Page 1       TOP OF DOC


U.S. House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Aviation,

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,

Washington, DC.

    The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:02 p.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

    Mr. DUNCAN. The subcommittee will come to order.

    We've got some other Members on their way, but we're going to go ahead and get started here on time.

    I would like to first say good afternoon and welcome to today's hearing regarding the issue of whether or not traffic alert and collision avoidance systems or TCAS, as it's commonly called, should be required aboard cargo aircraft. We will also look into the recent close air incidents involving military aircraft that have received so much attention around the country.
 Page 2       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    While the subcommittee understands that actions have been taken by the military to help prevent any further incidents, it remains an issue that the subcommittee would like to review, although we certainly commend the military for the actions taken thus far.

    It is my understanding that these incidents involving military and civilian aircraft have been reported in New Mexico, Texas, Maryland, and also off the coast of New Jersey. So we will hear from representatives from the United States Air Force and the United States Navy in that regard.

    Currently, TCAS–II is required on commercial aircraft with a passenger seating configuration of more than 30 seats, and TCAS–I, at a minimum, is required on passenger aircraft with 10 to 30 seats.

    The subcommittee is aware that the Independent Pilots Association, representing UPS pilots, has filed a petition for rulemaking with the FAA requesting that TCAS–II be required on cargo aircraft.

    The subcommittee would also like to hear from our witnesses regarding a new collision avoidance system based on GPS satellite technology called ''automatic dependent surveillance broadcast,'' commonly referred to as ADS–B, that may be an enhancement or improvement over current TCAS systems.

    The subcommittee wants to ensure that practical and reasonable and cost-effective efforts are being made to improve safety in the area of collision avoidance, and we look forward to hearing from our witnesses today on this very important safety issue.
 Page 3       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We have two panels filled with very distinguished witnesses from the Air Force, the Navy, the FAA, the National Transportation Safety Board, and we have a second panel consisting of representatives from the Air Line Pilots Association, the Independent Pilots Association, the Teamsters Airline Division, the Air Freight Association, and the pilot of the Nations Air Express aircraft that had a close encounter with a military plane just a few weeks ago.

    I now yield to Mr. Lipinski for any statement that he wishes to make.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    We have a lot of witnesses, so it could take a long time. I have a magnificent statement that, without objection, I'd like to have included in the record.

    I simply want to say I welcome everyone here today. I look forward to their testimony. I turn the microphone back to you.

    [The prepared statements of Mr. Lipinski, Mr. Poshard, Mr. Cramer, Mr. Oberstar, Mr. Costello, Mr. Traficant, and Ms. Johnson follow:]

    [Insert here.]

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Do any of the other Members wish to make an opening statement at this time? Do you have any statement or—Mr. Pitts, do you have any statement you wish to make?
 Page 4       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. PITTS. No thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. If you wish to later put any statements in the record we can do so.

    We'll start now with the witnesses, and on panel one is: Mr. Guy S. Gardner, who is the associate administrator for regulation and certification with the Federal Aviation Administration, and he is accompanied by Mr. David Harrington, acting deputy director for flight standards. Mr. Ronald E. Morgan, director of air traffic with the FAA, also accompanies Mr. Gardner.

    We also have Mr. Robert T. Francis, vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, and he is accompanied by Mr. Richard Wentworth, who is the senior air traffic control investigator for the NTSB; and Mr. Greg Feith, who is the senior aviation investigator in charge.

    And also we are honored to have Major General Donald L. Peterson, who is the assistant deputy chief of staff, air and space operations, for the United States Air Force; and Rear Admiral Dennis V. McGinn, director of the air warfare division of the United States Navy.

    Gentlemen, it's an honor and privilege to have all of you here at this time, and I suppose the easiest way to do this would just be to go in the order.

 Page 5       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I don't have anything to do with the way these names are listed on here, but we'll just go in that order, and that means, Mr. Gardner, we'll start with you, please. You may begin your testimony.


    Mr. GARDNER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I'm looking forward to the opportunity of working with this Committee on these aviation issues in the future, as well.

    I'd like to summarize, if I may, the written testimony that I've already submitted.

    As you've mentioned, we're reviewing a petition for rulemaking filed by the Independent Pilots Association that asks us to mandate the installation of TCAS–II on all transport category aircraft in cargo operations.
 Page 6       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We are interested in hearing today's testimony, as well, and it will be included in the docket that we use to make determination for rulemaking.

    You've asked me to comment today on two systems, TCAS and ADS–B, and I'd like to focus my summary on a description of those items for those Members who may not be that familiar with it.

    TCAS is designed to operate independently from the air traffic control system, and it serves as a backup to the air traffic control system for collision avoidance of aircraft.

    It operates by sending and receiving transmissions to nearby aircraft. One aircraft will send a signal out from its transponder to another aircraft, interrogate it and that aircraft will send a message back to the initial aircraft.

    With that information, the aircraft with TCAS can determine the relative position of the other aircraft in its neighborhood, and it also receives what altitude that aircraft is at. With that information it can display to the pilot the relative position and relative altitude of those nearby aircraft.

    It will also then, through its algorithms, figure out which aircraft are a threat and which are not, and it will display that threat to the pilot of the aircraft.

    It will give a warning that an aircraft is nearby, and you need to be concerned about it.
 Page 7       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    That is what TCAS–I does.

    TCAS–II, in addition to that, will also determine an escape maneuver, if I may call it that, to ensure increased separation between the threat aircraft. It will either be a climb or a descent command issued to the pilot.

    TCAS not only work with other aircraft that have TCAS transponders, but it can also identify aircraft that have the Mode A and the Mode C transponder.

    When the other aircraft is also TCAS–II equipped, they will actually talk to each other to ensure that they both do separate maneuvers—that one will go up while the other goes down, rather than both of them going up.

    TCAS is obviously proven technology and has proved its success over the years since Congress mandated that it be installed on all passenger-carrying aircraft of 30 seats or more for TCAS–II, and 10 to 30 seats for TCAS–I.

    ADS–B technology, on the other hand, is technology that's still in the development phase, and we are still developing standards for that, although some test programs have been conducted with it.

    Technology is slightly different from that of TCAS. With ADS–B, the aircraft actually receive signals using the Global Positioning Satellite system to determine its exact position over the earth, and then it transmits that information between aircraft so that each aircraft will know exactly where it is and where the other aircraft is, and then it can use similar algorithms to TCAS to portray relative positions to those aircraft. This will also work with the ground controllers, as well. TCAS is simply an airborne aircraft-to-aircraft system.
 Page 8       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    With ADS–B, because of the Global Positioning Satellite technology, you have a little more accuracy than you have with TCAS; however, ADS–B only gives the information for other ADS–B-equipped airplanes.

    ADS–B is part of the currently-proposed architecture for the National Airspace System that the FAA is developing; however, the recently-released White House Commission report recommends that we accelerate the modernization of the NAS, of which ADS–B is a part, and is also included as part of the Hawaii-Alaska project.

    In summary, the IPA petition and the cargo industry's proposal concerning ADS–B and TCAS raise complex safety and policy issues and we need to consider those carefully, and today's discussion will help us in our determination of whether or not to mandate TCAS–II in the near term for cargo aircraft, and whether or not to encourage the cargo industry to proceed with their ADS–B proposal to help us in that development.

    With that, I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I'm ready to answer any questions when appropriate.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Gardner. We have—in addition to Mr. Boswell and Mr. Pitts, who were here with Mr. Lipinski and myself when we started, we've now been joined by several other Members. We have our vice chairman of the subcommittee, Mr. Blunt. We've been joined by Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Metcalf, Mr. Bass, Dr. Cooksey, and also we're always honored to have the long-time chairman of this subcommittee and now the ranking member of the full committee, Mr. Oberstar.
 Page 9       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Oberstar, do you have any statements you wish to make at this time?

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I really don't want to interrupt the flow of testimony at this point, Mr. Chairman. I will make some remarks later.

    I just want to compliment you on holding this hearing.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. It's vitally important. It has been a longstanding interest of our committee, which initiated the first legislation in 1987, with subsequent amendment in 1990. The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held hearings that led to the enactment of legislation to require this technology, so it's appropriate that we keep our finger on the pulse and stay vigilant on this issue.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much.

    For those newer members, Mr. Oberstar not only worked as a staff member of this committee for several years, but has served on this committee for many years and was chairman of this subcommittee for 13—for how many years?

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Six years—4 years on Investigations and Oversight and 6 years on Aviation.

 Page 10       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DUNCAN. Okay. Ten years as a subcommittee chairman. But Mr. Oberstar has taken a real interest, special interest, I think, in aviation, and we sometimes refer to him as Mr. Aviation in the Congress. He has real expertise.

    If anyone else has any statements that they wish to place in the record, they will be allowed to do so and make any comments as soon as we finish with the testimony.

    We'll next hear from Mr. Robert T. Francis, who is vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

    Mr. Francis?

    Mr. FRANCIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I'm pleased to submit our magnificent testimony to go along the magnificent statement of Mr. Lipinski.

    I'm also delighted at the order in which you selected to call on us, because Mr. Gardner's very explicit and excellent technical explanation of both TCAS and ADS leave me free perhaps to talk a little bit more broadly about some public policy issues and the way in which the NTSB and I see this.

    This is an issue that the Board has been focused on since the 1960s, and we've made over the years lots of recommendations, and these have led to the system of TCAS and particularly TCAS–II, which I think very many of us find a wonderful and one of the best sort of modern accident prevention systems that we have out there now.
 Page 11       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would say that the NTSB, when it has made these recommendations over the past, has not made the distinction between large aircraft that carry cargo and large aircraft that carry passengers, and we still do not. We would, I guess, make the assumption that this should be in both cargo and passenger aircraft.

    We've done a lot of talk recently and a lot of progress has been made by the entire safety community on one level of safety, and I think that one level of safety is certainly something that very much applies in this context.

    When I first took this job—and this is a little more personal on my part—this question of TCAS for cargo aircraft was something that I focused on fairly early, had a number of conversations with then-Administrator Hinson, and he and I have both made a considerable effort, I think, to try to do some jawboning with the industry on this issue in terms of getting them to install this system on their large cargo aircraft.

    I think that in the era in which we currently find ourselves of smaller government and smaller budgets and hopefully fewer bureaucrats and less paper, that there is an incumbency, if you don't want to have more regulations, on those who are in the sector potentially regulated, to, as well, do their part and come to bat and go half way. It's something that I have been saying to these carriers.

    I think that also some of the carriers in this industry, and particularly UPS—you may have seen this morning that UPS is in compliance with stage III noise regulations 3 years ahead of the due date, and I think this is the kind of thing that one likes to see in the industry. They did this on their own. They did it for the right reasons and it has happened.
 Page 12       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would hope that we could see the same spirit of volunteerism and non-necessity for regulations in the issue that we're talking about here today.

    One of the things that gives me some pause is that I was with the FAA for a number of years and I was overseas when the U.S. first decided to mandate TCAS, and, as you will remember, it was mandated not just for domestic carriers but also for carriers who flew into the U.S.

    I spent a good deal of my time and energy fending off the charges of technological imperialism, commercial imperialism, that were levied at the U.S. when we were taking the lead in implementing what I think everyone would agree now is an extraordinarily important system.

    We now find ourselves in the situation where, with air cargo operators, these operators are going to be required to equip at least parts of their fleet with TCAS–II because of regulations that are being implemented in Europe and in Asia, so we suddenly, instead of being the leader in this, find ourselves on the back side of the wave in at least part of this safety initiative, and I find that unfortunate.

    I'm not going to talk or try to expand on Guy's comments on the ADS–B. I would just say that ADS–B—I think almost everyone would agree—has some enormous potential down the line. One of the problems with it is that there is no universal acceptance as to exactly how it's going to work, how quickly it's going to go, questions of frequency allocations, questions of different groups in the aviation community having problems with different aspects.
 Page 13       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And I think that those who will talk about ADS–B as a collision avoidance system in the near future are being enormously optimistic, and I don't think that we can afford that optimism. I think that the time is such that we have to go forward with a proven technology and get TCAS into these aircraft.

    Let me just conclude by saying that, in addition to the safety advantages, there are a number of economic advantages here, and I think when you talk to pilots in the system, particularly, you will find them using TCAS in ways that are very creative and that are providing an approach to airports and lining up on runways, whatever it is. They are providing economies and benefits to their company, and to not just the safety of the system but also the efficiency of the system, which are enormous. I think that that is going to continue to happen.

    The other thing I would say in closing is that those of us who are pilots and others understand that if you want to—that two of the most important of safety considerations for a pilot, and I suspect for an astronaut, are the issues of being able to stay ahead of the airplane and the issue of situational awareness, and TCAS is enormously advantageous to pilots in both of those aspects.

    Thank you very much.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Francis.

    Our next witness will be Major General Donald L. Peterson.

 Page 14       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    General Peterson, you may begin your testimony.

    General PETERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. I appreciate the opportunity to come before the committee today and discuss the incidents involving the United States Air Force aircraft.

    I've provided you earlier with a description of those incidents in the formal statement.

    I first want to assure you that our Air Force takes its responsibilities in flying safety very seriously. The men and women flying our United States Air Force aircraft are among some of the most professional aviators in the world.

    We recognize the fundamental reason for our existence, and that's the defense of the citizens of this Nation and to ensure their safety. While these incidents didn't constitute an immediate threat to the safety of our passengers, crews, or aircraft involved, they were significant enough to raise concern among our public, and that, in itself, is more than sufficient reason for the Air Force to take immediate action.

    Air Force flight operations are safer than they have ever been in our history, fortunately. In the last 2 years, we've set records for performance and safety. Our FAA statistics indicate that there's a welcome decrease in the number of incidents, even in this era of unprecedented growth in the number of aircraft operating in our skies.

    Although only 7 percent of these incidents or deviations reported by the FAA in 1996 involve military aircraft, it's our intention to continue to do everything possible to improve the safety and efficiency of our system and reduce that even further.
 Page 15       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Let me now turn to the Air Force's actions in response to the incidents that are described in the statement.

    In addition to our participation and cooperation with the FAA, the Navy, and the NTSB investigations, the Air Force directed several major actions in the wake of these incidents. These actions included, first, a stand down of all training missions in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast warning areas. The purpose of this stand down was to allow units to review all their procedures, their regulations, and memorandums of agreement for transiting to and from and operating within these special use areas.

    Secondly, we did a comprehensive review of all of our procedures Air Force wide, worldwide, in all of our units in regards to the special use airspace that we train in.

    To date, the results of the review have confirmed that the existing procedure for entry, exit, and transit through this special use airspace, when adhered to, are safe and sufficient.

    Thirdly, we issued a directive immediately to provide TCAS awareness training to all of our operations personnel, pilots, and our controllers, and the addition of a formal block of instruction in both our primary flying training and our formal continuation training, and we've adjusted our regulations to include instructions on TCAS, as well.

    Fourthly, we revised our applicable Air Force instructions directing pilots to immediately terminate training upon discovering an unidentified aircraft in their area and to request air traffic control assistance in ensuring the area is cleared of non-participating aircraft. These changes are aimed at reducing the potential for unintentionally generating TCAS alerts in other aircraft.
 Page 16       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In addition to the actions I just covered, the Air Force joined with the Navy and the FAA to convene a cross-agency review of procedures and agreements pertaining to special use airspace. A review, which began on February 12, focused on all relevant FAA and DOD orders, handbooks, regulations, and instructions, including vocal agreements. The panel consisted of technical experts with extensive experience in our military and civil aviation operations.

    While the committee concluded that DOD and FAA roles, responsibilities, and methods for separating aircraft and active warning areas were clear, it did identify several observations for further consideration by the FAA and the services.

    The Air Force intends to thoroughly study and work these observations to ensure, along with the FAA and the Navy and our other sister services, that we can employ those lessons learned and observations to improve the system.

    In conclusion, I want to restate that the Air Force is committed to maintaining the safest possible environment for all users of the national airspace. We take all instances very seriously, regardless of their nature.

    We regret the concern that recent TCAS incidents have caused the American public, and we, along with FAA and the Navy, have taken immediate action, comprehensive action, to address these incidents.

    The Air Force record concerning flight safety is an excellent one, and we will work hard to ensure that it continues to be so.
 Page 17       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, General Peterson.

    The next witness is Rear Admiral Dennis V. McGinn.

    Admiral McGinn, you may begin your testimony.

    Admiral MCGINN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee. I welcome the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the air traffic control coordination between military and civil authorities.

    I'd like to echo some of General Peterson's remarks in saying that safety for all of us who use the skies, the increasingly busy skies, is paramount.

