. well you review and reverse the excessive delegation of authority clacks >> you've raised several important issues but let me just say that if confirmed, i will never personally or professionally and kate gave to abdicate my responsibility and devotion to safety leading the faa and i would never put my family on an airplane i would never certified an airplane i wouldn't put my own family on and that's part of the reason we are here today. it's very important to not jump to conclusions. i've seen the media reports, and
i understand it is hard to tell plug-in without being inside of the agency and a privy to the data that the agency has exactly what did and did not occur at any particular point in time. what i will commit to you is i will take the recommendations from the special committee and of the investigation and the other groups that have been stood up to review the process and whatever corrective actions need to be taken or process changes need to be put in place, i can guarantee those will be accomplished. i look forward to working with the committee to make sure that happens. >> will you come back to report what it is before the 737 is allowed to fly again flex >> i'm not sure the timeline. my understanding is some of the
processes are ongoing even beyond thbeyond the timeframe we airplane could be contemplated to fly. i know the technical advisory board has brought in outside groups and the personnel who were not involved in the certification, and that is the groups that will take a look at this particular process and then the other groups are looking more at the failures of the overall. >> but ultimately it stops with you and i would like your commitment that you will come back to the committee before a plane is allowed to fly again with any of our families and report what the fda has found and whether and why it would be certified.
>> is confirmed i would be happy to work with the committee on getting the airplane flying again. i'm not sure what the contemplated timeframe would be indecisive b. in the seat by then. >> i asked your predecessor about contacts and conversations with the president or others in the white house which he declined to provide. will you connect to tell us the substance of conversations you may have with the president or the white house on these issues? >> specific conversations as i understand long-standing executive branch practice is that i wouldn't divulge specific conversations but certainly the subject matter of interest they will be as candid as i possibly can. >> if there's another round of questioning i have further questions. >> thank you senator blumenthal. senator cruz. >> congratulations on your
nomination. you have a beautiful family. i'm sorry to have the youngest isn't continuing to enjoy and entertain the hearing. [laughter] >> just like man >> just like many of the members. [laughter] in more ways than one. the question senator blumenthal is asking you i think are serious questions. the faa has long been referred to as the gold standard for aviation safety and i believe the events surrounding the certification and crashes have drawn that reputation into serious question. "the wall street journal" article from yesterday contains
many dismaying reports. it begins by saying the review is tentatively determined senior agency officials didn't participate in or monitor critical safety assessments of the flight control system for the 737 max check later implicated in two fatal crashes according to industry and government officials and it goes on to say certification process for the 737 boeing didn't flag of the automated stall prevention feature as a system whose malfunction or failure could cause a catastrophic event. and if the article later raises the very simple question also at issue is whether agency officials performed any assessment on their own about the systems initial safety classification that suggests a serious breakdown in the certification process.
the department of transportation inspector general has previously raised the concern of agency capture. do you agree that the report suggest the possibility of serious breakdown, and what should be done to fix it? >> thank you for the question, senator. again, the reporting externally it's hard to tell exactly when some of these things happen and how they occurred that i can cut bacputit to you if confirmed, il be looking into this very specifically, and the review processes including the inspector general and the special committee, the joint
>> that is knowledge the small matter that 346 lives were snuffed out and that was preventable for go not just those that our no longer with us but millions of americans millions of people they trust their children and strapped them into planes all of that depends upon the confidence of the public that the planes they are getting on our safe. so i would ask you, not to give it to the natural bureaucratic reaction that defends what happens but instead ask seriously and vigorously could we have prevented these crashes to make sure we don't see another
one because of the risk of agency capture? . >> thank you for raising that issue. please do not interpret my demeanor as satisfied with the situation or in any way saying that any accident is acceptable. it is not. and if i'm confirmed i promise you i am captain of the ship in the study and what the american public needs but that doesn't mean i will not be asking the tough questions and making the changes that need to be made. >> ad for this asking this committee what the hell is wrong? . >> absolutely.
