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Wednesday, February 11, 1998.











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    Mr. WOLF. Why don't we begin.

    I don't know how many other Members are going to be here. Both the Republican membership and the Democratic membership are away on a retreat. I came back early because we didn't want to reschedule the hearing. If we had scheduled this one at a different time, we would have had to bump all the hearings. So we didn't do that. There may not be other Members attending. You shouldn't go home and wonder if no one likes you anymore.

    I think, in seriousness, Republicans and Democrats felt this was a good time to go away and it is part of the official business. That is why other Members are not here.

    Do you want to begin? Your full statement will appear in the record, and we will proceed with questions.

Opening Statement

    Mr. HALL. Thank you.

    Mr. Chairman, Congressman Sabo, I am joined here today by Member John Hammerschmidt and Member John Goglia; and, in addition, seated at the table to my right is Dr. Vernon Ellingstad, our director of research and engineering. To my left is Peter Goelz, our managing director; and to his left, Mr. Craig Keller, the chief financial officer of the NTSB.
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    Behind me are the office directors of NTSB, and I have a vacant seat here so if we get into an appropriate subject matter that we want them to respond to they can come to the table and respond and identify themselves at that time.

    It is a pleasure to come before you again, Mr. Chairman, and discuss the work of the National Transportation Safety Board over this past year and to present our proposed fiscal year 1999 budget request. With our continued work investigating the Nation's transportation accidents, we at the Safety Board are once again in your debt, Mr. Chairman, and we thank you and the committee for your continued support.

    Mr. Chairman, 1997 was one of the most significant years in the history of the NTSB. We have continued our investigation of the tragic crash of TWA flight 800, and I will be glad to answer any questions you might have on our work on that accident.

    In addition, as a result of the intense activity of the last 2 years, we have taken steps to prepare the NTSB to effectively serve the American people in the 21st century. To elaborate on some of the steps, I will discuss three areas very briefly where the Board has expanded to provide better service. They are our 24-hour Communications Center, the NTSB web site and the family assistance program.


    Communications systems in today's world are, as you know, Mr. Chairman, essential to the success of any organization. With the advance in today's technology, it is important that the NTSB continue to expand its ability to communicate quickly and effectively.
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    The 24-hour NTSB Communications Center, which is displayed on the screen, allows our investigators and Members to be promptly notified of any major transportation accident in this country and even around the world. The Comm Center plays a major role in the launching of Go-Teams by contacting all NTSB investigation participants and making arrangements for investigators before and after they arrive at the accident site. It also provides vital support for our new family assistance responsibilities and is the nerve center during the critical and often chaotic hours of a major launch.


    The NTSB web site, which is www.ntsb.gov, includes general information about the Board and its members, press releases, speeches and testimony, the ''Most Wanted'' list of safety issues and recommendation acceptance rates, a synopsis of over 38,000 aviation accidents, aviation accident statistics, a list of accident reports available in all modes of transportation, a list of current position vacancies and a copy of the Board's Family Disaster Assistance Plan.

    I would like now to show you, Mr. Chairman, and Congressman Sabo, a demonstration of the NTSB web site and some of the information that any World Wide Web user can find at our site. This can show you the type of data that can be gathered on particular aviation accidents, NTSB safety studies or information on ongoing investigations, such as TWA 800.

    Dr. Ellingstad and Ms. Donaldson, both with our Office of Research and Engineering, will assist in the presentation. At this time, I would like to ask Dr. Ellingstad to begin the presentation and direct your attention to the TV monitor in front of you.
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    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. Thank you, Chairman Hall.

    Chairman Wolf and Congressman Sabo, I will let Ms. Donaldson, our web master, do the driving here, and we will step you through some of the features of the web site, which, as Chairman Hall indicates, is accessible by www.ntsb.gov from any Internet capable computer.

    Basically, our purpose in providing the web site is to display the Safety Board's information in a convenient and easy to use forum to the public, and we have got a variety of information that we will just quickly show you.

    The first of those categories of information are the accident data that the Safety Board is responsible to collect, and particularly the aviation accident data from our accident database. What you are seeing Ms. Donaldson accomplish right now is a query against our database, which is accessible on the web site. She has just asked the database to come up with all of the aviation accidents in the State of Virginia since January of 1997, and the search reveals 27 records meet this criterion. We can pick any particular record, click on it, and we are provided with a narrative description of the accident as well as the probable cause of that accident if it has been determined.

    Also, with respect to the aviation accident data, we provide routinely monthly statistical summaries of all aviation accidents, and these are usually out by the 15th of the month following the month being reported on.

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    Every spring, we also produce a pie chart of transportation accident statistics, and these data are also available at our web site.

    We also provide the accident reporting forms for pilots.

    Another major source of information that the web site serves to provide to the public are the publications of the Safety Board. At the moment, we have a listing of all of the publications, accident reports, safety studies, other publications that have been produced by the Board.

    What we are showing you are highway publications.

    Within the next 2 months, available on the web will be the full text of all of the major accident reports and safety studies produced by the Board since January 1996. They can be downloaded to any citizen's personal computer. That is coming very quickly.

    Another important source of information is our most wanted list. We have this accessible either as the complete list of most wanted safety issues or by transportation modality. What we see here are most wanted issues in the railroad area, and we can click on one of those and pull up all of the status information about that safety recommendation since the time it was issued.


    We will, by the end of this calendar year, provide public access through our web site to the entire safety recommendations database, so that the web site will produce a complete text of all of our recommendations and all of the correspondence associated with those recommendations.
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    Other items on the web site are a description of the family assistance program, including the full text of the disaster assistance plan, indications of upcoming activities, et cetera.

    Another important feature that we feel has been useful on a web site is our job opportunities list of vacancies. An indication of the success of this is we were able to locate and hire Miss Donaldson through that kind of an advertisement, so we believe that that has been effective.

    Finally, I would like to show you another use for the web site. We provided information to the public about the public hearing regarding TWA flight 800 that was conducted in December over in Baltimore.

    What we provided on our web site was factual information before the hearing started, the schedule of the hearing, as well as all of the exhibits that were used during the hearing. Each evening of the hearing our public affairs staff provided a summary that was immediately posted to the web, and when the hearing concluded we put the entire transcript of the hearing out on the web. That is available for browsing and for downloading for anybody that wishes to look at it.

    In addition, we also added some of the computer simulations and animations that were presented during the hearing.

    This is the simulation or the reconstruction of the accident sequence that was conducted by our performance engineers and used during the course of the hearing, and that again is displayed on the web site.
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    I might also add that the wherewithal to produce this kind of graphic computer simulation and animation that has been very important to our investigative activity has been possible because of the hardware and software resources that we have been able to procure thanks to the actions of this committee.

    We can also show you another simulation. This is the reconstructed center fuel tank, and the surrounding fuselage structure, again using some of the computer graphics and animation capability. Our purpose in doing this was to very carefully account for all of the structure surrounding the tank and rule out the possibility that there could have been an external intrusion to the tank that would have triggered an explosion. Again, this computer reconstruction was provided by the software and hardware resources that we were able to acquire with your assistance.

    Finally, illustrating again the resources committed to the TWA 800 investigation and the features of the web site, this very short video clip is from our quarter scale explosion testing program that was conducted in Denver by the California Institute of Technology and the Applied Research Associates. Again, all of this information available to any citizen with a computer and access to the Internet.

    We expect to do a similar information presentation for the upcoming Guam KAL hearing that will be conducted in Hawaii, and for other hearings.

    That is all we have. Thank you.

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    Mr. HALL. Thank you.

    Next I would like to move, Mr. Chairman, to the subject of our family assistance program.

    During the past 30 years, over 100,000 aviation accidents have been investigated by the Safety Board; and in October of 1996 Congress gave the NTSB the additional responsibility of coordinating the Federal effort for the families of aviation accident victims. Since that time, we have hired a family affairs staff of seven people; developed, in concert with family advocacy groups and the aviation industry, a Safety Board family assistance plan; and provided family assistance at four accidents to date. Those are the United Express accident in Quincy, Illinois, with 14 fatalities; the Comair accident in Monroe, Michigan, with 29 fatalities; the Korean Airlines accident in Guam with 228 fatalities; and the Scenic Airlines accident in Montrose, Colorado, with nine fatalities.

    Along with these accidents we have continued our work with the families of TWA 800 victims, the ValueJet flight 592 families and those from the accident involving USAir flight 427.

    The support for this program for the families has been overwhelming, Mr. Chairman. Without the aid of your leadership and this committee we would not have had the resources to provide the needed and much appreciated assistance to these family members. I know that they join me in thanking you and this committee for that assistance.
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    Mr. Chairman, I would now like to discuss one of the many issues addressed by the Board this year. I am just going to select one for brief presentation, and that is the subject of automobile air bags. While I can only summarize the work here, I have provided for you a much more in-depth description of our work during 1997, and the long testimony of course, has been submitted for the record.

    In March of this past year, NTSB conducted an international public forum regarding air bag and automobile occupant restraint use as a continuation of the Board's safety study of child passenger protection and our accident investigations in this area the preceding year and the recommendations that were made. The Board brought together representatives of the automobile industry, air bag manufacturers, insurance, safety and consumer groups, car crash victims who were injured or saved by the air bags and representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have an open and forthright discussion on the increasing number of injuries and fatalities due to air bag deployment and nonuse of passenger restraint systems.

    The Board also included automobile specialists from around the world to testify before the forum on automobile safety devices used in their countries.

    I am pleased to report that a number of improvements related to air bags have occurred as a result of the Safety Board's public forum and safety recommendations.

    As you will note on the screen, the number of children killed by air bags declined for the first time since passenger side air bags became available. The number of children killed dropped from 23 in 1996 to 14 in 1997 at the same time as we had a dramatic increase in the number of passenger side air bag equipped vehicles on the road. This decrease can be directly attributed to the Safety Board's recommendation to improve public education through warning labels in a nationwide media campaign.
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    Other actions taken as a result of our recommendations include installation of depowered air bags, a program to allow cut-off switch hardware that will allow owner or user discretion in disabling air bag protection, research on increasing air bag deployment thresholds and efforts to develop a time schedule for the installation of advanced technology air bags.


    I might note, Mr. Chairman, that this is still regrettably a current issue.

    On February 5th, in Lubbock, Texas, a 6-month-old girl was killed by a passenger side air bag that was activated in the front seat of a Ford Explorer that was in a rear end collision with a tractor trailer. I have a copy of the UPI story, and I would submit that for the record as well.

    Mr. WOLF. Without objection.

    [The information follows:]


    Lubbock, Texas, Feb. 6 (UPI)—A 6-month-old girl is dead a day after the air bag in the front seat of a Ford Explorer activated in a rear-end collision with a tractor-trailer.
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    Hospital officials say she was brain dead and removed her from life support just after 9 a.m.

    Lubbock Police Lt. Gordon Hoffman told United Press International today the tiny victim suffered head injuries when the passenger side air bag slammed into her. He said, ''We figure the rear-end collision may have thrust the kid forward and knocked her back.''

    He said it appeared the child safety seat in which the child rode was not fastened down, nor was the infant secured in the safety seat.

    Hoffman says the case could be referred to the district attorney for prosecution.

    Another small child was in the back seat of the Explorer, but hospital officials say he was not injured.

    The accident occurred as the 18-wheeler slowed to exit Interstate 27. Hoffman said there were no skid marks from the Explorer, ''so I'm assuming (the driver) just didn't see it.''

    Hoffman says the collision did only moderate damage to the Explorer.


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    Mr. HALL. Along with this work in highway safety, NTSB continues its efforts on examining double trailer truck operations and training improvements, trucking company driver selection and certification, school bus crashworthiness and the safety of passing grade crossings at highway and train track intersections.

    This is only one example of the Safety Board's activity during the past year. As you know, the Safety Board has participated in two major accident investigations in recent months involving U.S.-manufactured aircraft—the crash of a Boeing 737 in Indonesia and the crash of a DC–9 in the Philippines. It is the support of your committee and others that provides us the resources to respond to these major international events and to help find ways to ensure such accidents don't happen again, either in our country or worldwide, as well as helping maintain worldwide confidence in American-manufactured products.


    In closing, Mr. Chairman, I am happy to report that the Safety Board has either hired or committed to hire all but three of the 25 positions provided by the Congress for this fiscal year.

    Miss Donaldson happens to be one of the individuals that was hired with the additional positions provided. She is a former computer systems analyst at the Census Bureau, has a mathematics degree from the University of North Carolina and has done all of the work on our web site.

    Mr. Chairman, I made a commitment to you that I would fill any new positions we had by the time we met again. Of the three remaining positions of the 25, we had two commitments from which the applicants declined at the last minute and a third position we were unable to obtain a list of qualified applicants. All three of those have been re-advertised, and we are going to fill them just as quickly as possible.
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    I am very proud of the quality of these new hires, Mr. Chairman, and I have brought, for the record, a summary of some of the biographical background. I feel the greatest legacy I can leave to the Board, as the Chairman, is the quality of the individuals that are hired during my Chairmanship and leadership at the Board. So that will also, with your permission, be provided for the record.

    Mr. WOLF. Without objection.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. HALL. Let me just say, in closing, Mr. Chairman, that I do not know whether you saw a recent network made-for-television drama featuring the National Transportation Safety Board. But, in the movie, we noted an NTSB helicopter had been featured in which the IIC, or investigator in charge, arrived at the accident site in a black helicopter with the NTSB name on the side. I must report to you that, after a complete search, we have been unable to identify any helicopter in our inventory and I want you to know the Chairman does not have a helicopter.

    With that, Mr. Chairman, that concludes my brief remarks.

    Mr. WOLF. Who played you? Richard Gere?

    Mr. HALL. I wish.
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    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Hall, thank you very much for your testimony.

    [The prepared statement of Jim Hall follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. We have a lot of questions. As we go through the questions if you can be very succinct but also elaborate a lot for the record. I appreciate the good job you and your people have done. The Committee on both sides of the aisle has been very, very supportive of your appropriation request as, quite frankly, we will again this year. But I do appreciate that, and I wanted to make that clear.

    Before I get into the questions, how many contacts or hits do you have on this web site a day now?

    Ms. DONALDSON. We have right now about——

    Mr. HALL. Why don't you please come up? Because she needs to provide that for the record. This is Ms. Donaldson.

    Ms. DONALDSON. Right now, we have about 1,500 hits a day. On the first day of the TWA hearing, we had over 26,000 in one day. In addition, we had mirror sites at CNN Interactive and a newspaper in Long Island, New York, that mirrored the information; and they both said they had over 100,000 hits that week.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, thank you.

    Mr. Hall, for several years the Safety Board has maintained a most wanted list of safety recommendations. What recommendations are currently on the Board's most wanted list; and, for the record, please provide the Committee with a copy of the list.

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, we have 21 issues on our most wanted list. In May of 1997 we removed the railroad hazardous material tank car recommendations because regulations have been issued to modify and achieve an acceptable level of safety.

    At the same time, we added four issues—air frame structural icing, the explosive mixture in fuel tanks on transport category aircraft, airplane cargo compartment fires, and automatic information recording devices.

    We are planning a major review and possible reorganization of the list this year, but I would be glad to provide a copy of the current list for the record.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


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    Mr. WOLF. How many of the recommendations have been placed on the most wanted list this year? Did you say four?

    Mr. HALL. That is correct.

    Mr. WOLF. Which of these recommendations is DOT making progress in addressing and which ones have been stalled that you are concerned with?

    Mr. HALL. I would like to ask Mr. Sweedler to join me to respond to that. He is Director of our Office of Safety Recommendations and Accomplishments.

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, progress has been made on many of the issues, certainly flight data recorders. While we are disappointed with the time it took to accomplish it, the final rule is in place, and the recorders will be installed.

    The runway incursion issue is troubling to us, because there has been a 70 percent increase since 1993 of runway incursions, including a 13 percent increase just last year. The FAA is on track now to install conflict alert equipment, but it is about 5 years overdue.

    Other things, such as pilot background checks, is almost complete.

    With regard to the airplane cargo compartment fire issue, we understand that a rule will be issued shortly that will require suppression and detection in all airplane cargo compartments.
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    Tremendous work has been done on the youth driving issue, and almost all States now have zero tolerance laws. That was an issue that you, Mr. Chairman, supported. I am pleased that only two States are left and——

    Mr. WOLF. What are the two States?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Mississippi and South Carolina are the two States that still need to pass that.

    The Chairman mentioned the progress on the occupant protection issue, the issue that you were so instrumental in last year. More than 100,000 educational video tapes have been distributed by Ford, in addition to the 30,000 or 40,000 NHTSA put out. I think 50 masters were made and given to other groups to produce, so that has been very good.


    We now have 39 States that have administrative license revocation for all drivers who drive drunk in place.

    Mr. WOLF. For the record, will you list the 11 who do not have?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Certainly, sir.

    [The information follows:]
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    The 11 states that do not have administrative license revocation laws are Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington.


    Mr. SWEEDLER. Some of the others we haven't gotten as much progress on——

    Mr. HALL. Let me mention, if I could, as most disconcerting to me is human fatigue in transportation operations. We made recommendations to the Secretary to address that subject in all of the modes of transportation. While a great deal of research has been conducted, none of that research has gone into rulemaking or changed the current hours of duty and service in all of the transportation operations. As we see the increased sophistication of technology and dependence on technology in transportation operations, I think that is an important issue. You may want to comment on others.

    Mr. SWEEDLER. The only other one I thought I would give an example of is the positive train separation, the equipment that would prevent many of these collisions we see in the railroad industry but we still need a commitment from the industry to go forward. There is a lot of testing and pilot projects. The FRA has been quite proactive on this issue, but the industry still has not made a firm commitment to install this equipment.

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    Mr. WOLF. Last year, the Board testified that, although the Department of Transportation is increasingly implementing NTSB's recommendations, there are some modal administrations that do not do as good a job. Specifically, the Coast Guard, FRA and RSPA have had acceptance rates of below 80 percent for the past 3 years, which is below the Department's average. Why do you believe this is occurring?

    Would you like to go through them first on the current numbers?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Mr. Chairman, we went back and did the average for the last 5 years just to see how each agency was doing. As we mentioned, they are much more responsive. For example, FAA is up to 88 percent. If we just looked at the last 5 years, the Federal Highway Administration is at 80 percent; FRA is at 79 percent. That is up from their historic figure. NHTSA is at 83, and RSPA is at 93, and even the Coast Guard is up to 84 percent. So——

    Mr. WOLF. What were they last year?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Historically, the FRA had been down in the 70s, as had the Coast Guard. So this is a big increase, and a lot of that comes about from our very aggressive follow-up program. I mean, we just don't make the recommendations and, as you know, let it sit there. We work closely with them in trying to bring about the implementation of these recommendations.

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    Mr. WOLF. Is there any particular one or two you are particularly concerned about? Are you worried if they don't do something, there will be bad ramifications?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. I think there are quite a few.

    Mr. HALL. There are two concerns.

    The recommendations I mentioned on human fatigue, the recommendations that are outstanding on the TWA 800 and ValuJet accidents are of concern to us, as well as the recommendations that had previously been made on the 737 aircraft, and the retrofit of flight data recorder information on those existing aircraft.

    Mr. WOLF. What does it look like in time? If people had been acting the way you thought was appropriate, how long would they have taken to put them in effect? I mean, how late are they? ValuJet has been——

    Mr. HALL. It obviously varies from accident to accident. I couldn't put a time frame on it, other than my biggest disappointment has been the urgency in which these items, once they have been identified, have been addressed.

    Mr. WOLF. The TWA one, does it bother you? The fact it hasn't been done means there could be a problem somewhere else.

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    Mr. HALL. It is certainly of concern to us.

    I was very encouraged at the public hearing, Mr. Chairman, that both the FAA and Boeing indicated that, based on the information that had been previously provided to them by Mr. Sheppard at the FAA fuels flammability conference and at our hearing, they would work with us in a cooperative effort to try to address the problem of fuel tank flammability on an accelerated basis.

    Dr. Loeb has laid out a four-page agenda of different programs that will be undertaken in coordination with the FAA and with Boeing.

    I have met with Mr. Harry Arnold, who is the vice president of that area for Boeing Aircraft Company, and Jane Garvey, the head of the FAA. Both of them have committed to me their full support in working with us on completing the tests at Cal Tech, and the FAA is reconsidering all of the recommendations that we previously made. I am hopeful there will be a response forthcoming in the near future.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.


    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome.

    I noticed you indicated you had trouble filling three positions. Are you having trouble finding qualified people for your positions? And what is the nature of the background in job requirement where you are having the problem?
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    Mr. HALL. I will let our managing director respond on this.

    Let me say, first of all, Mr. Sabo, a lot of it may be that NTSB has a lot of visibility and attention in the past 24 months, but we have not been lacking for applicants.

    Mr. SABO. So for most jobs you have a significant pool to choose from?

    Mr. HALL. Yes, very well-qualified applicants. I put an emphasis on trying to be sure that our work force is diverse, as well as being technically qualified. We have an emphasis in both of those areas, to finding the very best people we can and being sure that our work force is as representative as we can make it of the population. I think we made a great deal of progress in both of those areas.

    Peter, you might want to comment further or Mr. Keller, my chief financial officer, who are more involved in the day-to-day hiring.

    Mr. SABO. Just a summary.

    Mr. GOELZ. We have had enormous success in recruiting good people, which has surprised us, frankly.

    Mr. SABO. Except that, in some places, you have had trouble. What is the nature of those jobs?
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    Mr. GOELZ. We have had difficulty in recruiting in highly technical areas, like fire and explosion investigation.

    We had, during 1996 and 1997, only one senior fire and explosion expert, who, frankly, was near retirement. He worked extensively on the ValuJet accident and then was brought in to work extensively on Long Island on TWA. In the middle of the TWA accident we had to move him to Newburgh, New York, for a FedEx accident, where a cargo plane caught fire and burned. That was one of the areas we had great difficulty recruiting because it is a very specialized area.

    Mr. SABO. Okay.

    Mr. HALL. Let me say, Congressman Sabo, overall it is challenging to be sure we are keeping technical expertise. In the aviation area, with about 150 people, I have oversight of FAA with 40,000 and Boeing with 200,000 employees.

    I need to be sure that the engineers, the technical people, the computer specialists, are the very best. I am constantly trying to work with OPM and OMB to get additional SES and higher grade positions so I can be competitive in not only attracting new people but keeping the quality people we have.


    Mr. SABO. Do you have much staff turnover?
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    Mr. HALL. I do not have a number on that. Do you, Craig?

    We can provide it for the record.

    Mr. KELLER. We can provide it for the record, but our attrition rate for 1996 and 1997 has been down to 6 percent. That is down from the previous years which were about 8 percent.

    [The information follows:]

    For the past two years, the Board's attrition rate has been 6 percent.


    Mr. SABO. One of the very tough issues that we face is what we do with nuclear waste in this country, and a whole host of issues are involved. One of them that gets raised whenever we consider it is the question of transportation and nuclear waste. Has your agency dealt with that issue at all? Has it come to any conclusions?

    Mr. HALL. I dealt with that some in my previous life in the Governor's office in Tennessee because of Oak Ridge. Mr. Chipkevich, who is from Tennessee as well, is head of our pipeline and hazardous materials office. You might want to comment on that, Bob, and the exercise we participated in.

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    Mr. CHIPKEVICH. Yes, sir.

    We haven't had any accidents recently involving radioactive materials, nuclear waste.

    We did participate in an exercise last spring in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where there was a simulated accident involving nuclear weapons. We did, in fact, put a team together to participate in that exercise, to interface with Department of Energy personnel as well as Department of Defense personnel on how we would conduct an investigation and interact with the other groups.

    Mr. SABO. Have we had any problems currently with transportation of nuclear waste?

    Mr. HALL. I am not aware of any that we have investigated, sir, recently.

    There was one accident—and I was just asking my assistant, Miss Smith, to try and remember that. It was an accident that involved 500 pound bombs that we did investigate.

    Mr. SABO. Any problems?

    Mr. HALL. No, sir.

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    Mr. SABO. One other issue, if I might, Mr. Chairman.

    I noticed you made some reference in some of your reports indicating problems with contracted-out maintenance of airplanes. How large is that problem and what is the scope of it? And how is that related to contracting out that goes beyond the borders of this country?

    Mr. HALL. I was recently out in our Los Angeles office speaking with one of our investigators who is conducting an investigation where an airplane was being deiced, and the deicing operation had been contracted out. The individual fell out of the bucket; and that was the accident event.

    We are actively investigating the supervision and oversight of that deicing operation and the contracting out of that deicing operation for that particular airline.

    Of course, this is an issue we looked at and explored in the ValuJet accident. Dr. Bernard Loeb is the head of our Office of Aviation Safety, and I would like him to add more detail on it.

    Dr. LOEB. As Chairman Hall indicated, in the ValuJet Miami accident the issue of contracted maintenance was a significant issue. We explored it in depth.

    Essentially, all of the maintenance for the ValuJet airplanes was contracted out. We found that it puts a significant burden on the carrier to oversee that, and it puts an even greater burden on the FAA to oversee the carrier's oversight of the maintenance program.
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    About a year before the ValuJet accident in Miami, ValuJet had an engine failure accident that occurred at Atlanta. That engine had been overhauled at a Turkish Airlines facility, and purchased by ValuJet and brought into this country. There were significant questions about the inspection and overhaul process and raised some questions about the FAA's oversight of the Turkish facility.

    These two accidents are not the only accidents in which we have seen issues regarding part 145 maintenance repair facilities. The Board is, in fact, in the process of developing a program for a safety study on part 145 maintenance operations.


    Mr. SABO. Excuse me, what is part 145?

    Dr. LOEB. I apologize for that. It is the FAA regulations that govern maintenance operations, other than one under which, for example, an air carrier would do its own in-house maintenance.

    Mr. HALL. As part of our ValuJet investigation, one of the things we did is called on the FAA to review the volume and nature of the work requirements for principal maintenance inspectors assigned to part 145 repair stations that performed the maintenance on major air carriers to ensure that the inspectors have adequate time and resources to perform their surveillance duties, as carried in our recommendation A–9–75. We have received a response from the FAA that it is considering policy guidance that will help resolve resource conflicts and balance and surveillance workload.
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    Mr. SABO. What is the relative percentage of maintenance that is done by contract versus by the airline companies?

    Mr. HALL. I don't know a percentage, but I am sure it is growing.

    Do you know, Dr. Loeb?

    If we can find any numbers, we will provide it for the record.

    Dr. LOEB. It really depends on the type of operation.

    The majority of the large carriers do their own maintenance in-house, most of it depending on where the airplane might be. Some of it may be done overseas for them, if the airplane is overseas and needs it.

    The majority of smaller carriers do contract out the maintenance.

    Mr. HALL. When you say smaller operations, you are talking about 20 percent of the market, so it is not an insignificant amount of the passenger miles.

    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Pastor.
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    Mr. PASTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Last year, we talked about two issues. One dealt with the 737 and the problems we were having with the rudder. Since then, the FAA has come out with a ruling, but it asked compliance for the year 2000; and in between now and then we are going to have 737s flying all over the place. What are we doing to ensure that, first of all, the pilots get the training that they assured us they are going to get; and, secondly, where is Boeing at in replacing the rudders?

    Mr. HALL. Congressman Pastor, we had concern as a result of the 427 Aliquippa accident about the flight data recorder because it only had 11 parameters, and the need for pilot training for the recognition of the recovery of unusual events that could lead to the loss of control. I am pleased to say that most of that training is now in place, and modifications are being made to the components of the Boeing 737 rudder system to improve the safety of the design.

    The FAA on August 4, 1997, issued an airworthiness directive resulting in the Boeing 737 fleet of over 2,000 aircraft being modified with an improved power control unit servovalve. On August 1, 1997, the FAA published a final rule requiring installation of a newly designed rudder device system by August 1, 2000. We are pleased with the action, but we were concerned about the date of implementation.

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    Mr. Loeb may want to comment further. We anticipate later this year to have a final report on our Pittsburgh accident investigation, which is now in its third year.

    Dr. LOEB. Let me first just respond to the issue of the rudder PCU replacement program.

    The Chairman is correct. There was a final rule. Boeing, by this past summer, developed a replacement kit. About 100 units were shipped out. They discovered there were some problems in the rudder PCU replacement kit. They stopped the process, made some fixes to it and began shipping them again this fall. There are currently about 300 or 400 replacement kits for approximately 3,000 Boeing 737s worldwide.

    One of our concerns is whether they are going to be able to meet the 2-year deadline. It is uncertain right now whether the production capacity and the implementation of actually putting them into the airplanes can be done in that time. We just don't know right now.

    Insofar as the training issue, a lot has been done in that regard, as the Chairman has indicated.

    One of the things we did ask for that has not been done yet, and I don't know whether it will be done. We asked that, in the unusual attitude training, that consideration be given to training for events that the pilot is unlikely to expect; in other words, what caused the upset in the first place. If it was, in fact, a rudder hard over that caused the accident and that is not fixed and they don't train for that event, then the pilots are not going to receive the kind of training they need to cope with what is happening because they haven't been exposed to it.
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    So far, we have not gotten the response that we would like from the FAA or from the industry in regard to that recommendation.


    Mr. PASTOR. Like you said, between now and the year 2000, many flights by 737s—and, from what I have seen, the 737 is becoming a very popular plane, especially for these airlines, discount airlines, that are buying them used. As you see more airlines doing the short flights on the 737, which is the popular plane, you have probably more use, more frequency, and yet we have this problem that for the next 2 years we will try to address. So I would think that being concerned about air safety for the passengers that we would kind of ask the FAA and maybe you guys can encourage them to get this done faster.

    Mr. HALL. Congressman Pastor, I share your concern. I met with Administrator Garvey on December 17 of last year to discuss our most wanted list. I might note that was done at her request, and one of the main things we emphasized in that meeting was our concern on the implementation of this modification.

    Mr. PASTOR. Because it is very important to continue to assist her. Because it is a safety issue that all of us are affected by.

    Mr. HALL. That is correct.

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    Mr. PASTOR. So I would encourage you to do it.

    How is our icing program doing? Because I have to fly to Chicago once in a while, like every weekend.

    Mr. HALL. We are presently involved in an icing related accident that occurred at Monroe, Michigan. Testing is under way, and Dr. Loeb can bring you up to date, Congressman.

    Mr. LOEB. We made a number of recommendations following the ATR–72 accident at Roselawn, Indiana. The report was completed last year. Some of those recommendations have been acted upon favorably by the FAA; and research has been undertaken.

    Then as the Chairman indicated, the accident at Monroe occurred. It raises additional questions about icing. Some of them are different from those that were raised at Roselawn. In fact, some action has been taken on the particular airplane that was involved, an Embraer–120. But research is continuing regarding the central issues that go to the certification of the airplanes and the conditions under which untoward events could happen in icing.

    There is a lot of research that is being done in conjunction with the FAA, and at NASA Lewis in Cleveland.

    We expect to bring our report to the Board on the Comair accident—that will probably, undoubtedly, have a number of additional recommendations attached to it—this spring, but there is a lot of work left to be done. I think the FAA has taken a number of steps, but there is more to be done.
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    Mr. PASTOR. What time frame do you have to get from the research and to the practical application?

    Mr. LOEB. It depends, obviously, on the nature of the research. But when it involves wind tunnel testing or ice tunnel testing or ice tests behind a tanker, those projects take a long time to plan, develop and implement; and so we have been talking about this problem now for years. I hope that within the next year or two there are going to be some significant changes introduced by the FAA based on some of the research.

    There are rubber boots on the leading edges of wings and, in fact, tail surfaces of a number of planes, so that you can actually expand them and they will pop the ice that forms on them.

    The belief has been that you have to wait until you get a quarter to half inch buildup on them before you can pop them. Because if you don't it will build a bridge and you will never be able to pop them and so forth.

    There is now work under way to determine whether, in fact, that is true or not. It was just a commonly accepted belief, but no one had ever verified it, no one had ever gone into a tunnel.

    What we have learned is that when you do pop the boots, in between the boot cycling, you can get very, very small amounts of roughness from the icing that can create problems that had not generally been recognized and that many of the pilots, even those flying in the Midwest, just are not aware of.
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    This is a piece of information learned from the current research. I think, as we finish the research that is going on, lots of good things will happen.


    Mr. PASTOR. One more question, Mr. Chairman.

    Recently—I missed your movie, but I did read Air Frame, which will probably become a movie very quickly. In there, air turbulence and also maintenance of parts, buying of parts in foreign countries—and it was a very interesting book and increased my paranoia on the whole thing on flying, especially how we handle or are not handling air turbulence.