    Men and women of all of our military services involved in flight operations, from pilots and air crew to military air traffic controllers, are top professionals. We are very proud of them. From their selection through their training and to the performance of their daily duties, they are professionals who pay attention to detail, which is absolutely imperative for the safety of flight.

    The incident of February 5th involving the U.S. Air Force F–16 and the Nations Air 727 is of serious concern. We have worked very closely with the NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Air Force to look closely into the circumstances of this incident in order to ensure our coordination with all parties, and in particular with the FAA controllers, is effective, and to ensure the safety of all who use those busy skies.
 Page 18       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I'd like to summarize some of the actions that the Navy has taken from an air control standpoint, and I will submit the full statement for the record, Mr. Chairman.

    We have taken a number of actions to prevent such incidents in the future.

    First, we are incorporating the lessons learned from this incident in the training of controllers at Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility, FACSFAC, Virginia Capes, as well as that of all other Navy air traffic control facilities.

    Second, all air traffic controllers at FACSFAC conducted a safety stand down on February 10. This stand down assured that all controllers understood and were abiding by all approved procedures and emphasized proper phraseology, current directives, proper airspace recall, and air traffic control responsibility for separation of aircraft.

    Third, the commanding officer of FACSFAC, Virginia Capes, has directed that both the radar supervisor and a facility watch supervisor be positioned and manned fully during day- and night-time watches to ensure that there is a free radar supervisor to concentrate on assisting all individual air traffic controllers.

    Next, under a new procedure, the radar supervisor is required to monitor every airspace turnover involving FACSFAC VACAPES and the Federal Aviation Administration controllers.

 Page 19       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Next, the February 5th incident is now part of the air traffic controller training syllabus as both a case study and a simulator exercise to illustrate the potential hazards and emphasize proper procedures during airspace sharing procedures.

    Finally, we've reminded Naval aviators about TCAS in civilian aircraft, its parameters, and the potential hazards of approaching within TCAS range.

    The Navy, Air Force, and FAA have coordinated very closely in reviewing these procedures. The test procedure, which has enabled us to provide real-time coordination of the warning area, is to be formalized in a letter of agreement among all parties.

    We unanimously agree that the procedures are safe, appropriate, and will increase the margin of safety for all who use these skies.

    That concludes my summary of statement, Mr. Chairman, and I'm ready to answer any questions.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Admiral, thank you very much.

    For some of the later opening statements, we have been joined by Ms. Granger, Mr. Ehlers, Mr. Pease, Mr. Ewing, Ms. Johnson, and Ms. Brown.

    I earlier stated that if any of the Members who have just joined us wish to place an opening statement in the record, we certainly will be glad to—that will be appropriate and allowed.
 Page 20       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We'll go ahead and start the questioning of the witnesses at this time.

    Mr. Gardner, just let me ask you, first of all, we have a briefing paper in our material that says that the FAA estimates that the cost of installing a TCAS–II system in cargo aircraft would cost about $100,000 per plane, but some of the air cargo operators say that it would cost over $200,000 per plane.

    Do you have any idea why there is such a discrepancy in the cost estimates? And has the FAA done any type of cost-benefit analysis for this type of system?

    Mr. GARDNER. Sir, we have not done a recent cost-benefit analysis for this system. That's one of the things we obviously would do in considering this petition.

    The numbers that I have heard, in asking my staff, range from $50,000 up to $150,000. I'm guessing it would be around $100,000. Of course, that depends on the quantity you buy. The large buy that United Airlines recently did would obviously drive down the cost, and I think that's where the $50,000 number came from. But the details I do not have.

    We will work on that and get that to you.

    Mr. DUNCAN. The FAA in the past has been very high or very optimistic about GPS technology, but you seem to be a little cool in your testimony about the ADS–B system. Can you tell us, are you skeptical or what? Do you have questions about that?
 Page 21       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Also, we have a later witness who will testify that he thinks it's going to be possible to install some of this technology by maybe later this year, or certainly by late 1998. Do you have questions about that?

    Mr. GARDNER. Well, sir, I think all I meant in my hesitation about ADS–B is the caution that it only works between aircraft who are like-equipped. So, for instance, if the cargo carriers are equipped with ADS–B, they would only be able to have situational awareness with respect to each other, not with, for instance, the part 121 passenger-carrying aircraft who have TCAS but not ADS–B.

    So until we get the entire system, all the aircraft in the system equipped with ADS–B, which is part of the architecture that we're developing, ADS–B does not provide you the situational awareness with respect to everybody. That's my concern.

    The other concern would be the fact it is in a development stage. There actually have been some systems that are operational.

    We used ADS–B in a developmental prototype form with all the hovercraft in Atlanta during the Olympics, and it demonstrated itself very well there.

    It will also be a part of the Hawaii-Alaska project, for which we're trying to start equipping aircraft 2 years from now.

    But there is a challenge for us. We have to yet develop all the standards. As Bob Francis mentioned, there isn't an international acceptance of what the standard is yet, and we're developing that and then we have to work on the certification of the equipment.
 Page 22       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So we have been challenged to try to get there in about 2 years with the equipment, the initial equipment being ready to equip aircraft, but it's a challenge.

    Mr. DUNCAN. General Peterson, let me ask you, sir, there was a report that your pilot was on the wrong radio frequency. Is that true? And, if so, how did that happen? And also there have been some suggestions that your pilot may have been hot-dogging or even having fun. Have you looked into that? Was he showing off like the pilot in Nashville that crashed last year after he took off at such a straight-up altitude?

    General PETERSON. Yes, sir. On the first part of the question, the pilot was—the flight was monitoring Guard frequency. The lead pilot in the Smash–1–1, the aircraft that was involved, had bumped his Guard receiver off in a switch error, and so his wing man called him when he was contacted by the Navy controller and passed the word. He didn't realize that. He switched back over and communicated directly.

    To the second part of your question, sir, no, sir, the pilot was not hot-dogging, and he was, in fact, making a controlled intercept on what to him was a stranger in the warning area he was not aware of, and it was controlled all the way through. We reviewed the tapes on that, along with the NTSB and the FAA.

    That is a normal intercept profile that our pilots are trained to do, so he was not hot-dogging, nothing like the incident you described in Nashville.

    The pilots are very disciplined, and I think all services would say this is a serious matter of how we fly our aircraft. We can't operate our aircraft undisciplined and be successful in war, and certainly not in a peacetime environment either.
 Page 23       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So no, there was not any hot-dogging, sir.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Good.

    Admiral, your statement notes that FAA controllers used to be warned several hours in advance that military aircraft would be in the area, but there was a change last November 1, I think you say, to increase efficient use of airspace, and so they don't receive as much advance notice as they used to.

    Is this something that has contributed to this recent flurry of reports of close encounters. Is this a change that was a good change, or should there be another look taken at it?

    Admiral MCGINN. Mr. Chairman, I think it's a very good change. It allows us to share the airspace in a very efficient way, consistent with the safe use of that airspace by all users.

    With regards to FAA and military controller coordination, they have hotline communications that they can use to turn over the airspace. In a typical instance of this type, if the airspace were scheduled, the FAA would not be scheduling civil air traffic through the airspace.

    For many, many valid reasons—maintenance delays or weather delays, or what have you—the military users of that airspace might be delayed. Rather than just have the airspace fenced off, if you will, from use by anyone, the Navy controllers will then turn over the airspace on a much shorter notice to the FAA controllers for more efficient routing tracks for civil air traffic through there.
 Page 24       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    In this particular case that was done, and the F–16 aircraft showed up and were given a traffic advisory; however, the procedures and terms of the coordination between the FAA controller and the Navy as to the activation of the warning area were in accordance with the memorandum of agreement.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.

    We need to move on to other Members. Mr. Oberstar?

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Francis, welcome to the committee. Glad to have you testifying. This is your first appearance, I believe, before our committee. We're glad to have you.

    All of America took pride in your management of the two tragedies—ValuJet and TWA 800. You reflected great credit on the Nation's most important safety function, the NTSB, and you and your colleagues, your associates at NTSB set a standard for the conduct of public inquiry of such aviation tragedies.

    I compliment you on the way you conducted yourself and the great dignity with which that vitally important work was undertaken.

    The characteristic of the NTSB, the Board has been out in front on collision avoidance issues going back to 1971, as your written testimony indicates, recommending that studies be undertaken, later that action be undertaken.
 Page 25       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    If the Board's insistence had been followed and TCAS installed aboard aircraft in a timely fashion, the mid-air collision over Cerritos, California, would not have occurred, or very likely would not have occurred. We can't say for certain, but it certainly would have given avoidance opportunities.

    There are two technologies that have made a dramatic impact on aviation. One is ground proximity warning systems that have taken a class of accidents off the shelf, controlled flight inter-terrain, and traffic collision avoidance systems, which have also virtually taken a class of accidents off the shelf.

    When I began my first inquiries into near mid-airs in January 1985, there were over 1,300 such incidents for the previous year. Now they're down to a handful, relative handful.

    The question before us today posed by this new technology of ADS–B harks back to the debate that we had over TCAS. There was early technological development of TCAS, and then there was TCAS–I, and then there was TCAS–II, and then the argument was, ''Let's not proceed with TCAS–II because TCAS–III is right around the corner.''

    The perfect became the enemy of the good.

    Eventually Congress simply—this committee legislated TCAS to be aboard aircraft on the insistence of our colleague Ron Packard, in whose District Cerritos occurred.
 Page 26       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Later we had to adjust that time frame for compliance because of technological problems.

    The NTSB, as the premier entity of the Government, has looked at this issue. Is it the Board's belief that there are still too many uncertainties about ADS–B to proceed with that technology now and let—rather than continue with TCAS until ADS–B is demonstrated to be operationally successful?

    Mr. FRANCIS. Mr. Oberstar, I don't think that this is a question of either/or so much. I think that most of us would agree that ADS–B is something that is going to come.

    I think that the issue here is primarily an issue of timing, and you made a statement about what I referred to as the better mousetrap syndrome.

    And I think that we have here, and I think that the Board would take the position that we have a demonstrably effective system for collision avoidance which can currently be installed, particularly in large aircraft, and is enormously effective.

    I think that, at the same time, ADS–B some day is going to be the basis of something that will probably bring advantages that are not there with TCAS.

    The difficulty is that, as any of us that have followed modernization and aviation safety know, this takes time. There are lots of different interests. There are budgetary considerations. There are priorities within the FAA. There are technological questions. There are frequency allocation issues that are out there. This is not going to happen, I don't believe, and I don't believe the Board thinks, within the next 2 years or 5 years. We're talking about out there.
 Page 27       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    And, as Mr. Gardner has pointed out a couple of times, a major, major issue here is that in order to have protection from ADS–B you've got to be equipped with it.

    That means that the entire fleet has got to be equipped with ADS–B in order to have that kind of protection, and that's not right around the corner.

    So I would say that we feel that TCAS is a reasonable thing to mandate. It's not all that expensive. There can be programs where you put it in where you start taking acceptance of it in new aircraft—it's not that expensive in those—where you don't find cargo carriers taking it out of aircraft that they're buying from passenger airlines. They're going to have to do a certain amount when they have their aircraft going into foreign operations, and then come up with a compliance program for the rest doing it with C-checks or however you do it.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you very much.

    One of my concerns is that the cost/benefit analysis function that FAA must go through has led to delays in requiring and implementing new technology, and in the case of GPWS for commuter aircraft, if the shorter time frame that our committee recommended, a 2-year time frame for installation aboard commuter aircraft, had been followed, I know at least 19 lives that would have been saved from a crash that occurred in my District because that airliner was not equipped with GPWS and was 6 months before the deadline to comply.

    Final question. Mr. Gardner, the equipping of TCAS on cargo aircraft was a top priority in the Secretary of Transportation's zero accident initiative. Why has notice of proposed rulemaking not been issued? Why hasn't this been moved along much more expeditiously?
 Page 28       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I'm aware that that has been mentioned not only in the Secretary's comments, but in the Safety Summit, and we have been working on many of those initiatives.

    It just so happens the mandate for TCAS in cargo has not come to fruition yet, and that is the issue we are addressing today.

    I don't have an excuse for why it hasn't happened until now, sir.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I have to ask the Secretary or the former Secretary why it wasn't pushed ahead more vigorously.

    Mr. GARDNER. I don't have a good answer, sir.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I didn't think so. I didn't expect you to be able to answer that, but it has to be raised, because if that is their top priority—that is one of their top priorities and a national summit was called on the safety at zero accidents, then this issue should have been pushed along much further.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. And it's there now. That's the good news.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I thank you very much for your testimony.

 Page 29       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I have other questions which I hope to ask later.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.

    Mr. Gardner, to say that you don't have a good answer is something that we don't often hear, but I think that's a good answer when you don't have a good answer.

    Mr. GARDNER. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Blunt?

    Mr. BLUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Gardner, you mentioned a minute ago, that in the Hawaii-Alaska project, you're encouraging ADS–B as a basis for that project. During the transition, do aircraft have both systems? How does that transition work if everybody has to have ADS–B for it to communicate?

    Mr. GARDNER. In the Hawaii-Alaska project, we will be actually equipping all of the—I believe it's the commercial aircraft that operate in Alaska. We will not be going down to the general aviation aircraft level.

    And you're exactly right. The system doesn't become fully operational until all of the aircraft are equipped. However, it does give you some advantages in the initial part of the program in that aircraft that are equipped have better situational awareness with the ground, which is also equipped, and therefore the ground controllers in a region like Alaska, where the radar does not see in a lot of the areas and down at the lower altitudes, working with an ADS–B type system will give us better coverage and more accurate coverage.
 Page 30       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Let me ask Ron if he's got any other comments.

    Mr. MORGAN. Not really.

    Mr. GARDNER. Okay.

    Mr. BLUNT. So is that what you'd envision happening here, too—everybody that goes with the older system, the TCAS system, then would, in the foreseeable future, be transitioning to the new system ADS–B, all over the country?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. And it would be a similar process as when we first mandated TCAS to be equipped. It was a period of time before everyone was equipped, and therefore a period of time before you reached that higher safety level or less risk level. And the same would be true with ADS–B.

    I might point out that the newest version of TCAS–II, Change Seven, which is currently not mandated, does fit in very well with ADS–B. An ADS–B aircraft can see a TCAS–II Change Seven equipped aircraft.

    The future is that this will all merge together, this technology, in the out years to where it will be a very robust, redundant system for aircraft safety.

    Mr. BLUNT. And in Alaska and Hawaii and in that project, are cargo carriers going to be asked to go to TCAS or are we going to ask them to go to ADS–B?
 Page 31       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Let me let Ron Morgan answer that.

    Mr. MORGAN. The demonstration validation project that we're currently in the process of developing for Alaska and Hawaii has not been solidified to the point of being able to answer that question directly.

    It's my belief at this point, since we don't have a total program plan, that we would be asking cargo aircraft to participate, along with all other commercial aircraft, utilizing an ADS–B in addition to whatever is on board at that time.

    Mr. BLUNT. So if they have nothing on board now, in that project they would be equipped with only ADS–B?

    Mr. MORGAN. That's correct, sir. If they had TCAS on board at that particular time, we would also place ADS–B on for the demonstration project in those locations.

    Mr. BLUNT. And does that new system work better as relates to problems near the ground than TCAS does?

    Mr. MORGAN. The situation with ADS–B is that it will allow us to eventually eliminate our ground-based surveillance system, which is a very costly infrastructure throughout the country. ADS–B provides surveillance information not only aircraft-to-aircraft, but will provide it aircraft-to-ground, with the air traffic controller.
 Page 32       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. BLUNT. Yes.

    Mr. MORGAN. Since we don't have line-of-sight coverage throughout the country through radar systems, the ADS–B is almost like a flying radar platform as long as we have receivers to receive that information.

    Mr. BLUNT. Okay. Thank you.

    Mr. Francis, one question for you, and I'd like to echo Mr. Oberstar's comments about really what a great job you did representing the American people as you represented your agency and the Government in those two tragedies. I think we were all proud to see you and the way you reflect government service.

    My question is, it seems to me I think the studies show that most of the mid-air collisions involve not cargo aircraft but general aviation aircraft, and I wonder if you have any plans to do anything there. It's easier to approach cargo, I know, but that's not really where most of these problems still have occurred, I don't think.

    Mr. FRANCIS. Certainly there are a lot of accidents that involve general aviation aircraft, and, as well, the major accidents have, for the most part, involved large aircraft with general aviation aircraft.

    Mr. BLUNT. Right.

 Page 33       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. FRANCIS. I guess what I would say is that if you have TCAS–II in the large aircraft—and it's not reasonable to expect that you're going to have TCAS–II in a Cessna 150 or a Baron or something. But if you have TCAS–II in a large cargo aircraft and you have an encoding transponder in the small aircraft, the large aircraft is able to see the small aircraft.