>> let me note that i appreciate the chairman's leadership on the subcommittee jurisdiction on this issue and my thanks goes to him in the subcommittee staff. the before the senator began his question the truth of the matter is that we have dozens of constituents and other committee meetings scheduled at the same time. i appreciate every member of this committee taking the time to give us a successful meeting i just wanted to explain that. you are next. >> thank you mister chairman.
thank you for spending some time in my office discussing a variety of issues but the question that i have for you is by ranking member cantwell and how we have to think this through very carefully as automation is on the ground vehicles and other aspects of the transportation system. i want to ask a couple of questions that looks at the increased use of flight deck automation to get a sense of what they found in the report and then talking about the need for pilots to spend more time manually in control to have that man --dash to have that system go down but in the
report air carriers may not know to have the opportunity to fly. and then to analyze data to the extent they are using autopilot and daily operations. senior officials say they use them 90 percent of the time with no industrywide analysis. is that accurate? is that sufficient in your mind? . >> first of all, this is a carrier that i know my carrier was focused on and even participated in the flight path management initiatives back in that timeframe. so the nice thing is it is
able to make these measurements to bring the data to the floor so the carrier can put in those excise - - exercises and make the pilots aware of opportunities they have to practice manual flying skills. we do that at my company in conjunction with the pilots association as a very successful program as it continues to mature and develop and from what i have seen around the industry that continues the commercial aviation safety team. >> i love your reaction which is to say studies have concluded that pilots what is mentioned for example, the recent flight safety foundation said a few years ago the manual flying skills
of the commercial airline pilots while 80 percent reported they fly the aircraft below 10000 feet the aggregate scores fell below faa standards for these pilots despite the stated flight experience they could not do those using only the basic instrumentation that would be available if the automotive one - - automation failed during flight. what is your assessment and what more do we need to do? . >> manual flying skills but the ability to maintain situational awareness through various levels of automation. normally we talk about four levels of automation from raw data to flight director and
those to have a preprogrammed flight and to monitor the path then to put the airplane there and keep the. it is that simple but the skills that you need to do that and those different automation levels as things start to snowball not going the way that you thought it would go it could be the deviation but in my experience what they are concentrating on rather than in terms of practicing and then the training environment i also think the new training technology of the augmented reality is doing studies in this area this will also help make more scenarios more realistic and valuable to have
that variability of the scenario. >> one follow-up question. to restrict the use of autopilot during takeoff below 500 feet unless granted explicit authorization. what is your assessment? how do you approach those regulations? give me your thoughts. >> with the use of autopilot above 500 feet a lot of times that depends on the capability of the aircraft that can be certified and that is where the restriction is. i don't really have any issues with that. i think most pilots in my experience will fly the
airplane during the transition during the approach phase or until the flaps are up 95 percent of the time. so the restrictions don't really have any impact in that case. >> thank you senator peters. . >> thank you mister chairman and thank you for the time to visit about your priorities. i appreciate when i ask you about those priorities. number one is safety. as you have heard today there is a bipartisan agreement the safety of the flying public is paramount and we are quite concerned what happened with the boeing and mister peters question about the ability to
override those systems and to manually fly those planes into that degree of training is highly important. we did not talk about it which is vitally important for cargo. we know that this has led to greater access to us markets to increase tourism and trade. for our companies and consumers. these agreements really have helped us to secure the national security interests. so how do you approach these? will you continue to honor while at the same time to address the national security
concerns we all have? . >> i appreciate the question. open skies as a principal is something we have always supported. the concerns that are expressed whether the playing field there are a number of stakeholders that have those concerns but setting that issue aside is powerful. this is the issue that is not under the primary purview. certainly i want to be part of the discussions that were happy to work any aspect of that. >> thank you so much. i yelled back.
>> senator marquis? . >> thank you. earlier this year when acting administrator elwell appear before the committee i questioned him about safety enhancing features to save the lives of those 346 souls on two of their trend line - - 737 max which boeing had sold is optional as if it was premium seating but these safety features could have alerted the pilots that the doomed aircraft had faulty sensors. we don't do charge extra for childproof caps or seatbelts or airbags that come standard and so should all safety features. so the acting administrator says the faa does not permit plane manufacturers to sell
safety critical elements for an additional price. i agree with that. but the issue here is that the manufacturer such as boeing are allowed to sell safety enhancing features add an additional price that include backup fire extinguishers in the cargo hold, oxygen mask for flight crew or in this case the angle of attack indicator and the disagree lights. and you believe manufacturer should ever be allowed to charge additional for any safety enhancing feature that is a very important question and i am familiar with the issue. i agree that safety critical features need to be standard and they will always be standard. with respect to other features and some context whether to be
enhancement in one context could be a distraction and another and all i would say is that with respect to the aircraft certification process, we need to look very carefully at what should be safety critical and what should not. >> do you believe charging additional fees could discourage some airlines from including them? the angle of attack indicator and disagree lights? if you have to pay extra but they say that is enhancement versus basic.