    I know it was an issue that was recently experienced by an airline flying over the Pacific, and I don't know if you can blame El Nino for this, but you seem to have some turbulence problems. Is that a phenomenon you guys are looking at?

    Mr. HALL. Congressman, Air Frame is actually after the MD–11 accident that occurred in Shemya, Alaska. Many have said the author had used that as a sort of a prop for his book.

    Between 1983 and 1997, the Board investigated 99 turbulence accidents and incidents that resulted in two fatalities and 117 serious injuries. Of course, we are currently investigating the turbulence event that occurred with United Airlines in the western Pacific on December 28 of last year that resulted in one fatality and numerous injuries. We are looking into turbulence forecasting, flight crew training, dissemination of information on turbulence and crew procedures in areas where turbulence is forecast.
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    I might note that when you are in your seat, buckled up, we have not had any evidence of any serious injuries.

    The National Weather Center is continuing efforts on improving clear air turbulence and mountain wave forecast products.

    Northwest Airlines has a turbulence program, a very active turbulence program; and they have been very active in that area. They have a very good record in terms of turbulence events.

    The FAA Weather Research Program has a product development team addressing this program, and the National Center for Atmospheric Research is involved in studies on turbulence and developing software for commercial aircraft.

    I spoke last week in Oklahoma City at the cabin safety conference.

    We have a cabin safety study that is presently under way. One of the things I hope we will address is the subject of signage and notification so that, when you are in your seat, you have your seat belt fastened.


    Mr. PASTOR. My last question, Mr. Chairman.

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    In Arizona, we now have the 75-mile-an-hour speed limit; and, Mr. Chairman, I want to say, unequivocally, I stay at that speed limit.

    Mr. SABO. Never a mile under.

    Mr. PASTOR. Well, occasionally, it is a mile under it.

    Usually I guess the theory is that the Highway Patrol will let you go about five miles per hour higher than that, so it translates into 80 and 85 miles an hour; and people are zooming down the freeway and highways fairly fast. Are you guys conducting any studies to see the effect of the increased speed limit and the number of accidents, number of deaths?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Sweedler has some information in that area. It is certainly an area we are actively interested in, Congressman.

    Mr. SWEEDLER. A number of studies are under way, and one has been completed just last fall by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

    They looked at the States that actually raised the speed limit, and looked at those highways that had the speed limit raised to at least 70 from December 1995 to early 1996. They found that on rural and urban interstates and freeways, where most of the speed limit changes occurred, speed limit increases were associated with a 12 percent increase in occupant fatalities. On other roads where the speed limits were raised less frequently, occupant fatalities increased by only 3 percent, which they said was insignificant or nonsignificant.

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    On all roads combined, occupant fatalities increased by 6 percent, and it is estimated that during the last 9 months of 1996 there were 500 additional deaths in the 12 States that raised speed limits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a study under way they will be releasing shortly. Using somewhat different methods, I think their early results are quite similar to what the Insurance Institute found.


    Mr. HALL. I might add, Congressman, one of the things that is of active concern to our Board are two issues; one, the mismatch of automobiles and trucks on our highways; and the other is just the demographics that are going to impact our interstates and highways between now and 2005. We have some numbers I will provide for the record on the growth in both the older drivers and younger drivers.

    This chart depicts the growth of young teenagers, 15 to 20, that will occur between 1995 and 2005 on our highways. You can see we have more and more traffic on our highways, and we are going to be adding more and more young people driving on our highways. That is why one of the things the Board has been actively supporting is graduated licensing for young drivers.

    This is quite a dramatic chart to me, and I will provide that for the record with the permission of the Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Without objection.

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    [The information follows:]

    The National Transportatation Safety Board is providing information on the growth in both the older driver and younger driver populations.

    Individuals over age 64 made up about 10 percent of the population in 1970. According to the US Census Bureau, in 1990, 13.8 percent of the population was over 64. This percent will increase to almost one quarter of the population by the year 2030. In 1994, there were about 25 million licensed drivers over the age of 64, about 14 percent of all licensed drivers.

    The high school-age population is projected to continue to grow from almost 14 million in 1992 to over 17 million 2005. In 2010, it is projected that the population in this age group will reach an all time high of 17.8 million.

Table 1

    Mr. HALL. I don't have it blown up quite as well—oh, it is on the screen. Thank you. Thanks, Vernon. I am impressed.

    The older drivers are on the screen, too. I am afraid I am in that category so I, of course, don't pay as much attention to that.


    Mr. PASTOR. When you talk about the mismatch, what are you referring to?
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    Mr. HALL. Size in terms of trucks and the passenger vehicles.

    Mr. PASTOR. You are talking about semis.

    Mr. HALL. And sports utilities, yes.

    Mr. PASTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Olver.


    Mr. OLVER. Thank you.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just out of curiosity, that graph with the pretty colors—where is the minimum of millions per year taking on driving? What year is that?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. This particular chart is the number of young people in the population.

    Mr. OLVER. Where is the minimum in that number?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. You mean the minimum age for driving?

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    Mr. OLVER. No, the minimum in the number of——

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Oh, 1993 is the year.

    Mr. OLVER. This is simple data as to how many people are getting to the age of driving in every given year.

    Mr. SWEEDLER. Yes, sir.

    Mr. OLVER. Is that a composite of all the driving age—a summation of all the people driving, even though they may be coming at different ages?

    Mr. SWEEDLER. This is a projection of the people that will be in that age group.


    Mr. OLVER. Maybe it was on the chart, and I could not read it from a distance, so I was curious what that was. Thank you. We will get it as part of the record somewhat later.

    I wanted to ask you—I noticed the aviation investigations that have been completed—there are a series of them—of 1996 investigations or accidents which seem to indicate that, if things go well, it takes roughly a year to get an investigation completed. What does it cost—what, for instance, would have been the cost of the ValuJet airlines investigation in Miami versus, for instance, the Aliquippa, the USAir flight, which has not been completed, and the TWA flight 800?
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    Mr. HALL. We have some information on the TWA flight 800 accident because that has been such an extraordinary spending. I would call on Mr. Keller, who is our chief financial officer, Congressman, to respond to your question.

    Mr. KELLER. I have some limited information concerning ValuJet. One of the pieces of information is Public Law 105–18, that gave the Board authority to reimburse the State and localities for expenses that they incurred. For NTSB's portion of the cost, NTSB does not have a cost accounting system to where we track our salaries and benefits related to an accident. We look at our accident cost based on overtime and travel.

    Mr. OLVER. Are those budgets invented in other places or are they just in the NTSB's?

    Mr. KELLER. They are in other budgets, such as the FAA.

    Mr. OLVER. They are drawn from them, and do all the places have sufficient money to deal with the kinds of investigations here, when in some years there is not much, while in some years there are some pretty serious things going on?

    Mr. KELLER. Well, sir, we have a party system, for which we get contributions, or we share the cost in the investigation with some of the industry, such as Boeing or the airline that may be involved. We will get the FAA who will contribute also, and the Board uses its emergency fund when the costs are extraordinary.

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    Mr. OLVER. I would be interested to know what the various investigations, the ones that are completed in the past year, the five of them that are listed, what the expenditures thus far are in the older ones that are still ongoing, the 1996 and earlier.

    Mr. HALL. We can provide that for the record. Let me make clear we would just be providing our percentage of the cost, not the FAA, or any of the other party.

    [The information follows:]

    The following table identifies the non-pay costs to the Safety Board for investigations completed during FY 1997 and so far in FY 1998, and also costs to date for ongoing investigations:

Table 2


    Mr. OLVER. Are the percentages different?

    Mr. KELLER. We wouldn't have knowledge of the cost for whatever the industry may have picked up, like the airline, or Boeing or whoever participated with cost recovery of the accident. We wouldn't know that.

    Mr. OLVER. Okay. How many of the list of ongoing investigations would you expect to be complete within the next 3 to 6 months?
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    Dr. LOEB. Within the next 3 to 6 months.

    Mr. OLVER. That is a long time.

    Dr. LOEB. That is a short time. Within the next 3 to 6 months, I hope to be able to complete the Comair investigation, the Federal Express at Newburgh, which was a cargo fire, I expect to complete the Fine Air Miami investigation, and if we stretch the time just slightly, to get the Pittsburgh accident to the Board, and if I could——

    Mr. OLVER. Pittsburgh is listed here as Aliquippa.

    Dr. LOEB. Yes, sir.

    Mr. OLVER. What would be holding up things like the ones in West Palm Beach and Newark, the Federal Express in Newark? There were no fatalities there. Does it take a great deal longer when there are fatalities or only when there are a great many fatalities?

    Dr. LOEB. Let me try to answer your question the best way I can. Federal Express in Newark is not proceeding rapidly simply because of resources at this time. The agency has put a substantial portion of its resources in the last two and a half years into 3 major accidents, ValuJet at Miami, TWA, and the Pittsburgh accident. The reason for that is there were significant issues in those accidents that we believe that absolutely needed our highest priority attention. At the same time, we tried to address the other accidents that are ongoing, but unfortunately in some cases we simply do not have the number of people to be able to pursue the investigations simultaneously and concurrently. We have a limited number of airplane performance engineers and we have a limited number of systems engineers.
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    Mr. OLVER. You have made a decision in the case of a couple where there were zero fatalities that they were not so critical, they were not likely to be producing——

    Dr. LOEB. They were not at the level at which we believed we could take people off the other investigations to put them on that investigation at full speed. I would like to say, a major investigation normally takes us 9 months to a year, at least. If there is substantial research that has to be done, as in the case of Pittsburgh, where we have done an incredible number of tests over the last 3 1/2 years, the process of doing that just simply takes time. Even if we had more people we probably could not have pursued that faster at that time. However, while we are doing that and pursuing accidents like TWA and ValuJet at the same time, we do not have the redundancy we would need in some areas like airplane performance, systems, and so forth, to do them all simultaneously at high speed.


    Mr. OLVER. How many of our scheduled passenger air flights are operating with the minimum number of recorders, as you make something of the fact that the number of parameters being recorded was at the minimum in the case of the Pittsburgh flight, which you advised has something to do with how quickly you are able to come up with answers?

    Dr. LOEB. At this point the majority of the airplanes flying would only be required to have——

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    Mr. OLVER. The same requirements?

    Dr. LOEB. That is correct.

    Mr. OLVER. Has there been a gauge point or a time at which they must have—you say a number of them now have 100 parameters.

    Dr. LOEB. That is correct.

    Mr. OLVER. The new airplanes. Is there some standard for how many they must be recording that you have laid down for capital stock that is coming on line after such and such a year?

    Dr. LOEB. We have made recommendations, as the Chairman indicated, to the FAA. They have promulgated rules that now require newly manufactured and older airplanes to be retrofitted according to a schedule that goes into the year 2004. Is that correct, Vernon?

    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. 2002.

    Dr. LOEB. 2002, and it is very complex. It depends on when the airplane was originally certificated, whether it was a wide body, a narrow body and so forth.

    Mr. OLVER. What is the new minimum going to be by 2002? Is there a minimum?
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    Mr. HALL. Before Dr. Ellingstad responds to that, let me say, Congressman, that is what the FAA requires. Southwest Airlines, with an all 737 fleet, has retrofitted all of their aircraft immediately with modern flight data recorders.

    Dr. Ellingstad.

    Mr. OLVER. That ought to make a good sound bite.

    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. Actually, the situation is even more complicated than Dr. Loeb implied. There are several compliance dates and there are several standards. For aircraft newly manufactured after August of 2002, there will be 88 parameters required.

    Mr. OLVER. After 2002.

    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. After August of 2002.

    Mr. OLVER. Regardless of the size, there will be at least 88?

    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. This is anything regulated under Part 121. For those manufactured after August of 2000, the requirement is 57 parameters.

    Mr. OLVER. Everyone will be there by 2002 retrofitted?

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    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. No, these are newly manufactured, and those requirements for the very extensive recorders come in for the newly manufactured aircraft. For aircraft manufactured after 1991, there is a compliance date of 2001, and those aircraft will go up to 34 parameters. So it is scaled, and we are still going to have a lot of 11 and 22 parameter recorders in the older fleet for a considerable amount of time.

    Mr. OLVER. That is interesting.

    Dr. LOEB. I will say this, by the year 2002, all the planes will be equipped to provide a significant improvement in our ability to pursue the investigation of the accident. So it will be a significant step forward, although not anything that we want.


    Mr. OLVER. If you are making all new ones after the year 2002 have 88 factors, and I don't know how many of those factors are so arcane that they really are very low probability kinds of factors, why, if people are having to go through the retrofit, why wouldn't you make planes that are coming on line after 1991 go up to that number also, since those planes probably have another life of 20 years or something of usage.

    Dr. LOEB. Because it depends on whether they are equipped already with a digital acquisition unit that helps them to capture and move the data. The problem is not the recorder. I think that needs to be understood. It is not the black box. It is the ability of the airplane to feed the black box. You have to have sensors on the airplane and you have to be able to get the information from those various sensors to the black box in the tail of airplane. If you are doing it digitally, you have to have the units in there that do it. For some of the older airplanes, it really is——
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    Mr. OLVER. You virtually might as well throw them away.

    Dr. LOEB. That is why the staggered approach. There is a basic minimum set of data we need, for example, that has not been available to us, and was not available on TWA 800, was not available on USAir 427. So, as I said, it will be a step forward, but not everything we want. The timing is something that is obviously of concern to us, because that is 4 years from now. It is a long time to live with that situation, but that is where we are now.


    Mr. OLVER. Let me switch, if I may, to one other thing, Mr. Chairman. In your highway program, I noticed that the case of the child who was killed leaving a transit bus by a utility truck, and the comment there is that you found no mechanism in place that documents the extent to which transit buses are being used to transport children to and from school. It is amazing we don't have a lot more accidents, I would think, because there are a lot of transit buses, and, yes, up my way you have flashing lights and stop signs that come out and so forth, but the transit buses have none of that. But I suppose in general usage, when you see flashing lights, a lot of people sort of see a shadow of a stop sign as well. Has anything been done, this is some time ago, is there anything moving on documenting the extent to which transit buses are being used?

    Mr. HALL. Yes, Congressman. I would like to call on Mr. Joe Osterman, who is the head of our Office of Highway Safety, for comment on that accident and the recommendations we would make.
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    Mr. OSTERMAN. Sir, the bottom line is we don't know how many fatalities or serious injuries are caused to students using transit buses to and from school because we are simply not able to tally those statistics. Additionally, the Board investigated a transit bus accident in Normandy, Missouri, which led us to a special investigation regarding the oversight of highway transit vehicles, not only driver selection, but maintenance, their use, the statistics that are being used to determine their safety, and a number of other issues. We will be holding a public hearing in St. Louis the first week in March. We are concerned about the oversight of this industry and the statistics and representation of its safety record.

    Mr. OLVER. Why, then, does this Washington incident appear here? How does it come onto the radar screen if there are perhaps, as you are suggesting there may be, a number of accidents involving transit buses which haven't appeared? Why don't they appear on the screen? What is the trigger here.

    Mr. OSTERMAN. Traditionally, transit operators have been prohibited from exclusively transferring students to and from school. You cannot generally use a transit bus to replace a school bus per se. But there have been voids in the rules that permit transit operators to conduct what they call tripper service. Essentially what the transit operators are able to do is establish a route that is primarily used to transport students to and from school. The difference is that a school bus cannot stop and pick up other passengers. The transit bus is permitted to do that and will do it, if necessary, or if someone flags it down at a stop. In the accident you are referring to, this was a tripper accident. The route was only established in the morning and in the evening. It was to and from school essentially. If an adult had been on the side of the road and flagged down the bus, the transit operator or the bus operator would have been required to pick them up, but in reality that did not happen. Statistics don't capture it as students, they capture most of these accidents as either pedestrians or occupants of transit buses. It is very difficult to figure out. Plus we have the compounding problem of a lot of urban school systems use transit systems as the primary transportation mechanism.
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    Mr. OLVER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. WOLF. I thank you, Mr. Olver. We are going to go until 5:00 and if we don't finish we are going to come back. So if you can be prepared to stay until 6:00, we have a lot of questions. We are going to have quick votes, but I don't want to make you come back, so if you could clear your schedules, I would appreciate it.

    With regard to the question Mr. Sabo had and Mr. Pastor had is really a good takeoff on this. I share their concerns. I sat through the hearings over the years, and we have heard you say, with regard to the FAA, there is a delay here, this has not taken place, the turbulence issue, the black box issue has been a problem, issues on the most wanted list. I think you all do an excellent job of investigating the accidents that take place, but I know you share my concern that our goal is not only to do a good job of investigating accidents that take place, but to prevent accidents from taking place. I think Mr. Pastor's comments with regard to the 737s were very relevent. They are flying all over. What I would like to do, and I am going to be talking to Jane Garvey, and let me say this, I think Ms. Garvey has a no nonsense approach to running the FAA and this would, I hope, be helpful to her. I would like to see us, and I hope you would agree to participate, do the following. There is no way of systematically measuring the success that Mr. Pastor talks about on the 737. The runway incursions are dramatically up. The ValuJet issue, I think it is fair to say the ValuJet, should have never happened.

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    The TWA 800, the deicing issue, the repair statistics that Mr. Sabo mentioned, what they are doing with regard to the spare parts. We have a hard enough time dealing with the spare parts in River City, let alone outside the country. The human factors issue, you mentioned the turbulence issue, the United Airlines coming out of Hawaii. This is what I would like to see you do and I would like to see the Safety Board participate in it. I would like to see a group set up that would help us measure the progress FAA has made on the issues that the Members have raised. I have been concerned about all these things.

    We looked at the issues on the most wanted list, the flight data recorder, FAA, wake turbulence, FAA, mode C intruder conflict alert system, FAA, pilot background checks, FAA, air frame structural icing, FAA, explosive mixture in fuel tanks, transport category, FAA, airplane cargo compartment storage, FAA, airport runway incursion. This group would be set up to help us measure the progress that has been made.

    You come before the committee each year. This committee has given you what you have asked for. I don't think we have ever cut your budget. In fact, I think we have added to it. But how do you measure the progress? Can you honestly say, and I am not asking you to say it, can you honestly say aviation is safer today than it was 5 years ago? You have the Pittsburgh situation, ValuJet, TWA, and the controversy surrounding that accident. I would like to see a team set up with offices over at the FAA made up of someone from the Safety Board, someone from the GAO, someone from the IG, someone from Mitre Corporation, somebody from the Flight Safety Foundation, perhaps somebody from ALPA, and perhaps there are 2 or 3 other groups I haven't thought about, that would go in and look at all of these recommendations, all of your most wanted list, the things the Members have raised to develop a measurement stick that we can honestly see how FAA is doing on aviation safety. As you will see sometimes, when something comes in the news, then FAA becomes proactive on it. Then a person retires, and it is forgotten about. So somebody needs to put together a capable group of men and women that would develop some safety measurement mechanism. We would do it mainly for the FAA, because this is the major concern at this time. Perhaps it could be broadened in the future. Perhaps their office should be over at the FAA. We can put the funding in. I don't think anybody should be concerned about it, we are not talking about a major new program. Then they would put together a quarterly report that would tell the Members what progress is being made. Mr. Pastor can see what is the progress on the 737, or what is the progress or lack of progress on the runway incursion.
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    I am going to ask that we set up this group. It would take somebody from all 5 or 6 of these agencies. I would hope the Safety Board would participate in that, because you all do a wonderful job of investigating what takes place. But I think our number one priority should be safety. It would be wonderful if we could put you out of business, and I know you would like to be put out of business. The ideal thing would be there would be no accidents, any. Our hope would be we could get to that point.

    So would you, and just listening to the Members and their questions, have the Safety Board participate in something like this? We could fashion a group that would develop a measurement and then on a yearly basis put out a systematic report that everyone could look at and then a quarterly report showing the increase or the decrease of the activity.

    Mr. HALL. Certainly, Mr. Chairman, we would be glad to participate in that. Let me just say, in my 4 years as Chairman, my major concern with the FAA has been the lack of urgency within the organization in addressing these accidents as they occurred, but I respectfully suggest that the most important member to participate in any team like that would be a representative from the OMB. As the Gore Commission identified in its study, one of the major problems is the issue of cost versus safety. They recommended that in the areas of major accident investigation, that that cost-benefit analysis not be applied as it has been in the past by OMB.

    Mr. WOLF. I think that is a great idea.

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I and the other members of this Board are privileged to have been appointed by the President and confirmed by this Congress to serve as safety spokesmen for the Nation, and anything this Chairman asks us to do, we are willing to do and participate in.
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    Mr. WOLF. I appreciate that. We will try to put this together and I think your idea with regard to OMB is excellent. I really believe this would offer Ms. Garvey a second opinion. A group of individuals she would have a lot of confidence in, that would not be there just to throw stones at the FAA but there to say once and for all, here is the measurement and here is what your annual report says and here is what your quarterly report says, just as we do with employees. I have a position in my office, every 3 months or so, we go back and review our work. If you remember the old Ed Sullivan show where he would have a magician on and he would spin the plates and the plates would spin and the plate would begin to wobble and the audience would say, Ed, get the plate, and he would then go back and get the plate and spin it. Just a group would force the FAA and everybody in authority to make sure the plates are being spun and that we have the safest aviation system, which I believe that we do now in the country. But I think until you have this group, I keep hearing the criticism of this has been delayed, that has been delayed, this is a high priority, then somebody leaves, it drops to a low priority and I don't think we have a systematic way. So I appreciate your willingness to participate and we will also contact anybody else you think would be helpful.

    Mr. HALL. If I can add one brief comment. You may be aware, Mr. Chairman, that the Air Transport Association recently announced a new partnership effort. We have been briefed by them on that partnership, and that is something that I am sure your staff is aware of and might be something that might be incorporated into your thinking.

    Mr. WOLF. Would you suggest a representative of the ATA?
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    Mr. HALL. Certainly, sir. I must add, Mr. Chairman, that I don't think that this effort or any effort should replace active Congressional oversight.

    Mr. WOLF. Absolutely not.

    Mr. HALL. Or our independent accident investigation.

    Mr. WOLF. Absolutely not. In fact, this is in addition to Congressional and Safety Board oversight. When Mr. Pastor asked the question, assuming we were able to get this group up, next year he would want to have a report that says here is what the status is on the 737s. If there were not a hearing and he were interested in this last week, then he could look at the progress. We could see what has taken place, if a lot of good things have been done, or not very much has taken place, and also, the public could see. Public accountability, I think, forces people to do things that maybe they would do anyway but it spurs them on. If we can prohibit anything from taking place, preventing the pain and suffering and agony of the families that were involved in accidents, then I think it would be very, very positive. We will try to do that and I appreciate the Members raising it because I think it forces this issue out and we just don't forget about it. FAA comes up here on March 10, we move along, we mark up, we go off and then everyone forgets and in the next year you come back. This way, every 3 months we would have it. You would have to help us develop a measurement we can honestly and fairly measure what the progress or lack of progress was. Based on your accident investigations each year, the Safety Board helps focus the work on pointing out transportation issues we can be concerned about. What areas do you foresee may have serious safety problems that the committee should begin to monitor? If you want to think about it and give it for the record. But, what one or two do you think we should be following, the staff, everybody should really be watching?
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    Mr. HALL. We have discussed a couple of those this morning, Mr. Chairman. Let me just say generally, we provided the tremendous growth we are going to see in all modes of transportation over the next 10 years.


    Mr. WOLF. That is what troubled me. I listened to a speech former Administrator Hinson gave and I am sure you have probably read the same speech where he talked about if things don't dramatically change, the number of accidents in the year 2005 or 2010 will be substantially higher. Now I don't know if that was overly stated to get the attention, but we don't want that to happen.

    Mr. HALL. We are looking at the possibility of having airplanes in the future with the equivalent of a double decker 747 that would carry maybe 800 or 1,000 people. I showed you the demographics of young people and older populations and the increased growth of 5 to 6 percent annually of automobiles on our highways. In the marine area, we are seeing cruise ships built that will be twice the size of the Titanic that can carry up to 6,000 passengers at one time. We have more rail mileage than ever, and, of course, the growth of the transport of hazardous materials and nuclear materials in this country is increasing as well. All of those statistics tell us that we need to be serious about trying to improve what is a very safe record in all of these transportation areas, and doing everything we can to prepare for the 21st century so we don't see an increase in accidents as a result of the growth in transportation and the statistics staying the same.

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    Mr. WOLF. For the record, so I don't misquote this, do you remember the quote Mr. Hinson made? Could you repeat it so the other Members can hear it.

    Mr. HALL. I think the speech was based on a study completed by Boeing Corporation that indicated with the world-wide growth in aviation, that we were looking at a major hull loss worldwide once a week. Dr. Loeb has the exact quote.

    Mr. LOEB. Basically, the Boeing study indicated that, worldwide, by the year 2015, there would be a catastrophic hull loss each week, worldwide, jet transport, if there are no changes and the growth pattern continues in the way in which the FAA and others are currently predicting it will grow.

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, the interaction between man and machine is going to be the biggest challenge we have in the transportation area in the next 10 to 15 years. You may want Ms. Garvey to go over this with you. The number of new pilots that will have to be trained and be available for this growth in aviation is an important area as well.

    Mr. WOLF. The committee has put more money in human factors every year. The FAA seems to go the other way on this issue. This is one of the things that troubles me. Have you reviewed the President's budget to see if there are areas that are being adequately addressed? Are there areas that you have looked at you think are not adequately addressed that this committee should look at?


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    Mr. HALL. Well, like all citizens, I saw the President's budget was $1.7 trillion, and that is very difficult for me to comprehend. We do not get the detailed budget that you have, and I don't have enough detailed information to comment.

    Mr. WOLF. Staff will give you a copy and ask you to comment.

    Mr. HALL. We would be glad to do that for the record, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board has yet to receive a copy of the Department of Transportation's FY 1999 budget request. However, we are reviewing a General Accounting Office report ''DOT's Budget, Management and Performance Issues Facing the Department of Fiscal Year 1999.'' Should we have concerns after our review, we will be certain to inform the Committee.


    Mr. WOLF. What is the status of the TWA 800 accident? I understand the FBI still hasn't closed the case officially. I checked the other day. Can you give us the status quickly?

    Mr. HALL. As you know, Mr. Chairman, we concluded a week long hearing concerning TWA Flight 800 accident in December. During the hearing we heard testimony concerning the explosion in the airplane's center wing tank, the subsequent breakup of the air frame and the Board's efforts to identify the ignition source. A meeting of all the parties under Dr. Loeb's leadership was held last week, which provided an opportunity to lay out a plan of action for 1998 on the investigation. I will ask Dr. Loeb if he would review that for you at this time.
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    Dr. LOEB. As the Chairman indicated, we held a meeting last week with the parties, the purpose of which was threefold. First, a number of the parties had indicated that they would like to have access to our researchers who had done work on the jet A fuel, that indicated that indeed the beliefs of the industry that had been held about the explosive characteristics of the fuel were incorrect. We had also done flight tests to demonstrate that explosive vapors would form and you could get the results that we saw. And so we made our researchers available to all the parties to question them and ask them the basis of the research and how it was done. The second purpose was to ask them what more needs to be done for the industry and the FAA to act on our short-term recommendations. We made a number of recommendations for remediation, and we made some recommendations that were for longer term action.

    And finally, the third part was to develop a plan for the remainder of the year. We had been doing that internally within the Board, but we wanted the input of the parties. We are in the process now of finishing the development of our plan for what we are going to do. And as you can see, Dr. Ellingstad has put this up on the screen. Basically, the kinds of large scale efforts that still remain are the laboratory studies on the fuel that will be done by Cal Tech and other organizations throughout the world working with them. Quarter scale testing, computer modeling that will be done by Sandia and Christian Mickelsohn Research, they are in Scandinavia, and eventually, full scale testing.

    There are a number of reasons for this testing. First, we would like to be able to pinpoint, if we can, and there is no assurance we can, the location of the ignition. If we can do that, it would help us to narrow down where it would occur and what may have ignited the vapors. To do that, ideally, if we could purchase maybe 100 747s and find a place we can blow them up systematically over a 5 or 10-year period of time, that would be a good way of doing it. That is obviously not possible, so what we want to be able to do is develop numerical coding, using the best resources in the world. Los Alamos was also invited to participate in this. It turns out that Sandia and Christian Mickelsohn Research Laboratories are the ones that had the codes that are most ready to run to try to do this. We are starting out with a quarter scale testing to learn enough to tweak the codes and then validate them against the quarter scale. Eventually we will validate them against full scale testing. If we are fortunate, it may pinpoint the ignition source and help us to identify it. Second, we will learn about the dynamics of fuel tank explosions, none of which has been known, nor has there been an attempt to previously do this, which was surprising to us when we started the process. We also need to do some additional ground tests, and maybe some flight tests as a part of this program.
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    Finally, we have two major areas that are going on in the ignition source area at the same time. One is to look through every piece of wiring that exists, that we had salvaged, that is up in Calverton, to try to determine if any of those wires show arcing, burning, anything that would give us a hint as to how we may have gotten the energy into the tank. And then, finally, to continue with a number of other areas, including static testing. This program is likely to take us through this summer, at least. I am hopeful, and I have told the Chairman this although I have been wrong in the past, I am hopeful we can perhaps wrap this up and get a report to the Board by the end of this calendar year. That is ambitious, but that is the program we are embarked on and that is where we are right now.


    Mr. WOLF. Is the dredging finished?

    Dr. LOEB. The dredging is finished, we cleaned the bottom.

    Mr. WOLF. Have you told all the fishermen who are out there if they come across something while they are dredging for oysters or something, they should call you? Have there been notifications to everybody in the region?

    Dr. LOEB. The Coast Guard has put out information there.

    Mr. WOLF. Did anything come in the last 2 months?

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    Dr. LOEB. Yes, some parts came in in the last week that someone thought were from TWA 800 but they had nothing to do with it.

    Mr. WOLF. But that is a good sign that people are looking?

    Dr. LOEB. There are people still looking.


    Mr. WOLF. Did you agree with the way the FAA approached the issue?

    Mr. HALL. Which specific issue, sir?

    Mr. WOLF. Their own investigations.

    Dr. LOEB. The FAA is a party to our investigation and have participated fully with us.

    Mr. WOLF. And their response to date, how do you feel about that?

    Mr. HALL. We have not been satisfied with the response.

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    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Hall, last year the FAA conducted their own engineering investigation into TWA 800, and there seemed to be some tension between the two agencies over the technical findings from your respective investigations. Under what authority does the FAA conduct their own investigations stemming from aviation accidents, and how does that compare to the NTSB's authority?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board is the lead agency for the investigation of all civil aviation accidents, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not have the authority to investigate commercial aviation accidents. Since the FAA is responsible for the certification of aircraft and for monitoring the continuing airworthiness of aircraft it certifies during the life of the aircraft, they are a party to all of the Safety Board's investigations, both to provide technical expertise to assist the Safety Board, and to be able to learn first-hand information to determine if there are any certification or airworthiness concerns, or violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations that need to be promptly addressed. In certain cases, the FAA will conduct critical design reviews of previously certified aircraft, engines, or components based upon the information developed during the Safety Board's investigation. In some cases, the Safety Board has recommended that the FAA conduct such reviews.

    Mr. WOLF. Did you agree with the way FAA approached this issue? If not, why not?

    [The information follows:]
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    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has conducted engineering evaluations of the Boeing 747 fuel system based upon the findings of the investigation and the Safety Board's safety recommendations. However, the Safety Board has been concerned that the FAA has not been aggressive in performing research to determine the conditions that can exist in a Boeing 747 fuel tank or the properties of Jet A fuel. These are areas that would be considered part of the FAA's certification and continuing airworthiness responsibilities. The research into these issues in connection with the TWA flight 800 investigation has been conducted by the Safety Board as part of its investigation to determine probable causes and potential corrective actions.


    Mr. WOLF. Following the TWA accident, the Board issued 4 recommendations on design and operational changes that precluded the potential of an explosive fuel air mixture in the fuel tanks. Will you highlight briefly for the committee what the recommendations were?

    Mr. HALL. I will ask Dr. Loeb.

    Mr. WOLF. And the status, and also, the activity or the feelings of the aviation industry.