    That's not the best protection, but that's significant protection.

    But I think that just because there has not been two large air cargo aircraft run into one another, or one run into another smaller aircraft, that that is—I mean, we're trying to be ahead of the game here, not be reactive.

    We're talking about 800 aircraft now in the U.S. airspace, large aircraft that are similar aircraft in their operations to—these are 757s, 767s, Airbus A–300–600s. These are big airplanes.

    Mr. BLUNT. I guess the question I would have in my own mind would be we seem to be rushing these cargo planes into the older technology that may soon be outmoded. The evidence would show that the real problem in this is not going to be solved by requiring cargo planes to do this, though certainly everybody wants to do everything possible to avoid any kind of tragedy in the air. But I'm not sure we're really addressing the likely problem of where that occurs.

    Mr. FRANCIS. I guess we would say that with 800 large aircraft out there, we think that that's a significant exposure. And, as I've said before, and I think as Mr. Gardner has alluded, we are not talking about ADS–B being a collision avoidance system that is effective for—I would personally say 10 to 15 years. That's a long time to have exposure with 800 aircraft.
 Page 34       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. BLUNT. That's an unacceptable amount of time. I agree with that.

    Mr. FRANCIS. We're not talking about year after next.

    Mr. BLUNT. My time is up. Thank you, Mr. Francis.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Blunt.

    Mr. Lipinski?

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I have a question for anybody that can answer it.

    Why wasn't the TCAS put on cargo planes when it was put on commercial planes? Does anybody know?

    Mr. GARDNER. I can take a stab at that, sir. The requirement for TCAS on passenger planes was a Congressional mandate and it did not include cargo planes at the time.

    We looked at that in the FAA, and, under our cost/benefit analysis rules that we have been under up until hopefully now with the recommendation from the Gore Commission, it did not warrant mandating their use on cargo airplanes at that time.
 Page 35       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. But it wasn't spelled out in the law that Congress passed or the mandate that Congress gave you to install it on cargo planes, either, so we were just silent on that?

    Mr. GARDNER. That's correct, sir.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Does it have anything to do with the number of seats on a plane or anything like that, how many passengers might be on those cargo planes?

    Mr. GARDNER. Let me let Dave Harrington answer that.

    Mr. HARRINGTON. Yes, sir. The legislation did address aircraft with 30 or more passenger seats for TCAS–II, which is the more advanced TCAS with maneuvering capability. Beyond the legislation, the FAA mandated, in conjunction with some conversations with the NTSB, the lesser capable TCAS–I on 10- to 30-seat aircraft, which are generally referred to as the commuter aircraft fleet.

    The legislation was silent on cargo aircraft, and it was not proposed in any of that rulemaking by FAA that TCAS be put on cargo aircraft.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. So if we had written the legislation that talked about the size of the plane instead of the number of seats, it would be on cargo aircraft probably?

 Page 36       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. HARRINGTON. Yes, sir. and I think when the legislation was first proposed I think it was a little different mix in the national airspace system. The Cerritos accident was on everybody's mind. We were talking about passenger-carrying aircraft. That's where the safety problem we were trying to fix was. It was very specific in terms of passenger seats with the legislation, as well as the way the rule was ultimately promulgated. It is based on passenger seats.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Francis, do you have any comments at this time?

    Mr. FRANCIS. I would—certainly what David has just said is true. I think that it's important to recognize that when this legislation passed the air cargo industry was nothing compared to what it is now in terms of the numbers of large aircraft that are out there.

    I don't think that this was an omission of intent in any way. I think that it was just a function of the environment at that time and what was out there.

    But I would obviously agree with Captain Babbitt, who is going to say later—he refers in his testimony to revisiting the omission, and we certainly are very much in favor of revisiting the omission because we're in a different environment now than we were in when that legislation was passed.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. You were saying in your testimony that you think that the ADS–B would be 10 to 15 years before it is fully operational? Did I hear you correctly?
 Page 37       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. FRANCIS. You know, that may be unduly pessimistic. That may be one who was 20 years in the FAA seeing systems developed. But I do think that there are considerable complexities and difficulties, whether they're budgetary or policy or technical or frequency allocation, or whatever, that have to be overcome.

    And by the time all of that is worked out—we don't even have at the most basic level an ability to get agreement on some of the standards for ADS–B just recently in the RTCA. So to think that this is coming over the horizon very quickly I think is very, very optimistic thinking on the part of people.

    And I think that it's extraordinarily unfortunate if we begin viewing TCAS–B [sic] Change Seven as old technology. This is powerful, powerful technology that does some wonderful things for collision avoidance.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Gardner, did I misunderstand what you said? I thought you said that in your opinion the ADS–B could be—I guess something like it could be ready to be installed in aircraft in 2 years.

    Mr. GARDNER. Sir, that's our challenge for the Hawaii-Alaska project, and that will be a demonstration-type project. We have standards we still need to develop. We need to be working with the manufacturers for the certification of the equipment as they manufacture it, and then the purchase and the installation in the aircraft.

    So, as Bob Francis mentioned, the challenge I don't think is in whether the technology is feasible. I believe it is. It's good technology and we have demonstrated it in prototype situations. The challenge is the time frame for when we can get it installed in aircraft and operational throughout the NAS.
 Page 38       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, Mr. Francis said 10 to 15 years in response to my question. So, in response to that question—if you wish, I'll repeat it—what's your estimate or guesstimate on when we could have the ADS–B in operation in all aircraft?

    Mr. GARDNER. I don't have a personal one yet. Let me explain why.

    Our current NAS architecture, as Bob mentioned, doesn't have us getting fully operational until out and beyond, I believe, the year 2010. The White House Commission has asked us to come up with a plan to bring that to the point of 2005, along with the demonstration in Alaska in 1999.

    They have given us 6 months to develop that plan that will make that feasible. Along with that plan, I might add, it also challenges the Executive Branch to work with the Legislative Branch to work with industry to figure out how we can pay for this kind of rapid development, as well, because that will also be a challenge.

    So I'm more optimistic, I think, that we can do it sooner, but I don't have assurances that everything will fall into place that will get us there. That's something I think we'll be smarter on in 6 months.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. I was in Memphis, Tennessee, recently. There were a number of people there who were attempting to persuade me it could be operational within 4 years. Do you see that it's possible to have it be operational in 4 years?
 Page 39       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. I think yes, sir, within the community of the cargo-carrying aircraft, particularly with the major cargo carriers, I think that is definitely feasible.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. That they could put in the ADS–B system in 4 years?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I think so.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Francis, what's your opinion?

    Mr. FRANCIS. I would ask whether this would be with collision avoidance capability, and I guess I would question whether—I mean, if you're talking about ADS–B in all the cargo carriers, that's protecting a cargo guy from another cargo guy.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. But it would have nothing to do with the commercial carriers and general aviation, right?

    Mr. FRANCIS. I guess that would be my hesitancy about that. It's fine to protect the 800 against the 800, but there are a couple of other airplanes out in the environment.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. So the ADS–B we'd have in all the cargo carriers so they could be protected from one another, but——
 Page 40       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. FRANCIS. I believe that's what Guy was referring to.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Okay. But they wouldn't be protected from the commercial airliners?

    Mr. GARDNER. They would be if the commercial airplanes upgraded to the new TCAS–II Change Seven that Bob referred to a minute ago.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. And it wouldn't protect us from general aviation either, though, would it?

    Mr. GARDNER. That's correct, sir. It would not see the Mode A and the Mode C transponders that TCAS–II does see.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. And if we move the cargo carriers into the TCAS system, which we could do, relatively speaking, immediately, then everybody would be protected from everybody else, correct, except for the military, who don't have it in a lot of planes, correct?

    Mr. GARDNER. It would put the cargo aircraft in the same position as the larger passenger-carrying aircraft. Since the military also has Mode A or Mode C, the TCAS can see military aircraft just like they can see general aviation.
 Page 41       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. But there are some planes in the military that still wouldn't be protected from cargo planes or commercial planes, correct?

    Mr. GARDNER. The——

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Would you like to have the military personnel answer that one? Go ahead.

    Mr. GARDNER. Let me give a technical answer, because I assume——

    Mr. LIPINSKI. I won't understand a technical answer, so give me a plain English answer.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. A TCAS-equipped airplane can interrogate and see any other airplane that has a Mode A, a Mode C, or a Mode S TCAS transponder. And it——

    Mr. LIPINSKI. So far I follow you.

    Mr. GARDNER. Okay. Another plane that only has a Mode C or Mode A transponder, such as I believe the DOD aircraft—at least when I was flying with them that was the case—they do not have the collision avoidance warnings from TCAS, but the TCAS planes can see them.
 Page 42       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    So our TCAS-equipped aircraft, the passenger-carrying aircraft, can see all of the other airplanes as we head out over the Gulf, as we discussed as part of the earlier talk here today. This is why where the commercial carrier saw the F–16s coming in that recent incident.

    Since the F–16s did not have TCAS, they did not have that kind of collision avoidance system. They were using their own military radar system.

    And so all of the Mode A and Mode C aircraft can be seen by the TCAS-equipped aircraft but those aircraft cannot see them.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Very good. I compliment you. Even I understood that.

    Does anybody else have any comment in regards to this situation?

    [No response.]

    Mr. LIPINSKI. I have a couple other questions which I'll ask quickly, Mr. Chairman, and then you won't have to come back to me. But I'm finished with this unless somebody wants to comment on what we've just been discussing.

    It has been mentioned in testimony—I, frankly, don't remember if it was mentioned verbally here today or not—that planes that the cargo carriers are now either purchasing from the manufacturer or purchasing from commercial airlines already have the TCAS system in it and they are being removed. Is that correct?
 Page 43       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Let Mr. Francis go first this time. You went first——

    Mr. GARDNER. I think he has a stronger opinion than I do, sir.

    Mr. FRANCIS. My understanding—the answer to that question is yes, and I specifically know of one company. It is the company that had done a modification on an Airborne Express DC–8, and that aircraft was involved in an accident in Virginia just before Christmas.

    One of the questions that I asked at that time was—they had just spent a number of millions of dollars, six or seven million dollars, to convert this aircraft from passenger aircraft into a freight aircraft. They had hush-kitted it, as I recall. They had put a glass cockpit in. It was a major, major overhaul of this airplane.

    So we went back and asked the question of the company that had done the overhaul: did they have TCAS in the aircraft? The answer was no. And the company, in addition, told us that when they do these conversions they are told by their customers, who are the cargo carriers—and I don't know which companies or how many companies, but they are told to remove the TCAS.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. To you.
 Page 44       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I have heard this same thing.

    Since we do not mandate TCAS on these aircraft, we cannot prevent them from taking it out of an aircraft already equipped.

    I have reasons I can think of why a company would want to do that. I would be glad to hypothesize; However, I would suggest that the second panel today would be the better audience to answer that question.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Okay. My last question is: what would the TCAS cost for the cargo planes per plane to put in? I've read $50,000 per plane. I heard here testimony saying it's between $50,000 and $150,000. Well, if you have 800 planes we're talking about—if you're talking about $50,000 or $150,000 times 800, it gets to be quite a difference there.

    So is it $50,000, or is it between $50,000 and $150,000?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. As I mentioned to the Chairman earlier, I'm not sure of that number. That's the range that I've heard, and that's part of our analysis that we need yet to do to determine what that price would be. Obviously, the bigger the buy the lower the unit cost is on that.

    And, as Bob Francis pointed out, cargo aircraft buying new airplanes that are already from the manufacturer—they can either put it in or not—would be a cheaper installation cost for new aircraft.
 Page 45       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Do we know how much cheaper it would be if you get it without?

    Mr. GARDNER. No, sir, I don't.

    Mr. FRANCIS. Maybe, again, it would be a good question to ask this afternoon.

    I understand that if you buy a new 767–F freighter from the Boeing Company that TCAS is installed and that it is at least possible that it costs you something to not have it in there.

    I would not swear to that, but I think that that's a possibility.

    As Mr. Gardner says, there are some rationales from the cargo operator's point of view in terms of—particularly in terms of training and standardization, that you not have a split fleet for long periods of time.

    Everybody faces that, as did the initial implementation of this. United Airlines had to go through a stage where they had some airplanes that had TCAS and some that didn't. That's a price that you pay. And obviously there are maintenance costs involved, as well.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your patience.
 Page 46       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Lipinski.

    Mr. Ehlers?

    Mr. EHLERS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I have a number of questions for Mr. Gardner first, and more in a technical vein. I apologize. I didn't hear your testimony, so I hope I'm not asking you to repeat anything.

    First of all, as I understand, ADS–B is not responding to interrogations from radar; it's simply transmitting all the time the information regarding the altitude, the track of the plane?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. That's correct.

    Mr. EHLERS. And so it has no correlation whatsoever with radar?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. EHLERS. So it means the only way the system would work with ADS–B is for both planes to have it——

 Page 47       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GARDNER. Right.

    Mr. EHLERS.——if you're going to depend on the ADS–B?

    Mr. GARDNER. That's correct.

    Mr. EHLERS. So if we simply put it only in cargo planes, it doesn't do much except, as Mr. Francis mentioned, prevents cargo planes from running into cargo planes. But it doesn't have any impact on the passenger. They will not be able to see passenger planes.

    Mr. GARDNER. That's right, sir.

    Mr. EHLERS. Okay. Secondly, the comment was made—I think you or one of your assistants made it—that it's basically the same as having a traveling radar with a plane, and the intimation was that we would be able to phase out the radar. Did I misunderstand that? I think it was your assistant on your left.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes. Let me let Ron Morgan——

    Mr. EHLERS. Mr. Morgan?

    Mr. MORGAN. Yes, sir. That was correct.

 Page 48       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. EHLERS. But would you really want to do that? There are a lot of planes out there without any TCAS—general aviation planes, the smaller planes, and so forth. You certainly will still want to keep track of them, don't you?

    Mr. MORGAN. Certainly until we're through a demonstration and a validation of ADS–B we would not want to do that. Within the enroute environment where we use long-range radars throughout the country, we've required transponders on all aircraft above 10,000 feet. The type of radar that we would want to phase out would be the primary radar, the skin paint radar. We probably would want to keep secondary for a while.

    And our architecture plan that we're in the process of developing has not identified a total phase-out of radar, but that's possible, some time well into the future.

    Mr. EHLERS. I guess I could get esoteric and ask about balloonists, but we won't worry about that right now.

    The cargo planes, what mode of transponder do the cargo planes have at this point? Are there requirements for them? Are they required to have the most-advanced mode transponder, or is it just whatever they want?

    Mr. GARDNER. They're required to have Mode C transponder, which is the most advanced except for the Mode S transponder that TCAS uses.

    Mr. EHLERS. So when a passenger plane sees a cargo plane, are they able to tell whether they should ascend or descend?
 Page 49       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. The passenger plane will get information through the antenna of the relative position of the cargo plane, and also, by interrogating its Mode C transponder, actually gets the cargo plane's altitude and presents that to the air crew in a display that has relative bearing and relative altitude, plus 400 feet, plus 1,000 feet, or whatever.

    If there's an alert, TCAS–II will actually tell the pilot whether to climb or descend.

    Mr. EHLERS. All right. So the present system then depends upon the passenger airplane's crew taking evasive action, while the cargo plane just goes merrily on its way?

    Mr. GARDNER. That's correct, sir.

    Mr. EHLERS. All right. And the same is true of military planes then, as well, correct?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. EHLERS. All right. Thank you very much. I think I understand the system.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much, Mr. Ehlers.
 Page 50       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DeFazio?

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be in and out of the hearing, not out of a lack of interest, but I have a lot of conflicting obligations.

    I guess, just back to the testimony of Mr. Gardner and Mr. Francis on some of the speculation, I guess, Mr. Gardner, we heard about the consistency of the flight deck and the instrumentation. You mentioned that as one reason for removing TCAS.

    Is the other reason or one of the potential reasons that if one had a TCAS system on board, had the capability of using a TCAS system but the policy of the company was they didn't want to use it and they weren't using it, is liability one of the issues here? I mean, is that one of the other things you were hypothesizing about?

    Mr. GARDNER. I hadn't even thought about the liability issue, sir.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. I mean, if you have an instrument that could prevent a collision but your policy is you don't want to use it because it could confuse people or something, and then you have a collision and it could have been prevented, it seems to be problematic.

    When we talk about the alternatives, I think I'm curious about the time lines here. We're going to hear later from the freight association, and they're going to have a very optimistic time line about the adoption of this new technology and the thus-far unprecedented application to collision avoidance.
 Page 51       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    What would you give us as a potential time line for the approval of that system and its widespread installation and use? I mean, do you think 2001 is more than a bit optimistic?