>> i have flown many airplanes without those indications at all but whether in this particular instance it would be considered a safety enhancement feature i would have to rely on the data the agency currently has and also the special committee looking at aircraft certification. >> i think it is clear it would discourage airlines because they would assume the additional features are not necessary for the safety of the plane and as a result not feel that they would pay for that extra type of equipment so instruments that alert pilots to mechanics of issues with sensors in my opinion should not come with additional charges oxygen masks or backup fire
extinguishers should not come with an additional charge aviation safety should not be for sale that's why introduced a bill safety is not for sale act that ensures safety enhancing features are standard parts of the aircraft not something to be sold as all the cart add-ons. flight attendants and pilots and passengers all agree this is he essential to keep them safe in the skies. safety features must always be standard in this country hope we can move forward on that. if aa is currently considering the downgrading of the office that currently represents six states and 109 airports and i am concerned if those are transferred to another region those priorities and needs of the region will not be quickly and effectively addressed.
what you commit to not downgrade the office the regions have a particular role if confirmed happy to look into it but i don't have anything in particular on this line of sight. >> i can tell you though senatorial delegates would not be happy if that was downgraded. >> thank you senator marquis. i did take a look at the last issue's rick thank you for being here today i enjoyed your visit recently we are grateful to have you here it has been a year since the faa formally rolled out the uis integration pilot program in
one of the stated objectives is to test and evaluate the state and local operations and that included the time place and manner of uis operations would you agree the success will require state and federal and local coordination of responsibilities quick. >> i am thankful for that discussion that we had on this topic. yes i do think the integration pilot program has a very in official between the federal
role and operating that management traffic and to identify the state and local issues. to be an asset but those need to be balanced and happy to work that issue. >> there are some unique things that make them appropriate at certain levels in a way that other types of aviation might be different. there are those out there that suggest a - - faa should have that jurisdiction operating more than a few inches above the ground and that is a
concern to me to have your commitment we will make sure we evaluate it is not adequately testing the role of governments to drones you commit that happens quick. >> yes. as i said we need to make sure we strike that appropriate balance and the progress of the remote identification to carry out the responsibilities but also help to address other issues of concern to state and local jurisdictions i look forward to working with you
spirit the department of transportation has a shortage of air traffic controllers as well as historically high fail rates current law shows it has to be filled by those equal number of candidates taken from the public given the shortage in the high attrition rates in the public safety issues this is concerning live introduce the air traffic control readiness act would you be willing to work with us on reforms like these quick. >> certainly the issue was
very important and i believe with my initial understanding that we are see high levels of training and having said that the success rate of candidates going through the academy is what i will pay very close attention to. and i'm committed to working on that with you. >> and that requires the faa to submit those rulemaking is on supersonic aircraft to obtain special flight authorization if confirmed we
support the progress of the rulemaking to ensure it means that supersonic obligations quick. >> yes, sir, along with all the other provisions with the other reauthorization's i am definitely committed. not only that the level of international leadership to be put into place that they come along with the faa industry. >> thank you senator lee. >> thank you mister dixon and your beautiful family to serve our country in this very important role. what senator lee has been talking about i represent nevada that is the into bader
and we are currently seven unmanned aerial system designated test sites in the us and the only state with this designation. and reforming partnerships powerline monitoring health care delivery and defibrillators, you name it so these developments are exciting but also use of a new technology but with the nation's airspace of commercial air travel with the airports in the flight path so following up on senator lee's question had you work with the stakeholders with the agencies that the cybersecurity and how
do you plan to further support quick. >> it is a very important issue. not only as it pertains to the entire aviation system dies i recall actually supporting all parts of the process and i certainly intend to look at what other things we could be doing with other federal agencies. >> what you commit to bringing those plans back to us quick. >> of course, . >> also i would like to talk about oversight and according to the inspector general only
for parts so whether that is adequate enough but the fea dish faa overall philosophy moving from enforcement to compliance instead of penalizing for safety violations the agency gives industry the opportunity to correct without penalty to give them time to comply with regulations. so i asked the same question a few weeks ago. from what you know, heading into your role is this an accurate characterization of what you think is the proper way to handle safety oversight? word we draw the line between compliance enforcement and a safety violation quick. >> thank you for the question that's a great question and
one that i am sure we will be discussing in the context of the issues around aircraft certification as it relates to aviation safety. as i see it in my experience that compliance is the goal it is a tool so what we want to do is to be proactive we want to resolve these issues so you have to have oversight to make sure that is executing in
accordance with what they are overseeing. if we get to the point for whatever reason that enforcement action is necessary if confirmed am not hesitant to take enforcement action. >> in my experience i would say no but certainly i think safety management systems to make sure that same system in place we also need to remember that part of that compliance program is the safety program voluntarily reporting safety issues aircraft technicians