    Mr. HALL. It is fair to say, Mr. Chairman, that up until the December hearing, the attitude of the industry, as well as the FAA in regard to our recommendations, was not what I would describe as positive. I think, since our hearing, I believe it is positive, and I am encouraged there will be action on the recommendations. I will ask Dr. Loeb if he would like to outline them briefly.
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    Dr. LOEB. We made 4 recommendations, two of which asked for short-term action, and two of which asked for action that we knew was going to be longer term. The status of the two shorter term ones is unsatisfactory, and the status of the two longer term ones are satisfactory for the following reasons. The short-term recommendations asked them to review any short-term measures, such as adding fuel to the center tank, putting in some insulation, any short-term kinds of things that could keep the heat down in the tank. They have taken no action in regard to that. There was also a short-term recommendation that asked for some information to be provided to the pilots about the explosive characteristics, and they simply haven't done anything in that regard either.

    Now the two longer term ones had to deal with developing longer term solutions, real design changes, and instrumentation and so forth, that would provide help. The FAA initially established a committee. That committee has been meeting; however, their process is extremely slow. The committee on flight and duty time met for years, they could not come to an agreement, and there has never been a rulemaking in that.

    However, as the Chairman indicated, since our public hearing, the FAA has established another task force which has very tight deadlines, and in fact is supposed to be finished by the end of February with a report to the Administrator. So they are taking a different tack and I believe, as the Chairman said, it is a much more positive approach right now.


    Mr. WOLF. NTSB planned to conduct tests on the flammability and explosive characteristics of jet fuel computer modeling to understand the propagation of an explosion in the multicompartment B747 fuel tank and tests to determine potential ignition sources. What is the status of these tests? Which ones have been completed? Which ones are ongoing? For the record, please provide more specifics on each of these tests, including timetables and costs.
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    [The information follows:]

    The Jet A flammability program can be divided into 2 broad categories, an experimental program and a computer modeling program. The Jet A experimental program consists of 5 phases: (1) laboratory explosion testing; (2) ignition energy testing; (3) 1/4 scale testing; (4) vapor pressure measurements; and (5) flight tests. All of these programs are designed to give the Safety Board a better understanding of the conditions and circumstances surrounding this accident. The 1/4 scale testing program is coupled to two different computational fluid dynamics (CFD) programs, one at Sandia National Laboratories and one at Christian Mickelson Research Institute, and provides initial experimental data for input to the computational modeling for validation of the computer mode. The purpose of the CFD modeling programs is to help determine the effects of changing the conditions within the tank without having to run an experiment for each condition or change. For example, the effects of changing the location of the ignition source within the center wing tank are being studied and compared to pressure development within each compartment within the tank. Thus, the computational modeling cuts the time and money required to study the effects of changing various parameters in the test.

    To date, approximately thirty 1/4 scale tests have been completed. The data reduction from these tests is on-going. The modeling programs are using these data for validation and for exploring the effects of changing the test conditions. The modeling efforts are on-going, but completion is expected in June 1998. Based on the predictive results from these model calculations, additional 1/4 scale testing may be necessary.

    Data analyses of the flight tests are on-going. These data are also being used to provide guidance to laboratory and 1/4 scale testing programs.
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    The combined costs of the above-mentioned work, as well as extensive Jet A flammability and ignition energy studies, has been about $1 million over the past year. This figure does not include the flight test.

    A second series of quarter scale explosion tests will be conducted this summer using Jet A fuel and a test fixture pressurized to represent the 14,000 ft. altitude conditions, and the temperature conditions of TWA flight 800. CFD modeling will also continue to attempt to identify a probable ignition location, and to evaluate the explosive overpressure in the fuel tank. This computer modeling of the explosion process will also be combined with structural modeling of the fuel tank/aircraft response to these overpressure events. Costs have not yet been determined for these activities.

    The Safety Board expects to participate in ground tests conducted by Boeing to characterize the temperature and heat transfer characteristics of the Boeing 747 fuel tank and associated air conditioning equipment under various conditions. It is expected that these tests will be conducted in late spring.

    It is also likely that full-scale explosive tests may be initiated in late summer. Costs for those tests are not known.


    Mr. WOLF. What is the status of these recommendations? Are the airlines and others in the aviation industry still strongly opposed to these recommendations?
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    [The information follows:]

    In December 1996, the Safety Board issued four safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) concerning the flammability of fuel-air mixtures in fuel tanks. In February 1997, the FAA wrote to the Board expressing its concern that the Board's recommendations called for major changes in fuel tank design and fuel management in transport category airplanes. In April 1997, the FAA requested comments from industry and interested parties regarding the Safety Board recommendations. The closing date for comments was in August 1997. We are concerned about the length of time that has passed since the comment period ended without any response from the FAA about what specific actions it will take to reduce the potential for the buildup of explosive fuel/air vapors in fuel tanks. Although considerable information was discussed and gathered during the Safety Board's accident investigation hearing held in December 1997, no substantial actions have been taken by the FAA on our earlier safety recommendations.


    Mr. WOLF. I checked with the FBI. They have not officially closed the case, is that accurate?

    Mr. HALL. My understanding from the statement made by the FBI is the case is in an inactive status.

    Mr. WOLF. But it is not closed?

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    Mr. HALL. That is correct, sir.


    Mr. WOLF. Even though the FBI has officially closed its investigation and concluded that the accident was not caused by a criminal act, suspicion over the investigation continues. For example, recently senior military officials stated that all the evidence points to a missile, not to fuel vapors exploding in a central fuel tank. What is your response to this?

    [The information follows:]

    The examination of all recorded radar data indicates that there are no primary radar returns that appear close in distance and time to TWA 800 that are not attributed to known airplanes or surface vehicles. The investigation has found no evidence from the wreckage or the autopsies of the victims that a missile impacted the airplane or that a bomb exploded inside the fuselage. Additionally, detailed examination of the wreckage has provided no evidence of a penetration that could be associated with the detonation of a missile warhead.

    Recently, persons who are not familiar with the functions and processing of flight data recorders have made statements that the data provides evidence of a missile impact. The flight data recorder provides 25 flight hours of data on a continuous loop of tape. The recorder erases data that is more than 25 flight hours old as it records new data on the tape. The data that some people have questioned is information from a previous flight.

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    Mr. WOLF. There was one senior person, a military officer, that stated that all the evidence points to a missile, not a fuel vapor exploding in the central tank. How do you respond to this? We are going to get the name of the person. This is not Pierre Sallinger.

    Mr. HALL. We have ongoing correspondence with one particular individual, a Commander Donaldson, who we have corresponded with frequently concerning his concern that a missile hit. Mr. Chairman, that was the purpose of the weeklong public hearing in which we put out all the information we have in regard to the investigation. It is the opinion of our experts there was an explosion in the center fuel tank. We have been looking for the ignition source, but we have found no evidence of a bomb or a missile or an external explosion causing this event. We will certainly not conclude our investigation on this or any other matter until the staff concludes its investigation and submits the report to the Board for recommendations and probable cause.


    Mr. WOLF. Do you think the Board will be able to conclusively determine the cause of the accident or do you think it may be possible that you may never be able to identify the cause?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I am certainly hopeful that we will be able to determine the ignition source. There is certainly a possibility we may not.

    Mr. WOLF. Last year, you testified that the TWA accident investigation would be wrapped up early in 1998. However, this no longer appears likely. When do you anticipated completing the fact-finding stage?
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    [The information follows:]

    The dynamic nature of complex investigations such as the TWA flight 800 accident make it difficult to project when the fact-finding phase will be completed. Experience has shown that the results of any one test can provide a solution, or they can highlight the need for more research. Based upon the research that is currently planned, the Safety Board's staff has indicated that fact-finding activities should be completed in early fiscal year 1999. However, a precise date for completion of the investigation and issuance of a final report cannot be stated at this time.


    Mr. WOLF. We will have more questions we will submit in detail.

    During the last 6 months of 1997, we had a rash of freight railroad accidents. Prior to that, in 1996, there were a number of tragic railroad accidents, including the Fox River Grove and the MARC accidents. Is the Board concerned about railroad safety and do you believe we have seen an improvement of rail safety throughout the U.S.?

    Mr. HALL. Joining me at the table is Mr. Bob Lauby, who is the head of our Office of Railroad Safety. As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, we have completed major accident investigations on accidents that occurred in Secaucus, New Jersey, one in Silver Spring, Maryland that received a great deal of attention in this area, and a couple accidents that occurred in Kelso, California. We have under investigation now accidents in Devine, Texas, Delia, Kansas, Kingman, Arizona, Garden City, Georgia and a special investigation underway on the Union Pacific Railroad. As you may know, Mr. Chairman, Union Pacific Railroad is the largest railroad in the United States, with about 26 percent of the rail industry and 32 percent of the track miles.
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    Mr. WOLF. Let me interrupt you because we have a question on Union Pacific and I am going to throw that in. Union Pacific has had a spate of recent accidents and 10 employees have died. According to the railroad, this is more employee deaths than the railroad combined total from 1991 through 1996. I know you have begun some sort of special investigation, but as you answer, could you talk a little bit about that investigation. Do you believe that there has been an improvement in rail safety in the United States?

    Mr. HALL. Yes, sir. Let me also have Mr. Lauby comment. Let me say the Board, at the recommendation of staff, made a decision to hold a public hearing on the Union Pacific accidents. This was because the NTSB launched on 15 Union Pacific accidents in the past year, including 7 collisions which resulted in 7 fatalities. By comparison, during the same time period, we launched on 5 Burlington Northern-Santa Fe accidents, of which only one was a collision. Both of those are approximately the same size railroad. I will ask Mr. Lauby to be specific on your question, has rail safety improved. I think under Administrator Molitoris there are a number of active rule makings that have been undertaken on train devices, on passenger safety standards, and track safety. If all of those things were concluded, we would see a great deal of progress in rail safety.

    Mr. WOLF. Are you projecting a decrease then?

    Mr. HALL. I would certainly hope so. I hope the work of our Board always will result in a decrease. The area I mentioned earlier that has not been addressed is the subject of fatigue in the railroad industry.

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    Mr. WOLF. You said you thought—I don't want to put words in your mouth—that there will be a decrease if the promulgations took effect. Do you believe we have seen an improvement in rail safety throughout the United States today?

    Mr. HALL. I think with the end of train devices that have been put in place since my term as Chairman, that we have seen an improvement.


    Mr. WOLF. In documentation you provided to the committee, the Board projects a decrease in rail fatalities by the year 2002 even though vehicle miles traveled has been increasing dramatically in the rail industry. In comparison, the Board projects an increase in aviation and highway fatalities during the same time frame. Why are you projecting a decrease in rail fatalities but not a decrease in highway or aviation fatalities?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board's strategic plan plotted the fatality counts in each of the modes from 1992 through 1996, and then computed a linear projection to determine the fatality trend through the year 2002. Growth in miles traveled per mode was computed the same way. Because fatality rates in the rail area decreased in 1994 and 1995, and 1996 stayed relatively even with 1995, the slope of the line projecting future fatalities was influenced by the two year decline. This influence resulted in a trend line showing a decline in railroad fatalities over the next five years. A limited number of accidents with a large number of fatalities could easily change the trend line from a downward slope to an upward one.
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    Mr. WOLF. What is the Safety Board's opinion on the FRA's safety assurance and compliance program? Do you think it is the best way to eliminate safety hazards in the railroad industry? And as you know, FRA has been working with railroad labor and management, to identify safety hazards and develop corrective measures to eliminate hazards before they become problems. Union Pacific developed a safety action plan focusing on the railroad's systematic hazards in rail facilities, rolling stocks equipments and operations in 1995, before the figures that I just read with regard to employee deaths. Do you believe the FRA safety assurance compliance program is the best way to handle this?

    Mr. HALL. Obviously I think the record will speak for itself, Mr. Chairman. I can only speak on the matter personally and not for the Board. While I think partnerships in the safety area are good, I don't think they replace the government oversight responsibility and the responsibility of the government to provide independent accident investigations.

    Mr. WOLF. So you would have a little bit of a concern?

    Mr. HALL. Yes, sir. And we will explore that. If you would like, Mr. Lauby can——

    Mr. WOLF. I would appreciate that.

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    Mr. HALL. He can go into more detail at the Union Pacific hearing on that subject.


    Mr. WOLF. To accommodate the FRA's new collaborative safety initiatives, FRA has shifted some of its resources away from site specific inspections. GAO recently reported these inspections declined by 23 percent from 1994 to 1995, and as a result, a greater number of railroads are not being inspected and FRA inspectors are conducting fewer reviews of the railroads' own inspection efforts. Are you satisfied the FRA's safety assurance and compliance program is not compromising rail safety?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I will let Mr. Lauby get into more detail.

    Mr. LAUBY. Certainly we have seen the safety statistics showing the railroads overall are safer as time goes on. The accident rates have gone down. However, the dilemma right now is the Union Pacific Railroad. With the Union Pacific Railroad, we have seen a spate of accidents in the last year that indicate a problem in the way that railroad is doing business, because the issues we are looking at on the Union Pacific are not difficult issues. They are not things that there aren't solutions to. They are basic fatigue, they are mistakes made by dispatchers, they have to do with alcohol abuse in one case. These are lessons that we have learned over the years, and we would think that a railroad with a reputation like Union pacific would be able to handle these.

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    Regarding the FRA's response, we intend to look at this further at our public hearing scheduled for March. We do want to take a look at the FRA oversight of Union Pacific in particular to see what has gone on. One thing we have seen is there has been lots of actions after the accident has occurred, with SAC and other processes. The FRA has been very responsive to get the situation taken care of, but we are concerned that nobody saw this coming. The problems we have seen on Union Pacific in the 15 accidents are very fundamental problems. We received letters from engineers talking about fatigue problems, we received letters from crew men talking about different problems they have with the management, and we assume FRA has these also. They have inspectors out in the field, and we would have expected that we could have headed this off before we got to this point.


    Mr. WOLF. Following a collision of the MARC train and an Amtrak train near Silver Spring, Maryland in 1996, the Safety Board recommended that FRA amend its regulations to require a recording of train crew members voice communications for the exclusive use in accident investigations. What is the status of that recommendation and does the railroad industry support that?

    Mr. LAUBY. We have very good support of that particular issue from some labor unions. As we speak, the FRA is establishing a group that is going to talk about some of the challenges associated with having voice recorders on the train. Mostly the challenge is the privacy issue.

    Mr. WOLF. But this would only be used exclusively in accident investigations. It is not like they are going to listen to it day in and day out.
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    Mr. LAUBY. That is true and these are some of the concerns that have been stated.

    Mr. WOLF. People were killed in these accidents.

    Mr. LAUBY. It needs to be protected probably in the same way we currently protect cockpit voice recorders and other tools we use for aviation accidents.

    Mr. WOLF. But you already have the procedures for that; I would think it would be a relatively easy thing to do. When did you make the recommendation?

    Mr. LAUBY. The recommendation came, I believe, in July of 1997.

    Mr. WOLF. So it has been 6 months, 7 months.

    Mr. LAUBY. Yes.


    Mr. WOLF. I have one more question. The Board recommended the installation of cab signals, automatic train stop or other similar redundant systems prior to the installation of positive train control on all trains where the commuter innercity passenger rail operates and that is particularly a concern here. We have VRE and MARC and Amtrak in this area. What is status of that recommendation?
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    Mr. LAUBY. That recommendation is basically tied up with positive train separation. We don't have any specific progress to report.

    Mr. WOLF. That has been on the most wanted list for a number of years. How many years has it been on?

    Mr. LAUBY. Since the list was established in 1990, positive train separation has been on that list.

    Mr. WOLF. 8 years.

    Mr. LAUBY. And the recommendations predate it being placed on that list. The MARC recommendation is just the latest of a series of recommendations.

    Mr. WOLF. If the railroads installed these devices, cab signals, automatic trains, all this kind of stuff like that, do you believe that positive control devices would still be needed?

    Mr. LAUBY. The devices that exist now have the ability, once a signal is passed, to stop a train, but at that point, the train is still in the danger area. With a full-fledged positive train separation system, we would know exactly where the train is and be able to prevent it from passing a red signal. Steps would be taken to stop the train before it passed a red signal. With positive train stop and some of the other systems, the train has not always stopped before it crosses the red signal and gets into a danger zone.
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    Mr. WOLF. Four class I freight railroads recently announced that they would contribute $20 million for the development of a positive train control project in Illinois. In the past, the freight rail industry has expressed a number of concerns about the cost and need for positive train control.

    What is your position on this recent development?

    [The information follows:]

    Test programs for positive train separation (PTS) control systems are being conducted on a number of railroads throughout the country. At this time, almost all major railroads are involved in some kind of PTS demonstration project. Positive train control is an issue on the Board's ''Most Wanted'' list and we are encouraged by the work that is being conducted. The Safety Board feels that PTS is a way that they can achieve higher utilization using the existing rail system by running more trains safely over the same track.

    Mr. WOLF. The administration has less than $1 million in its fiscal year 1999 budget for positive train control, which is a significant decrease over prior years. Would you comment on whether or not their proposal is adequate in this area?

    Mr. HALL. We would——

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    Mr. WOLF. Especially, too, since the railroads have announced they are going to put $20 million of their money into a positive train control project in Illinois.

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, we would think that that is inadequate.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Pastor asked questions on aircraft turbulence, so we are going to submit a series of questions on that issue for the record. Are more injuries on aircraft around the world because of turbulence than anything else? Is that a fair statement? I heard that somewhere.

    Mr. HALL. There are probably more injuries, I would not say more fatalities.

    Mr. WOLF. Injuries. Right. Prior to the United incident, did the Safety Board monitor and investigate turbulence-related injuries or accidents.

    Mr. HALL. Prior to that accident we had determined to conduct a cabin safety study and we had been very actively involved in that area. I have been very actively involved personally, Mr. Chairman, because my very first accident when I was a new member of the Board, was the MD–11 upset in Alaska, with the resulting death of one individual and numerous injuries. So we have been very active. There have been a number of workshops and forums with the FAA in attempting to address this issue.
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    Mr. WOLF. Injuries to passengers and flight attendants caused by turbulence make up about 20 percent of all airline accidents; however, until the recent United Airlines incident en route from Tokyo to Hawaii where one passenger was killed, turbulence attracted little attention because it only hurt or fatally injured a few people at a time. Prior to the United Airlines incident, did the Safety Board monitor and investigate turbulence-related injuries or accidents?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board is conducting an investigation into the United Airlines Boeing 747 encounter with turbulence that occurred December 28, 1997, over the Pacific Ocean. One passenger was killed and 14 passengers and two flight attendants sustained serious injuries. Prior to this accident, the Safety Board had investigated 99 in-flight upsets that caused 2 deaths and 117 serious injuries to passengers and crew between 1983 and 1997.

    Mr. WOLF. Is the Safety Board following this issue now? If so, what type of investigation are you conducting? Is it specifically related to the United Airlines Flight 826 fatality, or is it a broader investigation?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board's investigation into the United Airlines Boeing 747 turbulence encounter is continuing. Interviews of seven passengers who were hospitalized in Tokyo found that none of the seven had their seatbelts fastened when the turbulence was encountered. We are continuing to gather information from passengers to determine how many others did not have their seatbelts fastened. We investigate several turbulance incidents each year that involve injuries to occupants, and we are monitoring this situation closely to determine if safety recommendations are warranted.
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    Mr. WOLF. I was surprised when FAA noted that, ''For years, the number one causal factor for injuries to passengers on commercial airlines has been clear air turbulence.'' Are there any systems available or under development that you believe could help pilots detect turbulence and reduce the number of injuries?

    [The information follows:]

    One of the key work areas of the NASA Aviation Safety Program is the development of forward-looking ''lidar,'' a technology that uses laser light and weather radar technology to detect and warn pilots of significant turbulence. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is also heavily involved in this work. Further, NCAR is developing a system that uses commercial aircraft to provide real-time turbulance information to remote ground stations. Information on turbulence from these aircraft should result in better turbulence forecast products. However, according to information provided to the Safety Board by NCAR, the development of an accurate turbulence detection and warning system is probably 3 to 5 years away, if funded.

    Mr. WOLF. I am going to ask you another question, and I think you actually answered this. You are suggesting that there is a new signing system being developed that will—I thought you said that——

    Mr. HALL. I would like to see a new signing system developed, Mr. Chairman.
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    Mr. WOLF. Are there any systems available that are under development that would go along the line of what you want?

    Mr. HALL. I am not aware of any.

    Mr. WOLF. If turbulence is the number one cause of injury, it would seem to me that people should keep their seat belt on. When I am on an aircraft, I keep my seat belt fastened.

    We were going over the Atlantic when I was going to Bosnia in December. One of the people I traveled with was the pilot. Apparently you can listen in, and he said the category of weather that we were in was just next to the worst. It was scary. But I always keep it fastened. And when I fall asleep, what I do is put my belt around the blanket.

    I think you ought to take some leadership on this and see if the airlines or somebody can take a look and see if there is any other——

    Mr. HALL. I would hope that Dr. Loeb's office will come to the Board with a very good investigation. Hopefully, as a result of that investigation, we will have some good recommendations in this area that will provide some leadership and direction.

    Mr. Chairman, one of the things, as you pointed out in your series of questions, while partnerships are good, one of the problems with partnerships is the delay in forming a consensus in order to move forward on some safety issues. That is why we continually attempt to be sure that we are pointing out the direction in which we think things need to be going.
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    Mr. WOLF. Wouldn't it be a potentially easy thing to do—to say, when seated, keep the belt buckled?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, let me say that of course, although the airplanes fly at 30,000 feet, we still have a problem in this country in getting people to buckle up in their automobiles. I can't lay all the blame on the aviation industry. I do think that improved——

    Mr. WOLF. But I think if people knew, I think that when the light goes off——

    Mr. HALL. It sends the wrong signal.

    Mr. WOLF. It sends the wrong signal. Some of them do say, although the light is off and you are free to move around the cabin, we urge you, when you are seated, to——

    Mr. HALL. But it should be a requirement, when you are seated, you have the seat belt on. And that is not presently the case.


    Mr. WOLF. We will see what you come up with there.

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    In the area of air traffic control, the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute has been conducting research into the effects of the controllers' usual shift schedule, which is called the 2–2–1. They have found that this schedule can result in serious sleep loss and fatigue as the weak progresses. Have you or your staff followed the work or do you have any comments on it?

    Mr. HALL. The Safety Board staff has reviewed the three CAMI studies on the air traffic control shift rotation. Although, as you pointed out, a number of shift rotation strategies exist, a common one is the 2–2–1 schedule. Under this schedule, controllers work two afternoon shifts, followed by two morning shifts, and finally a midnight shift in one workweek.

    This scheduling strategy is said to rotate counterclockwise because controllers report for duty at progressively earlier times throughout the week. Such a schedule minimizes the number of midnight shifts each controller works and compresses the workweek, providing more time off between workweeks. On the other hand, such shifts require quick turnarounds with as little as a minimum of 8 hours off between shifts.

    The CAMI studies have found that controllers working 2–2–1 shifts report more fatigue and an average of a 30-minute-per-week sleep loss compared to controllers who work nonrotating shifts. They have found some performance decrements in the noncontroller research subjects on the night shift.

    I might add that the Board is not aware of any accident where a 2–2–1 shift has been identified as a factor to a particular accident. However, I am pleased to see that CAMI is looking at shift rotation, at the subject of fatigue, and looking at how they might develop a program of countermeasures to be used to assist controllers in obviously what is a very pressure-packed and fatiguing operation.
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    Mr. WOLF. Are there countermeasures or different types of shifts which could be implemented to lower the level of fatigue and thereby raise alertness?

    [The information follows:]

    Operator (pilot, mechanic, air traffic controllers, etc.) fatigue and alertness have long been of concern to the Safety Board. Although we have never identified controller fatigue as a cause of an aviation accident, we recognize the huge complexities involved in scheduling air traffic control services around the clock, and we are pleased that CAMI is conducting scientific studies on this topic as part of its program to develop fatigue countermeasures for air traffic controllers. The Safety Board has reviewed studies of air traffic controller shift rotation conducted by the several Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City. Many air traffic controllers work rotating shifts, and one common shift rotation schedule is called the ''two-two-one schedule.'' Under this schedule, controllers work two afternoon shifts, followed by two morning shifts, and finally a midnight shift in one work week. This scheduling strategy is said to rotate counterclockwise because controllers report for duty at progressively earlier times throughout the week.

    It is important to note that no study has determined that any particular alternative to the 2–2–1 schedule leads to increased controller performance. Further, because scheduling practices vary between ATC facilities, policy makers do not know what scheduling strategies are actually in use. The Safety Board understands that CAMI is now conducting a survey that will answer this question.

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    Mr. PASTOR. Just one question on that, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Sure.

    Mr. PASTOR. In earlier testimony, I think we were talking about how there are going to be more flights in the future; when you get to 2025, that we may have—was it 2015?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

    Mr. PASTOR. You mentioned that there will be an increase of inexperienced pilots, the retirements, you have younger pilots coming on. I have also been told that the air traffic controller situation is very similar, that now you are having more experienced controllers retiring or leaving because of fatigue and other reasons, and that we are getting more and more younger controllers with less experience.

    Have you made any studies about that situation with the air traffic controllers as compared with the pilots and the trend that is occurring?

    Mr. HALL. Dr. Ellingstad. Have we looked in that area?

    Dr. ELLINGSTAD. No, we haven't made any studies in that particular area.
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    Mr. PASTOR. Because it goes through the whole system. If you are getting inexperienced pilots just because they are retiring and you are getting inexperienced air traffic controllers, the rudders aren't working, it is all compounding—I think something that I would suggest you might want to look at.

    Mr. HALL. We will certainly take note of that, Congressman, and see if there is a way we can address that subject.

    Mr. PASTOR. Thank you.


    Mr. WOLF. I would appreciate you doing that. Let Mr. Pastor and the committee know.

    In July 1995, you wrote the subcommittee that the FAA had a ''continuing problem in ensuring the adequacy of FAA's inspection and surveillance of airlines.'' You wrote, ''The Safety Board remains concerned that inspections continue to be conducted by personnel with little or no experience in air carrier operations or familiarity with the specific air carriers they oversee.'' The Office of Inspector General issued a recent report with a similar theme.

    Could you tell us how serious the problem is?

    Mr. HALL. Yes, Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask Dr. Loeb to comment on that. But it continues to be a concern of the Board, but it is one that the FAA has been addressing. As I mentioned earlier, they have indicated to us that they are going to issue policy guidance that will help resolve some of these resource conflicts and balance the surveillance work load.
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    Mr. WOLF. When? Do we know? The budget for FAA certification inspection has grown by double-digits for the last few years. So the money has been there. I just wonder, do you know when they are going to do that?

    Mr. HALL. I don't personally know, Mr. Chairman. I am sure Ms. Garvey can provide a response on that, but I don't know.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think there should be more advanced training? I thought of developing a consortium in the Washington, D.C., area for advanced training. Shouldn't there be more advanced training, through the Internet, a course once a week like at 5:30 at the Department of Transportation, something with regard to that? Is there much advanced training?

    Mr. HALL. I think the resources for people and training are the number one challenge for my small agency which is approximately, thanks to you, about 400 people. I am confident it is a constant challenge for the FAA with the number of employees that it has.

    But clearly, with the increases in technology, we have got to have an increased emphasis on training.

    Mr. WOLF. It would seem to me that they could develop a relationship with the consortium, with universities around the country to participate on the training. Or the universities that are up to speed on aviation could offer training through the Internet or by interactive television.
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    Any thoughts you might have, if you could just kind of let the committee know about that, we would appreciate that. And we will ask Ms. Garvey.


    What is your opinion of the National Civil Aviation Review Commission's recommendations regarding aviation safety? And what are the two or three most significant ones, if we could implement a few of them? They talked about a deteriorating relationship between the NTSB and the FAA.

    Mr. HALL. I met with Chairman Mineta and his committee. I did not share the concerns that they expressed in that area. I do think that, in regard to the investments that they indicated that were necessary in infrastructure and training, that the committee had certainly some good recommendations.


    Mr. WOLF. The NCARA was critical of what it called the ''deteriorated'' relationship between the FAA and the NTSB. They said, ''This is not helping to improve aviation safety or the public's perception of it.'' Do you agree that this relationship has deteriorated?

    [The information follows:]

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    The Safety Board is a watch dog agency overseeing the effectiveness of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) carrying out its mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. civil aviation. In this regard, most of the Safety Board's aviation safety recommendations are directed to the FAA. Given the roles of the two agencies, a certain amount of tension is to be expected. However, the Safety Board's relationship with the FAA has always been and continues to be very professional. Although the two agencies may not agree on every issue, we continue to work together toward our common goal of improving the safety of the aviation transportation system.

    Mr. WOLF. In the last year, how often have you met with the FAA Administrator?

    Mr. HALL. I have met with the FAA Administrator as recently as this week. Ms. Garvey and I have probably met since she has been in office over—something between five to seven times.

    Mr. WOLF. That is good, because she has been on about 6 months.

    Mr. HALL. I am very impressed with her. As I pointed out, Mr. Chairman, she requested that we come up and discuss the Most Wanted List with her in December. She has a tremendous challenge. She has in many ways one of the most difficult jobs in this city. Any way I can support and help her, I have committed to her I am going to try and do.


    Mr. WOLF. She does. I know she is reaching out. She is very, very open.
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    I think it is good that you meet with her. I think it is good that Mitre Corporation is coming in and helping and some of the others. The commission suggested that the accident investigation process could be improved by increasing the use of outside experts in the analytical process. What do you feel about that

    Mr. HALL. I could let Dr. Loeb comment on that. Let me say that we routinely use outside experts where we think it is appropriate. It is clear that the taxpayers have benefited in the past by the dependence that the Safety Board has used on the industry to assist us in many of the tests that we have after an investigation.

    Dr. Loeb?

    Dr. LOEB. Mr. Chairman, I think you are aware that our accident investigations use the party process, where all of the parties that have an interest in and can contribute, technically or in other ways, to the investigation are made parties to the investigation, like the airframe manufacturer, the carrier, the air carrier, the engine manufacturer, the unions, ALPA or ATA. So there is outside participation in the fact-gathering portions of our investigations always.

    In addition, whenever we believe that we can get help from researchers, academia, laboratories, any of the various facilities, especially the Federal Government facilities, we make use of them extensively in our accident investigation programs. Of course, TWA 800 is an example.

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    What the commission was suggesting and what some of the parties would like, although not all of them, is the ability to have access to our analysis of the reports that we send to the Board.

    All of the parties get all of the facts that we gather. Before the staff provides its report to the Board for its deliberations, the parties have the opportunity to submit a submission, which would comment on what they believe is an appropriate analysis, to draw conclusions and to reach recommendations.

    Prior to that, we hold what is known as a technical review, and that is where we gather all the parties together, go over all the facts that we have gathered, ask if there is a need for additional fact gathering. In fact, it is one of the things that has contributed to the length of the 427 investigation, because we have used outside consultants and panels of expert witnesses and so forth. The parties asked for a number of additional tests. We continued to do them until they were satisfied we had done everything.

    At this technical review, we determine whether there is any need for additional fact gathering or whether any of our facts are in error. And then the parties have the opportunity to provide a submission to the Board so that when our draft report goes to the Board for its deliberations, they also have in front of them the submissions from the outside world.

    So we think the system works really well.

    Mr. HALL. Let me just add, Mr. Chairman, I am committed to undertaking a review of the party system. We have heard from the Mineta Commission being sure that the industry and representatives of the operators are involved in the analysis process.
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    A task force was chaired by myself and Secretary Slater on family issues. Their concern, of course, is the involvement of the industry in the process. My main interest is that we continue to conduct, as I believe the Board has in the past, for the past 30 years, independent investigations that the American people can put credibility in. If there is a better way that we can do that in the future, we are going to look at it and improve the way we are doing our work.


    Mr. WOLF. I appreciate your openness and nondefensiveness about that. I think that is the best way.

    On the repair stations, we are going to have a series of questions for the record, but just to bring it all together, the GAO said about half of the maintenance work performed—and Mr. Sabo referred a little bit to this—on commercial aircraft owned by U.S. airlines is now outsourced to independent repair stations. They cite four aviation accidents—including ValuJet, as a matter of fact—over the past 3 years involving aircraft maintained by contract repair stations and found a number of deficiencies in FAA safety oversight—obviously, something we should be concerned about, based on your answer that you gave earlier.

    We also understand that U.S. airlines are performing more of this work in other countries. We talked about the Turkish operation, obviously, because they believe it is cheaper and not better.
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    Is there a difference in the FAA's oversight of U.S. repair stations and that work performed by a repair station overseas?

    Mr. HALL. I could only speak from personal experience. I have made some trips overseas for the purpose of trying to understand as much as I can, because I think aviation is such an international operation and the Board's responsibilities are international. I would say that the oversight conducted overseas, in my personal experience, is not as adequate as the oversight that is conducted here.