    Mr. GARDNER. For the widespread installation, the equipage of all the aircraft within the national airspace system, yes, sir, I think 2001 is optimistic.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Do you anticipate that if freight were going to go this route and it was proven to be successful technology, that then you would immediately mandate or the FAA would consider immediately mandating that the much larger fleet of commercial passenger aircraft throw out their TCAS and adopt this system?

    Mr. GARDNER. First, I don't want anybody throwing out TCAS ever.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Right.

    Mr. GARDNER. I think it's a great system, and even when we go to a full NAS architecture of ADS–B, TCAS will be able to serve as a redundant collision avoidance system.

    What I'm not sure has been made clear is that ADS–B, in its initial stages, certainly, simply gives you positional information. It does not give you the additional thing TCAS–II gives you, the actual escape maneuver, if I can use that term.
 Page 52       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Yes.

    Mr. GARDNER. That could be developed in the software of ADS–B, but that certainly is well out into the future.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. So then actually, if planes had TCAS now, it may—as you said, TCAS could be either redundant or it could be complementary and work with the other system, the other system being a locator system or the TCAS system having the software for the maneuvers and the collision avoidance and the communication between the planes.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. So then we might say that if we were to require this to be put onto freight aircraft, that we know in the short run it's not a waste of money because it works. And even in the long run, if this other technology develops it potentially could be integrated into that system and still be a worthwhile piece of equipment on the plane.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I'd like to point out that at FAA we don't disagree with the NTSB. We are all supportive of these enhanced safety systems. Our debate currently is on how quickly and to whom. To what level in the airspace system do we mandate the higher levels of technology to enhance that safety?

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Let me ask one other question on this. If in today's air configuration we have a jetliner with TCAS–II and we have a cargo plane with nothing, as I understand TCAS–II there's actually communication between the devices.
 Page 53       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. To coordinate the maneuvers so one doesn't say pull up and the other one says pull up. So I'm in the jetliner. My pilot hears an alert, ''Pull up, pull up.'' Okay. What does the pilot of the cargo plane hear?

    Mr. GARDNER. The pilot of the cargo plane won't hear or get any kind of recognition of where the passenger plane is. He will just cruise along.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Say if they just happen to see it or if they got a communication from air traffic control, I mean, is there some possibility that we might have an incompatible maneuver, that is both planes pull up?

    Mr. GARDNER. Certainly, if the cargo plane sees the passenger plane and determines by himself an evasive maneuver, he does not have the advantage of the TCAS-to-TCAS coordination to make sure he's not doing the same thing that the TCAS——

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. How about cargo-to-cargo today in the air?

    Mr. GARDNER. They do not have equipment on board to see each other.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. So that's the greatest potential.

 Page 54       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. I'm just curious about the differences between the NTSB and the FAA on this. The NTSB—I'm sorry, again, that I wasn't here at the beginning. I'm vitally interested in this, but I have a number of meetings today. It is your position at the NTSB that we should move ahead with dispatch with the installation of TCAS–II in freight aircraft?

    Mr. FRANCIS. Yes.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. And the FAA doesn't or has not made a determination yet?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. Correct.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. What's the time line for determination?

    Mr. GARDNER. We are developing the time line right now.

    We have been challenged by the Gore Commission to, in 6 months from now, come up with our accelerated NAS architecture, and there will be a lot of deliberations on how quickly we can get all of these systems in place that we're talking about, and that issue is part of the timeline development.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. My time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be back later.
 Page 55       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you.

    Mr. FRANCIS. Could I make just a—could I go back to a point that I made in my opening statement——

    Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.

    Mr. FRANCIS.——about volunteerism here and not having to be hammered with a regulation. I mean, I just—we at the NTSB are obviously in a different position than the FAA. They are a regulatory authority. They have processes that they have to go through. They mandate the actions that have to be taken and then they regulate it.

    I just think, again, that this is a fairly classic case of where something, at least to me, is called for, and I would love to see the industry figuring out a way that they could come up with a reasonable compliance program—not that it all has to be done tomorrow—that would involve new aircraft and taking it in that and not taking it out of aircraft, and then doing it with C-checks or whatever it is, and not require the FAA to do a rulemaking on it.

    It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of effort. And probably the result that comes out is going to be less friendly to those industry folks than if they come up with their own which would be acceptable to the FAA.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
 Page 56       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Bass?

    Mr. BASS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Gardner, I just want to affirm that there is no traffic collision avoidance system that would provide any protection at all against a collision with a non-transponder-equipped aircraft or primary target.

    Mr. GARDNER. That's correct, sir.

    Mr. BASS. When and where—maybe Mr. Francis or Mr. Gardner—are mid-air collisions most likely to occur?

    Mr. GARDNER. My understanding—I can let Bob back me up here—is most of the mid-air collisions that we have in the system in the past several years occurred with light aircraft in the traffic pattern area.

    Mr. BASS. So mid-airs are most likely to occur in heavily-congested areas in positive control airspace where at least one of the aircraft is in radar contact and so forth?

    Mr. GARDNER. I'm not sure I understood. Most of them are, I believe, at uncontrolled airports.

 Page 57       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BASS. Most mid-airs occur at non-controlled airports?

    Mr. GARDNER. Let me let Dave amplify, if I may, sir.

    Mr. BASS. Thank you.

    Mr. HARRINGTON. I think your distinction is between controlled and uncontrolled, and many of the mid-airs—in fact, I don't think there has been a mid-air since Cerritos involving a large transporter or one of the larger carrier aircraft.

    The mid-airs have been between general aviation aircraft, for the most part, and those, as far as I understand the statistics, are in uncontrolled airspace for the most part, involving two small airplanes.

    Mr. BASS. The mid-airs between—the potential for mid-air collisions between larger aircraft or near-misses, let's say—better statistics—more likely to occur in a congested air where aircraft are landing and taking off, class one airspace, and so forth, but not out in the middle of nowhere or at high altitudes and so forth; is that right?

    Mr. GARDNER. That's my gut reaction, but there are a lot of things that go into that in terms of the amount of control and oversight in the heavily-congested areas.

    Mr. BASS. I guess, in looking into the issue, then, have you spent any time trying to figure out where the problem is? What do you need to correct? What problem are you trying to correct? Where and when, and between who?
 Page 58       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I'm trying to be looking at the big picture here. You have a problem. You occasionally have near-misses and very occasionally you have a mid-air collision which occurs.

    Obviously, if you're trying to develop a solution you're going to try to figure out where it happens, when, between who, and you want to start with a worst-case situation, correct that problem.

    You certainly don't want to get yourself into a situation where you're correcting a problem at a great cost that may never really be a problem in the first place. That's my observation.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. BASS. Now, what information do you have that would lead you to believe that putting collision avoidance into just cargo aircraft and no other aircraft at all besides the commercial aircraft over 30 passengers is going to significantly improve the possibility that there won't be more or dramatically more mid-airs?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. BASS. Or would it reduce it more?

    Mr. GARDNER. That certainly is an important part of the requirements definition.
 Page 59       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Let me ask Ron Morgan to address that further.

    Mr. MORGAN. Sir, I was just thumbing through the briefing book that I have related to actual mid-air collisions in the United States, going back to 1965. As I look at these, the ones that are listed are usually between a large aircraft and a small aircraft.

    Since 1965, we have instituted regulatory airspace—and we call that class B airspace—around large terminal areas now where we require aircraft, large aircraft, to come in through the top of the regulatory airspace, and within that airspace we protect aircraft in a positive manner against other aircraft.

    We also have had a transponder rule in place since 1965 which requires transponders above 10,000 feet for all aircraft.

    The large aircraft, passenger-carrying aircraft, are the ones that I'm looking at here related to the small aircraft. They are all required to have TCAS if they are passenger-carrying aircraft above 31 people.

    So the action we've taken since this particular date—and the last mid-air that we had was 1986, the Cerritos accident—is placing airspace and regulations in place to protect passenger-carrying aircraft. That's the action that has been taken. That's the problem that we see and the problem that we've been trying to address.

 Page 60       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BASS. I guess it is most likely or the most congested areas are areas where aircraft are in positive radar contact with the controllers and controllers presumably have a line on not only the transponder of the aircraft but also the primary targets, as well.

    Let me ask you if you have any idea as to what percentage in a given time or place or whatever of aircraft in a—this is just too general a question. I'm trying to figure out how far are we going to correct the problem through rulemaking if we require collision avoidance on cargo aircraft only when, in fact, cargo aircraft in a given area where near misses are likely to occur might be just a tiny percentage of the total volume of traffic in that area.

    Can you comment on that?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I'll try.

    Mr. BASS. Okay.

    Mr. GARDNER. I think the issue is ability to equip. And with the cost of a TCAS–II system, obviously your Cessna 172 owner cannot afford it, although that may be where the greatest risk is.

    So we're developing other technologies and trying to bring the cost down of all the technology we develop so that we can attack those high-risk or help out in those high-risk areas.

 Page 61       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. BASS. So you're working on efforts to develop lower-cost collision avoidance systems for smaller aircraft, which brings me to my last question, and that is—first, one real quick one. I take it there's a minimum size on the cargo aircraft similar to what you have for commercial air? In other words, 30 or more passengers commercial. What's the down size for cargo aircraft?

    Mr. GARDNER. It's transport category, I believe, and Dave will have to give us the weight.

    Mr. HARRINGTON. I think the answer is we don't know what the criteria would be. We haven't really decided on rulemaking.

    Mr. BASS. There's little chance that a Cessna 172 that happened to be—a bigger one, a Caravan that happened to be carrying cargo——

    Mr. HARRINGTON. We would certainly address the Caravan as part of the cargo industry and make determinations whether TCAS–II is appropriate, should we decide to follow the rulemaking track to require TCAS.

    I have to again emphasize that hasn't been decided yet, as Mr. Gardner said earlier in his testimony.

    Mr. BASS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Bass.
 Page 62       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Dr. Cooksey?

    Dr. COOKSEY. Mr. Francis, I've been doing my own cost/benefit analysis. If we have 800 cargo aircraft at $100,000 apiece, wouldn't that be about $80 million? I'm not good at math, but I think it is.

    Mr. FRANCIS. Nor am I.

    Dr. COOKSEY. Let me ask you, what would an aircraft accident involving a passenger plane cost in total dollars? What about the ones we had this year? It's above $80 million?

    Mr. FRANCIS. It could be, according to the folks who are here with me, a million dollars a seat.

    Dr. COOKSEY. The lawyers get $80 million alone, don't they?

    Mr. FRANCIS. I'm sorry?

    Dr. COOKSEY. Don't the lawyers get $80 million, alone?


    Mr. FRANCIS. I won't comment on that.
 Page 63       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Dr. COOKSEY. My next question, Mr. Gardner, would it be feasible to put a Mode S transponder in small aircraft, like a Baron, or smaller aircraft? And how much would that cost, that unit?

    Mr. HARRINGTON. It's certainly feasible. In fact, there were some regulatory efforts years ago that I don't think came to fruition.

    The Mode S transponder on general aviation aircraft unless you include data link in that package, which is again part of the technology we're talking about down the road—I'm not sure what it gives you. The passenger-carrying aircraft equipped with TCAS now will interrogate and get the necessary information from the general aviation aircraft with a Mode A or Mode C transponder.

    Dr. COOKSEY. But my question is, Could you put just a Mode S transponder in the smaller general aviation aircraft? Would it serve any purpose for the other aircraft that do have TCAS to identify them easier?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. Just the Mode S transponder wouldn't, I don't believe, make any difference to the TCAS-equipped aircraft versus the Mode C transponder.

    Dr. COOKSEY. It wouldn't help identify it?

    Mr. GARDNER. It wouldn't help it any more than the Mode C.

 Page 64       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Dr. COOKSEY. General Peterson, a couple of questions.

    Was the F–16—did it have an ADC air defense command mission? Was he supposed to be intercepting incoming aircraft?

    General PETERSON. He was on a training mission. It is—his unit is an air defense unit.

    Dr. COOKSEY. When I was in the Air Force, the air defense command was supposed to intercept military aircraft from Russia. Did this pilot know that this aircraft probably had a TCAS system on it?

    General PETERSON. No, sir, he did not. He was not aware of TCAS.

    Dr. COOKSEY. Another question. If you can answer this question, you will be able to read the mind of the Congress, and as a freshman I'm still trying to read the mind of the Congress. When will the defense budget permit TCAS–II units to be put in military aircraft?

    General PETERSON. We are beginning that now. As a result of the T–43 accident we've accelerated that, along with equipping a number of aviation navigation and safety improvements to the aircraft.

    We have a T–I trainer, which we've used in our basic pilot training, which is a new aircraft for us we're still acquiring. We'll have approximately 180 of those when we complete the buy. Those have TCAS on them.
 Page 65       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A number of our passenger-carrying aircraft have TCAS at this time. Between now and 01 time frame, we have a program to equip our passenger-carrying airplanes, and we'll spend about $800 million, a little more than $800 million, with not just TCAS, alone, but TCAS global positioning system, cockpit voice recorders, a number of those safety upgrades.

    After that our plan is then to begin to upgrade our cargo aircraft who can carry passengers. For example, our c–130s, our c–5s, c–17s. That will be our phase two of the program, which will start after the turn of the century.

    Dr. COOKSEY. So you do have a plan in place to put this equipment on soon?

    General PETERSON. The TCAS, yes.

    Dr. COOKSEY. Good. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Dr. Cooksey.

    General Peterson, let me go back to you just for a minute.

    The ''New York Times'' had a story last week which said the pilot of an F–16 fighter jet that came too close to a commercial airliner off the New Jersey coast 2 weeks ago had actually identified it as a passenger jet miles in advance but continued to chase the Boeing 727 as an intruder into his airspace. Air Force officials said today at one point the pilot, who was instructing a trainee, told the trainee to stay out of the way ''until this bozo gets out of the airspace.'' That's coming from a transcript of conversations released by the Air Force.
 Page 66       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Is that accurate?

    General PETERSON. The F–16 pilot was leading a two-ship formation. He left the wing man in the southwest portion of the area. They were going to set up to do intercepts within the area and practice intercept training.

    As he proceeded toward the eastern point of the area, that's when he detected the radar contact. He was not aware that there was an airliner in the warning area.

    And as a sweep of the area, which is the normal procedure for us, either radar or visually, as he cleared his area he made this contact.

    So he then proceeded over to do an intercept to determine what the aircraft was that was in his area and also he did stay with the aircraft, and his intention there was to ensure that the aircraft had cleared the area before he conducted the training.

    Mr. DUNCAN. So you're saying——

    General PETERSON. He told his wing man, in response to your earlier question, to stay in their position when he checked in because the wing man was in the—further away from the aircraft, itself, and above the aircraft.

    Mr. DUNCAN. So you're saying that the story in the ''New York Times'' that is attributed to Air Force officials is inaccurate or incorrect, that he did not know miles in advance that it was a commercial airliner?
 Page 67       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    General PETERSON. He knew that it was a 727 because the Navy controller advised him of that about the time that he got a visual contact, and he had had a radar contact for some time.

    He completed his conversion or his intercept to follow the aircraft, ensure it was leaving the area.

    So he did not know the identification of the aircraft, what it was. He just knew it was a 727 at that time.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Does he know now not to do something like this again?

    General PETERSON. Yes, sir, he does. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, we've changed our procedures so that, rather than having that option, the first option, whether you're engaged, whenever you pick up a contact in your area in a sweep for any reason, is to, if you are in the middle of maneuvering, you'll stop maneuvering, first of all, maintain situation awareness in the area, contact the controller at the time, see if you can get the aircraft identified, and we'll stay away from the aircraft until we get an identification or correlation, so as not to set off a TCAS.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Admiral McGinn, let me go to you. Some of the press reports and some of the NTSB statements suggest that it was really the Navy controller who was to blame for this incident, because they say that he was not sufficiently clear in telling the F–16 pilots that there was a civilian plane in the area. Have you reviewed that? Do you think that the Navy controller was to blame in any way in this situation?
 Page 68       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Admiral MCGINN. His procedures and the phraseology that he used over the radio in talking to the F–16 aircraft was not strictly in accordance with accepted procedures. That has been corrected through training and additional supervision, so I would say yes, that he was not totally professional in—not through any sense of cavalier attitude, but simply the phraseology wasn't strictly in accordance with.

    Had it been, I think that it would have been a clearer picture of exactly the situation transpiring in the warning area with the commercial air traffic passing through under FAA control.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right.

    Gentlemen, thank you very much for your very informative testimony. We appreciate it very much.