profits over the safety of the people flying on the planes. >> thank you. i'm very familiar with the state of florida. my parents live there now and were in orlando for 27 years and we actually have a home near melbourne, so it is close to my heart as well. but you know, i can only speak from my own experience leading flight operations at a major airline. the ceo of our company always held the accountable for safety, and when i took the child i remembered these words very well in that they were when it comes to safety, you make the call and
that means if we need to cancel a flight, if we need to make a different decision about how you're running the operation on a daily basis, that's where god resides since it's a responsibility that i took very seriously. i always felt we were just talking about compliance. i always felt that compliance was the culture of safety is a higher level than compliant and so safety culture is really important. that's where pilots and dispatchers, air traffic controllers caring enough about safety in the system to go above and beyond and report issues as extremely important and it's also why when we are sitting at the headquarters flying you may see things as the leader and only seeing part of the story.
you've got to work hard to make sure you have the right picture and the compliance program is part of that, but it's not the only thing in the private sect sector. if all the other data that you have to bring to bear that i think sets the bar and that's one reason it's been so successful over the years. >> one of the reasons why we have so many in our status people feel safe to fly their come and i'm convinced you care about safety and everything you said today. does the public perceives that the system is safe and how would you critique this latest issue that they are dealing with how it you critique the ability to communicate how they are dealing with the problem and the solution is? >> as the nominee i would be reluctant, i'd like to get confirmed first i would say, but
certainly managing any, whether it is a major disruption it's always very important to be honest and transparent and have leaders out there talking about it coming and i certainly see myself if confirmed playing a very visible leadership role in the public in coordination with the secretary as it is appropriate i think leadership by example is important and i think there've been case studies on how to manage some of the situations in different industries over the years and there's plenty of evidence out there that we can always improve, but there's always going to be a process of making
sure the public continues to be competent in the aviation system, and certainly agai agaid puiwould put my family, i wouldt certify in airplane or my family on it unless i thought it was safe. i think you're going to do a great job on safety. my biggest concern right now is how transparent are they to make either the public, get the givee information so they can make informed decisions. i think everybody can always do a better job at that. you will do a great job. >> thank you very much, senator scott. >> you bring some great service to the position and we look forward to working with you. i know you've been asked a lot of questions about the 737 today that i have a question i want to ask to try to get to a couple other ones quickly.
this week the air force base is hosting a large force exercise and the training complex portions of south dakota, north dakota, miami. the largest training airspace in the continental united states to play a critical role like the 35 and the future bomber which would be based in ellsworth however in order to optimize these exercises and accommodate scenarios, they must grant the air force the waivers to exceed the 26,000 fly up to 51,000 feet even though there's considerably less commercial travel securing these is a slow-moving process. this is in part because it's governed by three traffic control centers salt lake city center and minneapolis center streamlining the process would afford the military planners additional time to commit access
with greater certainty. if confirmed, will you commit to working with th with me and ther force to improve the process of obtaining altitude waivers to ensure that they remain the most prepared to counter the modern adversary is? >> thank you for that question. we talked about this in the visit. having quite a bit of experience in large tactical exercises i understand the importance of having both the vertical and horizontal dimension of airspace it was the wide july 21 of this rulemaking will serve as the foundation for future rulemaking is especially the provisions
included in the recent reauthorization act to advance the safe integration of the national airspace. in response to several disruptive incidents involving incursions into restricted airspace we sent a letter april 29 requesting an updated timeline to issue this important rulemaking and confirmed while you work to ensure the identification of rulemaking as complete as expeditiously as possible? >> the remote identification rule is a key enabler of the next step of the systems into the airspace so i look forward to working with you on that. as you know they've been working to implement the next generation air transportation system or next gen which will modernize the traffic control system and improve the safety and efficiency of airspace they've
taken steps to address the challenges including the stakeholder engagement such as through the next advisory committee. as both a pilot and former member of the advisory committee, could you provide perspectivaperspective on the as implementation of so far and if confirmed what actions would you take as administrator to ensure that this modernization is fully implemented i've got a long history with the advisory committee. programmatically i don't currently have visibility as to where the program stand with respect to milestones, but that is something that i will be looking into this quite centrist making sure we get some things
on track. operationally, looking at things from the other end of the telescope the stakeholder engagement is critical because that is what gets communities involved and the airlines, general aviation, all stakeholders involved come airports to make sure that we are all moving forward together and putting our priorities in a way that makes sense to execute on and be able to move forward, so i look forward to continuing to work with the industry and it's important there be industry and national consensus that the stakeholder engagement is going to be critical and that is the only way to move things forward productively. >> thank you, senator thune.