    Mr. WOLF. According to the GAO, about half of the maintenance work performed on commercial aircraft owned by U.S. airlines is now ''outsourced'' to independent repair stations. They cite four aviation accidents, including ValuJet, over the past 3 years involving aircraft maintained by contract repair stations and found a number of deficiencies in FAA's safety oversight of these stations. Would you comment on the GAO's report?

    [The information follows:]

    GAO Report GAO/RCED–98–21, October 1997, addressed FAA oversight of repair stations operating under Title 14 C.F.R. Part 145. This report addressed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) oversight, documentation of that oversight, and follow-up activities to address deficiencies found in its oversight of domestic and foreign Part 145 repair stations. The report concluded that the FAA was meeting its goal of conducting at least annual surveillance of these repair stations, but that most surveillance is conducted by individual inspectors rather than team inspections, which can more effectively identify deficiencies. The GAO found that follow-up corrective actions were routinely documented following (team) inspections of foreign repair stations, which are re-certified every 2 years, but that follow-up corrective actions were not well documented following inspections of domestic repair stations. It is our understanding that the FAA intends to update the regulations that address the operation of Part 145 repair stations, but this update is overdue. The FAA is also increasing its inspector workforce, which should allow improvement in repair station surveillance in the future. The GAO report notes that FAA inspectors who perform surveillance of repair stations are not given clear and consistent guidance as to what they should document and how that documentation should be conducted.
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    The GAO report does not explore the qualification and training of the inspectors, including their knowledge of audit procedures, which the Safety Board has found lacking in some accident investigations. The report also does not address how inspectors should alter their inspection methodology to obtain meaningful data that might identify trends that might be used to prevent future accidents.

    Based upon the Safety Board's experience in investigating repair stations that were implicated in accident and incident investigations, the GAO findings appear to be accurate and their recommendations seem appropriate, but the Safety Board has not yet conducted its own study of Part 145 repair stations. The Safety Board will begin such a study in FY 1998. In the meantime, we intend to investigate these issues in any accident that might involve the effectiveness of Part 145 repair stations.

    Mr. WOLF. Is this something we should be concerned about?

    [The information follows:]

    If there is adequate oversight to ensure that repair stations are staffed by properly qualified personnel and that they are performing at the level expected by air carriers, then there should be no concern. Recent ValuJet accidents showed that a carrier that outsources its maintenance cannot delegate its responsibility to provide guidance and oversight. More effective surveillance is also needed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), however remote that repair station may be from the parent airline. Additional FAA staffing and improved inspection methods may be needed to ensure that safety is not compromised when maintenance is outsourced.
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    Mr. WOLF. It would seem that you should make some recommendations, because if it is being done better in the United States—and that appears to be what you were telling Mr. Sabo—and perhaps less is being done in one of these countries that we are not sure about, you would almost think the logic would say that we would at least want to do the same inspection outside the country and maybe even more, as in the United States.

    Does the Board have any suggestions, or can you make any recommendations?

    Mr. HALL. We are doing a safety study on that issue and we hope to have recommendations in that area.

    Mr. WOLF. We would like to see them.

    Does the Safety Board have any initiatives under way to encourage improvements in oversight of repair stations?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board is planning to begin a study this year on FAA and Air Carrier Oversight of Part 145 Repair Operations. The Board will conduct site visits of several Part 145 repair shops, FAA FSDO's, and Part 121 airlines. Information concerning FAA's distribution of resources and training will be analyzed. Air carrier maintenance plans will be reviewed, with particular interest in quality control procedures and oversight of outsourced maintenance. The study will also draw on analyses of previous accidents, and if available, an in depth investigation of a Part 145 maintenance-related accident. The study will examine current FAA regulations and procedures for both Part 145 repair stations and Part 121 operations to assess their adequacy. Finally, the study will examine the progress of proposed FAA changes to certification and oversight, such as those suggested in the recent FAA 90 Day Safety Review. Staff will propose recommendations to improve the oversight of Part 145 repair operations to ensure that organizational changes designed to increase efficiency and manpower utilization are balanced with a strong focus on safety.
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    Mr. WOLF. One of the issues that the Board is investigating is FAA's oversight of foreign air carriers to ensure an acceptable level of safety during operations in the United States. Could you elaborate on this issue?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board monitors the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) oversight of foreign airworthiness authorities and foreign air carriers through our investigations of incidents and accidents involving foreign airlines. Additionally, the Safety Board receives considerable information on the effectiveness of FAA's program from our overseas contacts. Moreover, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has begun a safety assessment program for countries that request and pay for such an assessment. The Safety Board supports this initiative and has kept abreast of the developments with the ICAO staff. Lastly, the European Civil Aviation Convention (ECAC), which represents the interests of 36 European countries, has begun a safety assessment program of inspecting foreign airlines operating into Europe. Again, this program has led to some initial findings and positive results. The Safety Board will continue to support and monitor the effectiveness of these assessment programs as they develop, and we will also support further development of the ICAO program on a worldwide basis.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Pastor.

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    Mr. PASTOR. On that issue, will this study you are undertaking also bring consideration to the replacement of parts in terms that the manufacturer may require a certain quality? And in terms of the airplane being repaired in a foreign country, the part that is being replaced, being replaced by one of lower quality, that may end up causing problems in the future. Is that something that is going to be part of your study?

    Dr. LOEB. We will be looking at all aspects of the repair and maintenance operations done both here and, to the extent that we are able to, overseas. That will include any information that we can gather on the use of improper parts and how that process works.

    I would just like to add one point. I don't think it would be fair to say that all overseas repair stations——

    Mr. WOLF. We are not saying that now.

    Dr. LOEB. Because there are clearly some, and especially in some of the Western countries, in which they really do a fine job.

    Mr. WOLF. Sure. We are not saying that.

    Dr. LOEB. But there are certainly places that we would have concerns about. That is one of the reasons for doing the study.

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    Mr. WOLF. I would urge you to do what Mr. Pastor said, because we have a hard enough problem here, let alone over there.

    Was there a similar problem of a repair job—do you remember the aircraft that crashed down off of Central America and your people were involved 2 years ago? It was German passengers mainly. The plane was substituted from there. Was there anything like that involved in that?

    Dr. LOEB. You are talking about off the Dominican Republic, the Bergen Air?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes.

    Dr. LOEB. There was a substitution, but we did not see any evidence at that time that there were any specific improper parts issues.

    Mr. HALL. I do think, Mr. Chairman, it is correct to point out what you said. On these issues, the Government, neither the NTSB nor the FAA, should be defensive. This issue has been raised in articles, in books, as you were mentioning, in novels. We need to take it head on. That is one of the things we are going to do. If there is a problem, I am sure that Ms. Garvey and the men and women of the FAA will be as committed to addressing that as the Safety Board is.


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    Mr. WOLF. I think so. And they should.

    Do you think that we should publish on the Internet—and maybe we now do this—the safety records of airlines operating in foreign countries, such as China and some of those places?

    I was on a plane that went from Moscow to Chechnya. It was really scary. Should we know the safety record before? That was the only one going down, so I didn't have a lot of choice.

    Shouldn't we now publish the safety records, particularly with the number of people that are traveling to China and going off into the far, far regions? Shouldn't we publish that in a way that everyone, if they want to find out, can find out without calling the State Department for a travel advisory?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I don't think the Board has taken a policy or made recommendations in that area, so I could only speak as an individual. My personal feeling is that any information that is paid for with public dollars should be made available to the public, and particularly if it is safety information. And if we collect it, it should be organized in a responsible fashion and disseminated to the general public. We have, as we have demonstrated here, through the Internet the opportunity to do that, and we certainly do that in other areas of American life.

    I don't know about the international treaties or diplomatic nuances that the State Department might have involved, but as a general philosophy I think that if any information is available to any representative of the Government concerning the safety of flights overseas, it should be made available to every citizen in the United States.
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    Mr. WOLF. There were American citizens on the 737 that crashed in Indonesia, were there not?

    Mr. HALL. It is very rare that we don't have American citizens aboard a flight.

    Mr. WOLF. We are going to ask the FAA to do that. I would like you to take a look at that.

    The Pan Am accident, if you will recall, what was available to the FAA was not available to the people that were flying.

    So if you could look at that.

    Mr. HALL. We live in a worldwide community now. My children have both traveled overseas. I never traveled overseas until my country sent me to Vietnam. They have been overseas numerous times.


    Mr. WOLF. Were any of the tail sections for the 737 made in China?

    Mr. HALL. The Silk Air 737? The information that has been presented to me was that they were made in Wichita, Kansas.
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    Mr. WOLF. Did we also look at the Chinese assembly plant? I know we went out to Wichita, but did we——

    Mr. HALL. Have we looked at them? No sir, we have not been to China.

    Mr. WOLF. How many tail parts are made in China?

    Dr. LOEB. I don't know. We would have to get that for the record.

    Mr. WOLF. Could you get it for the record and see because maybe we should be looking at China.

    Dr. LOEB. Sure.

    [The information follows:]

    Boeing representatives have stated that the ''build sheets'' for the Silk Air airplane indicate that none of the components of the horizontal stabilizer or vertical fin were produced in China.


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    Mr. WOLF. The Guam accident, involving Korean Airlines flight 801, will you just briefly tell us the status of the investigation?

    Mr. HALL. Yes. Let me just say two things, Mr. Chairman. I mentioned these to you because I know you are interested.

    On the Guam accident, I had three individuals from our Family Assistance Office. As you know, only eight of the citizens on that plane were U.S. nationals. Our Family Assistance staff went over there, and it was the largest accident we had had since that office was created. They did an outstanding job in providing services and assistance in that U.S. territory to the Korean citizens that had been involved and to the families that had been impacted by that accident.

    I was also very proud, too, of our investigators on the Silk Air accident who missed Christmas at home. One of them who had just gotten married, missed his first Christmas at home to go and respond to this accident. So I am very proud of the dedication of our employees.

    On the Guam accident, the issues, of course, that have been raised are the FAA oversight of the NAV aids and the ATC minimum safe altitude or warning system, or the M cell system, pilot training procedures and oversight of operations by the airline and the Government, the control flight and terrain accident prevention measures for the world's airlines, the advance ground proximity warning system development, installation and operations, and the search and rescue operations.

    As you Know, 228 of the 250 people on board the flight were killed when the plane was conducting an ILS approach with the glide slope out of service when it struck high terrain about 3.3 miles from the airport.
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    Mr. WOLF. Do you have any suggestions as to how this activity could be prevented?

    [The information follows:]

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working with the foreign certification and airworthiness authorities to improve their surveillance and oversight of their operators. The intent of the FAA program is for the foreign authorities to establish an effective infrastructure in order to ensure that all of their operators comply with the standards and recommended practices of the Convention on International Civil Aviation and the requirements for operations in the U.S. It is hoped that, once other governments improve their oversight effectiveness, that foreign operators will comply with ICAO standards and safety will be improved. If the ICAO oversight program is eventually successful, and other countries meet the international standards, the FAA program will no longer be needed.


    Mr. WOLF. Following ValuJet, you issued emergency recommendations on transport of hazardous materials and later followed it with recommendations to the FAA, the Postal Service, and ATA on, ''the need to educate passengers, shippers, and postal customers about the dangers of transporting undeclared hazardous materials aboard aircraft and the need to properly identify and package hazardous materials before offering them for air transportation''. I want to ask you how that has been implemented.
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    Following the ValuJet accident, the FAA tightened its hazardous materials rules. However, we understand the FAA has recently found that airlines and air couriers have an unacceptably low knowledge of the rules for transporting dangerous materials. Almost a fourth of the airlines and 10 percent of the courier companies the FAA inspected last year did not follow the rules and were accepting dangerous cargo, such as pesticides, that can sicken passengers, explosive chemicals, and industrial strength corrosives.

    Is the Board aware of any accidents that were caused by the courier transporting hazardous or explosive materials? Are you investigating any? And how have the regulations been implemented?

    Mr. HALL. I am going to ask Mr. Chipkevich. We have a very small Office of Pipeline and Hazardous Materials which Mr. Chipkevich heads. But thanks to your assistance last year, we were able to add personnel to that office. In addition, of course, the FAA has now added some 127 investigators on hazardous materials that are at work at the FAA since the ValuJet accident.

    I will ask Mr. Chipkevich if he would respond to the question, please.

    Mr. CHIPKEVICH. The ValuJet accident certainly involved undeclared hazardous materials which initiated the fire on board the aircraft and then, without fire detection or suppression systems, did not allow the aircraft to get back down.

    The Safety Board has for some time identified undeclared hazardous materials as a significant problem and a threat to aircraft.
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    Back in 1988, on board an American Airlines flight to Nashville, TN, there was a fire. Fortunately, when that fire got going in the cargo compartment, the airplane was on approach for landing in Nashville and they were able to make a safe landing.

    Mr. HALL. The Board has asked, and it is part of our ValuJet recommendations, for the ATA and the Postal Service to work with the FAA to develop programs to address this issue. Hazardous materials continue to show up in the system, and undeclared hazardous materials aboard aircraft are being carried in the system.

    Mr. WOLF. And you have made recommendations on how to prevent that?

    Mr. HALL. We have asked the ATA and the Postal Service to work with the FAA to come up with regulations to tighten the system.


    Mr. WOLF. The Safety Board has previously been very interested in new technologies to reduce runway incursions such as the ASDE radar. According to testimony offered last fall by the DOT Inspector General, runway incursions are on the rise and the figure is very high. I don't have the exact figure in front me. The FAA has been ineffective in addressing the trend. Have you seen the IG's testimony, and do you agree with his findings?

    Mr. HALL. We certainly have seen the testimony. In fact, I have personally discussed that issue with the Department of Transportation Inspector General in a meeting where we covered a number of concern interests and common issues. This issue is on our Most Wanted List.
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    Of course, our ultimate goal is to provide safer control of the aircraft on the ground. To date, Mr. Chairman, the FAA has issued requirements for air traffic controllers to obtain readbacks from pilots for all hold short clearances. They have completed a one-time examination of all U.S. tower controlled airports to determine the existence of any restrictions to visibility from the control tower to the runways or other movement areas. They have sent letters to all flight instructor refresher clinic sponsors requesting emphasis on the issue. They have sent letters to all flight standard divisions requesting that information on this subject be provided to all public schools. They have published an article on stop, look, and listen.

    I went out to San Francisco recently to look at the recent AMAS installation. When I was at Boeing recently, this is one of the three issues that Boeing has identified that are the top three safety issues in the United States. It was interesting to note that it is not really a safety issue in other parts of the world, which indicates that we need to make some improvements in this area.

    Dr. Loeb may want to add other comments.

    Mr. WOLF. That raises a couple of questions: One, what are one or two things the Congress could do? Two, if all these letters are going out to inform people and yet runway incursions are up, what happened?

    Mr. HALL. Two things. Congress, with the assistance of the Board, had a hearing on this area. The Congress in previous appropriation hearings has put an emphasis on this issue. As you know, the AMAS system had been put on the back burner by the FAA, and, as a result of Congressional attention and emphasis, the program is now back on track and on schedule.
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    Mr. WOLF. Do you know what the runway incursion level is that is up?

    Dr. LOEB. As of this month, there have been 318 this year. In 1993, there were 186; in 1994, there were 204; in 1995, there were 242; and in 1996, there were 287. We have seen about 300 for 1997, 318 for 1997. That is a preliminary number.

    Mr. WOLF. It doesn't seem that it has really helped.

    Dr. LOEB. The answer, as the Chairman said, is in the AMAS and in the ASDE.

    The ASDE 3 radar system was to go out to about 40 airports, give or take. That is upgraded surface radar detection equipment. But the radar, in and of itself, is not sufficient.

    There is a program called AMAS, which is a software system that gives warnings in conjunction with the ASDE 3 radar. This program was to have been in place a while by now.

    Mr. WOLF. When was it to be in place?

    Mr. HALL. 4 years ago.

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    Dr. LOEB. Thank you.

    In 1993 or in 1994, I guess it was. By that time, it should have been in place. Now, what has happened, they have activated the program and there are now 34 ASDE radars out there. Twenty-nine of them have been commissioned; the remainder are on their way.

    Mr. WOLF. Are they working?

    Dr. LOEB. They are. But in the case of AMAS, what we have right now is the one system that the Chairman saw in San Francisco which was the developmental system, and there are none that I know of that are in place and working. There has been one installed in Detroit. St. Louis is getting theirs now. I think Atlanta gets theirs in the early spring. That is a slow process. The funding has now been given, but until those are in place, I think we are going to continue to see problems, because that is the real answer.

    That, by the way, is at 40 of the largest, busiest airports. The next question is, what happens at the other airports? At one point, there was going to be an attempt to develop something for the ASDE 2 radars that are out there. They are disappearing from the scene, and a new program is being developed and we hope there will be a low-cost replacement at the smaller airports.

    Mr. WOLF. Is there an overlap between where the incursions have taken place, the increase, and where the airports are that are going to get it?

    Dr. LOEB. Many of them are taking place at the places where the AMAS sub broke.
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    Mr. HALL. There was a lot of attention earlier in newspaper articles at the Cleveland Airport, and we did send some individuals out there to work with the FAA on that specific airport facility.

    Mr. WOLF. In your opinion, what are one or two things Congress should insist upon to help reduce runway incursions?

    [The information follows:]

    The Safety Board is aware of five recent reports that specifically address the issue of runway incursions. They are the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) RE&D report of 1992, two reports by the Mitre Corporation completed in 1994 and 1996, a report by the Department of Transportation's Inspector General in 1997, and a more recent 1998 report by the FAA's RE&D Subcommittee on Runway Incursions. Of note, all of the recommendations from the 1998 report are common to the previous reports, such as:

    Standardized air carrier cockpit procedures for surface movement; improving airport layout charts; simplify and standardize ground communications and require readback of certain control instructions; expand the development of standard taxi routes; training and education of new pilots on surface operations; conspicuity of aircraft; standards for repainting of airport surfaces; development/installation of low cost ASDE radar; equipment, method of procedure for advising pilots when they are clear of an active runways; and expand human factors research on the cause of runway incursions.

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    Because of the number of common recommendations from the various reports, we believe that the FAA should be strongly encouraged to move forward and implement those recommendations.

    Secondly, the FAA should expedite the development, installation, deployment and commissioning of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) for those airports that currently have the ASDE–3 surface radar system.


    Mr. WOLF. I think we will be able to finish in time.

    English language difficulty has been raised in other hearings. The International Civil Aviation Organization, have they done anything to address the problem? You remember the Colombian airline. Is there anything that has been done, or has the FAA supported any activity in that area?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, as you know, as a result of our participation in the Government of Colombia's investigation of that accident, we issued a recommendation to the FAA that they develop, with air traffic authorities of member states and ICAO, a program to enhance controllers's fluency in common English language phrases and interaction skills sufficient to assist pilots in obtaining situational awareness about critical features of the airspace, particularly in nonradar environments.

    Mr. WOLF. Have there ever been any accidents based on that problem?
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    Dr. LOEB. Totally on the English language?

    Mr. WOLF. Anywhere in the world?

    Dr. LOEB. We have had concerns. Clearly, there were some concerns raised in the Cali, Colombia, accident. Clearly, there were concerns raised in the Avianca accident at JFK. And, in fact, we have had concerns raised in others, Independent Air in the Azores, where there have been misunderstandings. The biggest of them all was Tenerife—where there have been misunderstandings on the part of either the pilots or the controllers, either way.


    Mr. WOLF. Just a couple more questions. The committee has encouraged the FAA to do more research addressing aviation weather, given the high percentage of accidents and incidents which are weather-related. For the past several years, the FAA has proposed reductions in weather research which would have cut out research funding in such areas as de-icing techniques, which Mr. Pastor mentioned; clear air turbulence, again, Mr. Pastor mentioned. Could you comment on whether or not the FAA's fiscal year 1999 budget proposal is adequate in this area?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I would have to look at that and provide an answer for the record. Clearly, it is an area that we will be looking at as part of the Embraer accident. I am pleased to note that we had expressed a concern about the FAA weather folks at the centers. We had several meetings with the FAA expressing our concerns on that particular issue, and we have just received a letter from Mr. Belger telling me that they were going to maintain those weather folks in the centers as FAA employees—the weather folks in the center; I correct myself on that.
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    But it is an issue we will continue to look at, to answer your specific question for the record. I have to do that because I am not familiar with their budget.

    [The information follows:]

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pursuing several programs addressing the aviation weather hazards of in-flight icing, turbulence, ground icing, and convective weather. Many of these programs were initiated as the result of Safety Board investigations and safety recommendations. It is essential that the FAA remain focused and continue the progress on these issues. Consequently, the FAA budget should provide adequate resources to address these and other aviation weather related research issues.


    Mr. WOLF. The Safety Board has requested a $6,500,000 supplemental for 1998. We saw what you said in your request, but can you for the record tell us what specifically the money will be used for?

    Also, your request further notes that, based on claims submitted, approximately $9 million was obligated in fiscal year 1997 for outlay in fiscal year 1998. However, approximately $6 million of the amounts claimed does not meet the intent of Congress for incremental expense incurred or funded by other sources. How will you deal with these? How will these outlays be recovered?

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    Mr. HALL. I would like to ask Mr. Keller, if he could, to respond to that, and then I will follow up.

    Mr. KELLER. As you are aware, the OMB will be submitting shortly the supplemental request for $5.4 million. That is directly related to the Calverton facility that warehouses the TWA 800 wreckage.

    In regards to the $9 million in the outlays projected for 1998, that relates to the public law 105–18 that gave authority to reimburse the States of Florida, Michigan, and New York. Part of that legislation placed a requirement on the Safety Board to do a review of those claims for appropriateness as far as being extraordinary or incremental cost only.

    In that regard, we contracted with the Defense Contract Audit Administration to perform those reviews. They have completed the one for Dade County, Florida for which the claim from Dade County was $3.4 million. The appropriation allowed for a maximum reimbursement of $3.1 million. The report from the DCAA recommended an initial reimbursement of $2.2 million.

    Mr. WOLF. What about Michigan and the New York one?

    Mr. KELLER. Michigan I just received today. I have the draft of that, which I am analyzing.

    Mr. WOLF. What about the New York one?

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    Mr. KELLER. In New York, they are to begin the review, at the request of New York, beginning February 23.

    Mr. WOLF. When that comes in, you will submit that?

    Mr. KELLER. Yes, sir.


    Mr. WOLF. In your request, you note that, ''Most of the additional $6,500,000 in Safety Board outlays for fiscal year 1998 will be offset by a reduction in outlays resulting from the Board's review of claims received from the State of New York and local counties (TWA Flight 800), Dade County, Florida (ValuJet Flight 592) and Monroe County, Michigan (COMAIR Flight 3272) for incremental costs incurred by these localities as a result of these accidents.'' Please explain what you mean by this statement.

    [The information follows:]

    During fiscal year 1997, the Board obligated the full $9 million provided by the Congress to reimburse the State of New York and local counties (TWA Flight 800), Dade County, Florida (ValuJet Flight 592) and Monroe County, Michigan (Comair Flight 3272). As a result of the reviews being conducted by the Defense Contract Audit Agency, anticipated outlays for these claims, which had been projected to be made during fiscal year 1998, will be substantially less.

    Mr. WOLF. Your supplemental request letter further notes that, ''Based on claims submitted, approximately $9,000,000 was obligated in fiscal year 1997 for outlay in fiscal year 1998. . .however, approximately $6,000,000 of the amounts claimed either does not meet the intent of Congress for incremental expenses incurred or has been funded by other sources.'' How will these outlays be recovered?
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    [The information follows:]

    There is no need to recover these outlays, since there had been no actual outlay of funds. There had only been a projected outlay of funds in FY 1998 based on the anticipated timing of the payment of these claims.


    Mr. WOLF. Before I recognize Mr. Pastor for any other questions, I'd like to discuss user fees. The President's budget will request $6 million in new user fees that will be deposited in an account for aviation accident investigations. They will augment NTSB salaries and expenses. How will the fees be collected?

    Mr. HALL. We do not support that position, Mr. Chairman. I am not exactly sure how they think they would do that.

    Mr. KELLER. We do not have a mechanism in place at the current time for such a collection system, and I really don't know what the magnitude of a collection system like that would be.

    Mr. WOLF. Why would the airlines be paying exclusively for this service when NTSB investigates other modes, such as bus and rail?

    Mr. KELLER. That is actually a question that the Chairman himself has asked the OMB.
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    Mr. WOLF. And you have answered the last question about your opinion.

    Mr. Pastor.

    Mr. PASTOR. When Congressman Olver was questioning you on the budget—when you do investigation and the length of the investigation and the conclusion of it, how much was paid by your board—you came back and said the FAA does a share, you do a share, and I think you also said that the airlines themselves do a share.

    Mr. HALL. No, maybe I did not make myself clear. We are responsible for the investigation. We, however, do the investigations, Congressman, under what is called a party process. There will be other government agencies such as TWA, the FRA; depending on the accident, other regulatory agencies will have people that will participate in the accident investigation with us, which is obviously, a cost of the investigation that we would not be aware of.

    For example, Boeing was a party to the TWA accident; TWA was a party to that accident; the airline pilots association was a party to that accident; Pratt and Whitney, they had the power plants on the plane, they were a party to that accident. All of those entities have people they pay that participate in that investigation. If you wanted to find out the total cost of the investigation, you would probably want to collect all of that information in order to say what is the total cost of the investigation.

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    We are aware only of the cost that we have on a particular investigation. All of the tests that we do, of course, are funded through the Board. There are many times that we will do outside tests which we, if an outside test is done, the Board funds.

    Mr. PASTOR. So then in the investigation, just hypothetically, the tank, the gas tank, you investigated it, the manufacturer investigated it; just a hypothetical, they would investigate it——

    Mr. HALL. No. We would all investigate it. We would lead the investigation of it through the party process.

    Dr. LOEB. When an investigation begins of an accident and we send our go team, we have an in investigator in charge. Then we have group chairmen; group chairman, that is a person in charge of structure, a person in charge of systems, a person in charge of human performance, operations, et cetera.

    On each one of those groups, there will be parties with their representatives if they have the technical expertise to help us. So if we are looking at the fire and explosions aspect of the fuel tank, there will be a group that does that, led by a Safety Board investigator, and the parties—Pratt and Whitney or Boeing or Rolls Royce or whoever—would have representatives on it. But they would be doing it under us. We do the planning. It is all one investigation. They are not doing independent, separate investigation; it is one investigation with a number of people helping.

    Mr. HALL. All of this, Congressman, interestingly enough, historically came out of a 1935 accident involving a Senator Codding from New Mexico who was in an aviation accident in Missouri on a Trans World Aviation accident in which it ended up with the regulator, the airline, and then eventually Congress, all conducting an investigation of the same accident. Out of that came the creation by Congress of the responsibility of an independent accident investigation board under the Civil Aviation Bureau, which then in 1967 became the National Transportation Safety Board with independent investigation responsibility in all modes of transportation.
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    Mr. PASTOR. That is interesting, Mr. Chairman. You bring out the frustration I guess some of us expressed in terms that you have this Board that investigates a particular accident, comes out with a finding, and says, these are the causes of the accident and we need to repair a particular part or we need more training. It goes to another agency. That other agency can follow through or not.

    We are talking about, where is this system while we are 4 years behind? When are we going to correct this problem? Eight years from now? It becomes very frustrating, at least for me now, because I have to tell you, I would hope that the objective of all the different agencies would be to make whatever particular travel the safest possible, because we are talking about our citizens, we are talking about our constituents.

    Mr. HALL. Because of the need for a cost-benefit analysis, many times changes recommended by the Board have not gotten through OMB in terms of changing rules and regulations.

    Many times, of course, we have had the industry, unfortunately, as we had recently, tell the public they are going to perform something without a timetable on when it is going to be performed because it is covering a number of airlines' particular aircraft and it obviously is going to take some time to take them out of service and perform it.

    But the responsible thing to do if you are going to make an announcement like that is to say how they are going to do it. I am no advocate for Southwest Airlines, but I think when somebody steps forward in the safety area to address a problem that has been identified by the Board and moves ahead of the Government and ahead of the industry to do the job, the public should be aware of it.
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    Mr. PASTOR. Just one more question. We will go in at 5:00.

    Mr. WOLF. We are okay.

    Mr. PASTOR. The cost-benefit ratio that you talked about just a few minutes ago, would you explain it to me—I am not familiar with it—that OMB requires?

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Keller is more of an expert in that area.

    Mr. KELLER. OMB has a regulation with any new programs where funding is concerned, there has to be a cost-benefit analysis to make a determination or a recommendation as to the viability of funding that program. What they are actually looking for in that regard is offsets: Where can money be found in order to fund the program, and is it viable to do the program? A cost analysis.

    Mr. PASTOR. How would this affect replacement of rudders on 737's, when you are talking about potentially 100 people going down and killing themselves?

    Mr. KELLER. Again, if it is looking at doing replacements versus doing repairs, there is a formula, or a calculation, and it is my personal opinion that it is arbitrary. It is a mathematician's nightmare as far as just trying to place numbers into something to justify it. In the area of safety for us, sometimes those rules just don't apply.
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    Mr. HALL. I guess the most obvious example would be the American Airlines accident that has been referred to, in Nashville, Tennessee, that occurred with a fire in the cargo hold. The Board recommended fire suppression and detection equipment be retrofitted on the aircraft, which would have required a rule change. The FAA did a cost-benefit analysis—which of course is, to bluntly put it, trying to put a value on human life—and determined that it was not cost effective and, therefore, did not move forward.

    Dr. LOEB. However, if the FAA determines that there is a clear airworthiness issue and the airplane is simply unsafe to fly as it is, then they do not need to defend it on a cost-benefit basis and they can do it. And certainly the 737 rudder package could fit that example.

    What happens is, if they come back and believe that there are alternative ways of handling things or if the airplane basically is safe even if there is a fire—which is, by the way, one of the arguments, that the way the class C cargo compartment was designed, that it would never got out and in fact ValuJet would never happen—once it did happen, the FAA was no longer arguing that point, and therefore something was going to be done one way or the other.

    So the cost-benefit goes out the window when there is absolute evidence that the airworthiness of the airplane can be compromised and a catastrophic accident can result.


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    Mr. PASTOR. The rule that says that an airline should not carry hazardous material, it would seem pretty simple to say——

    Dr. LOEB. Air carriers can carry hazardous materials, but there are regulations that speak to the packaging, the quantities, how they are carried on board, and so forth. If you really want to get into that——

    Mr. PASTOR. I just want to know how OMB would look at that or the FAA and come out with a simple rule to say you either have to label them or somebody has to be aware they are on and we shouldn't carry it because you have too many people in there.

    Dr. LOEB. There are rules. They are not simple.

    Dr. PASTOR. They are not simple?

    Dr. LOEB. They are not simple, no, sir.

    The biggest issue is not so much the legal carriage of hazardous materials, it is the carriage of undeclared hazardous materials.

    The accident that Bob Chipkevich referred to earlier, the American Airlines accident in Nashville, was an accident in which materials actually for tie dying—that is not the word—using jeans, stone washing them, making them look old.

    Mr. PASTOR. ''Tie dye'' is more my term.
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    Mr. LOEB. Right. I am showing my age.

    The materials were packaged improperly, were not labeled as hazardous materials, and got together. That is the issue that is really paramount, the undeclared hazardous materials. The FAA has been working on it through educational programs and so forth, but it still remains an issue.

    Mr. HALL. Fireworks were in a personal suitcase that someone put on the plane that went off and caused a fire in the cargo hold while the plane was on the ground. There was no problem. But that is why you need inspectors and you need to have the fire suppression and detection systems for.

    Mr. PASTOR. So undeclared hazardous materials, that is the issue.

    Mr. HALL. Yes, sir.

    Mr. PASTOR. To find a solution, to solve that problem, how would the cost-benefit ratio involve itself?

    Dr. LOEB. In many cases, that has been a problem. That was the problem in the class C cargo compartment.

    Mr. HALL. You would need to probably look at how OMB does it. It would simply say they factor in the cost of not doing the fix versus the fix and they use the cost of a potential loss of life versus the cost of fix in making the determination whether it is cost effective.
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    Mr. LOEB. They calculate the predicted losses against the predicted cost.

    Mr. HALL. Let me also say, Congressman, to add to your education in this area, that once they agreed to do the retrofit, the cost of the actual retrofit came in far less than the cost that had been used for the purposes of the cost-benefit analysis.

    Mr. PASTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Pastor.

    I appreciate your time, Mr. Hall, and your staff. We thank you very much. We will have a series of questions, too, for the record. I do appreciate your commitment to participate in this group to deal with these issues on a continuing basis. It will be an operation long after all of us who serve on this committee are even on this committee. But something like that, I think we do need it.