    We'll now move on to the second panel. Panel number two consists of: Captain Richard J. McCune, who is the chief pilot for Nations Air Express; Captain J. Randolph Babbitt, who is president of the Air Line Pilots Association; Captain Andre Dressler, who is chairman of the Safety Committee for the Independent Pilots Association, accompanied by Captain Fleet K. Smith, who is director of special operations for the Independent Pilots Association; Mr. Donald R. Treichler, who is international representative of the Teamsters Airline Division; Mr. Stephen A. Alterman, who is president of the Air Freight Association, accompanied by Mr. Robert Hilb, who is the advanced flight projects supervisor for UPS, and Mr. Dennis Manibusan, who is senior vice president for maintenance and engineering for Airborne Express.
 Page 69       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Gentlemen, welcome to the hearing this afternoon. We'll go ahead and get right into the testimony. We'll do the same on panel two as we did on the first panel. We'll go simply in the order that you are listed on the witness list, and that means that we'll start with Captain Richard J. McCune, who is the chief pilot for Nations Air Express.

    Captain McCune?


    Captain MCCUNE. Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman.

    I was the captain on the flight, Nations Air 70, and when we were cleared from the arrival area through the intermittent restricted area we knew that the route was going to take us through an intermittent restricted area, and because of the clearance that we received we assumed that it was vacated by the military at this time.

 Page 70       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As we were proceeding along, the TCAS gave a target that was coming down fairly rapidly and fairly close in, and it went to what's called a traffic advisory right away and gave a visual and an oral warning.

    As it was closing in, I let our air traffic control, New York center, know that it did appear that it was going to go into a resolution area advisory. It was coming in that rapidly.

    By the time he replied, it had gone into the resolutionary advisory.

    At this point, we were descending about 2,500 feet a minute and the resolutionary advisory had called for a 4,000 foot rate of descent to avoid collision.

    We complied and also let air traffic control know that we were going to do that, and just within a few seconds apparently the traffic had gotten below us and gave us a 4,000 foot rate of climb, which was quite a drastic movement.

    We went ahead and pushed the power up and complied with it as best we could, also advising ATC.

    Not too long after that it called for us to level off and then called for another 4,000 foot rate of climb.

    With this last resolutionary advisory, we turned off a little bit towards—actually, we turned away from the warning area, as I started to suspect it could be military traffic at that point.
 Page 71       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The entire time we were in the clouds and we had the seat belt sign on. We were experiencing turbulence at that point. Not before I completed the turn did we break out of the clouds, and then we were visual at the time and got out of the turbulence.

    Right about that time also the traffic had departed and went to a TA again, downgraded, and then departed completely off of our instrument.

    While this was happening, we had two flight attendants that were thrown to the ground and one woman who was returning from the lavatory, which is permissible while the seat belt sign is on, who fell to the ground.

    We inquired if there were any injuries, and they said there were no apparent injuries at that time.

    We had no problem landing at JFK, and once we let the passengers leave, turned the seat belt sign off, we apologized for the rough flight, didn't hear any other comments, and I proceeded right away to call air traffic control to find out who was out there and what was happening.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. We'll have some questions in just a few minutes.

    The next witness is a man who has been here many times before, Captain J. Randolph Babbitt, president of the Air Line Pilots Association.
 Page 72       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Captain Babbitt, it's an honor to have you back with us again. Thank you very much. You may begin your testimony.

    Captain BABBITT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here, and we appreciate the opportunity, on behalf of the 45,000 airline pilots that we represent with 46 different airlines, to come here today and express our views on the collision avoidance system and the requirements for cargo aircraft.

    As you can imagine, this is an issue of prime importance to airline pilots, and we suspect that it's an issue of prime importance to the entire aviation community.

    From September 1978 to January 1987 there were four different mid-air collisions involving air carriers and general aviation aircraft. These events, unfortunately, resulted in the death of 253 people on board those air carriers, and 22 more people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on the ground.

    Probably the most dramatic of these events was the collision of a Pacific Southwest Boeing 727 that collided with a general aviation aircraft over San Diego in 1978, and I think many people will remember the pictures that were published throughout the country of that airplane with its 144 passengers plunging to the earth.

    I think that was a key event that then mandated and triggered the Government's move to mandate collision avoidance systems for air carriers.

 Page 73       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Unfortunately, it was not until 1981 that then-FAA Administrator Lynn Helms selected the traffic alert and collision avoidance system, TCAS, as we know it today, as the one that the FAA would certify, and it took until December 1987, 6 additional years, before legislation was signed by the President that required the equipage of all passenger-carrying aircraft having a seating capacity of more than 30 passengers to have TCAS–II.

    Unfortunately, neither this legislation nor the FAA's final rule included large cargo aircraft in the group required to have TCAS–II. The omission of TCAS–II is somewhat understandable as the public and the Government were primarily focused on passenger safety. And I would also assume the cost was an issue.

    In order to reduce the cost, a decision was made to exempt small transport category aircraft from this requirement, and therefore the legislative mandate for 30 passengers became the cut-off for TCAS equipage, and therefore this legislative mandate and the associated regulatory language left a rather large loophole for cargo aircraft.

    Well, things have dramatically changed since that point in time, and I think there is sound rationale to revisit the omission—what I consider an omission—of cargo aircraft from the requirement to be equipped with TCAS–II.

    I would offer for consideration the following:

    First, this cargo industry is growing very rapidly. Its operating philosophy has changed significantly. They operate round the clock now and have vastly increased international operations.
 Page 74       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Second, the Federal air regulations now require cargo aircraft to be equipped with virtually all of the safety-related systems that are required onboard passenger-carrying counterparts. For example, weather radar, cockpit voice recorders, flight data recorders, altitude alerters, wind sheer detection equipment, ground proximity warnings—those are all required on both types of equipment.

    But the single safety-related system that seems to be missing is TCAS–II. That's not common to both. It appears that for some reason we've gone to great lengths to protect cargo aircraft from colliding with mountains or the ground, but for some reasons there's an obvious omission to help them avoid or detect or be warned of collisions with other aircraft.

    This rationale to us does not make sense, and we would suggest that equipage for both types should be identical.

    Finally, air traffic, in general, has increased significantly in our national airspace system, and the old see-and-avoid concept of separation simply won't work in this environment.

    The November 19, 1996, mid-air collision of a Saudi Boeing 747 and an Air Kazakhstan Ilyushin-76 over New Delhi again proves that even highly-experienced airline pilots cannot consistently detect and avoid traffic threats just using a line of sight and looking out the windows.

 Page 75       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    A U.S. air cargo could have very well been involved in this event, and TCAS–II could have prevented it.

    I'm sure that I can speak for the entire airline pilot community when I say the Administration's adoption of a single level of safety goal should include the upgrading of cargo aircraft equipage to the same configuration as passenger-carrying counterparts, at least from a safety standpoint.

    One of the top priority issues in Secretary Pena's zero accident program spawned his safety review, and that was the equipage of cargo aircraft with TCAS–II, and ALPA was, again, a prime advocate of this initiative.

    I think it's very clear from the record also that the policy endorsements for this initiative have been made by senior DOT and FAA officials, as well as the NTSB and the entire aviation community.

    We are aware that the cargo industry has proposed an alternative plan for equipping their aircraft with an alternative type of collision avoidance protection, and while the end product of this concept, a GPS-enhanced collision avoidance system, certainly has merit, I have to question both the time line and the interim steps that would be required.

    We certainly wouldn't want to exclude an equivalent or perhaps even more effective collision avoidance system for the cargo fleet. We strongly believe that a time deadline must be imposed on the equipage of these aircraft with some type of a collision avoidance system.

 Page 76       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As of this date, we are not aware of any FAA-approved plan or program for an alternative system. More importantly, nor is there any funding to see it through to its completion at this point.

    As this issue is debated, we must remember that TCAS–II is a proven system. It has gained FAA acceptance by the management. It has gained acceptance by airline pilots, air traffic controllers, international civil aviation authorities. All accept TCAS–II as a modern and constantly-updated standard of collision avoidance. It needs no additional development. There are no technical or operational reasons to prohibit or delay the installation of this type of a system on cargo aircraft.

    As the world globalizes and harmonizes its operating rules, we should note that cargo carriers planning to operate in both Europe and Japan after the year 2000 are going to be required to have TCAS–II on board.

    Additionally—and I would note in closing—the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, in one of its recommendations, very appropriately noted, ''Cost considerations and mathematical formulas, however, should never be dispositive in making policy determinations regarding aviation safety, as they are but one input for decisionmaking. Further, non-quantifiable safety and security benefits should be included in the analysis of proposals.''

    Mr. Chairman, the time I believe has come to equalize the level of safety between the cargo fleet and the passenger-carrying counterparts of our world by requiring the equipage on board of a certified, effective collision avoidance system in those aircraft by no later than the end of 1998.
 Page 77       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    This could very easily be accomplished if Congress would simply strongly encourage the FAA to publish a proposed rule or notice of rulemaking that's before them in the form of a petition by the IPA. This action would be consistent with the aviation safety action plan published by the FAA in February 1996.

    I thank you very much for your consideration of our comments. Additionally, I would like to submit for the record a resolution from the Transportation Trades Department of the AFL–CIO.

    Thank you, sir.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. That petition will be placed in the record upon your request.

    Captain BABBITT. Thank you, sir.

    Mr. DUNCAN. And the petition that was filed that led to this hearing was filed by the Independent Pilots Association, and the next witness will be Captain Andre Dressler, who is a member of the Safety Committee for that association.

    Captain Dressler, thank you for being with us.

    Captain DRESSLER. Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the subcommittee, thank you very much for allowing me to speak to you today on this.
 Page 78       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Talking here on behalf of the Independent Pilots Association, we are about 2,100 flight crew members, professional men and women that pilot the aircraft of the United Parcel Service.

    I have a prepared summary statement, written statement that you have. However, so much of that has been covered by previous distinguished speakers here that I will try to kind of digress from it and bring out some other points.

    Mr. Francis spoke on panel one. He seemed to be very supportive of our position. He urged, though, the cargo industry to maybe do this on a voluntary basis. I'm afraid that I cannot go along with that one particular point.

    We have been trying to talk to our company for over 4 years on this. We had a high-level meeting with top management where this was brought out. We even brought Mr. Williamson, who is the head of the FAA TCAS office, in to talk to them and us and enlighten us.

    We were at that time told there is better technology on the horizon. That's 4 years ago. Nothing has happened in the meantime.

    We filed a petition for that reason, because we didn't get any action. We filed a petition in September. Little did we know that just in November our worst fears would come true, not in this country but outside New Delhi, where a non-TCAS-equipped Russian freighter crashed into a non-TCAS-equipped Saudi 747 passenger aircraft.

 Page 79       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The reason why the Saudi 747 did not have TCAS was it was not flying to the United States and therefore was not required to carry that equipment.

    Right after that accident happened, the media reported widely that this could never happen in our country because TCAS is required on our passenger-carrying aircraft—on all our aircraft. And then had to backtrack to say, ''no, wait a second, it is not required on cargo aircraft.''

    The thing is, this could happen here just as easily, and it could have happened between one of our freighters and one of our passenger aircraft in positive controlled airspace, because the FAA allows, under the minimum equipment list, aircraft to be dispatched with non-functioning TCAS up to 3 days.

    That means both airplanes will be just like the little Beech Baron or Cessna 150 in positive controlled airspace. It will have absolutely no protection against each other.

    When I came into Washington, I came in on a commercial airliner, a 737 passenger aircraft. I asked the pilots, ''Do you ever fly with a deferred TCAS?'' The captain said, ''No, actually the equipment is very reliable, it's very good, and we haven't had any problems.'' The first officer said, ''Yes, I flew a series of flights and I felt like I was flying naked.'' Those were his exact words.

    So we do have the potential for collision.

 Page 80       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    As was pointed out before, if we have a freighter aircraft, a cargo aircraft, and a passenger aircraft on a collision course, the freighter might inadvertently make a correction on his course if he visually acquires the TCAS-equipped aircraft and still collide with that aircraft. We don't want that to happen here.

    The cost of TCAS–II for freighters has been often quoted, and we have numbers from United Airlines that said that they equipped 600 aircraft at a cost of $50,000 each.

    On our airplanes that we are taking delivery on now from Boeing are already pre-wired Boeing 767s at a cost of $87 million, $50,000 is less than 0.07 percent of their cost and very, very cheap insurance.

    The air cargo industry has had explosive growth. We now have over 800 to 900 aircraft congregating in hub cities like Louisville, Memphis, Dayton, Cincinnati during the day, at night, without any protection to fly over your homes, hospitals, schools, and everything.

    If you think that it is a non-significant loss of life because there are only two or four people on these aircrafts, I can assure you one of these cargo aircraft, if it impacts in a populated area, can bring about tremendous amount of carnage. We've seen that, unfortunately, within the last 4 years in two places—an El Al 747 that crashed due to mechanical malfunction in Amsterdam into an apartment building and took out 80 people on the ground there, and also in Kinshasa in Africa a Russian freighter took off, crashed into a marketplace, and killed 340 people on the ground. We don't need that in this country.

    TCAS–II is not outmoded. They will be coming up with a new version, version 7.0. We are not against new technology. We do want ADS–B to be incorporated into TCAS–II if and when it becomes available.
 Page 81       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Captain Smith here, on my left, who was involved with the Gore Commission and White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, got from Dr. Russell Schaefer a timeline for when ADS–B might be available, and I would like to remind everybody here about the MLS where we spent hundreds of millions of dollars for a system that never came about.

    Anyway, he said that first testing would happen in 1999, full implementation not until 2015, partial implementation by 2008.

    In conclusion—I see the red light here—I'd like to mention one more thing. I have also right here in the audience Captain Gary Stephen from UPS who came within two seconds of having a major mid-air collision over downtown Newark a couple of years ago between two cargo airplanes. If you care to talk to him or listen to his remarks, he will be free to give them.

    Thank you very much for listening to me, and I hope that you will do everything in your power to avoid a tragedy in this country that we can avoid now.

    Thank you.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Captain Dressler.

    The next witness will be Mr. Donald Treichler, who is the international representative for the Teamsters Airline Division.

 Page 82       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. Treichler, thank you for being with us today.

    Mr. TREICHLER. First, Mr. Chairman and committee members, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

    Our particular union represents over 4,500 pilots flying both TCAS and non-TCAS-equipped aircraft, and we believe that the lack of TCAS–II equipment on cargo aircraft poses a safety risk for the operating crew members and the public, as well.

    In addition to my oral comments today, I have submitted other supporting documentation for the record, including a TCAS information sheet, comments on TCAS, and enclosures that were jointly submitted to the Gore Commission by all the pilot unions, including the one seated at this table, and comments of the safety chairman from Airborne Express, Mr. Chuck McCabe, who is here today in attendance, and also the president of the local that represents the Airborne pilots, Captain Rick Zebarth.

    As to the purpose of TCAS requirements, as you know, TCAS was developed to function on the air traffic control system as a backup method that enhanced the capabilities of pilots to see and avoid other aircraft. There exist numerous validated reports of collision avoidance as a result of TCAS, and several of these are set forth in attached documents I have submitted for your information.

    Because of the increased level of safety derived from TCAS during the past few years, no one would even consider proposing the removal of TCAS systems from passenger aircraft.
 Page 83       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As for opposition to TCAS–II opposition on all cargo aircraft, it was recently quoted that the Air Freight Association and cargo carriers have expressed a preference to not install TCAS on all cargo aircraft, and instead wait for the development of a superior system.

    The only true competing system to TCAS–II is the automatic dependent surveillance broadcast, or ADS–B system that you, yourself, outlined at the beginning, Mr. Chairman. That's based on enhanced global positioning system, satellites, and digital communications interface.

    Proponents claim that the ADS–B system is superior to TCAS–II in operational capability and is cheaper to install.

    The ADS–B system development is still in its prototype stage. System testing is just underway, and the system has yet to begin its certification stage.

    Launch of the first enhanced United States GPS satellite resulted in its destruction.

    The ADS–B program is yet to receive funding, and harmonization between international bodies is yet to occur.

    Even should these hurdles be overcome, current estimates of full operational implementation in 2 to 5 years appear overly optimistic, and I think I would agree with Mr. Francis as to probably a time line that is more realistic.
 Page 84       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As for alternative actions, the IBT does not object to competing systems to TCAS. In fact, we welcome them. The inescapable fact, however, is that TCAS–II is the only system currently operational and certified. It has been approved through international harmonization and it has a publicly-demonstrated collision avoidance capability.

    The petition for rulemaking by the Independent Pilots Association is supported by over 70,000 pilots from all the United States' major unions. The underlying issue of TCAS–II is the safety compromise imposed while operating all-cargo aircraft without the devices, a decision that we believe does not serve the interest of the public.