>> i'd like t to thank you and e ranking member for holding today's hearing. thank you again for sitting down with me recently i very much enjoyed our conversation. i want to address a topic that others have praised and say that i firmly believe that privatization is reckless and i want to reinforce the emphasis just now on the importance of the rapid force movements on implementation i think it is critical for our airspace. i'm pleased they suggested that privatization in the last reauthorization and i believe it is time to focus our energies on the modernization. i want to express the commitment to the regulations i was assured to learn in a meeting that you support the pilot training rule and i every that they are
unquestioned. my question is simple if confirmed what you post any effort to weaken or lower the rule administratively including the so-called enhanced classification program. i enjoyed our time together as well and look forward to the opportunity to continue to work together on the aviation issues. the qualification rule as view state has been a success. i think we need to recognize the safety culture isn't static. we want to keep taking advantage of new technologies better and more effective ways of training. i mentioned that some of that earlier. what i will commit to you and
would love to work with you on in the future if i am confirmed as there any changes the safety bar has been set by the first officer qualification rule that any changes would make the system safer than it is today and more effective training. >> i do agree with you and want to emphasize they should never be lower than the acceptable standards. on the other is the flight and duty rule. as you know it has outdated requirements with a data-driven process. argue more at the table during the development of the rulemaking and i want to get up on the record that you recognize the safety benefits of the rule and if confirmed he will uphold the rule as finalized and can you make a commitment to that?
i was involved along with certainly that was a multi-year effort to get the gun and i'm committed. >> i'd like to talk about the leadership reform efforts as you know we rely on the report the basis for the training qualifications for the manufacturer modified aircraft and conducting the issues related i was very much alarmed to learn throughout 2017 and 2018 the various revisions examining the differences between failed to assess or mention the existence. if it had evaluated the system it would likely have reported a product cut out feature.
this indicates that there may be systemic witnesses and how they conduct evaluations. will you commit to working on the advisory circular on conducting it using evaluations to make sure that the port is given access to all relevant information? >> thank you for the question. the flight standardization board as you mentioned is under the purview of flight standards it's a component of the overall certification process but it's not within the certification office, and certainly i think that it falls for if i am confirmed as i said earlier, i would be looking at every aspect of the process as it was executed and make sure whether it is training and awareness of
the pilots if there are gaps they need to be addressed and whatever the most effective way to make those adjustments you have my commitment to work with you and the committee i would like to submit a question for the manufacturing maintenance and testing of the observational wing of the aircraft. >> there will certainly be permitted. >> thanks for the good discussion yesterday i appreciate you coming by and your outstanding decades of service to the country and as a pilot i think you are very qualifieyou're veryqualified fo. i did want to re- emphasize the point made earlier i think that it's a really important one on this whole topic of agency
capture. federal agencies that are supposed to be independent become too cozy with the actual entities that they are right relating in the major airlines so can you just reiterate and confirm and make sure as you stated the number one focus will continue to be on safety and your number one constituency isn't those of you regulating the american people. >> absolutely you have to commitment and i think that i would just call attention to the military service i mentioned it is charitable to refer to make the return. i do it all the time with the chair. >> i think that my track record of being able to work in a collaborative fashion but certainly understand that the decision needs to be made by the agency and actions need to be
taken so the system safety is absolutely the highest priority and my service is to the american public if i am confirmed. let me talk about the state we talked about in the meeting yesterday they have a very unique aviation need as you know we had a tragic collision that took place monday outside and i'd like to offer my condolences and prayers for the victims that have so far lost their lives and of the emergency responders and search all working hard. as we talked about alaska and the very unique needs and infrastructure needs in the reauthorization there's a number of provisions that try to address what we see as kind of
lacking very significant variations in infrastructure destination airports throughout the state. visual flight rules, ifr we have evolved there so if confirmed, will you commit to work with me on the implementation of the provisions and other infrastructure related needs? >> i recognize alaska as a unique state in terms of not only as a largely rural state in the ways of the last frontier and therefore it does to an extent that we don't see in just about any other part of the country rely on the fabric of the community. let me dig a little deeper on that because there's kind of an irony you are touching on we