    If you have any thoughts, on any people, or groups that you think your might contact the Subcommittee Staff with regard to that. We would like to do that.


    Mr. WOLF. Are these areas that there have not been any accidents?
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    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, if I could just make one brief closing comment, I would be remiss if I did not thank you and the committee for your support but also to thank the excellent staff that serves this committee and the cooperation and assistance that we have received on an ongoing basis from your staff. They stay very knowledgeable and very aware of our accident investigations and are very actively interested in the process of the Board. We really appreciate that. We are very proud that we receive oversight from this committee.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you very much.

    If there are no questions, the hearing is adjourned.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

Tuesday, March 10, 1998.




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Opening Remarks

    Mr. WOLF. Good morning. The subcommittee will come to order.

    This morning, we will receive testimony on the $9.7 billion request of the Federal Aviation Administration for fiscal year 1999.

    We welcome the FAA administrator, Ms. Jane Garvey, before the subcommittee. Ms. Garvey testified last year before the subcommittee, then as Acting Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. She had a much easier job then. [Laughter].

    I want to extend a warm welcome to Ms. Garvey, and I want everyone to know that any criticism of the FAA this morning is not criticism of Jane Garvey. She has been at the agency only a little over 6 months now. I see many good changes taking place at the FAA, and I am hopeful that she has the skills and leadership and ability to make a real difference. However, the longer you stay, the problems of the FAA will become yours. But you have been there for such a short time and you have done a number of, I think, very positive things.

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    I do want to set the stage for this hearing by stating publicly that I am concerned about the continuing problems I see at the agency. The FAA performs some of the most critical of all services provided by the Federal Government. They help ensure the public safety by inspecting and certifying aircraft, airlines and pilots. They maintain safe separation and distances between aircraft as they fly over our country and provide detailed instructions to help pilots take off and land safely. They work internationally to promote safe aviation practices even in the poorest nations of the world. They provide systems which help pilots and airline dispatchers see and avoid hazardous weather. They conduct research in such areas as cabin fire safety in order to find new and better ways to protect the public.

    Yet the agency has historically been beset with huge internal problems of culture, management and labor relations, which I believe undermine the public safety and cause fear and anxiety in some air travelers.

    The former DOT inspector general said, quote, ''there was a troubling culture at the agency where managers are not held accountable for their errors.''

    The GAO said that the FAA's culture is focused more on its own bureaucratic interests than on furthering the agency's mission.

    And, in last year's report, the Appropriations Committee decried an FAA culture which is, and I quote, ''secretive, rather than open; self-interested, rather than public-spirited; and highly resistent to change.''

    Over the past year, serious planning and management problems became evident in two of the FAA's largest acquisition programs, STARS and GPS. The agency, even by its own admission, got a very late start in analyzing the year 2000 problem. Air traffic controllers are restive about delays in implementing a new classification and compensation system. The maintenance worker's union says FAA is only staffing at 70 percent of what is required. Courts have recently thrown out both FAA's over-flight user fee plan and the entire contract tower program, which creates chaos in the agency's operating budget.
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    Now you might think the problems are caused by severe financial pressure, and there are some who want us all to believe that, and certainly there are budget pressures within individual programs and activities at the agency. Yet, overall, the FAA received a hefty 9.5 percent budget increase in fiscal year 1998; and they request a 7 percent increase for fiscal year 1999. This is well beyond the increases in air traffic measures, which are going up on the order of 1 to 3 percent.

    It seems to me the agency has serious deficiencies not in overall funding, but resource management and planning; and, although we might disagree about the funding levels for a specific program, it is hard to believe that, overall, the agency doesn't have enough money.

    So I want to explore these serious issues today with the new FAA Administrator and hope she can provide evidence the agency is more focused, organized, and will hold people more accountable than has been the case in the past.

    As we said in last year's report, the committee believes it is imperative for the new administrator to place a high priority in gaining effective control of the agency and restoring morale, openness, and overall credibility to the Congress and to the traveling public.

    I might also say one other thing. It is my own growing feeling that perhaps it may be a good idea to have an independent FAA, one outside of the Department of Transportation. Now I know you have a good relationship with Secretary Slater, and I think that is an advantage, but there have been times where that has not been the case. The fact that the year 2000 thing, under the previous secretary, went on for such a long period of time and was not focused on is an indication that maybe it would be better to have a strong administrator, like yourself, with an 8- to 10-year term, if you will, totally independent, where that person could be the advocate and not have to go through the political process.
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    Having said that, let me just recognize Mr. Sabo for any comments that he might make.

    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and welcome, Ms. Garvey.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    Mr. SABO. We appreciate having you appear before us. We congratulate you on accepting the challenge of your current position. Clearly, FAA has had lots of problems, and it continues to have problems. We are confident that you are going to be able to deal with them, and we look forward to hearing from you.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you very much.

FAA Opening Remarks

    Mr. WOLF. You may proceed as you see fit. Your full statement will appear in the record, but you can read the full statement or summarize.

    Ms. GARVEY. I would like to summarize if I could, Mr. Chairman; and, first of all, thank you very much for welcoming me today.

    I want to say at the outset that I take very seriously the issues that you have raised in your opening statement and members of this committee have raised to me individually; and I hope that, through the course of this morning's discussion, I can answer some of the questions that have been raised in your statement.
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    I would, however, like to begin by discussing the FAA's 1999 budget request in the context of three areas, and that is safety, security, and system efficiency. These are the areas where I have directed the agency to focus its attention. These are the areas I think the American people will judge us by: Is the system safe? Is it secure? Is it efficient?


    Safety is clearly our number one priority. It is the Department's priority. It is, in many ways, the heart and soul of the FAA's mission. When I first arrived at the agency, I asked how many safety recommendations we had on our plate. I was told we had about a thousand, and that even if you eliminate the duplication, we have a number around 450. That is way too many for any agency or any organization to manage effectively. So over the last several months, we have spent a good deal of time developing and shaping a safety strategic plan. We are in the final process of developing what I believe is a very focused, a very doable agenda. An agenda based on safety data, and I think that is very important.

    One of the fundamental principles, as we begin to talk about the agenda, is we had to target our resources, where we could make the greatest difference, where we had the greatest potential benefits; and we really are looking at quantifiable safety data in order to shape that agenda.

    We also know that part of implementing an agenda effectively is also recognizing that these are very complicated and very difficult issues. They will not be solved by government acting in isolation. In the last 6 months I have met with stakeholders. I have met with partners, and I have asked them to join us in an alliance, in a partnership to reduce the accident rate. We know we can't do it alone. We know that industry can't do it alone.
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    I want to be very clear, though, when I say that. It doesn't mean we are giving up our oversight responsibilities. We take that seriously. We must take that seriously. It does mean, however, though, there is a great deal that can be gained from collaboration, and I want to give two very quick examples.

    Recently, just about 6 weeks ago, the Secretary and I joined members of Air Transport Association (ATA) in announcing that airlines were voluntarily installing enhanced ground proximity warning systems on aircraft. We are proceeding with a rule because we know from the safety data that kind of equipment makes a difference. But even though we are proceeding with the rule, industry said they are going to step forward; they are going to move forward on this action. A second example is the work we have been doing with the General Aviation (GA) community over the last several months, again, working together, focusing on a safety agenda that works for them and for us. I think those kinds of partnerships really represent good news for the American people, and the American people deserve no less.


    A second priority for us is improving aviation security. The White House Commission gave us, a couple years ago, a very comprehensive blueprint for enhancing security; and, in fact, several improvements have already been made. They include the installation of significantly improved security equipment as well as enhanced procedures and methods for implementing the equipment throughout the system.

    We got a very aggressive implementation timetable. I have stopped at airports and talked with airport directors about how it is working, about improvements they would like to see. By September 1, 1998, we will have more than 500 pieces of explosive detection equipment at U.S. airports. Again, I think that is good news.
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    Another priority, and the final priority for us, is system efficiency. A significant amount of work has been done by the FAA and industry to modernize the air traffic control system. In 1997, for example, thanks to the strong financial support from this committee, the FAA installed more than 1,500 pieces of new equipment—ranging from very basic equipment, such as radios and distance measuring equipment, to systems that are much more complex, such as the voice switching and control system and the long-range enroute radar. We are in the midst of major acquisitions to replace computer systems at all enroute and airport terminal facilities. In addition to upgrading existing systems, these computers will provide the platforms for future enhancement; and I think that is very important.

    When we talk about STARS and DSR, this really is the platform for the automation tools of the future. It is important we get them in place. We know, and I know this committee knows, the issue of modernization is one of the greatest challenges that we face.

    As I have said, a significant amount of work has already been done, including the development of an architecture, which I think is a really significant piece of work. But, really, to build on this work, I asked a group of aviation experts, including, by the way, the unions, because I think it is very, very important, as we talk about modernization and as we talk about the equipment of the future, that we have the unions at the table with us. They are the ones who will be operating the equipment, the ones who will be using it. I asked the task force to really focus on two areas. First of all, take a good look at the architecture, and that is really what the system will look like. But, secondly and perhaps, in some ways, even more important, examine the when and the how of implementing the system: When should we do it; and how should we do it? And I was very pleased that, over the last couple months, we are seeing a growing consensus among the entire aviation community.
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    Again, we have met with general aviation, with the commercial airline industry as well as the unions; and RTCA is coming forward and has come forward with free flight phase-I where there really does seem to be a growing consensus. This really is a system of automation and decision-making tools we can introduce into the system incrementally. I think that is very important. Very often, the FAA has focused on a long-term vision—not just the FAA, very often this happens in the government—and you lose sight of what we can put in place now and what we can do incrementally. RTCA is giving us some very good direction in that area.

    I think what is really key to the consensus is the acknowledgment that the new system is more than acquiring new technology. One of the messages we heard loud and clear at the off site that the task force was engaged in—we heard this from the unions in particular. We really need to train our work forces in a new way. We have to think about the human factors. We have to think about how people will be trained to use the tools for the future. I think all of that is getting folded into our modernization plan as we move forward, and those are very important issues.


    With respect to the Y2K issue, the question on everyone's mind is: Will the FAA meet the challenges as the countdown to January 1st, 2000, continues? My answer is, ''Yes, we will meet the challenges.'' Last month, I appointed a new FAA Y2K manager. I think he is terrific. His name is Ray Long. He has a very dedicated staff working with him. We have a business partner in Coopers and Lybrand, and they are at the table with us. We have a command center at Tysons Corner where people are working round the clock on just this issue. We developed time lines and benchmarks to ensure our computer systems are Y2K compliant before the turn of the century. We worked with the Inspector General (IG) to move up the dates.
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    Mr. Chairman, I thought your comments last week that November was not an acceptable date is one we agree with. We have moved it up to June. But our Secretary has asked us to examine the dates even further, take another look at them and see if we can move them up more. I want to be realistic as I lay out the agenda. I know we can meet the June deadline; and we will look for ways to move it up even further.

    I know this is a tough issue. Because at the same time we are making all of the systems Y2K compliance we are also bringing on new technologies. So we are moving in many different directions, and I know it is going to take commitment. I know it is going to take vigilance. But I believe we are on the right track, and I believe we have brought the right resources to bear.


    Mr. Chairman, let me say I believe the President's budget request allows us to move ahead on each of the priorities I have mentioned. It gives us an increase in Operations, which recognizes the need to hire more controllers, maintenance technicians, safety inspectors and certification personnel. It includes a request for grants-in-aid for airports at $1.7 billion, recognizing the capital needs of our Nation's airports. It includes an increase in the facilities and equipment appropriation, allowing us to move ahead on modernization. It contains a strong request for research, engineering and development, in providing us the tools to better explore and understand the challenges associated with deploying major communications, navigations and surveillance systems on a much broader scale. So I think it is a good, strong, sound budget.
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    Let me just add one personal note in closing. I had a wonderful meeting a few weeks ago with the former FAA administrators. One of them said at the time that the greatest gift you can receive is the gift of responsibility. I know how very responsible this position is and how awesome those responsibilities seem at times. I am prepared to meet the challenges. I appreciate very deeply the kind of commitment and support I have received from this committee, and from other Members of Congress as well, and from members of the industry. And while there are days when I am awed by the challenges, I am ready to take them on.

    Thank you very much.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Ms. Garvey.

    [The prepared statement and biography of Jane Garvey follows:]
    Offset folios 615 to 621 insert here

    Mr. WOLF. We were hoping to put together a group, and we have asked the Secretary about this. We have asked Jim Hall and the IG, a group located in DOT made up of representatives of the Safety Board, of the GAO, and John Anderson has agreed, the IG, and Ken Mead has agreed, and NASA and perhaps several other groups, to develop an alternative group you could go to, the public could go to, the Congress could go to, to develop a measurement as to the safety and as to procurement. What are your feelings about that?

    Ms. GARVEY. We would, Mr. Chairman, embrace that enthusiastically. I think in some ways we have done it informally with all of the entities you have mentioned. I spent a great deal of time with Mr. Mead and with Mr. Hall, and I met with Dan Goldin at NASA to talk about ways we could work together. But I think formalizing that is a very good idea, and I think it would be very helpful to us.
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    The whole issue of safety metrics is an interesting one and a difficult one. We have had some wonderful experts from academia. There is a fellow by the name of Arnie Bernet from MIT in Boston who has worked with us. There are some real challenges there. So I think having that kind of expertise, a group we could talk with about our safety agenda, would be extraordinarily helpful. We look forward to that.


    Mr. WOLF. The administration's budget proposes to, over the next 5 years, finance a majority of the FAA's operations through new user fees. However, the budget does not scale down the aviation taxes proportionately, resulting in total new revenues over the next 5 years of about $6 billion. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Archer has called this proposal ''an old-fashioned tax hike'', and he opposes it. Can you explain why the administration proposes to collect this additional revenue?

    Ms. GARVEY. First of all, let me say we are aware of those concerns, and we have heard those. Yesterday, I met with OMB to talk about this issue. We know we need to work closely with Congress on this. I think the way we envisioned it is phasing in the user fees and phasing out, if you will, the taxes. But we know we have to work closely with you, and we are not there yet. We have work to do in that area. OMB was very supportive yesterday about trying to figure out a way to work with us on this issue. So phasing out, though, I think is really the key.

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    Mr. WOLF. A little over a year ago, Coopers and Lybrand, who you said you are working closely with on the year 2000 program, submitted their final assessment on FAA's long-term financial picture, as required by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996. Coopers said that a status quo environment was unacceptable at the FAA because there were significant operational savings which the agency should focus on.

    They said: ''There are no significant productivity improvements in FAA's 6-year numbers; savings from procurement and personnel reform are not assumed; no savings are assumed from reduction of services or products; and no significant administrative savings are assumed.''

    Last year, in our committee report, we called on the FAA to address this by ''aggressively eliminating inefficiencies and waste, by streamlining and consolidating its organizational structure, and by improving productivity.'' What are you doing to address the operational efficiencies and cost savings recommended in the Coopers report?

    Ms. GARVEY. The FAA has taken a number of steps in response to the Coopers report.

    I think, for example, some of the efficiencies we have gained from the changes in the Airway Facilities—the AF branch of the FAA, I think, has been very helpful. We have been able to derive some cost avoidance from the contract tower program that we have. I had a good meeting on that the other day.

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    There are other areas, I think, though, in productivity, where we are talking to the unions, both through negotiations and more informally with the unions, beyond the negotiating table. I think there are some more we could do in the area of productivity to really get some of the benefits. We have implemented a number of the recommendations from Coopers.

    Mr. WOLF. Regarding productivity, Coopers said ''we were unable to find any significant, widespread productivity improvements between fiscal years 1997 and 2002 that were included in FAA's estimates . . . The FAA would benefit from a mandate created by the administrator that addresses specific expectations''. Have you issued such a mandate to establish specific productivity improvements during your tenure?

    [The information follows:]

    The agency has been directing its attention to the development of a focused safety agenda, a comprehensive plan for security enhancements, and laying out a clear road map for systems modernization.

    It is important, however, to recognize that the FAA has already accomplished a lot in terms of downsizing, contracting out, and restructing. Among other actions, the agency has decreased its FTE by almost 6,000 for total cost avoidance of over $1 billion and these decreases have been accomplished while the safety work forces have been growing.


    Mr. WOLF. The FAA used to have a Productivity Working Group which, by December of 1996, had identified as the number one area for potential improvement, the consolidation and elimination of regional offices. You know the concern of the Federal Highway Administration, who just came up last week to tell us their plans.
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    The head of that group said the following about this in last year's hearing: ''I have worked for the FAA for 24 years now and for all of those years it has been clear to me that there are enormous efficiencies that we could gain through looking at our regional structure. That is going to be presented to the new administrator, and I would hope that [she] and the other folks on the Hill would help us make the right decisions in the next year or so.''

    The Coast Guard has closed two regional offices and, as I mentioned last week, the new administrator of Federal Highways came up to say what their proposal is.

    Do you have a proposal regarding consolidation of the regional offices?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me say, I know of your interest in particular on the issue of regional consolidation. I will tell you very honestly, in the first 6 months I have really focused my attention on the safety agenda, modernization and the issue of security. I know the issue of regional consolidation is something, though, I need to come to grips with and plan to do that within the next several months. I have talked to people in the regions about this as well as some folks in headquarters. I know there are a number of proposals on the table, and I would like to look at all of them. But I will make that commitment to you that that will be certainly among the top priorities for me in the upcoming months.

    Mr. WOLF. You might want to talk to the Coast Guard, and you might want to talk to——

    Ms. GARVEY. That is a good suggestion.
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    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. The Federal Highway Administration to see what they are doing. I think it can be done in a way that is very compassionate and sensitive to the employees, and without having RIFs and major changes, to signal that over the next couple years. But, if you can do that, I would appreciate that.


    Mr. WOLF. Is the FAA planning any consolidation of its field offices in the next few years, such as Airport District Offices or Flight Standards District Offices?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA is just beginning to formulate ideas about the various ways we might be able to increase administrative and operational efficiencies through organizational restructuring at headquarters and in the field. However, recent consolidations included combining 77 Airway Facility Sector Offices into 33 System Management Offices, which was completed in 1996; and final implementation of the planned conversion and consolidation of Flight Service Stations into Automated Flight Service Stations, which were completed in 1997.


    Mr. WOLF. Coopers said a ''focused re-engineering effort'' supported at the highest level of the FAA could have a ''monumental impact'' on the delivery of services. On a broader level than just consolidation of field offices, do you have a plan for achieving savings through ''focused reengineering'' of the agency, as Coopers & Lybrand suggested?
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    [The information follows:]

    As part of its annual budget formulation and execution processes, the FAA continually considers possible productivity savings to its budget, including those put forth by Coopers & Lybrand.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.


    Mr. SABO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    How confident are you of your ability to address the year 2000 problem?

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, let me say I am confident that we will meet it. I think we have put the resources that we need to it.

    I think it was a very significant step to take Ray Long and put him in that key management position. He sits on our management board. I see him every week. He reports every week as to what our schedule is. We have some very clear benchmarks, deliverables. Our next major deliverable is September 30, when all the systems need to be renovated.

    Mr. SABO. Of this year.

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    Ms. GARVEY. Of this year. But, even before that time, I have asked Mr. Long to report back to the management board on some benchmarks between now and September 30. So we are keeping very close track of our progress.

    We have a dedicated team. This is all they are doing. They have come from around the country are working only on Y2K. Every line of business has someone who is responsible for getting the information to Ray, and he really has a lot of authority to act on my behalf and on making sure he gets it done. So I think we have got the resources.

    As the Chairman mentioned, we got a late start, and that is always the concern. But I think we have an aggressive schedule. We are getting enormous help from the IG's office and the General Accounting Office (GAO) in sort of working with us and flagging some issues they think are important. That has been very helpful.

    So while I would love to say there is no risk to this, I guess there is nothing in life where you can say that. I do think we have the resources we need, and we brought them to bear. All of us, collectively, as a management team and agency, are very focused on it. It is very visible. We know that if we don't succeed, it is going to be quite evident we haven't succeeded. So, we want to work very hard on it.


    Mr. SABO. Do you also develop contingency plans, like let's hope for the best but——

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    Ms. GARVEY. That is an excellent question, because I have been asked that by GAO. We do have contingency plans, and I will tell you that GAO has raised questions about them, whether they are sufficient enough.

    One of the points they made is: This is such an integrated system and sometimes some of the contingency plans we have may be more system dependent as opposed to really integrated. So we have told him—and that is one of the issues that Mr. Long is working on—we are taking a very hard look at our contingency plans to make sure they will be adequate.


    Mr. SABO. One other question, Mr. Chairman, at this point.

    Historically, when I have looked at projections by FAA for its need for air traffic controllers, I have never had great confidence in the planning process that produced the numbers—sometimes too low, sometimes too high. Sometimes the agency has seemed oblivious to the fact that it had lots of controllers are nearing retirement.

    Ms. GARVEY. I would say I have a good degree of confidence in the numbers. They are based on staffing plans that people have worked on in the agency. They are based on discussions with the union as well. I think it is something that we need to constantly evaluate, and I think it is a fair question. We will—you know, we have a target of hiring about 800 additional controllers this year. We are doing it sort of systematically by quarter. But I think it is a fair question, and we need to probably constantly look at that.
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    In fact, I think the issue of staffing is one we need to constantly reevaluate. We are not doing it just with the air traffic controllers but airways facilities as well. I think, again, as we start thinking about what the work force needs to look like as we move forward—new training, different skills—that all affects the numbers we arrive at as well. We will continue to look at that issue of staffing.

    Mr. SABO. Thank you.

    Mr. WOLF. Before I recognize Mr. Tiahrt, Mr. Callahan wanted to be recognized. Mr. Callahan.


    Mr. CALLAHAN. I just have a short statement. Thank you. I have another committee hearing so I have to go to. I just want to fire a shot over the bow; and, hopefully, Madam Administrator, you will be riding on our ship, shooting at another ship.

    My concern is that the airline predator pricing problem is growing more and more severe. The unfairness of the disparities of the rates for the same mileage traveled from an airport that only has one airline is getting out of control. I don't want to go back to price controls, but, unless something is done, we are going to have to, with the help of your office, put some controls on these predator pricings.

    This is a serious problem, and your distribution of the monies revolves around the number of landings. So an airline will go into Pensacola, Florida, for example, and cut the rates down 25 percent of Mobile, Alabama. Yet, more landings compound the problem.
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    So, just to tell you there is a very serious concern in Congress about the unfairness of the rate structure of the airlines in captive areas such as Mobile, Alabama, has got to be corrected. You can respond later. I just wanted to say that before I went to my other meeting.

    But, it is a very serious problem that a lot of Members of Congress are interested in. We have to find some relief for these captive markets.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Congressman. I will mention that the Secretary, I know, has heard this from members of the committee and also on the Senate side as well. I know they are working very hard on a competition policy that will, I hope, address many of the issues you have raised. I know the Secretary raised this with all of us earlier this week as something he is concerned about and heard a great deal about.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Mr. CALLAHAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Tiahrt.


    Mr. TIAHRT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Ms. Garvey. I was pleased to hear you were in the air capital of the world, Wichita, Kansas.
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    Ms. GARVEY. I had a terrific visit.

    Mr. TIAHRT. I am sorry I was not able to be there with you.

    Ms. GARVEY. You had a wonderful staff representative.

    Mr. TIAHRT. We are very proud of the general aviation industry with Boeing, Beech, Cessna and Learjet all there. Boeing now considers them part of the general aviation manufacturers with their new business jet, so we have a very well-rounded community when it comes to—as far as aircraft is concerned, I should say.

    I got a lot of positive reports from your visit, and they feel like you are probably the person to get the job done with the FAA, and I want you to know my office and myself would like to help you accomplish those purposes. I have some concerns and maybe some philosophical differences, and I am going to submit some questions for the record, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. TIAHRT. I first want to talk to you about user fees. In your budget it looks like by 2003 you would like to fully be funded by user fees, and I think this would be devastating to general aviation. Some of the people who fly—and we have a lot in Wichita, and many of them are marginally able to afford to fly—and if you have a landing fee of a hundred dollars, it will take a lot of people out of general aviation, and I don't think that is good for the industry.
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    I think that most people in aviation would rather see something in a fuel tax, rather than a user fee, and I wish the administration would strongly consider that. I am afraid we would move so many people out of the market it would slow down the progress we are making in general aviation, and so I hope you would consider that.

    The other thing that I would like to talk to you about is the airport improvements program. I see from your book here that you have increased the amount of money there, and I am very pleased with that. Congress increased the amount of money by 70 percent last year, and you matched that this year. I think that is good progress, and we need to, at some time, think about another boost.

    I have been to small airports in Kansas where the runway is very rough. I mean, it would be difficult to ride a motorcycle down it because you couldn't keep your balance; and when you land a tail dragger, I am sure the people are sweating. You know how difficult it is to land a tail dragger.

    I think there are a lot of small and medium airports neglected over the years, and many of the communities are now trading internationally through NAFTA and GATT. We have open markets overseas.

    In Kingman, Kansas, for example, there is a gentleman who trades with Asia; and he both brings products in and sells products to Asia. Some of the people who are involved in these larger corporations he does business with try to land their business jets on this rough runway. Because there is so much loose materials, he can't get them to come in; and it is actually hampering him from creating jobs in these rural communities.
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    So I think we need to think about that, as far as a stronger economy in rural areas, especially. So I would like to see us take a hard look at increasing the amount of funding available for the airport improvement program, and I want to be more specific to Kansas.

    Hays, Kansas is not in my district. It is in Jerry Moran's district, and he sits on the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee, so you will probably get pressure from more than one person.

    But last year we wanted to get an ILS into Hays. Mr. Valentine told me by the end of 1998 the WAAS system would be fully in place, but it is not in place now. I was told it was supposed to be in place, and it was a matter of one by one designing the approaches for each airport in the Nation, and Hays was going to be up higher in the priority. So I was hoping you could give me the same guarantee by the end of this year, we would be able to get an ILS on line in Hays, Kansas.

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me check. I don't want to make a commitment until I understand the issue more. But I certainly would like to try to honor that.

    Mr. TIAHRT. I would like you to comment on user fees. I am very much concerned about that because, by the year 2000, your budget is around $10 billion, and that is a big number on user fees, and I would like your comments on the Airport Improvement Program, and then please help me with Hays.

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me start with the airport improvement program. Because the issues you raised are the same issues we have been talking about internally. We are discussing the reauthorization of the AIP program, and we spent a couple hours yesterday talking about how do we deal with the smaller airports.
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    It is becoming clearer and clearer, as you think about a system, the small- and medium-sized airports are becoming increasingly important. We were looking at ways we might be able to boost the money that is needed or could go to the smaller and regional airports. So we are very much aware of what—we are looking at a couple options, and we would be happy to sit down and talk with your staff about some of the options we are looking at.

    The issue of user fees is one I heard a great deal about. In fact, I heard a lot when I was in Wichita, and I know the concerns the general aviation community has. We have tried to structure in a way that keeps the general aviation community out of the user fee structure because of the issue that you have raised, the impact that it would have, and that is the way our proposal would be. I know that, in talking with Ed Bolen and others, that is still a source of concern, and I respect that and understand that. We are going to try to work with members of the industry to deal with it. But I think the way our proposal is set up now, we do respect and honor the sort of distinct contribution and issues that GA has, and I expect we will stay that course.

    Mr. TIAHRT. Okay. Thank you.

    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Thank you.

    Mr. Olver.

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    Mr. OLVER. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Administrator Garvey, glad to have you here. Among your visits to various places, Wichita and others, I hope you will put a visit into Amherst, Massachusetts, sometime.

    Ms. GARVEY. My family would be delighted if I would do that.

    Mr. OLVER. I actually have no questions right now. I will listen for a while and see where we get to.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Packard.

    Mr. PACKARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Ms. GARVEY. Good morning. Nice to see you again.

    Mr. PACKARD. Let me pursue the user fee.

    The National Civil Aviation Review Commission stated the FAA should be partially funded by general tax revenue, in part because the aviation system is beneficial to all society and not just to users. Yet the administration proposes to replace the general fund contributions to aviation with $1.7 billion in new aviation taxes, beginning in the year 2000. Generally speaking, which segments of aviation do you plan on taxing and what nonaviation programs would receive the diverted funds?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Packard, some of the details will be flushed out more in our reauthorization, but let me talk about the principles and the approach we are taking.

    We read the NCARC proposal very, very carefully. We recognize their distinction with the GA community, and we are trying to honor that as we work through our proposal for reauthorization as well.

    Secondly, as we are thinking about user fees, we are very focused on the air traffic control side. We think that is an area where, as we begin to think about and as we are developing our cost accounting system, we are really targeting on the air traffic control piece because those are services we think we can get our arms around a little easier. So we are really focusing on that piece.

    The NCARC proposal calls for a performance-based organization that would be funded by user fees with a sort of separate budget treatment, and that is the sort of model that we are looking at as we are moving forward with our proposal.


    Mr. PACKARD. Thank you.

    What is the Transportation Fund for America?

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    Ms. GARVEY. That is a concept that has been proposed in the President's budget. It is really a concept that could be used for—could be a vehicle, if you will, for revenues from user fees, a place to deposit those additional revenues. I, frankly, was encouraged to see that in the President's budget because I think it may suggest a way that we might be able to use user fees or to use additional resources that could be collected.

    I think it is sort of a recognition—and I know that John Ball is here, and I think it is a recognition from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) we need to think differently as we are looking at some of the trust funds like aviation or the surface side as well.


    Mr. PACKARD. I think perhaps my greatest concern—and I had a series of questions, but it has been asked—relative to the computer—the year 2000 thing. That is of great concern I think to this committee and, of course, I think to the country, and certainly I am sure it is to you.

    IBM has recommended against relying on the existing system. They feel that the lack of parts generation—it is old equipment—lack of test tools and available skills to analyze, change existing microcodes were referenced in their concerns. If the original equipment manufacturer, IBM, doesn't really recommend the system to be used for FAA's application, how does the FAA plan to guarantee the systems will work in the next century?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is an honest concern; and it is one, by the way, that we have talked about a lot with IBM. I have actually met and spoken with the vice president several times on this very issue, and they raise a very important question.
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    They say, with the host computer, the age and the sustainability is such that we are not sure, as you have suggested, that we can fix it. So we are really taking a two-pronged approach, and I think this is important. It is an approach IBM supports, the IG supports. It is an approach the GA supports. So it is not a decision we made in isolation. It was well thought out.

    It is a two-pronged approach. First of all, we are going to aggressively try to replace the host computer by the year 2000. So we have an aggressive replacement schedule. Secondly, we are also going to renovate what we have in place. It is really a belt and suspenders, as Ken Mead likes to describe it. Because it really says, if we are not successful in getting the host computer, if we get down to the last couple months and we find we are short in a couple of centers, key centers, then we want to have the system that we currently have renovated and usable. So we are taking the two-tracked approach. We are working very, very closely with IBM. In fact, we have asked for any additional expertise that they may have to help us in the process. So we are taking the two-tracked approach, and I think that is a prudent way to approach that issue.


    Mr. PACKARD. In a previous hearing—and I can't remember who the witness was, at the present time—but it seems I recall where it would go up to November—it was scheduled to go to November of 1999, which was just 2 months, a month and a half or so before the deadline, that the solution was scheduled to be resolved. That is a very, very thin time line; and if, in fact, there are glitches and problems that are unforeseen, at this time, you could be up against a deadline that would not be achievable.
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    Ms. GARVEY. That is right.

    Congressman, in response to questions raised by this committee and also in response to questions raised by OMB and the IG, we have moved those dates forward. We are right now at June. The Secretary and OMB have asked us to reexamine that and see if we can move it forward even more, and we are doing that.

    I want to be realistic about what our timetable is. We have an enormous number of systems we are renovating and making Y2K compliant, so I want to be realistic. But, at the same time, I want to be as aggressive as we can. So we have moved it from November to June, and we are examining with OMB and the IG to see if we can move it even further.

    Mr. PACKARD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Pastor.

    Ms. GARVEY. Good morning, Mr. Pastor.


    Mr. PASTOR. As you fly out west and you go through Kansas—I guess it is now probably under snow—I would encourage you to visit us in Phoenix. The temperature is 75 degrees. And you will probably see Sky Harbor International, the need for a new tower. You have a request for a tower from both of our Senators in Arizona and I support their request. So you are welcome, and I would suggest you come visit us while the weather is still warm and get out of this cold weather.
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    Ms. GARVEY. We are well aware of the request, and I believe we are responding appropriately for you.