    TCAS–II is the only system now available and certified with demonstrated capability that directly addresses collision avoidance. ADS–B is a promising concept, but it's unproven, unfunded, not harmonized internationally, and not available now nor in the immediate future.

    The IBT would urge your committee to give consideration to establishing a requirement for TCAS–II on air transport all-cargo aircraft in accordance with the recommendation contained in the petition for rulemaking, and requiring that future development of anti-collision systems incorporate compatibility with TCAS–II and future TCAS evolutions.

    Again, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much.

 Page 85       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The last witness on this panel is Mr. Stephen A. Alterman, who is the president of the Air Freight Association.

    Mr. Alterman, thank you very much for being with us. You may begin your testimony.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're delighted to be here.

    With me today are Bob Hilb—Bob is the advanced flight projects supervisor and a 767 captain for UPS—and Dennis Manibusan. Dennis is the senior vice president, maintenance and engineering, for Airborne Express. They'll be able to answer any technical questions that the panel might have.

    On behalf of all the members of the Air Freight Association, we appreciate the opportunity to testify today on the issue of collision avoidance systems on all-cargo aircraft.

    Our members, which include most of the major all-cargo operators, have been studying this issue for several years and are ready to implement our design for collision avoidance technology of the future. Therefore at the outset I think it is absolutely important to note that our industry is fully supportive of deploying collision avoidance systems in our aircraft.

    This decision has been reached with absolutely no Federal mandate to do so. Indeed, on our own the all-cargo air carrier industry has, for the past 2 years, been developing a new generation of collision avoidance systems based on GPS and ADS–B technology. The system will be a significant improvement over the existing TCAS system.
 Page 86       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    You've heard a lot today and the question has to be raised: why not simply install TCAS systems in our airplanes?

    The simple answer is that TCAS has some limitations which can be overcome by new generation technology, and these limitations can be summarized as follows:

    TCAS is a reactive rather than a proactive system. Pilots only learn of the potential problem when they are warned of an impending collision. The new system will enable pilots to ever avoid being placed in this position.

    TCAS also has a limited range which decreases in the high-density airspace where it is needed the most.

    TCAS is not effective on the ground or below 1,000 feet, where the majority of collisions have occurred.

    And it has a higher than desirable false alarm rate, causing pilots sometimes to mistrust the alarms. Indeed, an ALPA publication, itself, has reported that its pilots simply ignore TCAS about 50 percent of the time.

    This should not be construed as a knock on TCAS. TCAS is a system which was developed in the late 1980s and certified in the 1980s and has worked. The issue is whether we simply go with the existing system or try to make it better, and I don't think we should settle for second best.
 Page 87       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The collision avoidance system being developed by the all-cargo industry is based on GPS and ADS–B technology. It provides pilots with both more data upon which to base decisions and more-accurate data than is now being provided.

    In addition, the new system will work on the ground, as well as in the air, and it will be a cost-effective safety measure for most general aviation aircraft.

    The basic technology necessary for the development and implementation of the all-cargo system is not merely in the mind of some mad scientist. It is technology that is available today and simply needs to be applied to the system envisioned.

    The drafting of standards for the ADS–B are well underway, and successful flight demonstrations have been completed both in Boston and at the recent Atlantic Olympic games.

    In addition, successful ADS–B simulations have been completed by both NASA Langley and NASA Ames.

    In Europe, the technology to be employed is already being flight tested in Sweden, and I urge you to look at the attached article to our testimony on that in a publication called ''Flight International,'' which describes that program.

    Most recently, the FAA has announced its so-called ''Halaska '99 project,'' a program which will incorporate both ADS–B and TIS technology in operational demonstration with aircraft operating in Alaska and Hawaii during 1999. This is the exact same technology which forms the basis of our industry's new collision avoidance system.
 Page 88       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Faced with these facts, the industry has developed a three-phase approach for the future of collision avoidance. We feel strongly that this approach is responsible and provides a unique opportunity for government, industry, and labor to work together to create a higher level of safety for the entire aviation community.

    Indeed, we invite all parties to this debate to work with us to develop the best collision avoidance system possible in the shortest amount of time.

    Phase one is a phase that seems to have been overlooked by everybody else to this debate this afternoon. It's the installation of a program called ''traffic information system.'' And that will be done in conjunction with ADS–B.

    Traffic information system or TIS, which has not been mentioned by anyone else, is a new system of data transmission based upon a relatively slight software modification of existing FAA ground-based radar sites. This modification will provide an up-link of proximate traffic by a Mode S transponder, and would include a visual warning of any threatening traffic.

    This system is currently operating as a prototype at Dulles International Airport, and nationwide deployment is scheduled by the FAA for the fourth quarter of 1997.

    The FAA has informed us that this system is fully funded, approved, and on schedule.

    This step will enable all-cargo aircraft to see anyone equipped with a transponder and to evaluate any traffic for potential threats.
 Page 89       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    A cockpit display of traffic information will give the pilot an array of data necessary to make informed decisions on collision avoidance, and we believe that this equipment can begin to be installed in the first quarter of 1998 in conjunction with the FAA nationwide deployment of the system.

    In addition, the installation of ADS–B at approximately the same time will provide both safety and operational benefits. Aircraft equipped with ADS–B will be able to share information more detailed and accurate than TIS, alone, which, in turn, permits more-informed pilot safety judgments.

    Once this ADS–B/TIS equipment is installed within the next year, cargo aircraft will, for the first time, be able to see each other.

    And it should be noted, as people have said before, that all-cargo aircraft, which do not have TCAS, are not invisible to the passenger aircraft equipped with TCAS. Rather, the TCAS-equipped aircraft can see cargo aircraft and take whatever action is necessary to avoid collisions.

    Only after this first step do we go to phases two and three, which is the ADS–B addition of conflict detection and resolution, and then finally, around the turn of the century, a full GPS-enhanced collision avoidance system.

    In a speech delivered to a Conference of Aviation Safety and Security Experts on January 15, 1997, Vice President Gore stated, ''Success in this new age of governing means shifting to a regulatory model in which Government sets and enforces goals but doesn't dictate the way to achieve them.''
 Page 90       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We have seen that this new approach works. The Vice President went on to note, ''When given flexibility, industry can and will do more than the minimum required by law and regulation.''

    We agree with that. We are working toward that. And we hope that everyone will work with us toward a more-effective collision avoidance system.

    Thank you very much.

    Mr. DUNCAN. I thank you very much, Mr. Alterman.

    I'm going to go first for questions to Mr. DeFazio.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. Alterman, just to sort of clarify the record, I'm certain you didn't mean to imply that there are technical problems with TCAS–II, and when you were talking about false alarms you're talking about known situations of intersections of the TCAS, bubbles around the planes that a pilot would ignore because he knows that that other plane is there.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Yes. That terminology was not ours. It was done from a Mitre report, which is attached to our testimony. It was not meant to imply that the system doesn't work and the technology doesn't work. It's a function of things that are happening that maybe don't need to happen because, as you described, the bubbles around the aircraft.
 Page 91       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Hilb has another comment on that, if he may.

    Mr. HILB. It's very significant that TCAS does not work below 1,000 feet or on the ground. In fact, when you look over the number of collisions that have occurred, most of the collisions that have occurred with passenger aircraft have been on the ground with runway incursions. In fact, since the Tenerife accident, which was the worst accident ever, there have been 722 people killed with runway incursion accidents—much more than any mid-air collision accidents.

    And TCAS does nothing to protect those, where our ADS–B system will do that.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. But in the case of cargo aircraft, there would be loss of life with an on-the-ground collision, and that would be certainly of concern to the pilots and the crews, but what we're talking about here is also the possibility of accidents that take place above 1,000 feet where people are killed on the ground.

    I don't think it's irrelevant. Well, you can go like that.

    But the question is: what do you offer us for the next 3, 4, or 5 years?

    If you could just—I mean, I thought there was some very provocative testimony from the NTSB, and I'd like you to address it. They said that actually, in spending hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars on upgrading planes to cargo or changing them to cargo, TCAS are actually being removed. You're purchasing new planes at the cost of tens of millions of dollars that are wired for TCAS, and the incremental cost of TCAS would be less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the cost of the plane.
 Page 92       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The question would be—and also the NTSB went on to say, ''Wouldn't it be good if we saw a new attitude here which isn't a hard line, ''We're not going to do this until we're forced to do it,'' and get forced to do something you don't want to do. What if you just said, ''We can live with the incompatibility. Other airlines did during the transition period, and where TCAS is in the plane we won't have it removed, and where TCAS can be installed with a brand new plane that we're paying $70 million dollars for, for another $50,000 we'll go ahead and do it?''

    And so if 40 percent or 50 percent of your fleet in this interim period had TCAS, even without retrofitting other planes, and we prevented one mid-air collision, wouldn't it be worth it

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I'm not prepared to answer that question.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. So what is the price you put on a mid-air collision? I mean, do you have—does your association—how is your association insured, generally? How are some of your—UPS, FedEx, do they buy insurance or are they self-insured?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I'd like to turn that over to a company, because the Association certainly doesn't buy insurance for the companies.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. No, but I'm just curious. You must know how your clients are insured. It seems to me that—I'm curious. I just thought that when the NTSB stated that you're actually removing operable TCAS systems, that that's pretty—is that true? Is it true?
 Page 93       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I'm not sure. I'd like Mr. Manibusan——

    Mr. DEFAZIO. No. Is it true? Yes or no or you don't know?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I don't know.

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. Mr. Francis alluded to Airborne Express as a result of a recent accident, and I can assure you, Mr. DeFazio, that of all the airplanes that we have taken possession of and acquired, that none of those airplanes were equipped with TCAS. Even the one that Mr. Francis was mentioning was not equipped with TCAS.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. So then Mr. Francis has mislead the committee, and I'll certainly ask Mr. Francis to document his statement, because I'm disturbed that he would mislead the committee to say you're actually removing it, which causes me some real concern.

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. None of the airplanes that Airborne Express operates today or has acquired to this day had TCAS installed in the aircraft where we basically have asked to remove the TCAS equipment on the aircraft.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. Well——

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. The airplanes that we have acquired have been predominantly airplanes that have been operated outside the United States where TCAS is not a requirement. We've also had a number of airplanes that we have acquired prior to the requirement for TCAS to be installed in the airplanes, and the most recent airplane that Mr. Francis was alluding to was actually acquired from another air cargo carrier in the United States, and that aircraft did not come with TCAS installed in the aircraft.
 Page 94       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DEFAZIO. I'm pleased to hear that, because I thought his statement was very provocative, and we'll ask him to document his statement, and we may ask you to respond further to his documentation of his statement, because I would find it extraordinary if a safety system were being removed when planes were being converted to cargo use.

    Let's then go to the other issue he raised, which is the new cost of a 767 for cargo $60 million to $70 million? I don't know. What is it?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Somewhere in that range, sir.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Right. And the incremental cost of installing a TCAS for a plane that is already wired for it would be?

    Mr. HILB. Somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Okay. But the objection to doing that and using it would be the cockpit incompatibility issue?

    Mr. HILB. Sir, I think our alternative that we're proposing—I think that was missed on all the previous testimony—is a system that will detect other aircraft, all other aircraft that have transponders in the United States when it's first installed a year from now, and that is the traffic information system that Steve talked about.

 Page 95       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    That system will, in fact, detect all transponder-equipped aircraft and display them—or any threatening transponder-equipped aircraft, and display those to the cargo carrier pilots.

    So we feel that that system is the alternative, and that system has the growth by adding ADS–B to get to the system we all want to have.

    I think everyone here has said that the ADS–B system is the system that we want to have in the future. We in the cargo industry say that we can do that, we can expedite that process. We would rather invest our money into doing that rather than buying old technology and stop the process of moving forward.

    Again, I think it is significant that there are the limitations that Steve talked about of the current TCAS system that are fixed by ADS–B, and particularly one where the ground accidents occurred. All those accidents, those collisions on the runway, can be prevented with an ADS–B-based system. That's where the accidents are——

    Mr. DEFAZIO. So then the time line again that we heard earlier is that you will have a system—you could have a system within 1 year which will provide a display which will show all potentially-conflicting aircraft?

    Mr. HILB. Yes.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Within 1 year?

 Page 96       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. HILB. That's correct.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Including below 1,000 feet and on the ground, or is that later?

    Mr. HILB. That is the addition that ADS–B adds to the process. ADS–B aircraft—we'll only be able to see that between cargo aircraft until other people start equipping with ADS–B; however, as has been pointed out previously, change seven to TCAS does enable that functionality on all passenger aircraft.

    We can, indeed, detect the passenger aircraft, where the passenger aircraft will not be able to detect each other, nor cargo aircraft on the ground until they go ahead and put the ADS–B——

    Mr. DEFAZIO. So essentially what you would have a year from now would be something that was functionally equivalent, although different, to TCAS–I?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. That's correct, Mr. DeFazio.

    Mr. DEFAZIO. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I see my time has expired. I may ask for a second round.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much, Mr. DeFazio.

    Mr. Blunt?
 Page 97       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. BLUNT. I want to follow up a little bit on this question on TIS. Really I have a couple of questions.

    First, Mr. Hilb, on the change seven software, is that available now?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. No. That is being developed. I don't know what the time line is on that. My understanding is the time line on change seven is probably around the turn of the century, but I wouldn't want to presume to talk or respond for the FAA.

    Mr. BLUNT. I thought Mr. Hilb just said that within a year the change seven software would make it possible for this system, this TIS/TCAS/ASB system to work.

    Mr. HILB. The change seven is not required for us to have TIS, nor for us to have an ADS–B where we can see each other. Change seven is required so that the cargo aircraft can see the passenger aircraft a lot better, to be able to take advantage of all the ADS–B advantages that we pointed out in our testimony.

    That will occur starting a year from now, assuming that the FAA does mandate that change, which they're talking about a year from now. That will be on all passenger aircraft probably in 3 years because they'll usually give everyone 2 years to do the changeover.

    So I guess I think I'm, just from your expression, losing you a little bit here.

 Page 98       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The TIS and ADS–B that we're putting on is functional when we first put it on. The TIS gives coverage for all transponder-equipped aircraft to the cargo aircraft. When we start putting ADS–B on, if we're the first ones to put it on, that will strictly be between our own aircraft. All the advantages that everybody talks about for the future will be available between cargo aircraft.

    When change seven to TCAS goes on, those advantages will be extended to the passenger aircraft or the cargo aircraft to take advantage of, but the passenger aircraft will have to put the ADS–B software to take advantage of those enhancements, also.

    Mr. BLUNT. Okay. And on the TIS system, is there full coverage on that system, or are there holes in the flying area because of the radar?

    Mr. HILB. It's wherever there is a Mode S radar, and basically for cargo aircraft it's virtually complete coverage because we don't fly into any of these uncontrolled airports that don't have the Mode S radar coverage.

    You're right. The coverage is only within radar coverage, so therefore it's within the United States.

    Mr. BLUNT. I guess I'd like Captain Babbitt to comment on that, and maybe Mr. Gardner, if you want to come back to the table in a minute if there's a follow-up on this, and then that will be my last—I want to hear the answer to that.

    Captain BABBITT. Well, let me address a couple of issues.
 Page 99       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    First off, TIS would have to be installed at all radar facilities, it has been pointed out, and obviously that takes money. And to my knowledge the FAA currently doesn't have the appropriations to follow forward.

    There were a couple of things that have been stated for the record that I would like to clarify.

    Number one, we continue to say that TCAS is a reactive system. I think, by virtue of all of these systems, they're all intended to be reactive. I hope nobody is scheduling and plotting two airplanes to have a collision. So, by definition, they are reactive.

    We also, when we talk about having these alternative systems, the ADS–B system installed and it will have traffic information, that's absolutely correct. What's missing is the evasive direction. If there is no scheduled—no instruction, no information to the pilot as to what evasive action to take, then you're right back in the same situation. And there's nobody who hasn't walked down a crowded hallway and decided to pass on the left side of someone only to find out they decided to pass to the right.

    That's what's missing in these traffic information systems.

    Finally, the statement—there is a misconception that we should clear up for the record that TCAS doesn't work below 1,000 feet. TCAS doesn't give evasive maneuver direction below 1,000 feet. It works all the way to the gate.

 Page 100       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    And there have been situations—we had a recent incident of the TransWorld Airlines sitting in position in Paris, cleared for take-off, began to get an alert.

    Obviously, he was standing still, so he wasn't going to be instructed to climb or dive while sitting still on the runway, but he called the tower and said, ''I'm receiving an alert. Is there an airplane behind me?''

    The tower instructed the airplane, who had been cleared to land on his aircraft, to go around.

    So TCAS does, in fact, avoid things on the ground and there are options, but clearly you can't give climb or dive or left and right maneuvers—actually, I'm going beyond the capabilities of TCAS–II even when I talk about climb and dive, but the maneuvers that are available certainly depict traffic information.