have over 200 communities connected by roads not just go to because of the need for the safe air travel is so important to get small population states have a hard time competing with infrastructure needs the way in which i won't go into the details but the formula as you know disadvantage is the small populations. so, can i get your commitment as we talked about yesterday to work with you on making sure we are not disadvantaged particularly as it relates to infrastructure funding when the states like mine needed that infrastructure funding and safety in ways that are critical to so many? >> i understand there needs to be a balance can and i use the
word holistically before, but i think that applies in this particular case. if i am confirmed, the responsibility to manage and lead to a system is a high priority i know if you are going to put forward a schedule that we do talk about possibly having you attend a meeting of the air carriers and other stakeholders in anchorage in late august and look forward to trying to get yoyou a fair but want to get yor commitment to come to alaska soon to see the great state. i've been there many times and i look forward to returning.
there is a lot of bipartisanship on some of the big issues so i just want to associate myself with what senator leahy mentioned about making sure that the students that actually go to court example the university of alaska and anchorage is a grade school that trains future flight control and safety officials it would seem pics a lot of sense to make sure those individuals get a hard look. i appreciate your service and i think that you are well qualified for the job. >> you are going to be working with members of the committee on a lot of these follow-up issues. thank you, senator solomon and senator baldwin. >> thank you mr. chairman.
you undoubtedly recognize that your nomination to lead the faa comes at a time of renewed concern about safety and opens up questions about how they approved the 737 for flight and whether the pilots were appropriately trained. there are ongoing investigations here in the congress and with dot inspector general and that the department of justice. so, as the head of the fda with what you require before giving the green light to the 737 fax >> thank you for the question. i would just be a great but i am not privy to the criteria by which the airplane was certified
nor do i have complete visibility into how it will be made airworthy again and begin to fly. i do though have you mentioned put out a great deal of emphasis on the various reviews in particular under the auspices of the technical advisory board, which is going to take an independent look and i believe they used the term informant's decision as to the certification again. none of those experts were involved in the certification, so i think that should get the
public the rest of the program at large we need to see the other investigations and reviews to see if those processes need to be adjusted or whether there were individual failures that need to be addressed. >> last congress they passed a five-year reauthorization and the bill included a number of reforms from a measure i worked on to protect the rights of passengers with disabilities in the transportation. those included the creation of the advisory committee on the air travel needs of passengers with disabilities as well as the development of an airline passenger with disabilities bill of rights. if confirmed, delay of your commitment that they will work to implement these important reforms without delay plex
this is certainly very high on the list to establish the community technical college centers of excellence to train students for the career opportunities related to expanding the use of small unmanned aircraft the faa has already missed a deadline to establish a process to designate schools and centers of excellence. if confirmed to have your commitment they will designate the centers of excellence without delay complex >> if confirmed this is something i will be looking into, again along with the other issues that you mentioned it to make sure that we implement as quickly as possible. >> thank you. finally, we have been neede theo ensure that there are enough
qualified airline pilots in the future to continue providing reliable air service to the airports across the country without the safety. one piece of that work as to reduce the bipartisan aviation act to increase career opportunities for veterans who are not already military pilots. if confirmed, what more can we count on the faa didn't you break down barriers that may impede other individuals from pursuing those and also much needed maintenance professiona professionals. >> this is a key part of the secretaries workforce initiative that forced to fly in initiative
and also the department and the faa have a pretty big bully pulpit that both can use to bring stick letters together, whether it is universities or training programs and community colleges as you mentioned. there's been a good bit of work done, but it's been fairly fragmented and it varies a little bit by sector. it was more of a desire to support young people through stem programs and create more sure pipelines to be able to get into a pilot or a career and i certainly would put forward to supporting those efforts and taking in industry approach. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal asked for
an opportunity for a second round of questioning so he will be recognized and then if senator gardner completes a scheduled phone call he may be back in for the first round of questioning. senator blumenthal. >> thank you very much for giving me the second round and thank you for your patience. first about the issue of diverting planes from major airports -- whether as you know bradley airport is admitting to major airports or centers of air traffic, boston and new york and frequently is the host with very little notice with aircraft that
need to land safely somewhere which is understandable and we welcome those sites that understanding that the pilots make a final decision on where to divert can the faa do more to educate pilots about all of the airport options that may exist nearby when one airport is reaching capacity? >> thank you for the question, senator. ..