    Mr. PASTOR. I basically have three questions. And the first one, in the 1996 Aviation Reauthorization Act and the Gore Commission, both suggest the FAA deploy EDS systems in a scatter-shot approach. That means trying out new systems, whether they are certified or not.

    Most recently, I received a letter from the Air Transportation Association supporting that approach. By contrast, they say continuing to purchase more of the same, when competition and better technology are just around the corner, is at odds with that thoughtful approach. They believe it will shortchange the flying public and send a signal to manufacturers the innovation is neither expected nor rewarded. Would you respond to the ATA concerns?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me try; and if I am not getting to the heart of your question, I will ask Irish Flynn, who is here, to respond as well. There are really a couple issues. First of all, as you suggested, it is deploying the new technology; and I think we are doing that. And, in some cases, I think the airports have made suggestions to us to improve the equipment. They have talked to the manufacturers. We have as well.

    As you suggested, a lot of this is very new technology; and so, while we have certified equipment, we also know it is important to test some of the equipment as it is coming along. We are doing that.
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    I think, over the next year, there are several pieces of new equipment that will receive FAA certification. There is one that will be coming on line again this spring. There is one that will be coming on line in the summer and again this fall. So I think while we are deploying technology and getting new equipment out there, we are also, encouraging the kinds of market-driven innovation that will make these products even more viable. So I think we are on track with that.

    I think there were some questions raised last year about were we doing enough to really bring on some of the new technology. We worked hard with the new firms to make sure they can be and will be certified.


    Mr. PASTOR. More specifically, your February 13 reprogramming request, which is pending before the committee, includes $25.1 million for explosive detection equipment. The request states that funding is needed to purchase and install certified EDS machines for screening checked baggage. If other manufacturers are close to certification approval, do you intend to defer obligation of the funds in order for them to compete?

    Ms. GARVEY. What we tried to do with the reprogramming is to establish the performance standards. So we said, here are our standards. Can the manufacturers meet those standards? And by doing that, we have been able to distribute the money among three manufacturers—I think it is at least three manufacturers. So I think we are still dealing with manufacturers that are able to meet those performances. I believe a couple may not yet be fully certified, is that right, Irish? I was so hoping to get through this whole hearing without having to turn to anyone. Keep it short, Irish.
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    Mr. FLYNN. The FAA has given grants totalling $20 million in R&D to forward explosive detection systems to be developed for screening checked baggage. As the Administrator says, we had hoped the products from that development would be certified this year. As the products are certified, the Integrated Product Team (IPT) will be making decisions to buy them. It is important that we maintain the level of detection that certification implies.

    Mr. PASTOR. Let me—your request, as I understand it, states, funding is needed to purchase and install certified EDS equipment.

    Ms. GARVEY. Some may not be.


    Mr. PASTOR. It is my understanding very shortly, in a matter of weeks, you are about to certify the new generation. That may be better than the old generation that has been certified. You know, if we are that close—my question is, if we are that close to the next generation of equipment that will detect even better, is it better to have a little patience and say, well, let's get that certification done so that we can get the best in place, rather than just stay with the certified and stay with an older generation of detection equipment? That is basically my point.

    Ms. GARVEY. I understand the question now. So you are saying, if we are that close, if we are talking about the springtime or summer, let's take another look at that. Let me get back to you on that.
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    Thanks, Irish.

    Mr. PASTOR. Because I would—since I am probably one of your best clients in terms of going through the airports, I would suggest to you that, if you are reasonably close to certifying the next generation, maybe it would be reasonable to wait so that you get the best product, rather than bringing the $25 million in the old certified system and you may not get the best product.

    I guess I followed with the lead question, in that the Gore Commission, the AF—excuse me, the ATA, everybody saying maybe you ought to look at this scatter-shot approach because that way you may get the best technology quicker into the system, rather than just staying with the certified equipment, which may be obsolete at this point.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you very much. Let's follow up on that and get back to you with a fuller discussion on it.

    [Additional information follows:]

    With the reprogrammed funding, the FAA will purchase and install only FAA-certified EDS equipment for screening checked baggage. Trace detection equipment will also be purchased and deployed to assist in alarm resolution.

    Mr. PASTOR. I only have one request. You get back to me before the $25 million is given out or that the—that you stay with the request and only certified equipment gets installed. Thank you.
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    Mr. WOLF. Following up on what Mr. Sabo asked, in the Coopers report, they concluded that the FAA has consistently overestimated future aviation activity in its forecasting. Because of this, Coopers believed there was a high likelihood that future FAA workload was also being overestimated, meaning that your controller staffing requirements, which Mr. Sabo referred to, and associated budget requests might be too high. Have you made any adjustments in light of Coopers' finding or do you disagree with them?

    Ms. GARVEY. There were some adjustments, Mr. Chairman, made, as a result of Coopers' finding. The staffing study that was done, I believe, last year—I will double-check on the time—really dealt with and took into account some of the early findings that Coopers had included.

    In talking with staff yesterday about the issue of staffing, I think one of the points one of the associates made was that the whole issue of staffing is one you have to constantly keep looking at. We have to constantly reevaluate. Even though we have a staffing study that may have been done in 1997, it is something that has to constantly be evaluated, and I think it needs to be evaluated with the unions. Frankly, it is discussions we are having even as we are in the midst of the contract negotiations.

    One of the issues that I have talked to some of the NATCA leadership about is, are there more productivity gains we need to take a look at? I know NATCA has raised an issue about the ratio of supervisors. Fair questions, and I think we have also raised some issues about how can we derive and get some future productivity gains. But I think we need to constantly look at it, and I am not sure we hit it out of the park yet. I think we did take into account the Coopers findings. I will go back and take another look at it to see if we have done everything we possibly can in that area.
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    Mr. WOLF. We were concerned to read the following statement in the report: ''A related issue facing the FAA is that many of its own executives have told us, quote, 'it can't manage money'. The FAA's core program managers have not demonstrated an understanding of financial management. One of the real issues associated with the lack of financial management is the lack of accountability in terms of what was projected versus what actually happened.'' Do you agree with this statement and are you doing anything to deal with the financial management at the FAA?

    Ms. GARVEY. First of all, I think the cost accounting system is going to be extraordinarily helpful to us. In some of the early discussions we have had with Arthur Andersen, for example, there are some patterns that are emerging. Places where control centers or centers where there is great difference among cost and, you know, where you sort of have to ask yourself the management question: Why is the difference so great and what we can do about it? What changes can we make? So I think the cost accounting system would be a wonderful tool for management in managing the money.

    I talked with GAO the other day about the problems we often have at the FAA, just in terms of even giving the cost of projects; and I said, what suggestions would you have for us? One of the suggestions that Mr. Dillingham made, which I thought was a good one and one we have talked about a little internally, is: we often lock ourselves into a number. We would be better off, because often these projects are so complicated, to suggest a range and to think in terms of a range. To identify very early on what the risks are associated with the contract, and how answering the risks in a certain way that might affect the bottom line, might affect the number. So, that is something we are talking about as we are managing projects: Are we locking ourselves in too early on numbers that may be unrealistic?
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    I think some of the other discussions and some of the things acquisition reform has given us is an ability also, though, to put up front the life-cycle cost. That is often something that was not included in the past—as least as I have understood it—in past discussions.

    So do I think we need to manage better on finances? Yes. Do I think we need to manage our projects more tightly? Yes. And I think there are tools, such as the cost accounting, that will be very effective in helping us do that.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are on record as opposing whole-scale conversion of the FAA funding to user fees. Mr. Packard asked the question and I think Mr. Tiahrt also. How does the new accounting system fit into this issue of user fees?

    Ms. GARVEY. First of all, I think it is critical we have a cost accounting system in place; and we are working hard to do that. Before we move to user fees, the industry has said we need to know how much the services cost; and that is a fair question. We are trying to focus FAA, with the help of, Arthur Andersen on the cost of the air traffic control system. That is really our first priority. That is the area where it is the operations—where understanding what the costs of the services are I think is absolutely critical. So we are focused, first and foremost, on the air traffic control.
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    I do want to say that I understand how difficult the issue of user fee is, and I think it is one that is going to take a great deal of discussion with Congress. We certainly will be putting forth a proposal—my guess is it is a proposal that is a good proposal—to begin the debate and begin the discussion. So I think it is going to not be an easy issue, and it is one that I think is going to take a lot of discussion, both with Congress and with industry as well.

    One of the issues that industry has raised with me, and I think it is a fair question, what are the assumptions that you are going to use as you start thinking about cost pricing? The cost accounting is the first step, and understanding it as a management tool is the first step. That is what I am eager to have, the cost accounting system in place as a management tool. The second is, when you start thinking about pricing and cost pricing, what are the assumptions you are going to use? And that is going to take some very hard and frank discussions with industry and, again, I think with Congress as well.


    Mr. WOLF. The cost accounting system was going to cost anywhere from $2.9 to $3.7 million. What is the cost going to be?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me get back to you with the exact cost, because I am not sure what the exact number is. We just made an adjustment to the contract. I want to be sure I am giving an accurate number.

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    [The information follows:]

    Last year we reported that the fiscal year 1997 cost to develop the cost accounting system was estimated to be $3.6 million. We estimated the total cost to develop and implement the system to be $6.63 million. The total estimated cost was provided before we had fully identified our detailed functional requirements. Our current estimate, based on fully known user requirements, is $8.03 million.

    Mr. WOLF. Despite the FAA's statement regarding its importance, the Coopers team found over 50 percent of the cost system was unfunded. So the question is, is it fully funded at this point?

    Ms. GARVEY. Because we are focused on the air traffic control, I asked yesterday whether we were comfortable with the budget. People are still feeling comfortable with the budget, because we focused in on the air traffic control.

    Mr. WOLF. It will be implemented when?

    Ms. GARVEY. The air traffic control, the piece we feel we really need in order to understand the cost, will be by October 1st, of this year.

    Mr. WOLF. It was expected to be fully implemented by the end of this year. Is that your current schedule?

    [The information follows:]
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    FAA plans to have the framework in place to support an operational cost accounting system. However, current emphasis is being placed on completing those portions of the system which support user fees. This may necessitate implementing any remaining portions of the system during FY 1999.


    Mr. WOLF. The Coopers and Lybrand study said ''at least two separate people referred to (financial) data produced by the FAA as 'terrible.' Two other independent groups referred to 'dueling data,' or data that can be manipulated to represent any viewpoint.'' Will the new cost accounting system be the single source of financial data from FAA, so that we can count on it?

    [The information follows:]

    The cost accounting system is not being designed to replace the Departmental Accounting and Financial Information System (DAFIS), which is the Department's core accounting system. The cost accounting system will receive financial data from DAFIS and the Consolidated Uniform Payroll System, (CUPS), tie the cost data to data from various operational systems, perform allocations of overhead and general and administrative costs, and report the fully allocated cost of end-user services. It will be the single source of cost accounting data.

    Arthur Andersen, the contractor assisting the FAA in developing the cost accounting system, has validated the CAS design extensively, and benchmarked the CAS development program with similar successful programs it has conducted with private sector organizations. Arthur Andersen further indicated that the progress to date reflects an efficient, fully defensible approach to enterprise system development.
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    Mr. WOLF. It is important—I agree with what Mr. Packard said on the year 2000—but I think, for credibility, it is important to set targets that really can be met and not just throw something out that really can't be met. Then people say there they go again. So when you do all of this, it is good to keep to them, even if you have to go a month or two.

    Ms. GARVEY. That is, frankly, in the year 2000 why we have June right now. We will try very hard to move it up, but I, again, want to be realistic about what we can deliver.

    Mr. WOLF. OMB's date was March. Are there any other agencies asking for longer than that, not only in DOT but across the board?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not aware of any, and I know Mr. Koskinen has just joined the Administration to honcho the effort. He started on Monday, and I think his first call was from the FAA. So we are going to sit down and talk with him about that.


    Mr. WOLF. The 1999 budget document calls it a ''priority management objective'' of the administration to implement, within the FAA, ''a personnel system that, without increasing cost, empowers managers to effectively hire, reward, promote, discipline and remove employees while at the same time protecting employee rights''. How much progress has been made so far, and what is your schedule over the coming year in this priority management area?
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    Ms. GARVEY. In the coming, year, in fact very soon, we will be implementing a pilot program. It is a complicated issue. It is a difficult issue. We are asking people to make some significant changes in personnel. As you suggested, it is moving much to a performance based, to incentives rather than automatic steps. It is not an unusual system for the private sector, but it is a new system for those of us in the public sector. And the suggestion made by the team that is working on it is to begin it as a pilot program. We are looking right now within the agency and research and development is one area where there is an interest to be a pilot program. There are a couple of other offices that have said they would like to step forward and be a pilot program as well. We think by implementing a pilot program, we can give the employees an opportunity to check in every other month to make sure that we are understanding how it is going and answer the questions that develop. It is a really enormous task and I will say, even in talking with the unions, I know people have worked hard on it, but it is a complicated issue.

    Mr. WOLF. Most Federal agencies would give anything to have the personnel and procurement flexibility that you have.

    Ms. GARVEY. That is right, yes.


    Mr. WOLF. How much have you used that since it was passed?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think we have done much better on the acquisition side. I think we have made some great, great progress with the acquisition piece. We have cut contract time almost in half. I have talked with contractors who say that the cost of doing business with the FAA and preparing for it is less because it is so much more streamlined. I think——
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    Mr. WOLF. Could you submit some of those examples for us?

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, we will. I would be happy to do that, Mr. Chairman. We have a contract resolution office, dispute resolution office, which is in place, that if issues arise during the life of a contract we can deal with it quickly and expeditiously.

    On the personnel side, I think we have made good progress. We have cut the time, when somebody is identified, from about 6 months to 6 weeks to hire someone. We have reduced the time.


    Mr. WOLF. How many people have been hired under that system?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would have to get back with the number, but I know we have hired about 27 specialist technicians—approximately 21 to 27. I have to double-check on that, but they are sort of outside the cap with bonuses and different pays and so forth. Let me check on the other number, though, and get you a more accurate number.

    I do think, though, as you have suggested, the real breakthrough with personnel reform, where you really take it over the top, will be with the new compensation program. That is why I do think that that is so important.
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    [The information follows:]

    Since April 1, 1996, the FAA has hired 5,098 people as of February 28, 1998. That number includes 684 temporary employees.

    Mr. WOLF. I notice that in the acquisition area, you are considering an approach which prioritizes some systems for faster near-term implementation, and saving other projects for phase two. Yet in the personnel reform area, I've heard the approach is ''all or nothing''. Executive pay, travel reform, PCS reform, and bargaining unit compensation are all being considered collectively. Is there any merit in ''rolling out'' personnel reform initiatives on a phased basis, instead or waiting until there is agreement (and buy-in with all the unions) on issues across the entire workforce?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes, there is merit to a phased approach for reform and some of our initiatives are expected to be implemented in phases. FAA has already implemented many new initiatives under personnel reform. Some of these initiatives include: streamlined hiring processes that have reduced the time to fill positions from 6 months to 6 weeks; implemented automated systems to distribute vacancy announcements and referral lists, and develop position descriptions, reducing processing times from a week or more to one day; modified premium pay rules to pay only for time actually worked; and modified our grievance and appeals process to reduce the average time to resolve complaints from 1 year to 3 months.

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    We are continuing to develop additional initiatives to take advantage of the flexibilities under personnel reform, some of which may be implemented for nonbargaining unit employees in advance of completion of union negotiations. In addition to these already implemented initiatives, we are developing comprehensive and complex changes such as a new compensation system, which will likely be implemented in phases as various FAA organizations can complete the necessary communications training within their work force, or complete negotiations with their affected labor unions.


    Mr. WOLF. One of the reasons, as you know, for reform was to allow the FAA flexibility to move employees to understaffed, hard-to-fill locations. The contract tower program continues to provide experienced controllers for possible transfer to understaffed facilities, and personnel reform allows you to do so. However, the IG found that the FAA reassigned over half of the controllers to overstaffed facilities. Why does the agency send employees to overstaffed facilities when they are needed in other locations, even if the personnel reforms give you unprecedented flexibility?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am aware of that report that the IG did. Obviously, we should be putting the personnel where they are needed. I understand that there have been some union issues on that, but the IG has asked us to take a very hard look at that. And we are doing that. The classification program that we are developing with the union will also, I believe, help us address that issue a little more specifically.

    I do want to speak just a minute about that IG report because it was one of the first ones that occurred when I was Administrator, and again I think is a testimony to Mr. Mead and his staff. What they did with that report, I hope, is a model for lots of reports to come. They met with us in the middle of the report, and gave us some sort of heads-up on several issues that they were concerned with. This gave us the opportunity, before the report was completed, to begin making some management changes and management decisions that I think helped improve the process. So it was a good model, and I think a model for many other reports in working with the IG.
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    Mr. WOLF. I want to say that I appreciate your attitude, and your answer to that. I have found it kind of remarkable. Since you have taken over, I have not seen a defensive attitude at all; whereas, in the past it would seem that every time—and I know there was animosity between the former IG and certain agencies, to say the least, the FAA being probably the prime, prime one, even leading to a book, I guess, but—you could see the body just kind of tensing up, and nobody wanted to take any criticism. And I do think it has been very healthy. Nobody likes to be criticized, I guess, Members up here or in any other job. But I do want to publicly acknowledge that I do appreciate your openness. And you have never lashed back and said, well, that person doesn't understand what they are talking about.

    I don't know what is in your mind, but your attitude and your body language——

    Ms. GARVEY. It is very positive, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. Has been—it has been very refreshing, having watched it over the years. And I think that is a good sign of leadership, being willing to listen to other people. It doesn't mean you have to do everything that everyone says, but not be defensive about it. Your answer with regard to the IG and Mr. Mead, I think, was very positive.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Olver, if you have any questions?
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    Mr. OLVER. Well, if I may just follow-up, Mr. Chairman, on that one. There's the IG's report, as Ms. Garvey has pointed out, it was just about to come in as she was taking over, but the point that they made about the FAA's reassigning over half the people that they were reassigning to overstaffed facilities, is that—has that been addressed in a positive way?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think it has been addressed——

    Mr. OLVER. Positively?

    Ms. GARVEY. Partly. Monte, do you want to add anything to that?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir, I think we have addressed it. I think we have done a better job in the past several years in assigning folks to the more critical facilities than we did in the first couple years of the contract tower program. We tried to do this in a way that is consistent with an agreement that we reached with the unions in order to be able to continue on with the contract tower program, which as of today is going to save the taxpayers roughly $30 million a year. So we are trying to do the best we can, working with the unions and being fair to our employees.

    Mr. OLVER. How long has the contract tower program been in operation?
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    Mr. BELGER. It started back in 1994, probably.

    Mr. OLVER. Okay. Well, actually, I was counting up the years, the first couple of years, and the most recent several years, and thinking, oh, how far back did that go, since the IG's report is a year old and they are saying that half—more than half of the reassignments went to overstaffed facilities? So I think that at least—at least for what is in—well, history starts with when I came on the committee. Pre-history, I don't really care that much about, but the history of it, to me, is what has happened in the last year. And if the assignments are—if the IG were to go back, what would the IG say about the assignments of personnel in this—under this program?

    Mr. BELGER. I think they would——

    Mr. OLVER. And the assignments in the last year?

    Mr. BELGER. I think they would say that we have done a better job of assigning controllers who choose to stay with the FAA to the more critical facilities than we did in the first couple of years.

    Mr. OLVER. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.

    Mr. SABO. Nothing.
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    Mr. WOLF. The National Civil Aviation Review Commission submitted its final report to you and Secretary Slater in December. What is the department's schedule for making formal proposals to the Congress based on it?

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, we are in the final stages. As a matter of fact, we met with OMB yesterday about some of the elements of the proposals. So we expect to get that up to the Hill within the next few weeks. We are a little bit dependent on some of the discussions, obviously, within the administration with OMB, but we were very encouraged by their response yesterday. Our staffs are meeting, both from DOT and OMB, for them to understand some of the elements in a little more detail.

    I will tell you that one of the recommendations that came out of NCARC that I am particularly pleased about is the focused safety agenda. They encouraged us to take a hard look at all of those 450 recommendations, and we are very close to unveiling a safety agenda that I think will be very responsive to the work that that Commission did.

    Mr. WOLF. When will that be?

    Ms. GARVEY. We are hoping in the first week in April. To be very honest, it is just about ready and we are trying to work people's schedules to make sure that we can have the right people there. But again, it is a very close collaboration with people in the general aviation community. We have talked with our colleagues at NTSB, though we recognize their independence in all of this, but wanting them to understand how we are thinking about the agenda and the approach we are taking.
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    We have taken advantage of some of the data that Boeing has available, the safety data that is available, and we have made some very strategic decisions. We are really saying, let's take our resources and let's put them where they will produce the greatest benefits.

    The other challenge for us, and what we have not quite finalized but we will in the next couple of weeks, is what do we need to do internally as an organization to manage this implementation well? Do we need to restructure ourselves? I don't mean massive reorganizations, but within the regulations office, for example, within the certification office, do we need to think differently? Do we need to create something similar to Ray Long with the Y2K program, you know, a streamlined team with somebody who is clearly, you know, accountable and in charge?

    So we are asking ourselves some organizational questions, but I think we have made some very good progress that really responds to what NCARC is suggesting.

    Mr. WOLF. I think the more you make one person accountable——

    Ms. GARVEY. Right.

    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. Because nothing fits into one category anymore.

    Ms. GARVEY. Right.
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    Mr. WOLF. The formal processes are no longer valid just about anywhere. Every time there is an issue up here, members from all different committees come together into task force to resolve things, because nothing fits into any one jurisdiction.

    I would urge the more you can make one person accountable——

    Ms. GARVEY. Good advice.

    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. With a name and a face, I think that is certainly preferable.

    Secondly, I would urge you to make this announcement as quickly as you can and not wait for everyone's schedule. This is so important that you ought to probably do it by the end of the month, hopefully before Congress adjourns for the Easter break.

    Ms. GARVEY. Good advice.

    Mr. WOLF. I think it would be good if it were done when the Congress is here so we could see it quickly and call you.

    Ms. GARVEY. Very good.


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    Mr. WOLF. But I would not wait too long for schedules.

    In August of 1993, the final report of the commission to ensure strong, competitive airline industry, I think the Baliles Commission, said the FAA was severely limited by the ebbs and flows of the Federal budget process. They said the Federal budget process cannot be relied on to provide adequate continuing funds for FAA's operations or capital programs. They recommended an off-budget ATC Corporation to solve this problem.

    Similarly, the Review Commission said the federal budget process is crippling the agency and calls for an off-budget performance based organization, PBO. If Congress didn't agree in 1993, and there was a bipartisan opposition to the ATC Corporation, how is the PBO concept sufficient to overcome that opposition now?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is a question we are asking ourselves, and we know that concept really faces an uphill battle. I must confess that I am not as familiar with the Baliles Commission Report as I am the NCARC, but I would make one distinction. The move towards user fees and a good, sound cost accounting system gets to how important that management tool is. If we can really understand what the services cost, we may be able to make a better case that user fees might allow us to have the kind of special budget treatment, removing ourselves from the budget caps that we have talked about.

    I know how difficult it is. I know when our colleagues at OMB look at the budget they have to look at all the discretionary programs. Every time you do something different for aviation or something different for surface, it has an impact to the rest of the budget. We are aware of that. We are looking at ways that we can keep it deficit neutral, which is, I know, of great concern to the Congress and great concern to the Administration. We have some ideas but that is really what we have to flesh out over the next few weeks. But, again, I expect this is going to not be an easy debate. It is one where I think we have to all put our best ideas forward and then talk them out fully and see where we end up.
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    I will say, the issue of flexibility within the budget is one that I struggle a little bit with. We had the National Airport issue and we thought we wanted to try to move up the STARS program here at National. The difficulty sometimes in moving some of the budget numbers, we get great help from you and from your staff in sort of helping us through that maze but sometimes those are the challenges in terms of flexibility that make it a little more challenging.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, I personally favor giving you more flexibility any way we can. We have some questions with regard to the National STARS. But as we can, if you have any thoughts, I think the administrator needs flexibility.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. You can't be pigeonholed into one category.

    Do you believe the appropriations process has not been able to provide adequate and reliable funding for FAA?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think this committee has been extraordinarily generous and Congress has been generous. I think the one issue might be to work a little bit more with you on the flexibility issue. I would welcome doing that.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. We have a number of others on that which we will ask for the record.
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    [The information follows:]


    Mr. WOLF. Last year's budget proposed 9 new PBO's. How many of these were enacted by Congress?

    [The information follows:]

    To date there have been no PBO's approved by Congress.

    Mr. WOLF. How many new PBO's are formally included in the President's budget for fiscal year 1999?

    [The information follows:]

    The Administration is seeking to establish the following PBO's: Retirement Benefit Management Services (Federal Retirement and Insurance Service, Office of Personnel Management), Intellectual Property Rights (Patent and Trademark Office, Department of Commerce), Defense Commissary Services (Defense Commissary Agency, Department of Defense), U.S. Mint (Treasury), St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (Department of Transportation), Seafood Inspection (National Ocean Service), Technical Information Dissemination (National Technical Information Service, Commerce), Mortgage Insurance Services (Government National Mortgage Association, Department of Housing and Urban Development), Mortgage Insurance Services (Federal Housing Administration, Department of Housing and Urban Development), and the Rural Telephone Bank (Department of Agriculture). The Administration is currently considering several other possible PBO candidates as well.
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    Mr. WOLF. This view that we're heading toward ''gridlock'' because the Federal budget process cannot provide enough money for the FAA seems to miss some important facts. In fiscal year 1998, Congress provided an overall budget increase of 9.5 percent for the FAA (from $8.2 billion to $9.0 billion), yet by the FAA's own statistics, air traffic workload at your centers and towers is only going up between 1 and 2 percent. If we approve your 1999 funding request, we will be providing another 6.9 percent increase, even though air traffic workload is only expected to grow by 1 or 2 percent. Is there any other element of the aviation industry where rates of budget growth far exceed the growth in workload, yet the experts still project disaster or ''gridlock''?

    [The information follows:]

    The comparison between growth in the FAA's budget and growth in center and tower activity is not a complete comparison since it excludes other cost drivers, both external and internal.

    Externally, for example, the comparison excludes our deferred capital investments in both airport improvements and in more modern, more efficient national airspace system equipment, both of which increase our funding requirements. In both cases, these investments, if we were a private company, would be expensed and depreciated over the life of the investment and not just in any one specific year. The comparison also excludes funding increases required to address the heightened security threat facing U.S. aviation, the public's desire to strengthen our regulatory and certification oversight, and the general globalization of aviation.
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    Internally, the comparison fails to take into account mandatory Federal pay and retirement costs, both of which, given our large number of required staff, are quite expensive, easily exceeding the 1 to 2 percent growth cited in the question.


    Mr. WOLF. Sometimes we hear that because the aviation business is doing well and more people are traveling, the FAA needs more money to keep up. But often these people are referring to the number of new passengers and new trips, which has little direct bearing on FAA's workload. As Mr. Belger and others have pointed out in past years, the FAA doesn't really move passengers; it assists in the movement of aircraft.

    As we review the FAA's workload estimates, wouldn't it be more accurate to look at the rate of growth, in aircraft operation, rather than just the number of passengers?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think that is a fair question. I think some of that has been touched on by the modernization task force. And I know when some of the folks at the off-site kept reminding us that what we need to think about is the number of aircraft moved, number of operations. I think that is really the direction that we need—we need to head. I think that is a fair comment.

    Mr. WOLF. One FAA program is directly affected by increases in the number of airline passengers, and that is the AIP program, which Mr. Tiahrt mentioned, which funds grants for airports. The service requirements of the airports, and especially hub and connecting airports, are more closely related to the number of passengers, because each passenger uses those services individually. And yet the budget increases FAA funding in every program except airport grants. The operating account, F&E and RE&D all go up, but AIP remains flat. Why was that the case?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Again, I think it reflects the kinds of discussions that occur within the Administration when you are trying to balance a number of priorities. We felt the $1.7 billion was a good, strong program. We know that there are certainly those that would like to see it higher. But, I think given the budget constraints and given the budget priorities, we were pleased. And I have to say, I believe the Secretary worked very hard within the Administration to make sure that that number stayed at that level.

    Mr. WOLF. And the committee——

    Ms. GARVEY. It is not always easy.

    Mr. WOLF. The committee, as you know, went up from $1 billion last year to $1.7.

    Ms. GARVEY. We appreciate that, yes.


    Mr. WOLF. NCARC was especially critical of the way the Appropriations Committees place a priority on funding for FAA operations instead of capital programs. They accurately note that F&E funding has declined in the 1990's. However, the four year decline between fiscal year 1993 and 1996 has all but stopped, and your 1999 request represents a large increase of 13 percent—a rate not seen since 1992. This request you submitted is part of the ''federal budget process'' so criticized by NCARC. Do you believe a budget process leading to a 13 percent increase is really unable to provide the FAA's modernization needs?
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    [The information follows:]

    While the President's Budget requests a 13 percent increase in funding for modernization, that request has not yet been enacted by Congress. However, the FAA interprets NCARC's commentary as relating to two larger questions: (1) can the current system provide adequate funding each year to five, ten or more years, and (2) should funding for airspace modernization be subject to the political vagaries associated with the current federal budgetary process or instead should be subject to market and business forces whereby the users of the system determine what is needed, when it is needed, and how best to pay for it.

    Mr. WOLF. The NCARC report says ''the money problem that faces the FAA is an inability to access the revenues collected for its use.'' But this ignores the fact that the general fund is contributing more to finance FAA operations than it should. Isn't this similar to the situation in highways, where those who claim the highway trust fund cash balance is subsidizing other programs turn a blind eye to the substantial contribution to highways from the general fund?

    [The information follows:]

    No. The NCARC report explicitly recognized the general fund contribution and recommended its continuation. It is our belief that the NCARC's statement on access to revenues collected for aviation use relates to amounts in addition to the general fund contribution.

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    Mr. WOLF. Last year, this committee recommended taking more money from the trust fund for FAA operations, but the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee stripped those funds out on the House floor, requiring us to use general fund money instead. Isn't it true that we would have significantly more access to aviation revenues if the legislation cap on the trust fund share of FAA's operations—the so-called ''penalty clause''—were lifted?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes, it is true that there would be increased access to the trust fund revenues if the ''penalty clause'' was lifted. This by itself will not provide the FAA with the financial flexibility that NCARC recommended, and the FAA believes is necessary to move the agency into the 21st century.


    Mr. WOLF. Lifting this cap to allow at least 80 percent of the FAA's operating budget to be derived from the trust fund would open up access to the trust fund and spend down more of the fund balance. It would also show aviation users that the government did not impose billions in new taxes last year just to watch them build up in the trust fund. Such a move has been supported by FAA and DOT in past years. And it would appear to address one of the NCARC's criticisms. Is the administration prepared to make that recommendation?

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    [The information follows:]

    The Administration has proposed in its 1999 budget, that by FY 2000, all FAA programs receive funding from the trust fund.


    Mr. WOLF. Have you looked at directing more AIP funding toward small or mid-sized airports versus the large ones, which have PFC's.

    Ms. GARVEY. We have. We actually spent a good deal of time yesterday, because we are looking at the AIP. I just actually stopped a couple of the folks from the airports organization as we were coming in, saying: I would like to talk with you a little bit about some of the ideas. I mean, our goal is, how can we perhaps give more to the small and medium sized airports?

    I know that the Secretary talks about aviation as kind of the mass transit of the 21st century. When you think of it in those terms and when I listen to someone like Linda Barker, who was on the NCARC, who comes from, a Midwestern state, then we really do understand how important those small and regional airports are. We are looking at ways that we might be able to give a little boost to them. I want to talk through some ideas with some of the airports people, hope we are heading in the right direction.

    Mr. WOLF. They are happy with the direction that they think you are moving in?
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    Ms. GARVEY. We need to talk with them a little bit more. We have just really begun those conversations in earnest with them. Some of them are their ideas, though, so I hope they will like them.

    Mr. WOLF. They will like them?

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, sir.

    Mr. WOLF. We will ask other questions for the record.


    Mr. WOLF. In last year's budget, PBO's are described as ''discrete units of a department that commit to clear management objectives, measurable goals, customer service standards, and specific targets for improved performance. Once designated, they would have greater personnel and procurement flexibility and competitively-hired CEO's.'' With the exception of the CEO position, which elements of this could the FAA not implement on its own without becoming a PBO, based on the flexibility we gave you 2 years ago? What is stopping you?