    Mr. BLUNT. Mr. Gardner, how would FAA react to this implementing of the upgrading of the TIS system?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. I would like to offer to supplement testimony with more-detailed information.

    The basic concept of TIS is that the ground radar is up-linking to the ADS–B-equipped airplane, the aircraft that it sees. That is where the ADS–B airplane isn't seeing the other aircraft directly, but it is getting the transponder Mode C or Mode A equipped aircraft that the ground controller sees up-linked to his aircraft through the ground radar.
 Page 101       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I would like to offer the—I'm not up on the technical capabilities and limitations of the TIS system. I'd like to propose I——

    Mr. BLUNT. And TIS wouldn't work anywhere where there wasn't radar coverage?

    Captain BABBITT. That's correct. It would not.

    Mr. BLUNT. One last thing. Do you want to say anything about the reactive nature of the system, while we're clearing up the record here?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I think the point was not—maybe the words were inelegantly used. I don't disagree with anything Captain Babbitt said.

    The point is that the new system, the ADS–B system, gives such a more-detailed and accurate array of information that pilots will be able, with that data, to take whatever steps are necessary to avoid ever being placed in the situation they might otherwise be in.

    That was the only distinction that we meant to draw there. Perhaps the words were inelegantly used, but I don't disagree with anything that Captain Babbitt said there.

    Mr. BLUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

 Page 102       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Lipinski?

    Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    I'd like to get back to having the TCAS systems removed from planes when they get to the cargo carrier.

    Is it possible that there are planes that are purchased by cargo carriers that have TCAS system in them, they are sent through a retrofitter who converts it from passenger plane to cargo plane, removes the TCAS, and then delivers it to one of the companies that you represent?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Mr. Lipinski, I simply don't know the answer to that question.

    If any one of my colleagues here——

    Mr. ALTERMAN. That would not be done deliberately. I can tell you that planes are delivered with the wiring for TCAS and the extra steps are not taken to install and use TCAS. That much I do know.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. No. You say the planes are delivered with the wiring system?
 Page 103       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ALTERMAN. But not TCAS, itself. There are certain things you can do to aircraft—and maybe Bob is better able to describe this than I am. But when the planes are delivered you can have certain portions of it done—in other words, certain wiring systems—but the hardware not installed. Those are extra things.

    I believe that we do take planes with the wiring systems but simply don't order the TCAS with them, but, again, I don't speak for any individual company.

    Maybe Dennis or Bob has a comment.

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. Yes. I can speak to that from the technical side of the house.

    There are certainly, on any equipment that you have on aircraft, there is either partial provisions or complete provisions or full installation of the system on the aircraft. Partial provision can basically say you have the wiring in the aircraft and basically that's as far as you go. Complete provisions can be everything with the exception of the actual components, the actual black boxes, and the actual instrumentation on the aircraft to a full-blown installation which includes everything.

    In terms of the aircraft—and I can only speak for Airborne Express—in terms of the aircraft we have purchased, the airplanes that we have purchased are actually airplanes, for the most part, operated outside the United States where TCAS is not a requirement, so we don't even have in those aircraft any provisions or——
 Page 104       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. These aircraft that you have purchased, have they gone through a retrofitter, or have you, yourself, converted them to cargo planes?

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. Our requirements are not to install a cargo door on the aircraft, so our requirements are pretty much to beef up the floor structure of the aircraft to allow our container operation to go on the aircraft.

    So the modifications and the standardization that we do on the aircraft includes a complete overhaul of the aircraft. We basically standardize the cockpit to the requirement——

    Mr. LIPINSKI. But does your company do that, itself, or does someone else do that for you?

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. It depends upon the type of aircraft. On the DC–8 we basically do that outside. We contract with another company. For the DC–9s we do the full-blown modification and standardization in-house.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. It just seems to me—not only Mr. Francis made mention of the fact that the TCAS are removed when they come to a cargo carrier, but numerous other people have made mention of that to me. I find it hard to believe that all these people would be saying that and that Mr. Francis would be saying it here publicly if there wasn't some truth to it.

 Page 105       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    I can understand how you could—and I'm not saying you're doing so, any of you, but I'm just saying I can understand how there could be some confusion and you could say that when you obtain a plane for your cargo operation there is no TCAS systems in them so we don't have to remove them.

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. That's correct.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. But we forget that there's a third party who oftentimes does the refurbishing, the modifications, and so forth, and they could be removing the TCAS systems and then delivering them to you.

    Mr. MANIBUSAN. Actually, those are controlled totally by us, the air carrier. We have total responsibility on what the third party maintenance provider does to the aircraft.

    In the end, we have the ultimate responsibility, and anything that is done to that aircraft is done based on our own specifications.

    Mr. LIPINSKI. That is absolutely true. I agree with you. But, I mean, it still would be possible for someone that is in charge, runs a cargo airline, to say, ''When we receive this plane it doesn't have TCAS in it,'' and it could have been removed by your subcontractor that modified everything for you.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Mr. Lipinski, your premise is absolutely correct. There is no requirement for this industry to have TCAS, and if you're asking whether it's possible that when a plane is delivered that a company, Company X, says, ''Remove the stuff because it's not required,'' that is a possibility. I don't know of any such instances, but it is possible. Yes.
 Page 106       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. LIPINSKI. I'm just saying that so many people have told me that that was the case—and, as I say, Mr. Francis testified here in public that that is the case—that I wanted to give a possible reason why there seems to be considerable contradiction between what Mr. Francis said, what I have been told, and what you gentlemen have testified here to.

    Mr. Chairman, I don't have any other questions right now for this panel. I appreciate everybody being here. It's a very interesting area of discussion. I think we've gotten some very, very good testimony. We had some excellent participation from committee members today, and I've been very happy to be a part of it, and I thank you all for being here.

    Thank you.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Lipinski.

    Captain McCune, let me ask you, what was going through your mind? What was it like to be in the cockpit when you were getting those commands from the TCAS system to make these rapid descents or to go up 4,000 feet all of the sudden?

    I guess what I'm getting at, there is an article that is attached to some of the testimony from Mr. Alterman from the Air Line Pilot Magazine that says that airline pilots basically disregard about 50 percent of these warnings, these RAs. Is that—do you think that's accurate? And was this unusual or did it scare you or concern you? What went through your mind?
 Page 107       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Captain MCCUNE. Mr. Chairman, it definitely concerned me. When we're in the clouds and we get an indication that if we do not comply with the instruments' indications to descend and descend at that rate, or to level off, to disregard all of the commands would have been awfully foolish.

    We are also trained that this is what we do. We do comply with whatever resolution advisories are given. We're in the clouds. We have no idea.

    I try to make them as smooth as possible because of the consideration of the passengers in the back, but, again, it was a collision threat. That's the indication that I had.

    Mr. DUNCAN. I know you weren't back in the passenger compartment, but what did you hear later from the flight attendants? Did this scare the passengers, or did you hear shouts or screams or anything of that nature?

    Captain MCCUNE. No.

    Mr. DUNCAN. I mean, you said two flight attendants and one passenger were thrown to the floor.

    Captain MCCUNE. What had happened, sir, was we had the seat belt sign on. We were experiencing some turbulence at that time coming into that arrival area. And the initial descent from 2,500 to 4,000 foot per minute was hardly felt.
 Page 108       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    But as far as rotating the airplane back up and pushing the power up to climb at 4,000 feet a minute, I'm sure that pulled a few G's. I think I heard the figure about 1.6, but it was not enough to over-stress the airplane.

    We try to do this as smoothly as possible. Again, there is a—you do get a little bit hairy to try to comply with the TCAS, itself.

    As far as the passenger comments, I heard no passenger comments. The flight attendants did say it was a rough flight.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Well, let me ask you this. You heard me ask the Air Force representative, General Peterson—I quoted from the story in the ''New York Times,'' and that story quoted that one of the recordings had this military pilot saying that ''This bozo is invading my airspace.''

    Did you do anything that you feel should be classified in the bozo category?


    Captain MCCUNE. No, but I do have a new nickname right now of Captain Bozo.

 Page 109       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Captain MCCUNE. My wife gave me that.

    I can understand the emotions of the pursuer in something like that, and I hope that he could understand the emotions of the pursued and what I might have said about him or his mother.


    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.

    Mr. Alterman, Mr. Gardner earlier, or in his testimony at least, describes the ADS–B as not a collision avoidance system but as more or less a—he uses the word ''a supplement'' to a collision avoidance system.

    Do you feel that it's a legitimate collision avoidance system, or do you disagree strongly with his portrayal of this as a supplement?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. One of the problems, Mr. Chairman, is that perhaps we should call this something besides ADS–B.

    ADS–B, in its pure form, is being developed with a view towards something called ''free flight,'' where we have planes communicating with each other and not having radar and all that stuff.

 Page 110       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    One of the problems and misconceptions is when someone says, ''Well, we're not going to get to ADS–B before the year 2015,'' in most instances we determine they're talking about that utilization of ADS–B.

    All we're saying is that technology can be used for something that people haven't traditionally been talking about, and that's collision avoidance.

    And, to directly answer your question, the answer is yes, we firmly believe that ADS–B can be used for collision avoidance purposes, with slight software modifications and software developments which are not that costly and which can be developed over the next couple of years.

    Every time people start talking about ADS–B in the year 2010 and the year 2015, they're not talking about what we are proposing.

    What we are proposing is taking the technology, itself, and modifying it through software massages and everything else to present a collision avoidance system.

    Yes, we firmly believe it can be used for primary collision avoidance within the next several years.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Well, the staff has provided us with a newspaper article from a newspaper in New York City that's no longer in existence—there were many daily newspapers in New York City years ago. The ''New York Journal American'' reported on April 10, 1958, about the development of collision avoidance systems, and yet it was 35 years later before we really had these all entirely on all these passenger planes.
 Page 111       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    We've heard estimates here today—we heard one estimate of 2015 before you would have full implementation of ADS–B.

    What do you think? Did you hear that 2015?

    Mr. ALTERMAN. I've heard it, and I've heard it before, and Bob Francis and I have been debating this issue for many months.

    I like Bob, I respect Bob, but I think he's wrong in this case.

    I don't believe 2015 is at all realistic.

    We firmly believe that we can have our system fully implemented by the year 2001, and that includes the resolution advisories. We firmly believe that by the end of this year our cargo aircraft will be able to see each other. They're already seen by other people in the sky.

    We think that, while our timetable is aggressive, it is doable. It's especially doable if we all get together and decide to do it.

    If I can digress just momentarily, I think it's important to note the industry you're dealing with here. You're dealing with an industry that is extremely concerned about safety and wants to do the right thing.

 Page 112       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    If I can go back to 1990, when the Airport Noise and Capacity Act was passed, we supported that legislation, and after the implementation of that legislation it was Federal Express who did the development, the R&D and the manufacture of the hush kits for 727 aircraft. Airborne took the ball and did the implementation on DC–9s. UPS decided that they weren't going the hush kit route and put Rolls Royce engines in their plane. They are today 100 percent stage three equipped.

    It was this industry who, in the security area, was exempt from filing any plans, and asked, in an unprecedented move, for an exemption from the exemption so that they could become part of the process of filing security plans. That is now an option to members of our community.

    The only reason for pointing this out is we think we have a demonstrated track record of doing what we say, and we just need people to work with us on this project and it will get there. We'll do it. We're firmly confident of that.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Captain Babbitt, would you—I understand that what I'm about to say is not everything that you would want, but very few of us ever get everything that we want.

    Would you think we were heading in the right direction with a mandate that would require full implementation of a TCAS system or an ADS–B system by the year 2001 or 2002?

    Captain BABBITT. Well, I would be much more comfortable if it was prefaced with an ''and'' instead of an ''or,'' if they had to have both at that point in time.
 Page 113       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    My concern is in the short period of time. And I guess I should preface this with an understanding that we're not opposed whatsoever to traffic information systems, the ADS–B. We're not opposed to those things. Those should be viewed as progressive enhancements.

    But there are a lot of questions that remain, and one of the key ones—and we've heard a constant stream of testimony in support of the system that refers over and over and over again to being seen. But we want to be seen and avoided. That's a key concept in collision avoidance systems.

    It's one thing to see and acquire sight on the aircraft. You raised the point that a magazine article said sometimes the advisories are disregarded—typically, only when they've acquired the target visually and they don't find it necessary to make an evasive maneuver.

    But when we're actually going to get the system—and I don't say it's impossible we could have that system by 2001. That's fairly optimistic. I think I stated in my testimony the time frame of 7 years between the point in time when the FAA said, ''We want to have, in fact, a collision avoidance system,'' and then when we in fact got one, it was 7 years.

    We're being rather optimistic to say we can get it in 4 years.

    Who is going to fund this? How much is this going to cost? When is it going to acquire collision avoidance abilities?
 Page 114       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    That's a very complicated algorithm that needs to be developed. It took a long time. That was one of the raging debates between TCAS–I, II, and the optimistic III.

    The key to all of this, though, is this system.

    And, most important, the fourth point I'd make is this only works when everyone has it. If someone else doesn't have it, it doesn't work.

    So 2001 the cargo aircraft will be able to avoid and see hopefully other cargo aircraft, but you still have way too many people that won't have the system.

    So I'd rather look at it as a system that, if we went to TCAS–II today and you supported direction to the FAA to achieve that, that we'll then be allowed to progress at a very positive rate with full support.

    And, again, we support the concept, but let's not wait 4 or 5 years until we get collision avoidance systems on board these aircraft. Let's do it today and then have a great system 5 years from now that will enhance it.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Captain Dressler, how many planes does UPS have all together?

    Captain DRESSLER. We operate at this time about 200 large jet aircraft. The smallest is the 727, the largest is the 747, 800,000 pounds of hurling metal.
 Page 115       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this—and I don't mean this in any—I hope this won't be taken wrong. I don't mean this in any lighthearted, humorous way, but if it—we've got estimates as high as $200,000 or more to install these, but a pretty good figure seems to be $100,000, or a middle figure, anyway.

    If it took $100,000 to install these on the 200 or so aircraft, that would be $20 million. Would your pilots prefer that UPS spend $20 million on raises for your pilots or on this installation of this system? Which do you think they would go for?

    Captain DRESSLER. Well, first of all I would like to say that this is not a labor issue. This is purely a safety issue. We came up with this 5 years ago, or even before, and urged the company to install TCAS.

    Mr. DUNCAN. They are issues, though, that are tied in, because if you take $20 million or $25 million, if UPS spends $25 million in this way, then that's $25 million that they can't spend to give you raises or more time off or something of that nature. Common sense would tell you that.

    Captain DRESSLER. It's a tough question, because, number one, I cannot speak for the other 2,000 people. I can only speak for myself. And I'm a stockholder of this company, too. We are employee-owned. We are not a public company. We have been employee owned. I own stock in UPS. I don't want the company to go out and spend money that is not necessary.

 Page 116       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    The company has spent half a billion dollars to re-engine aircraft to make them silent. I have no problem with the company spending maybe $20 million that part of it will be spending on ADS–B and TIS and all of these other alphabet soup anyway, to make that silence that they have created by silencing the engine noise not be broken by the noise of ambulances and fire engines going to a crash site.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Yes.

    Captain DRESSLER. I really feel very strongly that way, and I think most of my fellow pilots feel the same way.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right.

    Mr. Oberstar?

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    My thanks to all the members of the panel. I regret having to be in and out of meetings like this when there are so many demands on our time for other purposes, but I assure you aviation is my first love and interest and my first concern is aviation safety.

    I'd just like to ask, Captain Babbitt, is there an example other than TCAS of a major safety system or piece of equipment required on passenger aircraft that is not required on cargo aircraft?

 Page 117       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Captain BABBITT. No, sir, there is no——

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Apart from oxygen masks coming down from the——

    Captain BABBITT. Right. Purely things related to passengers. No. I know of virtually nothing in terms of a major required safety component that isn't required on both categories of aircraft. It's almost consistent down the line.

    There are some things that we probably do a little bit to enhance some of the safety where passenger-related—for example, the escape slides. Obviously, they're not required, but they'd be nice to have if you're sitting 45 feet in the air and your choice is to go down an escape slide or crawl down a rope. I know which way I would go.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. It's not required for the cockpit?

    Captain BABBITT. No, sir. They have inertia reels in the sophisticated aircraft, but older aircraft generally just have an escape rope, which is required in passenger aircraft, but——

    Mr. OBERSTAR. It's required there, as well, yes.