. >> in a timely manner that can help the process. >> i went to follow up on senator duckworth and as you well know both the acting administrator elwell have committed to leaving that rule and touch unless directed differently by an act of congress. . >> i am not familiar with that but i think my response was
intended to get to the same place one - - the same place but we do need to recognize that our safety system needs to continue to be all about continuous improvement if there is a better option out there and we agree on that then that is the issue. >> the 15 hour rule is widely accepted to be a good standard maybe there is a better mouse trap at the burden of proof is anybody seeking to change that 15 hour rule. >> i have no intention of distorting that. >> finally i just want to ask
about about a faa reauthorization act with a commitment that with and link including the legislation of reauthorization that provision that directs the faa within one year to establish minimums in the airplanes. we have yet to see the faa take any action and for it to meet that deadline with those minimums.
>> i am aware of the provision looking at how the faa is executing those provisions but it is something that i plan to look into. >> and with that convenience but also safety. >> i agree that is an item of concern. yes. >> i understand your demeanor hear it is measured and deliberate but i hope you will bring to this issue that patients with the public feels at the moment there are a lot of pilots who simply will not
get on the 737 max they will not board a 737 max. many of them. we are talking about friends and families and neighbors who field graces and confidence in a very direct way with this robust view by some kind of outside authority designated by the faa to win back the confidence with the 737 but for the faa as well one of the areas of doubt relates to the port there was training with
the potential malfunctions or the teethree is deeply troubling. i would like to urge you in your action that you take to bring that kind of passion to bear because in the long run it is necessary for the credibility of your agency. >> i appreciate your perspective and i take that to heart. again on the issue training, training, it's very important to the pilots have all the information they need that's not in question. what is in question is exactly what happened in this particular circumstance and we need to get to the bottom of that and i intend to do that.
>> but it is also the systemic failures that led to the circumstances of that broader set of issues that have to be confronted. >> i understand that senator and that is what i was referring to process versus individual failures that is what i was getting at if there are broader issues that need to be addresse addressed. >> i appreciate the opportunity for these additional questions and these two articles referenced earlier the "wall street journal" article in the cnn article of today to be made part of the record. >> without objection. >> senator blumenthal let's just observe that you two are
very measured in your demeanor but no one doubts the passion that you bring to have that confidence with that delivered approach so thank you very much and senator gardner is now recognized. >> thank you let that great diligence with a huge job creator looking at the denver international airport at the of target of defense to be in the running for space command with the importance of
aviation and aerospace. one big concern is over the past year is what reflects process to share with you the number of communities with a change of flight path and what that means to the denver area they have to conduct a process that is transparent to avoid those problems we have seen around the country. >> i agree this is one of my prior priorities of stakeholder engagement to engage communities and airports frankly as the new
modern flight procedures are in place. with the denver metroplex i know that there were several local town hall sessions conducted over a six-week period of my understanding the faa has taken all of that into the process and will incorporate that i think it is very important going forward is something i will look into if confirmed. beyond that i don't have specific visibility for denver but it does illustrate the point we need to have airports involved in these designs up front it's much more difficult to alter them after the fact. >>.
>> and as with any issues important to local community issues and that is handled. >> thank you mister dixon we had 20 people 16 got to ask questions so thank you. so at this point the record will remain open for one week and to submit any questions for the record by the close of business on wednesday may 22nd