    Ms. GARVEY. Actually, there is a great deal that we can do and the cost accounting system will be a good tool to help us in that direction. The one thing the legislation might offer us is the flexibility on the budget side. And I think that is really the piece that enhances the program, if you will, but you are absolutely right. Short of that, personnel reform, acquisition reform, the ability to set up performance standards is something that we can do and we will do. We will definitely be moving towards that, even as we are discussing legislation.
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    Mr. WOLF. The Aviation Commission recommended that as part of the PBO concept the FAA be able to hire a chief operating officer. This officer would be the top managerial officer in the air traffic side of the agency, would be nonpolitical—you are nonpolitical, aren't you? [Laughter].

    Ms. GARVEY. That is—absolutely.

    Mr. WOLF. All right. That official could be paid as much as $199,000, with bonuses. Given the broad flexibility provided in personnel reforms, is there any legal authority preventing the FAA from doing that today?

    Ms. GARVEY. There is not. We could do that. We have actually talked about that idea. I will tell you that we are very focused right now on this sort of early phase of modernization. How should we organize internally—recognizing, as you have said, that many of these issues cut across a number of lines of business, how should we organize for a Free Flight Phase 1? I want to do that first, but I think the issue about whether or not we have a COO for the air traffic control operation is one that we will be looking at and we will discuss.


    Mr. WOLF. The PBO concept would have a chief operating officer which reports to a newly-created governing board of the organization. The individual would oversee the day to day operation of activities encompassing about three-quarters of the FAA staff and three-quarters of its budget. They would be paid one-third more than the FAA Administrator. On the other hand, you would still have an FAA Administrator reporting directly to the Secretary of Transportation on policy and budget matters.
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    Does this type of structure raise the possibility of divided leadership and a power struggle at an agency?

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, that is certainly a—that certainly would not be the desired outcome and that certainly is a fair question.

    We have looked at the issue about the board that the NCARC has suggested. We are still thinking that through. I have to say, there is a division of opinion within the administration as to whether or not creating a board with a COO, even though you still have the Administrator. I think NCARC does suggest that the Administrator also serves as the chairman of the board and that may reinforce the position of the Administrator. I think you could have a chief operating officer. I think, again, so much of this depends on who are the personalities, who are the people in those positions. As you said earlier, I have a good relationship with the Secretary. That may not always be the case.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, that is the problem. That may not always be the case, and it really hasn't always been the case. If you believe some former Administrators who have come up, that has not been the case. They have seen things and they have wanted to do them, but they have had a very difficult time because it has all been involved in a political realm.

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes.

    Mr. WOLF. And while your job technically, I think, is more or less political, it is a political job but much less so, the Secretary's job is very much political. And having worked for a cabinet officer, I know they spend a lot of time going out and making speeches and representing the administration.
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    Ms. GARVEY. The administration.

    Mr. WOLF. That is why my own sense is it would be better to have an independent FAA. You have a great relationship, but the next Administrator may not.

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes.

    Mr. WOLF. I think, institutionally, you have to prepare for that.

    Ms. GARVEY. I do think, if you established a charter that was very clear on what the responsibilities of the COO were, what the responsibilities of the board were, and that they did report to the Administrator, it would deal with the issue that you said, which is creating too much of a balkanized situation. There is a wonderful challenge at the FAA that is so large and the issues are so complex, that you want to have the right management team. You also want to have clear responsibility. You want to have clear leadership structure. So I understand the dilemma and I understand what you are saying. I think the challenge would be to make sure that it is very clear in the charter that sets up what the responsibilities of each of the entities would be.


    Mr. WOLF. NCARC makes the point that there should be a direct linkage between funds paid for use of the system and the service provided to those users. This would presumably create ''prices'' for aviation services similar to a free market environment. However, the NCARC didn't apply the same standard to government users of the aviation system, for their legislation proposes a $600 million mandatory appropriation every year, out of the general fund, to cover government use of the aviation system. This payment is made regardless of the government's use of the system. Given the business-like, ''user pays'' principle that NCARC was trying to encourage, do you know why they suggested this fixed, mandatory appropriation?
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    [The information follows:]

    NCARC's recommendation to establish a direct link between funds paid for use of the system and the service provided to the users, is a mechanism to allow users to pay for only those services that they use. Fees would be set to recover only the cost of providing the service. Such a system would mimic the economic efficiencies of a free market and ensure that users pay only for the cost of providing the service that they actually consume. Aviation users and the FAA would benefit from a more efficient air traffic control system. The mandatory appropriation of $600 million was a projection based on data available at the time of the actual annual cost of providing air traffic control services to government use operations. Under the NCARC recommendation, future year adjustments could be made in appropriation requests to reflect the actual cost of providing these services to the government.


    Mr. WOLF. Since government use of the aviation system is obviously a discretionary activity, is there any reason why such an appropriation should be mandatory?

    [The information follows:]

    Under the NCARC proposal, this mandatory payment for government use of the air traffic control system would be in lieu of a user fee. Presumably the NCARC believed that, in a user fee-financing environment, there would need to be a direct link between the costs that government aircraft impose on the FAA and the amount of funding provided to the FAA to cover those costs. The absence of such a direct link would run the risk that the FAA would either under-recover of over-recover its costs in any given year. A mandatory payment is one way to ensure that funding equals costs.
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    Mr. WOLF. On the safety side, NCARC said a prioritized safety agenda is needed. What are you doing to develop such an agenda, and will it be specific enough to track performance?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA Administrator, in October 1997, made a commitment to develop a safety agenda for the next five years that would concentrate the agency's efforts on accident prevention.

    The safety agenda is being developed in cooperation with the various elements of the aviation community. This is consistent with the NCARC report, which concluded that the currently high level of aviation safety and the ''maturity'' of safety issues require a new relationship between the FAA and the aviation community. The new relationship must accelerate and build on government/industry partnerships in which government and industry jointly dedicate resources to analyze new and shared data, and then jointly identify top safety issues.

    Specific initiatives will be identified for each element of the agenda. Each initiative will be supported by a business plan that includes measurable milestones and other performance indicators to permit the agency to track accomplishments. As progress is achieved on various initiatives and as additional analyses identify new issues, the agenda can be changed leading ultimately to measurable progress toward NCARC's goal of a five-fold reduction in the fatal accident rate.
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    Mr. WOLF. They also recommend that FAA's safety programs become more performance oriented, with measures of performance developed and used to hold the safety organizations accountable. This is similar to an idea I wrote you about recently—creating a Safety Task Force to develop a measuring ''yardstick'' for your safety programs. What do you think of that idea?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA enthusiastically embraces your idea. In fact, we have done this informally with the NTSB, GAO, OIG, and several other groups to promote ways we could work together. Formalizing this idea of safety metrics would be very helpful yet very challenging. It would be extraordinarily helpful for the FAA to be able to talk to a group with the expertise of a ''safety task force'' and FAA would work closely together with these entities to accomplish this goal.


    Mr. WOLF. The commission said the FAA's international safety activity should be expanded because, as they point out, the accident rate in Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, Latin America and Africa are many times greater than in the U.S. and Western Europe. What specific activities can be expanded to meet the goal? And would it not be a good idea to publish the safety records of foreign air carriers? The number of Americans who are flying around the world is increasing, whether it be in Azerbaijan, Armenia, the former Soviet republics, or Asia. If you noticed the Indonesia aircraft—I think there were four or five Americans on that plane when it went down. Would it not be a good idea to publish the safety records of the international air carriers, particularly in countries where their standards may not be up to ours, China for instance, so that individuals who are going to that country would know the potential risk?
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    If you recall during the Pan Am situation, there was an FAA notice, but it was only available to employees.

    Ms. GARVEY. That is right.

    Mr. WOLF. That was not made available to the traveling public. Should we not publish that, perhaps on the internet, that everyone could access? If your son or daughter was traveling to a remote region of the world, or if you were going there on a business trip, you would be able to know what the safety record of a particular airline was.

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, let me start with what we are doing with ICAO and then go to the second part of the question that you raised. The issue about the the safety standards with the international community is a very serious issue. When you look at some of the data, for example, that Boeing has, it is rather chilling to see where the accidents will be and where they will occur. And it is clearly less of an issue here than it is in some of the foreign countries.

    We have worked very, very hard with ICAO. I spent a good deal of time at a meeting in Montreal last month with all of my counterparts from around the world, and the whole focus of the conference in Montreal was safety oversight. It was an exploration both of what we do internationally, with our teams going in to do assessments. It was also a very strong clarion call, if you will, for ICAO to get even more actively involved in this, for ICAO as an organization to go in and work with the international countries. And really I found that the leaders of those countries wanted the help. They want to have the right kind of safety record. So it really seems, to us, to be a combination of both the teams that we have in place, that we send out there to do assessments. Then also, ICAO is building up its own forces, I know that is one of the issues that the Secretary has talked briefly and informally to World Bank and other organizations. They have done wonderful work on the surface side, but he has raised the issue about whether or not there is more that they could do, and we could do together, on the aviation side to particularly focus on the safety issue.
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    The second part of your question—and by the way, we are having another meeting in the fall, in Montreal, with the same leaders of each country. The agenda will be broader than safety but the issue of safety and a follow-up to the March conference, will be very much discussed and very much part of the conference.

    The second part of your question concerns the internet. As a principle, I think the more information that we can give consumers, the better off we are and the better off the consumer is. I know the issue of how we rate them and what kind of information we put on the internet, can be complicated. Let me get back to you with something a little more specific. I think that is a fair question and one we ought to be able to give you a good answer on. I will tell you my one hesitation is that I know I have been working on this same issue on the Senate side of the Congress, and there have been difficulties in trying to rate airlines, for example, because it becomes much more complicated when you actually get the information up there. We have been looking at other ways to do it.

    For example, most airlines have a very high ranking safety officer in the airlines. One of the thoughts we had yesterday is what about putting that information on the Internet, letting folks know which of the airlines has a very high ranking safety officer that have a very well thought out safety program, more of a positive kind of approach. So let me get back to you on the international. I know we have done some of that by the Secretary's notices that I have often seen about places where you should not fly because of security issues. Let me see what we have done on the safety side and see if there is more we should be doing there.

    [The information follows:]
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    We are working with all the member nations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to attempt to greatly expand the volume, quality and public disclosure of safety oversight inspections and reports around the globe. Essentially, we are attempting to get ICAO to do on a worldwide scale the same kind of safety assessments that the FAA currently does in those countries whose air carriers serve, or seek to serve, destinations in the United States.

    Until recently, however, the concept behind ICAO's program has been that it should be purely voluntary (i.e., member states are inspected only if they request it), and confidential (i.e., the final report of the assessment is provided only to the state that was inspected, with no useful information ever disclosed to other states or to the public). In addition, the timeliness of reporting and of developing corrective action plans has been uneven. The program remains totally dependent for funding from member states' voluntary contributions.

    In November of last year, FAA participated in a worldwide conference of all directors General of Civil Aviation (DCCA) at ICAO Headquarters in Montreal to address the single issue of how to make this program more effective. We hope that the result will be an ICAO inspection program that is mandatory; open to disclosure of meaningful inspection results to all member States and thence to the public; timely in its reporting mechanisms and in development of corrective action plans; and supported by stable funding within the Organization's regular budget. In conjunction with ICAO, we are also exploring the potential to expand this concept of enhanced, international assessment programs to the areas of air traffic control and security. We will aggressively pursue these areas once it is demonstrated that a model safety assessment program with stable funding can be effectively implemented by the organization.
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    In addition to expanding the scope of international safety assessments, we are also working on a variety of other safety initiatives with global impact. For example, the FAA has been leading in the international development of the Global Analysis and Information Network (GAIN), a worldwide infrastructure to collect, analyze, and disseminate aviation safety information. Careful analysis and sharing of such data may help identify key incidents, factors and trends, and could thereby aid in preventing accidents before they occur. We are also supporting the increased carriage of airborne collision avoidance equipment; the implementation of satellite-based approach procedures to provide better and safer terminal navigation; and we are involved in a research project to determine ways to improve English language proficiency among the world's air traffic controller force. These are only a few of the areas in which we are attempting to expand our safety activities.

    FAA currently provides, via the Internet, accident/incident data, near mid-air collision reports and other safety information for foreign air carriers where those events occur in US airspace. Information on FAA's safety assessments of foreign civil aviation authorities, including their ability to provide effective safety oversight of their national air carriers, is also provided via the internet. The information can be viewed under the heading ''Aviation Safety Information'' on the FAA's homepage (www.faa.gov).

    More specific accident/incident and other safety data on foreign air carriers are not consistently available and are not sufficiently comprehensive for meaningful analysis. In addition, reporting systems in some states are not precise, and normalizing data (hours flown, departures, etc.) needed to make instructive comparisons are often not available. As a result, determinations about the level of safety of any particular air carrier based on the information and sources currently available would be suspect.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, we have had trouble in this country on spare parts.

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes.

    Mr. WOLF. You have a suspected unapproved parts office out at Dulles Airport, which I have visited. Domestically we have had problems. Clearly there are problems in other nations, and I don't think it is asking too much. We don't have any regulatory control—and I am avoiding commenting on a whole series of countries. We don't have regulatory control in this country, but to provide the American taxpayer——

    Ms. GARVEY. It is an issue.

    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. The opportunity to know what their safety record is, I would venture to guess, and I have no way of proving this, but I suppose there are FAA employees who are taking trips around the world that may joke ''Well, I am going to X country and the safety record is very''—and joking about it, because I have had different FAA employees comment about it.

    If they know information that in certain parts of China or certain parts of whatever country that there is a potential safety problem, we cannot prohibit, nor should we, Americans from flying there—and I give a lot of credit to American government employees who many, many times have to fly to places like that. If you recall, the American Ambassador in Russia, Mr. Pickering, who is now the Under Secretary of State, put out a travel ban——
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    Ms. GARVEY. That is right.

    Mr. WOLF [continuing]. For American employees in the American embassy in Moscow with regard to flying some of the airlines outside of Moscow. I think for a while there was a total ban. Well, if there was a total ban for American employees in Moscow, I think at the least we owe it to the American citizen, who is going to go to that country, going down to Chechnya, or going down to Azerbaijan, or going to wherever, to know what the safety record of the airline going there is. Then he or she can make that choice, can make that judgment.

    Many are going there for business and have to go, but others might be able to perhaps change. If you were flying to a certain country, maybe Lufthansa also goes in there 3 days a week, so you can adjust your schedule to go in that time. Maybe Delta is going in 2 days a week where the domestic airline is going in 7 days a week. But I really think we have to provide that information to the American taxpayer. They deserve to have the same information that the people at the FAA have.

    So ICAO is good, and I think the more we can encourage, the better. But in some countries, the level of corruption is very, very high. They may say let's take this unapproved spare part, let's just put it in, let's just see what happens, and I think if you could assemble for the committee a record of foreign airlines and their safety record, just so we could distribute it to the other Members to have, it would be helpful.

    Ms. GARVEY. Okay.

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    Mr. WOLF. One element of the expansion with regard to safety might be to improve English language proficiency around the world. We saw in the Cali, Colombia, crash how it can contribute to an accident. The Acting Administrator told us last year that inadequate proficiency in English was a ''great concern of ours.'' And FAA's representative to the International Civil Aviation Organization wrote last year ''the FAA feels that fluency in the English language is a significant aviation safety issue''. Because of this, the committee added $500,000 last year for FAA to address this issue in an urgent, focused way. Yet I understand these funds still have not been obligated and the plan to do so is mostly a long-term research in the U.S. rather than outreach overseas. Could you explain the FAA's plans with regard to this money?

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, I think when the FAA first started on this undertaking the emphasis was much more as you suggested on research. In talking with your staff and in reevaluating it ourselves, we understand very clearly that the real need for this is in field testing; let's get something in place that can be used. So we have shifted our focus, and I think rightly shifted our focus, to be much more field driven. Working again with ICAO and working also with the NTSB, we are developing standards right now. We are developing a training program that could be used with our international counterparts and also could be something that the NTSB has expressed an interest in as well.

    Mr. WOLF. How many aviation accidents were there, fatalities involved, that we believe took place because of language problems?

    Ms. GARVEY. I don't know, Mr. Chairman, but I will find out. I would expect it is a number that would surprise me.
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    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. And yet there are no funds in the budget this year for that.

    Ms. GARVEY. My understanding is we are going to use the $500,000. I see what you mean in the '99 budget, that is fair.

    Mr. WOLF. This year. I can still remember seeing the recording of the Avianca flight coming in to Kennedy, with regard to the fuel, and that was a language problem. Those people should still be alive today.

    Ms. GARVEY. Right. I will double-check on this. I would believe anyway that as part of our safety agenda, one of our key pieces is going to be the whole human factors issue. It would seem to me that we might be able to fold this into our human factors element of the agenda, but let me find out to see if there is a way. Even though we don't have specific funds in, using the monies that we have and shaping the agenda that we have, can we use it that way? And I will follow-up on that.

    [The information follows:]

    We have worked diligently with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and ICAO in addressing foreign language misunderstandings. This past week I received a letter from Mr. Jim Hall, Chairman, NTSB, thanking us for our response to a 1996 NTSB recommendation on this very subject. The NTSB had recommended that we develop, along with air traffic authorities of the member states of the ICAO, a program to enhance a controller's fluency in common English language phrases and interaction skills sufficient to assist pilots in obtaining situational awareness about critical features of the airspace, particularly in non-radar environments.
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    We worked closely with the Secretary General of ICAO to develop such a plan and in November 1997 the Air Navigation Bureau (ICAO) issued a draft task statement that set forth a plan for ICAO to carry out a program to complete a comprehensive review of the existing provisions concerning all aspects of air-ground and ground-ground voice communications in international civil aviation, aimed at the identification of deficiencies and shortcomings. We continue to work with ICAO regional planning groups to accomplish these tasks.


    Mr. WOLF. Fine. Mr. Olver, Mr. Sabo? Okay.

    Mr. OLVER. Mr. Chairman, I would, if you would allow me.

    Mr. WOLF. Certainly. Yes.

    Mr. OLVER. I have a couple of things. I am curious, Mrs. Garvey, how nonpolitical could you be if your pay were to increase to $199,000?

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, let me just say, Congressman, when I am in Amherst, I will be political but that could be pretty compelling.

    Mr. OLVER. This discussion along these lines, by the time you have gone through for a while, we range over so many different issues of the FAA's operations that I lose track of what really the—this performance based organization, what its real goals are. And clearly, the Department of Transportation—has a strategic performance plan and believes in having each of its agencies having a set of goals, and I wonder if you could give me just what your sense is of the goals for this year for the FAA, so that I can come back and make a list of them and then be able, as we are going through this, to at least categorize things of what is really important. I mean, not that anything that we are talking about is not important, but rather to see where they fit with what you are really trying to achieve here in this year.
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    Ms. GARVEY. Congressman, let me say at the outset that when I first came to the FAA we had 9 strategic goals and we talked a lot about that. And I really urged and encouraged people to scale that down so that we have no more than three to five. We have three major strategic goals, three areas that we are really focused on. It's safety, it's security and it's system efficiency. And in each one——

    Mr. OLVER. And modernization then falls under?

    Ms. GARVEY. System efficiency.

    Mr. OLVER. Okay. So those really are, as in your testimony, in giving—I missed the earlier testimony but I have in the meantime managed to read it and I wondered if that was what you would say, and so I should guide that then by whatever you said if we are talking about modernization or that is part of the efficiency aspect?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is right, Congressman. And so all of the action items that we have developed with ourselves within our own strategic plan and then forwarded to the Department can be categorized under each one of those areas.

    Mr. OLVER. So your commitment as you put it—the emphatic yes to the Y2K process and this issue of June, that is part of the efficiency aspect and so virtually everything then related to that and STARS, and so forth, falls in that category?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is right, Congressman. STARS and DSR really are the foundation for all of the automation tools that will follow. The building blocks that we have talked about with industry for modernization, that is all system efficiency. When we talk about rulemaking and ground proximity, enhanced ground proximity, when we talk about taking on some of the human factors issues and developing some of the training programs that are needed, that falls under the safety agenda. When we talk about the explosive detections and the canine teams that are at the airports, that is under the security issue. I am trying very hard because in a public arena it is always more difficult to keep your agenda focused. There always are things and pulls that you are not anticipating. We have to be flexible and ready for that. I think at the heart of what we do we have got to be very focused and very clear about what we expect to accomplish.
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YEAR 2000

    Mr. OLVER. I must say in several of the earlier periods—hearings that we have had thus far this year, we have talked on several occasions about the K——

    Ms. GARVEY. Y2K?

    Mr. OLVER [continuing]. The Y2K problem, and I have been very skeptical about whether that could really be done. And I must say I have some better feeling about that process by—the way you put it and the way you have—approached this——

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    Mr. OLVER [continuing]. Problem, and the way you approach your whole administration.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you, Congressman. I hope we will not disappoint you.


    Mr. WOLF. On pay, pay and benefits, the Coopers & Lybrand study said, ''Perhaps most important, the FAA's single most significant cost element, pay and related costs, continues to grow at significant rates . . . This area needs significant attention . . . As the FAA begins to implement personnel reform as well as negotiations with its unions . . . there must be substantial reform.''
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    Do you expect that your labor negotiations will result in containing these costs, as Coopers said?

    Ms. GARVEY. I hope it will. I think the labor negotiations are going very well. I mean, I have heard that from both the labor side and the union side. We really have everything on the table. I think every idea that the unions have put forward are being fully discussed by the management team. I know that every idea that the management team is putting forward, the union has said they will discuss and look at very carefully.

    Our position is that it must be budget neutral, so we really have to find the efficiencies in other places. And it is a challenge, but I hope that it will have the right kind of results and the productive kind of results and what is good for our employees as well.

    One of the points I have made with the unions, and—I will say, the opening day of the union negotiations, the Secretary joined me in meeting with both teams in saying how very important this is. This is really a critical thing we are asking people to do and they are giving up a lot of personal time. But it is very, very important that we treat our employees fairly and we treat them well. One of the challenges for management is that while we are dealing with the unions, we also have to deal with all of the other employees that may not be part of the unions as well. So it is an enormous challenge to balance all of those interests.

    [Additional information follows:]

    Yes. We have stated that we expect the labor negotiations to be budget neutral. We are actively engaged in discussions with the unions on productivity issues and are optimistic that we will be able to achieve productivity gains in a number of areas.
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    Mr. WOLF. When do you hope to conclude the pay negotiations?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not sure when it will conclude. They are finishing up a second week and they have gotten through a vast number, I think it is about 50 or 60 of the articles, many more than they thought they would. Clearly the ones that are going to be the toughest will be the pay ones and we all keep hoping that it will be this spring. I have been told that in the past it can go on for years. But I think a lot is going to depend on how well these two weeks go. I know they will take a break for a period and then come back again after—I believe it is after Easter.


    Mr. WOLF. Is it true, as Coopers said, that air traffic average staffyear costs rose 18 percent, to $84,341, between 1993 and 1996?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not sure about those exact numbers and I would like to check. My guess is it is probably right. Monte is suggesting that it is.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. The next we will just do for the record, and we have a whole series with regard to the negotiations.

    [The information follows:]

    We cannot determine how Coopers and Lybrand arrived at the staffyear cost of $84,341 or the 18 percent increase. While the exact figures depend on what costs are included in the staff year cost, the increase from 1993 to 1996 is approximately 16 percent.
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    Mr. WOLF. According to FAA data provided last year, the average staff year cost at the agency is estimated at $85,300 for fiscal year 1998 (p. 423). This is the approximate cost for a Coast Guard or Navy captain or an Air Force Lieutenant colonel—senior military officers. Yet most of your workforce is performing non-executive, non-managerial duties. Is your agency-wide FTE cost appropriate, compared to other federal workers?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes. To date, in determining pay for our employees, we have used classification standards published by the Office of Personnel Management and we believe our FTE costs are appropriate for the mission our agency is charged with carrying out. FAA employees are highly skilled, well trained, and perform very exacting and demanding work in furtherance of aviation safety and the movement of airplanes throughout the country. Much of the work is performed in a real-time environment, where there is little margin for error.


    Mr. WOLF. In a question for the record of last year's hearing, the FAA states ''it is one of our primary objectives of the new [compensation] system that it will ensure fiscal responsibility and be budget neutral for the FAA as a whole.'' (p. 339). Since I understand there are no funds in the fiscal year 1999 budget for a new compensation system, can I assume it is the FAA's current position that the new compensation system will not only be budget neutral for the agency as a whole, but offset within the operating account?
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    [The information follows:]

    Yes. Fiscal responsibility is a basic tenet of the new compensation system.


    Mr. WOLF. What is the status of the pay negotiations, and when do you hope to conclude them?

    [The information follows:]

    The agency is actively engaged in discussions on new pay systems with our two largest unions, National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS). These negotiations are integrally related to the larger negotiations of new, comprehensive collective bargaining agreements. We anticipate completion of the negotiations with NATCA to occur in the next several months. PASS negotiations should be concluded in late FY 1998 or early FY 1999.

    National Association of Air Traffic Specialists and National Association of Government Employees accepted our January 1998 pay increase offer, which mirrored the one established by the President for other Federal employees. Neither union has submitted any compensation proposals to the agency.

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    Mr. WOLF. The 1996 reauthorization laid out specific procedures for FAA to follow in mediating this agreement, if you get to that point. On what date would you intend to submit outstanding compensation articles to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for assistance, or later to the Federal Service Impasse Panel, should that become necessary?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would have to talk a little bit more with the negotiating team to see what the date is. I think we are hoping that we will not have to reach that point. I think our goal is to try to resolve them with our management and union teams.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, we hope that is the case. The act requires that if all else fails, and I am sure hopeful that it won't, you are to submit your proposal, along with union objections, to the Congress. While Congress is not required to act on the proposal, you are prohibited from implementing your proposal until 60 days after it is submitted to Congress. Obviously, if it comes to that, there would be a lot of pressure for Congress to get involved. With the situation as it stands today, what do you think is the probability that this will be sent to Congress for resolution? Do you think it will be very low?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would say today it is low. I mean, I think really the kind of cooperation on both sides, I think, has been very promising. So I would still remain optimistic that that will not be the case.

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    Mr. WOLF. The controllers union estimates that their compensation proposal would cost the agency approximately $300 million a year more than the current system. Could you give us the details of their proposal, and tell us whether you agree with the estimated impact of $300 million?

    [The information follows:]

    The National Air Traffic Controllers Association's compensation proposal stated that the proposal's cost estimate was $400 million, with a projected $100 million offset through cost savings, that would result in a net increase to the FAA for bargaining unit employees of $300 million. We expect that the cost to the agency could be significantly higher, if adopted, because of differences in potential cost savings, variability in costing assumptions, and costs impacts associated with related supervisors, staff, and managers.

    Mr. WOLF. Have you received cost-increasing proposals from your other unions as well, such as the maintenance union (PASS)?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes, we received a proposal from PASS for an increase of 6.66 percent each year for all bargaining unit employees during the period of the FAA and PASS Agreement. This would provide a 20 percent net increase during the 3 year period that the contract is in effect. Their proposal kept intact all incentive pay provisions.

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    Mr. WOLF. There was a rumor that the controllers union was seeking a change in the process to submit binding outside arbitration results to Congressional review rather than a third party mediation, as is currently the case. Would you explain that proposal, and do you support it?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am sorry. I am not fully aware of that issue.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you look into it?

    Ms. GARVEY. I certainly will. I certainly will, Congressman.


    Mr. WOLF. The next series deal with those issues. We will just submit them for the record, the whole series with regard to the benefits and different things like that.

    [The information follows:]

    Under the union's proposal, all impasses over matters covered by personnel reform, including pay, would be submitted to the Federal Services Impasses Panel for binding resolution. Generally speaking, binding arbitration is a widely used method for resolving bargaining impasses. However, the use of arbitration creates potential budgetary conflicts from a decision that exceeds the agency's appropriation.

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    In informal discussions, NATCA has indicated that it is not its intention for pay issues to be submitted to arbitration. However, the language of the proposed amendment does not support such an interpretation.


    Mr. WOLF. The IG recently issued an audit of FAA's labor agreements which found the FAA granting far more time for union activities than necessary. The report says ''Managers routinely granted more time for union activities than required by the national agreement, even though the loss of controllers affected their ability to meet operational staffing requirements''. Do you plan to limit union time to those levels specified in the union agreement? If not, why not?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes. To the extent there may have been excesses in the use of such time due to inadequate management controls as reported by the Inspector General, the FAA has already put in place more systematic tracking and accounting systems for documenting the use and cost of official time by our unions. We are also addressing this issue in our ongoing contract negotiations with our national unions.


    Mr. WOLF. FAA estimates that its managers granted 516,000 hours for union activities in fiscal year 1996—the equivalent of 248 full-time controllers (or 1,414 hours each day). When the IG compared you to other federal agencies, they found that you grant more time for union activities than the other agencies, even though you have fewer employees represented. You also have more union representatives, expressed as a percentage of total bargaining unit employees. Is the FAA a little out of line here, compared to other agencies, and if so, are there adequate reasons for that situation?
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    [The information follows:]

    The FAA has long supported partnership with our labor unions and these activities and the partnership process have required the investment of additional time and resources. The Inspector General's numerical comparisons to other agencies may show the FAA to be higher. However, we do not believe we are ''out of line'' if one takes into account the significantly larger number of separate facilities we operate in many diverse locations as well as the significant resources we have put into partnership with our unions.

    To the extent there may have been specific excesses in the use of such time due to inadequate management controls, the FAA has already put in place a more systematic tracking and accounting systems for documenting the use and cost of official time by our unions.

    Mr. WOLF. The IG found that some facilities were not effectively managing this situation. For example, at the New York en route center, they found that in addition to a full-time principal facility representative, FAA managers allowed 16 other union positions including an assistant facility representative, a secretary, a treasurer, 6 area representatives, a safety representative, a legislative representative, and a union training coordinator. Over 9,000 hours of additional time was granted even though the New York center incurred over $2 million in overtime costs during that year to meet operational staffing requirements. Do you agree, based on the findings of this audit, that FAA needs to track and manage these staff hours more effectively?

    [The information follows:]
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    Yes. To the extent there may have been excesses in the use of such time due to inadequate management controls as reported by the OIG, the FAA has already put in place more systematic tracking and accounting systems for documenting the use and cost of official time by our unions. We are also addressing this issue in our ongoing contract negotiations with our national unions.

    Mr. WOLF. The IG's review found that private sector labor agreements required greater documentation and management control over the use of official time for union activities. For example, Boeing's agreement with the IAM stipulates that each union steward must notify and obtain permission from their supervisor before leaving work and performing union business. FAA generally does not. Will you implement these seemingly common sense improvements to the management of official time?

    [The information follows:]

    To the extent there may have been excesses in the use of such time due to inadequate management controls, the FAA has already put in place more systematic tracking and accounting systems for documenting the use and cost of official time in both the air traffic controller's union and our other unions as well. In addition, we are addressing the issue of better controls and limits on the amounts and use of official time in our ongoing contract negotiations with our national unions.

    Mr. WOLF. The audit found FAA managers routinely calling in or scheduling controllers on overtime to replace controllers performing union activities. Isn't it possible to schedule union activities in less busy times, so that overtime is not necessary?
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    [The information follows:]

    Official time requests that are authorized at the local level are subject to operational requirements. These obligations can be effectively managed along with other resource demands, such as training and annual leave, and rarely result in overtime. Even when union representation itself does not cause overtime, it can be a contributing factor. By reducing overall available staffing, facilities become increasingly vulnerable to variations in operational demand and sick leave.

    Most of the overtime used to accommodate union activities occurs when the approval of official time is beyond the control of facility managers. Union representatives are often required to attend meetings or hearings that are scheduled by other organizations, without regard for operational impact. Air Traffic is working with various organizational elements to improve the mechanism for scheduling activities involving bargaining unit employees, in order to ensure adequate time for planning and resource management.

    Mr. WOLF. They also found that some facilities called in people on overtime when controllers were being trained on new equipment rather than using supervisors, staff specialists, or NATCA representatives who were in the building and qualified to control traffic. Isn't this a waste of money?

    [The information follows:]

    We make every attempt to minimize the use of overtime, but at times it is the only option available to us. Training requirements for new equipment impose additional demands on all operational personnel, including support staff and union representatives. Non-bargaining unit employees are frequently used to supplement controller staffing in order to accommodate training or other operational needs. However, these activities can interfere with the individual's primary duties and responsibilities which directly or indirectly support the air traffic operation.
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     Mr. WOLF. Another finding was that some FAA managers were granting ''credit hours'' to controllers, and not managing them well. In one example, they found three sites where employees were granted over 52,000 credit hours (the equivalent of 25 full-time controllers) even though 2 of the 3 facilities were already overstaffed. What are ''credit hours'', and what FAA directives govern their use?