    Captain BABBITT. There typically is an alternative vehicle. But no, sir. In direct answer to your question, I'm not aware of any other safety equipment that is not required on both other than TCAS.
 Page 118       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, Captain Dressler, when UPS modified its fleet to comply with our noise regulations—and I commend them for moving so expeditiously and vigorously, as did other carriers, but they met the deadline first and they deserve credit for it—they acquired aircraft that had TCAS on board. Did they leave the TCAS on or did they remove the TCAS equipment?

    Captain DRESSLER. Well, number one, I do agree with you. We are all very proud of the company to be the first one to comply with the stage three noise regulations. We're very proud of our company in many, many ways.

    The TCAS on airplanes that we acquired, I honestly do not know about it. What is very funny, in a way, is that UPS is starting passenger operations as we speak. We have airplanes in test flight right now. We are putting TCAS equipment on five 727s that will be used in charter passenger operations because they are mandated.

    I do not know if they will be operational when we fly cargo or not, or if they suddenly become not necessary any more.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Do they de-activate it when they operate for cargo purposes?

    Captain DRESSLER. I honestly don't know. I know Captain Gary Stephen, who is here and had a near mid-air collision over Newark, he went to the course because he does fly the 727, and it's a one-hour training course that's a video—it's a floppy disk you put in a computer and you train on TCAS. It's a very simple procedure.
 Page 119       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    But they are putting the TCAS on those five airplanes because it's mandated.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Mr. Hilb?

    Mr. HILB. Yes, sir. I'm from UPS, and as far as I know—I'm not in the maintenance department, but I've been told that we have not taken TCAS off of any aircraft that we bought. None of the aircraft that we bought did have TCAS.

    I think our plans are to leave the TCAS on the passenger aircraft when they are cargo configuration.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. And when you operate as a cargo aircraft, do you activate the TCAS?

    Mr. HILB. No, sir. I don't think we have plans to do that.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. Well, that's very curious if it's there, if it came as part of the aircraft that you acquired, that you wouldn't operate it.

    Mr. HILB. No, sir. We did not acquire any aircraft that had TCAS. We did not take it off any aircraft. When we put it on for those passenger aircraft, we are actually modifying our cargo aircraft to put them in a passenger configuration. We are adding TCAS when we do that modification. When that modification is complete, that TCAS will be activated and will be left on during all operations.
 Page 120       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. OBERSTAR. To return to my question, which was: was TCAS on board any aircraft that you acquired that was converted to all-cargo purpose?

    Mr. HILB. Not for UPS, sir. I can't talk to the other carriers, but UPS did not do that.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. All right. Is UPS' principal argument that it's too costly to put this technology on board the cargo aircraft, and that there is a better technology that may cost less and let us install that in 3 years? It's going to take us 3 years to install TCAS, and in 3 years we'll have ADS–B and we can put that? Is that essentially the UPS position?

    Mr. HILB. Yes, sir. We believe it's a better technology. It's more cost–effective. It will benefit the entire aviation community because it will make collision avoidance affordable to other segments of the community that can't afford it right now.

    However, we feel, mainly because it is better technology, that we would like to go with a future technology rather than put on the old technology and then change over in the future.

    We think, from the community's perspective, for us to invest our money into developing this system is better for the entire community, rather than use our money to put TCAS–II on.

 Page 121       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Mr. OBERSTAR. I just have to observe, without being critical of your position, that if we had followed that argument in 1987, we would not have TCAS on-board aircraft to the extent that we have today, because we would continually be waiting for the better technology which is always right around the corner.

    Mr. HILB. Sir, we believe that the system will——

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I don't question your bona fides. I don't question that you're intent to proceed. But I'm just saying I've been down that road before on TCAS, on ground proximity warning systems, on a whole host of other technology to advance the cause of safety. And, frankly, I am very skeptical of that argument.

    We have an available technology that works. We know it works. We know it's effective. And it's going to save lives and has saved lives.

    But you have a point.

    The question I have, Mr. Alterman, you said that software development for a full GPS enhanced collision avoidance system could be developed by 2001. If that's the case, then how long after 2001 will it take to have full system to be installed aboard aircraft?

    Mr. HILB. Well, sir, if you're looking for the entire ADS–B equipage for all aircraft, as Guy Gardner pointed out, the FAA or the Gore Commission asked for the acceleration of that to have it on all aircraft by the year 2005.

 Page 122       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    It will be on a significant number of aircraft, we believe, by some time after the turn of the century for operational reasons and other reasons that we put in our testimony.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. But, supposing, as the FAA says, that new technology needs to be operationally tested, a lot of work has to be done, that it's going to—and, as with so much of this technology, it takes longer than anticipated. Suppose we go beyond 2001? We've got several years of exposure of cargo aircraft not using technology that is available that can save lives.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Mr. Oberstar, I think that when you look at the whole picture, that the TIS system, in addition with ADS–B, which is on our aircraft, gives a measures of safety that we don't have now, and that's cargo aircraft being able to see cargo aircraft and take whatever action is necessary.

    I also think that—I don't dispute what you said about sometimes things go awry with best intentions. This technology is already here. This is not, again, technology that has to be developed. The only thing that has to be developed is the software to make it a collision avoidance system.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. More than that, though. It's more than that, Mr. Alterman. The operational testing phase has hardly even begun.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. No, but we think that that can be done within the time frame. It's aggressive. We admit it's aggressive. But it's a doable thing and one we're committed to do.
 Page 123       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    As I said, if you look at the history of this industry, we'll do it.

    We sort of look at this glass as half full instead of half empty. We think it's a challenge. It's a challenge we can meet. We're fully confident that we can meet the deadlines we set forth.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. My position for many years in this very complicated field of aviation has been to tilt to the side of safety. That is what the airline pilots have done in their petition. They've argued for the highest level of safety, for the safety technology that is available now and is proven and can be installed and can be made effective.

    I think that it's fine to continue the research, continue studying and developing and testing, but if I were implementing the policy, I would direct the installation of TCAS aboard cargo aircraft and then watch for the development of a better technology and implement it when it's available. That would be my position. But I'm not making those decisions and you're probably happy that I'm not.

    Mr. ALTERMAN. At the moment, yes.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I just don't want to be the one to have to answer when the first incident occurs. I don't want to have to arrive at a crash site, as I did at Hibbing six months before the deadline to install ground proximity warning systems aboard commuter aircraft, and find words of solace for families who lost loved ones in an avoidable accident.
 Page 124       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. ALTERMAN. Obviously, Mr. Oberstar, neither do we. We are taking this very seriously. This is not—and I would like——

    Mr. OBERSTAR. I appreciate that. I appreciate that and I respect the bona fides, as I said, of UPS and others who question moving ahead expeditiously with TCAS. I don't dispute that at all.

    Obviously, they're not my dollars to be spent. But in the end we all stand responsible.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Mr. Oberstar.

    I have one note that says Captain Stephens, with an ''S.'' I have another report that says Captain Stephen with no ''s.'' But, whichever it is, I understand that Captain Stephens or Captain Stephen wishes to tell us about his near-miss collision, and I would be pleased to allow him to do that at this time.

    Sir, if you'd just step forward there and state your full and correct name and go ahead and tell us what happened.

    Captain STEPHEN. Yes, sir. My name is Gary Stephen, and it's S-T-E-P-H-E-N.
 Page 125       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    I'm a 727 captain. On February 18, 1995, at 4:45 in the morning I was making an arrival into the Newark Airport. I had come from the Chicago area—Rockford is one of our hubs.

    Under the complete control of New York Center, getting vectors, having traffic pointed out, as we were about 15 miles out from the airport there was a flash of light out my left window and I turned to find a F–27 turbo-prop, another cargo airplane. He was 200 feet below me and about a quarter mile off my wing. He was at least parallel to our course.

    I come from a fire fighting background where I have been in very close proximity to airplanes. I felt that, since he was paralleling the course, that this would not be a problem, and I was wrong.

    As we slowed down to start putting our flaps out, the other airplane was, in fact, told to follow us.

    He over-shot us as we slowed down and turned right across the windshield.

    Our miss was maybe 200 feet and maybe 1,000 feet in front of us. At our closure speed that we had on the side of that airplane, we were about two seconds from impact.

    The controllers were found to have a problem. The air traffic controller was sent back to school for a few days and returned to his job, and so was the tower controller, because we were in the middle of the changeover from New York approach to the Newark people.
 Page 126       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    The problem is that, had I not seen that flash of light, at least TCAS would have told me he was there, I would have got in a climb, and the second incident wouldn't have happened.

    The second incident at 4:45 in the morning 15 miles to the south and west of Newark is a relatively densely-populated area. My airplane at that time weight 140,000 pounds and had 15,000 pounds of jet fuel on board. Had I gone down, such as in the San Diego instance of the 727 with the wing bent and the fire coming over the wing, it wouldn't have been during the daylight hours where only seven people lost their lives on the ground. It could have been a lot more tragic. Those people were in bed.

    The controllers got the second chance. I'm afraid neither those people on the ground nor myself would have gotten a second chance.

    And I agree. Technology is great. We have something on the shelf that can save not only the lives of the pilots, but, as Mr. Oberstar said, we can save the lives of the people on the ground, and we can do it now.

    I am part of the Accident Investigation Committee for our union. I have been trained now to assist with one of our airplanes if it crashes, to assist the NTSB in that investigation. I don't ever want to use that knowledge that I've gained. Ever.

    Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate your willingness to come forward and tell us about this experience.
 Page 127       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Mr. Oberstar, do you have any questions?

    Mr. OBERSTAR. No.

    Mr. DUNCAN. Well, gentlemen, thank you very much. We'll be looking into this further, but we certainly appreciate your very helpful testimony. Thank you. You've all been outstanding witnesses.

    [Whereupon, at 5:05 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene at the call of the Chair.]

    [Insert here.]






 Page 128       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC









FEBRUARY 26, 1997

Printed for the use of the

Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure

 Page 129       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman

THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
SUE W. KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
 Page 130       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
FRANK RIGGS, California
CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire
JACK METCALF, Washington
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Jr., Mississippi
JON D. FOX, Pennsylvania
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
 Page 131       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
ROBERT E. (BUD) CRAMER, Jr., Alabama
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
PAT DANNER, Missouri
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
BOB FILNER, California
FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
BILL PASCRELL, Jr., New Jersey
JAY W. JOHNSON, Wisconsin
JAMES P. McGOVERN, Massachusetts
 Page 132       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania

Subcommittee on Aviation

JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee, Chairman

ROY BLUNT, Missouri Vice Chairman
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire
JACK METCALF, Washington
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania
CHARLES W. ''CHIP'' PICKERING, Jr., Mississippi
JON D. FOX, Pennsylvania
J.C. WATTS, Jr., Oklahoma
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
 Page 133       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
(Ex Officio)

NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT E. (BUD) CRAMER, Jr., Alabama
PAT DANNER, Missouri
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
(Ex Officio)


    Alterman, Stephen A., President, Air Freight Association, accompanied by Robert Hilb, Advanced Flight Projects Supervisor, UPS, and Dennis Manibusan, Senior Vice President, Maintenance and Engineering, Airborne Express
 Page 134       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Babbitt, Captain J. Randolph, President, Air Line Pilots Association

    Dressler, Captain Andre, Chairman, Safety Committee, Independent Pilots Association, accompanied by Captain Fleet K. Smith, Director, Special Operations, Independent Pilots Association

    Francis, Robert T., Vice Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board, accompanied by Richard Wentworth, Senior Air Traffic Control Investigator, Operational Factors Division, and Greg Feith, Senior Aviation Investigator in Charge

    Gardner, Guy S., Associate Administrator for Regulation and Certification, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, accompanied by David Harrington, Acting Deputy Director for Flight Standards, and Ronald E. Morgan, Director of Air Traffic

    McCune, Captain Richard J., Chief Pilot, Nations Air Express, Inc

    McGinn, Rear Admiral Dennis V., Director Air Warfare Division, U.S. Navy

    Peterson, Major General Donald L., Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Air and Space Operations, U.S. Air Force

    Treichler, Donald R., International Representative, Airline Division, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
 Page 135       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC


    Costello, Hon. Jerry F., of Illinois
    Cramer, Hon. Bud, of Alabama
    Johnson, Hon. Eddie Bernice, of Texas
    Lipinski, Hon. William O., of Illinois
    Oberstar, Hon. James L., of Minnesota
    Poshard, Hon. Glenn, of Illinois
    Traficant, Hon. James A., Jr., of Ohio


    Alterman, Stephen A

    Babbitt, Captain J. Randolph

    Dressler, Captain Andre

    Francis, Robert T

    Gardner, Guy S

    McGinn, Rear Admiral Dennis V

 Page 136       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
    Peterson, Major General Donald L

    Treichler, Donald R

Alterman, Stephen A., President, Air Freight Association:

Chart, Results—False Alarms
Chart, Results—Delayed Alerts
''Pilots Complying with only half of TCAS RAs'', article by Jan W. Steenblik, Air Line Pilot, September 1996

''Reaching for free flight'' article by Kieran Daly, Flight International, January 22–28, 1997

Letter, Joseph A Gallo, Regional Marketing Manager, AlliedSignal Inc., to Dennis Manibusan, Airborne Express, ABX Air, Inc., December 16, 1996

Letter, R.A. Charles, Director, Eastern Region Marketing, Rockwell Avionics, to Terry Bumbalough Aircraft Engineering Avionics Manager, United Parcel Services, December 20, 1996

Babbitt, Captain J. Randolph, President, Air Line Pilots Association:

''Making Freighters Safer is a prime goal of ALPA's One Level of Safety campaign'', article by Les Blattner, Air Line Pilot , May 1995
 Page 137       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Dressler, Captain Andre, Chairman, Safety Committee, Independent Pilots Association, Petition of the Independent Pilots Association (IPA) for Rulemaking to amend 14 CFR 121.356 to require TCAS–II on Transport Category Airplanes Flown in all-cargo operations

Francis, Robert T., Vice Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board:

Report, F–16 Close Encounters
Report, Nations Air Express

Treichler, Donald R., International Representative, Airline Division, International Brotherhood of Teamsters:

Letter from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Airline Division, the Airline Pilots Association, the Independent Pilots Association, the Allied Pilots Association, the Independent Association of Continental Pilots, and the Southwest Airline Pilots Association, to Dr. Gerald B. Kauver, Staff Director, White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security, January 13, 1997, and ALPA Endorsement of Rulemaking for TCAS II on Cargo Aircraft

''Making Freighters Safer is a prime goal of ALPA's One Level of Safety campaign'', article by Les Blattner, Air Line Pilot , May 1995

Chuck McCabe, Chair, Air Safety Committee, Article, ''Safety chief: Fit cargo carriers with anti-collision devices'', by Robert Davis and Donna Rosato, USA Today

 Page 138       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC
Article, ''Safety chief: Fit cargo carriers with anti-collision devices'', by Robert Davis and Donna Rosato, USA Today


    Allied Pilots Association, Legislative Affairs Committee, Washington, DC, statement

    Transportation Trades Department, ''Mandating a Collision Avoidance System for all Aircraft,'' statement

Fogleman Ronald R., General U.S. Air Force, Chief of Staff, letter of response to T.P. Ellsworth, Esq. concerning recent reports that Air Force aircraft flew in relatively close proximity to commercial aircraft, March 11, 1997

Joint letter to Hon. Bud Shuster, Chairman, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, U.S. House of Representativces, from Air Cananda Association, Allied Pilots Association, Fedex Pilots Association, Independent Association of Continental Pilots, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Teamsters Airline Division, Teamsters Local 1224, and Tower Air Cockpit Alliance, June 10, 1997

    Independent Pilots Association, statement concerning Flight Operations Near Miss Report, UPS Flight 76, February 18, 1995

    New York Journal-America, Plane Anti-Collision Device Developed, Thursday, April 10, 1958, article
 Page 139       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC

    Miller, Robert W., letter, February 15, 1997

Miller, Capt. Robert, Independent Pilots Association, TCAS Information Sheet and summary of petition of IPA for rulemaking to amend 14 CFR 121.356 to require TCAS–II on Transport Category Airplanes Flown in all-cargo operations

Wytkind, Executive Director, Transportation Trades Department, Mandating a Collision Avoidance System for All Aircraft, statement

    Mingari, William J., e-mail message and TCAS Information Sheet, March 30, 1997

    FAA responses to post-hearing questions from Chairman Shuster

Letter from Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr., Hon. William O. Lipinski and Members of the Aviation Subcommittee to Barry Valentine, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, March 26, 1997

    Marlowe & Company, Howard Marlowe and Troy Tidwell, memorandum to the Aviation Subcommittee staff concerning the Aviation Subcommittee's TCAS letter to FAA

    Response from Barry Valentine, Acting Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, to March 26, 1997 letter from the Aviation Subcommittee
 Page 140       PREV PAGE       TOP OF DOC