     [The information follows:]

     Credit hours are extra hours employees work in excess of their scheduled tour of duty. Accrued credit hours are then used to account for subsequent periods of time not worked during an employee's scheduled tour. Accrual and use of credit hours are governed by OPM guidelines which FAA voluntarily follows, by headquarters and regional directives, and in some cases by labor agreements.


     Mr. WOLF. They also found that, at some facilities, managerial signed agreements which allowed controllers to receive ''time off awards'' for simply coming to work. Time off awards are normally granted on the basis of a suggestion, cost savings improvement, or other accomplishment. But in the FAA, some employees were allowed time off for simply showing up. For example, at two facilities, employees were given a 10 hour time-off award for each 5 consecutive days they worked during the transition to new facilities. Is the FAA planning to put stronger guidelines in place for time off awards?
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     [The information follows:]

     The FAA has already taken steps to ensure that time-off awards are only given in recognition of the types of accomplishments for which they are intended. We have also strengthened our documentation and approval processes. The Director of Air Traffic rescinded delegated approval authority for time-off awards until he approved regional management plans for addressing problems identified with the administration of the program. We are presently discussing changes in the time-off awards program with the unions. It is our expectation that the problems identified in the past with this program have been eliminated.

     Mr. WOLF. Have any FAA managers been held accountable for such lax, wasteful practices—especially those that exceeded national agreements or guidelines already in place?

     [The information follows:]

     To date, no manager or employee has received a written or verbal reprimand or disciplinary action regarding improper granting or use of time off awards. However, we are continuing to research past practices in granting and use of time off awards, and we will take appropriate steps to hold managers and employees accountable if situations are identified that warrant such action.


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    Mr. WOLF. In last year's hearing we had a lot of discussion about air traffic controller productivity. Mr. Belger stated, ''Oh, productivity absolutely needs to be investigated. There is no question of that. Are there things we can do in the future? Absolutely there are.''

    Have you followed up on this with Mr. Belger and can you tell us whether the FAA is going to propose any initiatives in this area?

    Ms. GARVEY. We will be proposing some initiatives, again as part of the modernization effort. In the discussions that we had with the modernization task force, again with the unions very much at the table, the issue of productivity was raised. As we are thinking about the new tools that we are bringing on-line, thinking about productivity issues, thinking about training issues, new kinds of training, are issues that are going to be part of the process as we move forward.

    We have a lot of work to do in that area. But I want to link it, and I think it should be linked, to the modernization effort, so that it is real and it makes sense to people and we are all moving in the same direction. That is really the goal.

    Mr. WOLF. The Coopers study notes that FAA's staffing standards for air traffic control facilities resulted in ''significant excess coverage'' in most facilities during slow periods of the day and suggested that if controller productivity were improved by only 10 percent, the annual savings would amount to $21 million. As they point out, Congress, OMB, the DOT IG and GAO have all suggested to the FAA that the agency needs to improve controller productivity. However, they were critical of FAA's lack of initiatives in this area.
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    Do you want to comment a bit more on that? Have you talked to them?

    Ms. GARVEY. To the unions?

    Mr. WOLF. No.

    Ms. GARVEY. I am sorry.

    Mr. WOLF. Have you talked to the IG and the GAO?

    Ms. GARVEY. I have talked to, particularly to the IG, not to the GAO. I have talked to Ken Mead about that and actually he was part of the task force on modernization, so he was part of that discussion.

    I think we need to do more. I mean, we have recognized it as an issue. We have laid down some possible areas within the modernization efforts, where we think some productivity gains could be made. The union seems very interested in it. They have got some ideas themselves, I think we just have to work it as we work through the modernization.

    As we are moving forward in this, one of the keys for us is to find the right sites where we are going to deploy some of the early modernization efforts. And as we think about that, I think working with the controllers at those very specific sites on very specific productivity issues will be the way we can really get at it, sort of site specific and automation tool specific, if you will.
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    Mr. WOLF. Last year the GAO took issue with your controller staffing standard as well, claiming it results in an overestimate of your annual needs for new controllers. Have you made any changes—the changes recommended by the GAO?

    Ms. GARVEY. As I testified earlier, we have made great progress and we have made progress in this area. I bet if we went back to the GAO, and we will, and the IG, they may say more needs to be done. We have to just keep working on that issue. I think we have made some progress. It is a fair question to ask whether we can make more.

    [Additional information follows:]

    On page 17 of the GAO report, the GAO defers comments on the staffing standards because the National Research Council (NAS) was looking at the standards. We have reviewed the NAS Report and are implementing its recommendations.

    GAO, however, does address concerns with attrition and retirement data used in the staffing standards. We acknowledged that the consolidated personnel management information system (CPMIS) did not provide us with adequate data to better predict retirement eligibility by counting controller ''good time.'' A computer program was developed last June and underwent a labor intensive verification process that compared system data to manually computed retirement eligibility dates. The testing has been completed and we are in the process of resolving discrepancies between manual and software data. We anticipate the final version of the software to be available this summer. That new data will be incorporated into the staffing standards where applicable. With better data, the FAA will then be able to make better assumptions to forecast controller hiring for future budgets.
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    Mr. WOLF. We will have a number of others for the record.

    [The information follows:]


    Mr. WOLF. They [Coopers & Lybrand] were also critical of the staffing standards process itself—the process which generates your budget requirements for air traffic controllers. They said ''there is no design or attempt to consider improving or significantly changing the observed work processes and activities to achieve savings through productivity or work process changes. This is a significant failing, we believe.'' Do you agree with Coopers that the staffing standards process is inadequate?

    [The information follows:]

    No. FAA does not agree that the staffing standards process is inadequate. A subsequent review by the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council affirmed the value of the agency's staffing standards when used for their intended purposes as stated above.

    We use staffing standards to develop national air traffic staffing requirements for budget requests, to allocate staffing among our regions in an equitable manner, and to measure the impact of proposed changes in the NAS system, such as changes in procedures or equipment. It is not now, and never has been, the prerogative of FAA's air traffic staffing standards program to improve or change the ''work processes and activities'' of the air traffic controller or the air traffic control system. This has always been the prerogative of the air traffic service and air traffic systems development which have significant resources dedicated to improving the air traffic system, by improving both safety and productivity. Our air traffic staffing standards models reflect current air traffic control practices and procedures, thereby automatically incorporating all safety and productivity improvements as they are implemented.
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    Mr. WOLF. At the time of their report, the GAO estimated your fiscal year 1999 controller attrition at 214, about 40 percent below your estimate at that time of 360. This has significant implications for your 1999 compensation and training budget, because it drives your need for new hires. How does your current estimate of attrition compare to that given by GAO last year?

    [The information follows:]

    Last year, the GAO estimated that the FY 1997 controller retirements would be approximately 198 compared to 240 estimated by the FAA; actual retirements were 273 controllers. For FY 1998, we now estimate 270 retirements compared to GAO's 211; in the first 5 months of FY 1998, 184 controllers have already retired. The FY 1999 FAA budget request now reflects a lower retirement estimate of 270, rather than the prior estimate of 360.

    Mr. WOLF. Let me ask you this one. In its response to the GAO report, the FAA wrote ''because of the potential for creating delays in the air traffic control system, the FAA considers the potential problems associated with underestimating retirements to be greater than overestimating retirements.''

    Doesn't this minimize the problem that occurs when funding for FAA modernization, AIP and other programs are reduced to give FAA a margin of error in controller new hires?
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    Ms. GARVEY. I am not sure I understood the question. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. If you overestimate or underestimate?

    Ms. GARVEY. Right.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you overestimate more or underestimate more?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would suspect that we probably overestimate more. And I think part of it, again, is working with the unions to make sure that we are also in sync with their views of where the needs are as well. I mean, we do it in a way that is in partnership with them.

    [Additional information follows:]

    No, the FAA has an end-of-year (EOY) controller work force (CWF) authorized on-board (AOB) goal every fiscal year that is based on staffing standards which are updated yearly to reflect current requirements. As a part of meeting that goal, we make an initial estimate of attrition and plan hiring to meet that EOY goal. However once the fiscal year begins we monitor actual attrition and adjust our estimated attrition and hiring plan accordingly to meet the EOY AOB goal. For example, last year we started the year with a plan to hire 500 controllers, based on an estimated attrition rate of 300, to meet an EOY CWF goal of 17,300. However, as the year progressed we saw that our attrition was running higher than the original estimate so we adjusted our hiring and ended up hiring 671 new air traffic control specialists to be assured we would meet our EOY goal. This year we estimated attrition to be 300 and planned to hire 800 to meet our EOY CWF AOB goal of 17,800. Already this year we see that attrition is running higher than planned but we have not yet adjusted our hiring plan. As the year progresses we will continue to monitor attrition, the budget situation, and hiring rates and make adjustments as necessary based on budget constraints.
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    In summary, although we start our each year with estimates of attrition and hiring based on current needs, we make adjustments to reflect real time events. This real time process has no direct relationship to the other funding programs you mentioned.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, what has been the track record for the last 3 or 4 years with regard to that?

    Ms. GARVEY. With regard to that? Monte, do you want to respond to that? Thank you.

    Mr. BELGER. We will provide some specifics, Mr. Chairman. In general, last year, attrition was a little bit higher than we thought, and this year it looks like it might be a little bit higher than we thought.

    [The information follows:]

    In fiscal year 1997, we anticipated a controller work force (CWF) attrition rate of 250. The actual attrition rate was 364. In fiscal year 1998, we anticipate a CWF attrition rate of 300, but this number may be as high as 400.

    Mr. WOLF. Because of the economy or because of the age, because of——

    Mr. BELGER. Well, I think it would be more just the age. In other words, folks who are eligible retire perhaps, you know, taking that option, or taking other jobs in the FAA that take them out of the controller workforce, means that we have to fill behind them. But we have specific numbers that I can provide to you that perhaps would be good if we could show the GAO's estimate for last year and this year and then the actuals for last year and this year, and we can compare all three.
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    Mr. WOLF. Sure. That would be fine.

    Mr. BELGER. GAO estimate, our estimate and then the actual.

    Mr. WOLF. Who was closer to being accurate?

    Mr. BELGER. Well, I think last year and this year the FAA will be more accurate, but the numbers will tell that for certain.

    Ms. GARVEY. So we have not overestimated?

    Mr. BELGER. I don't think we have, in the past couple of years, and, of course, your question for the future is right on. We need to be as precise as we possibly can for the future, so that we appropriate the right amount of money for the people that we need to hire. And we are monitoring that very closely. They did give us some good recommendations to help us perhaps be more precise, and we are implementing those.


    Mr. WOLF. In 1996, the Washington Consulting Group and a consultant named Dr. Thomas Culliname recommended that FAA fund the development of a physical simulator or laboratory model of the air traffic controller workplace, in order to measure productivity and test cost-saving improvements. Was this recommendation carried out?

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    Ms. GARVEY. I believe that recommendation was not carried out. There were a series of recommendations that Dr. Culliname put forward, and I believe the judgment of the agency was that they were perhaps more academic or more—I don't want to say less practical, but that is what I keep thinking perhaps, less practical. We have done some additional studies since then with the National Science Foundation. Those recommendations seem, at least in our evaluation or our judgment, to be recommendations that we would like to look at ways to fund, fit into the priorities that we have. They may apparently, from what I understand, and I need to be better briefed on this, they are more practical, a little bit easier for us to implement, within the budgets that we have and also within the resources that we have.

    Mr. WOLF. Could you elaborate for the record and tell us where you are on it?

    Ms. GARVEY. I will, yes. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    A large part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) missions is to define the future National Airspace System (NAS). This mission includes the assessment, modification, and integration of NAS components and their operational impact. In 1988, Congress recognized the role of simulation and modeling in the research development process and expressed that recognition through legislation. The Aviation Safety Research Act of 1988 required the FAA ''to . . . undertake . . . a research program to develop dynamic simulation models of the air traffic control system . . . which will provide analytical technology for predicting airport and air traffic control safety and capacity problems, for evaluating planned research projects . . .'' The National Simulation Capability (NSC) program was established in response to that congressional mandate. The NSC is a large scale, distributed, simulation network comprising various air traffic-related simulators and skilled personnel. The NSC is used to facilitate the development of the NAS by providing an integrated representation of the NAS through the interconnection of various simulation facilities and laboratories internal and external to the Federal Government. The NSC Program is based at the FAA William J. Hughes (WJH) Technical Center.
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    In addition to the NSC, the FAA's WJH Technical Center and Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) currently support the research, development, test, and evaluation activities required for concept exploration and development of future ATM/CNS concepts and technologies. The WJH Technical Center houses current operational systems and proposed future systems in the enroute, terminal, oceanic, flight deck, and communication, navigation, and surveillance domains. CAMI's Advanced Air Traffic Control Research Simulator will soon provide additional capabilities to evaluate alternative ATC system design concepts.

    Fast time and real time modeling and simulation tools are available to support analysis of procedures, concepts, technologies, and architectures for the NAS. Several modeling tools are available to support cost-benefits and safety assessments of operational concepts. These fast time simulation and analysis tools are used to forecast capacity and aircraft delay changes associated with the implementation of major airport infrastructure changes and/or terminal airspace procedural changes. These tools also forecast the effects on the National Airspace System of possible future system-wide changes to infrastructure, aircraft fleet mix, CNS technology, and procedures.

    Human factors measurement tools are available to accurately determine the system impact and the effect on the human operator. Extensive research has already been conducted at the FAA's research facilities to develop performance measures, design guidelines, and investigate human performance, workload and other issues associated with anticipated changes in controller operations based on alternative NAS concepts of operation.

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    Mr. WOLF. FAA data provided last year indicated that first line supervisors represent approximately 13 percent of the total controller workforce, which would indicate an employee-to-supervisor ratio of 6.8 to 1. Isn't one of the goals of the national performance review (NPR) to raise supervisory ratios to around 15 to 1, and if so, shouldn't FAA convert some of these supervisors positions to ''hands on'' positions?

    [The information follows:]

    In the Transforming Organizational Structure section of the NPR, increasing the ''span of control from seven workers per supervisor to 15:1'' is listed as an action item. The FAA had originally planned to increase the first-line supervisor ratio; however, where this effort was initiated, we found it to be operationally disruptive. There are between 120 to 130 lower-level ATC facilities which are staffed with less than 10 air traffic control specialists (ATCS), but require a minimum of two supervisors; (one air traffic manager and one supervisor). Due to the safety nature of the air traffic profession and the operational involvement of air traffic supervisors, watch coverage requirements would not be met with supervisory ratios of 15:1. The FAA is, however, pursuing increases in the supervisory ratios in other than controller work force areas where system safety is not adversely impacted.

    By position description, the first-line supervisor position at an air traffic facility is a ''hands on'' position. Supervisors are required to work a minimum of eight hours per month on operational positions, and they frequently provide real-time operational assistance to controllers during peak demand periods.

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    Mr. WOLF. Operational currency requirements specify that air traffic supervisors work a minimum of 8 hours per month on operational positions. If the FAA raised this figure, would it produce cost savings?

    [The information follows:]

    The currency requirement for air traffic supervisors, which is the same for anyone maintaining operational currency, is designed to assure that first-line supervisors maintain operational efficiency which is necessary for managing the operation. The requirement is not designed to augment staffing. Although this operational currency requirement is typically met during off-peak air traffic periods, supervisors frequently provide real-time operational assistance to controllers during peak demand periods.

    In order to incorporate the air traffic supervisor operational currency requirement into the air traffic control specialist (ATCS) staffing standard, first-line supervisors would need to be available for ATCS staffing during peak air traffic periods. It is precisely during peak air traffic periods that the need for first-line supervision is most crucial. Therefore, increasing the operational currency requirement for air traffic supervisors to enhance ATCS staffing would not yield a practical cost saving.


    Mr. WOLF. In a hearing last fall, a controller testified that some supervisors game the system by working their 8-hour operational shift on the midnight shift or other time when traffic is low. If so, it wouldn't give us much confidence that these people are, in fact, remaining current in their job skills. To what extent does FAA monitor when supervisors take their currency shifts?
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    Ms. GARVEY. NATCA has raised with us some concerns about the supervisors, both the ratio and some of the activities, and that is something we monitor very carefully. That is something we take very seriously. The issue about ratio is something that is again being raised in the contract negotiations or in the discussions we are having with the unions. And so it is something we take very seriously. I mean, those are serious allegations. I suspect that like every large organization, we have breaches sometimes but it is the management's responsibility to make sure we are dealing with those.


    Mr. WOLF. All right. Yesterday a number of air traffic controllers came by to see me from my district. As you know, the Washington Center is out in Leesburg. The first question, and I understand that Rich has spoken to the FAA about it maybe this morning, is about the asbestos contamination, which continues to be a problem, they say, at Leesburg Center. In December of 1996 they said an independent arbiter assigned to hear a grievance on the issue concluded and I quote, ''the evidence is compelling that the use of asbestos-containing material to insulate the attic of the facility when it was built continues to present a serious asbestos hazard to those employees who work in the areas below the ceiling. There is no need here to recite all of the conditions which lead to the conclusion that a definite asbestos hazard exists. It seems the most workable near-term solution recommended by the contractor is to build a tent-like structure.''

    What has the FAA done about the situation and, in particular, has the agency put a tent structure in place to protect the employees at the facility, or do you plan on doing that?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Let me answer, Mr. Chairman, this way: First of all, it is a new issue—was a new issue to me this morning.

    Mr. WOLF. It was a new issue to me, too. It came in yesterday.

    Ms. GARVEY. Apparently, from what I understand, we have looked at it. We have some serious concerns about creating a tent. I guess some of our scientists have suggested that creating a tent or constructing a tent will create even more difficulties and more problems. So we are going back to the arbitrator and to NATCA and to the union to talk about it, to at least let them know what some of the scientists that we have talked to have raised. The issues that they have raised sound very serious.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you know the date of the arbiter's decision?

    Ms. GARVEY. I don't, Mr. Chairman. We will find out.

    Mr. WOLF. December of 1996. That is a while.

    Ms. GARVEY. Ouch.

    Mr. WOLF. Yeah.

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes.

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    Mr. WOLF. And they live in my district, too, so I am interested.

    Ms. GARVEY. Double ouch. Excuse me. I will be leaving immediately to look into it. [Laughter].

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA has instituted a number of engineering controls to minimize the risk of asbestos exposure within the control room. Weekly inspections of the roof, attic, and mechanical systems are performed to ensure that the asbestos containing fireproofing is not deteriorating. All personnel conducting inspections are adequately trained and every effort is made to prevent possible disturbance of asbestos during these inspections. Air monitoring has been conducted in the facility for the past year with no recorded asbestos releases. We are doing everything possible, and have been quite successful, in protecting our employees at this facility.

    The FAA is pursing several different options for containing and removing asbestos in conjunction with the installation of Display System Replacement (DSR) equipment. We are continuing our dialogue with facility union representatives and will work with them to ensure the safety of our employees while we complete this project.


    Mr. WOLF. They also brought another problem to our attention. They said the FAA's planned reassignment of air traffic controller Glen Reffner, the FAA hired this individual on March 30, 1997 fully aware that he was 31 years old. However, 5 months later the FAA Office of Human Resources directed that Mr. Reffner be reassigned because if violates the personnel regulations set by the agency, which says that a new controller cannot be above 30 years of age.
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    How can you fairly disallow this individual from controlling air traffic, which he has done as a DOD controller for many years, when you are hiring hundreds of former PATCO controllers with an average age of 59? If he is 31, why—well, how would you justify 31 versus 59?

    Ms. GARVEY. Again, a very new issue, but let us get back to you on that. It was not one that staff here were familiar with either. Let us get back to you on that. It certainly does sound on the face of it to be, you know, not quite right.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Does the law mandate or give you the ability to set age standards?

    Ms. GARVEY. I believe we have a little more flexibility, and I believe we set the standards on that.

    Mr. WOLF. You set the standards. Because in the letter to the FAA, Mr. Reffner wrote, ''the actions of the agency in hiring me with full knowledge of disclosure of my age constitutes a constructive waiver of the age requirement. I am not going to ask you if you agree or disagree but my sense——
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    Ms. GARVEY. I will take a look at it.

    Mr. WOLF. My sense is really—and 31 is a mere child. [Laughter.]

    Ms. GARVEY. It certainly is, Mr. Chairman. This could be a tough discussion back at the FAA.

    Mr. WOLF. We have some other questions on that area but we will just talk to you about it.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    [The information follows:]

    Title 5 of the United States Code, section 3307, paragraph (b) permits the Secretary of Transportation to establish a maximum entry age for original appointment as an air traffic controller. The Secretary's authority continues under FAA Personnel Reform.

    The language of the maximum entry age states: ''A maximum age of 30 years is established for entry into air traffic control positions covered by Public Law (P.L.) 92–297 (May 16, 1972). Persons who have reached their 31st birthdays may not be originally appointed to these positions.'' Thus, FAA controllers may not receive their initial appointment to terminal or en route positions on or after reaching their 31st birthdays.
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    The FAA General Counsel determined that the phrasing of the Department of Transportation maximum entry age rule precludes waivers. For this reason, we are not allowed to use a DOD age waiver to hire someone from DOD who was appointed there after reaching age 31. In contrast, we are allowed to employ DOD civilian controllers if they received their civilian controller appointments from the DOD.


    Mr. WOLF. There have been some concerns, which fit in with that, which were discussed last year about the additional cost of hiring former PATCO controllers. In 1996, about 75 percent of FAA's new controller hires were from the PATCO ranks. Your plans were to hire 60 percent of new hires in fiscal year 1997, 300 out of 500 from former PATCO rolls. What was the final percentage?

    Ms. GARVEY. That was the final percentage. Those were the final numbers. This year of the 800, we are looking at a number of about 300 and we have not yet had any determination for 1999 so we still need to discuss that.

    Mr. WOLF. How many made it and didn't make it? How many washed out or didn't wash out?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me get back to you on the specific numbers. I thought they were actually doing pretty well, but let me get back to you with the numbers.

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    [The information follows:]

    We hired 300 former PATCO controllers in FY 1997. This represents 60 percent of our planned new controller hires.

    Out of the total 300 former PATCO controllers hired in FY 1997, one resigned, and the other 299 were enrolled in training either at the FAA Academy or facility level.


    Mr. WOLF. Some left, though, did they not?

    Ms. GARVEY. Go ahead. You may want to stay here.

    Mr. BELGER. Okay. Through February of this year, we had hired 475 former controllers. Only 7 of those have resigned or retired. A small number, it is a dozen or so, I believe, didn't make it through the training in the facility that they went back to but we were able to reassign them to a lower level facility. And in balance, they are doing quite well.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. Great. Would you tell us where the problem areas were?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. We can provide that.

    Mr. WOLF. Was it in a particular location?
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    Mr. BELGER. No. I don't think there was any particular trend. It was generally—well, let me not speculate, but we can tell you precisely where those were.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Is it a good policy to continue hiring large numbers of former PATCO controllers? Why?

    [The information follows:]

    Former PATCO members that the agency has hired are valuable additions to the agency's work force. These individuals bring a wealth of experience to their jobs. They have filled vacancies that needed to be staffed. They are doing their part to make the NAS safe and responsive.


    Mr. WOLF. Okay.

    All right. In 1991, FAA administrator Mr. Busey told us, ''I do not have any uneasy feelings about management/labor relationships * * * I do not feel uneasy today that we have a looming problem of management-labor relations out there.''
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    Contrast this with a document distributed by NATCA in December of 1997 which said, and I quote, ''In 1997, campaigners for NATCA's leadership positions visited over 200 of nearly 400 facilities nationwide and find employee morale at an all time low * * * The workforce, only 16 years after the strike, is talking job actions and hate for FAA management * * * History is repeating itself.''

    The tone and the rhetoric of FAA's labor-management relationships, and let me just stress that this is basically referring to times before you came in, has appeared to get a little more sour in the last couple of years. Certainly when I bump into controllers in the supermarket or somewhere people will come up and say something. Would you comment on the state of relations between the FAA and the controllers now?

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, let me start, and Monte may want to add to this as well. Let me say first of all, it is something I am concerned about. I think the relationship between management and labor and union is absolutely critical if we are going to succeed. It has to be productive, it has got to be a relationship based on trust. It has got to be a relationship that says we are in this together. You know, these issues are too complicated, they are too difficult for us not to be in it together.

    So it is something that is really a top priority for me and it is a top priority, I know, for Monte as well. We have spent a lot of time talking with the management team that is doing the labor negotiations for us. We meet with them at the end of every week, assess how things are going, look for problem areas, and there will be and there are problem areas. I have spent a good deal of time with Mr. McNally and with his board. I have met with all of the NATCA representatives that were in town last week. I think there were about 300 of them, and I spoke with them and answered questions.
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    I have offered to Mr. McNally, and he has said he would love to do this, to visit centers with him, to visit the towers with him. I think it is very important that we keep those lines of communication open. I e-mail the employees every week. I let them know what is going on. I hear back from lots of employees. I hear back.

    Mr. WOLF. They have the ability to e-mail directly back to you?

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, oh, yes. It works well. So I think it is very important. I don't think we are always going to agree, and that is the nature of management and labor relations. I expect that there will be times when they will be disappointed and there will be times that I will be disappointed, but I think the issues are so important that we absolutely must work on it together. And I have also said to Mr. McNally—and also, by the way, to Mr. Fanfallone at PASS as well, let's look for some opportunities where we can work together, that is outside of the bargaining unit, if you will, or outside—away from the bargaining table. I think modernization is a perfect example. One of the action items that came out of the task force was an assessment of our workforce. What do we need as we move forward? What do we need in the year 2000? And that is an action item that we are undertaking with the unions together, to say, what is it we want? How do we prepare our workforce? How do we move out together?

    Monte is visiting Canada in a couple of weeks to look at some possible solutions to some technology that they have, and we talked yesterday about bringing the union with him on that trip. So that we are in it together, we are looking at it together, we are moving out together. But I am concerned. I think it is not an overstatement to say that there is a strong history of distrust probably on both sides. It is going to take movement on both sides for it to be more productive.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, I appreciate it. In October 1997, NATCA national leaders sent a letter to all union members saying ''if this agency thinks we have catapulted to the forefront of the public's mind before, it hasn't seen anything yet.'' And I think it is important to treat people with dignity and respect, to be talking to people, to be listening to people.


    Mr. WOLF. In October 1997, NATCA national leaders sent a letter to all union members saying ''If this agency thinks we have catapulted to the forefront of the public's mind before, it hasn't seen anything yet . . . Media will be an important NATCA tool''. Do you have any understanding with NATCA about what is ''fair game'' about approaching the media?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA is working very closely with NATCA on communicating a unified message regarding the agency's future direction.


    Mr. WOLF. Which leads me to another area. Congressman Hoyer and I, over the years, on another Appropriations Subcommittee, have offered a whole series of what we call ''family friendly'' policies.
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    I wonder how successful the FAA has been? Do you have flex-time?

    Ms. GARVEY. We do have flex-time and employees have told me that they like that very much.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you have leave sharing?

    Ms. GARVEY. Do we have leave sharing?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes.

    Ms. GARVEY. We do have it. Monte is here and he will——


    Mr. WOLF. How many people are participating in leave sharing in the last several years?

    Mr. BELGER. We have that information. I don't have that in my head, but it is available throughout the agency.

    [The information follows:]

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    We don't maintain summary records of the exchange of leave. However, it's estimated that approximately 1,400 FAA employees were eligible for leave donations over the last several years.


    Mr. WOLF. Do you have job sharing? I see some people shaking their head.

    Mr. BELGER. I am not sure.

    Mr. WOLF. Job sharing is where you and the administrator could—not as administrator obviously, but two people could share——

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Could share a job. One may want to take care of a father who is dying. Another may want to go back and get a Master's Degree.

    Mr. BELGER. I stand to be corrected, but I don't think we have really implemented that in any broad scale yet.

    Mr. WOLF. That is the law, though, and if this administration maintains it is so interested, there are new proposals with regard to child care, most people are looking for choices, for options, to be in control of their own life. No one size fits all, but I think the opportunity at the FAA for two people to share a job for 2 or 3 years, maybe if you did have a parent who was going through a very difficult time and you wanted the opportunity to spend more time with them, or whatever the case may be, but I think job sharing, particularly in this modern time, is—and therefore somebody maintains their work experience with whoever they are working for, but at a reduced level and if two people are sharing the same job you generally find you are getting from both actually more time because they are very appreciative of having this opportunity, and that is the law.
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    Mr. Hoyer and I sent a letter to OPM last week asking them to do an audit of all of the agencies, as to how successful they are. And I would urge you to go back—do you do any telecommuting?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes.


    Mr. WOLF. How many employees do you have doing telecommuting?

    Mr. BELGER. Again, we can provide that for you. We have encouraged that quite a bit.

    [The information follows:]

    As of November 1997, the FAA had 280 participants in the telecommuting program, or approximately 1.6 percent of employees in position suitable for telecommuting and 0.6 percent of our total employee population. There are 105 telecommuters at our Washington headquarters, and 175 in regional offices or field facilities.

    Mr. WOLF. Telecommunicating from a telecommunications center or from their own home?

    Mr. BELGER. From a center, primarily. We might have some from home, too. But we tried to focus on the telecommunicating centers.
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    Mr. WOLF. But you may have employees in an area where there is no telecommunications center.

    Mr. BELGER. Right. One of the things we have done, and this is more appropriate in our safety work force where our inspectors are on the road so much. I think we are giving them much more flexibility to work out of their home and channel from the home without having to go into the office and wasting the time of having to go into the office where they could, by computer or by phone, do the same work from home before they go on the road to do their inspections.

    Mr. WOLF. I think that is a good idea. Bell Atlantic learned that a number of years ago. They used to make the people come in, pick up their equipment, and then go out. Now they just take their equipment home. And there is nothing magic about strapping yourself into a car and driving 35 or 40 miles to come in and begin the day and then go out. So I think the more you can give people——

    Mr. BELGER. Right.

    Mr. WOLF. And I think if you find it is abused, you can certainly deal with that. But most people, the studies show, do not abuse it. They actually are so appreciative, particularly with where they are in life, that it gives them more options and choices. So deal with flextime, flexplace, job sharing and leave sharing in telecommunications and give us some sense of how the FAA is doing.

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    Mr. WOLF. User fees. The issue came up before, but the D.C. circuit court of appeals recently struck down the FAA's overflight user fees. Do you agree with the rationale of the Court? Are you going to appeal it?

    Ms. GARVEY. We have, Mr. Chairman, until March 16, so we have another week before we have to make a decision on whether we ask for a hearing or appeal the case. We are still looking at the options and talking with Justice; obviously Justice plays a role in this, so we are still looking at the options.

    We were disappointed. There was much about the Court decision that I thought was positive for some of the actions of the FAA, but clearly, how we had structured the pricing, using the Ramsey pricing was really the critical issue. So we will decide before March 16 whether we will appeal it or ask for a hearing. I guess you can ask for a hearing separate from the appeal.

    Mr. WOLF. That is a couple days?

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, a couple of days. I was glad this was today, so we have a little bit of time to think, but not much though.

    Mr. WOLF. How much of a shortfall does this give you, your operating budget in fiscal year 1998, and what are you planning to do to deal with that shortfall?

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    Ms. GARVEY. Well, as you know, Mr. Chairman, we had anticipated getting about $100 million from that I think we collected about $49 million to date, and it is going to——

    [Additional information follows:]

    The reduction in anticipated user fees results in a shortfall of $84 million. We are currently considering our options to address this shortfall. No decision has yet been made.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you have to refund that?

    Ms. GARVEY. We believe we do, yes; so it is going to have quite an impact. So we are looking at those options as well and, quite honestly, talking very seriously with OMB about what are some potentials, options open to us.


    Mr. WOLF. The authorizing legislation assumed that the overflight fees, which would be used to finance $50 million each year for the Office of Secretary's rural airports program, formerly the essential air service program, and the balance could be used by the FAA for agency operations. The law was technically drafted in a way which requires the FAA to send $50 million to the rural airports program, even if those fees aren't collected; is that right.

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    Ms. GARVEY. That is correct, Mr. Chairman, and we are following the letter of the law. We knew that going into this year's activities. We have found a way to fund it, I understand.

    Mr. WOLF. You are not asking for a change then.

    Ms. GARVEY. We are not, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. But if you had to make a difference between safety and essential air service, what would you do?

    Ms. GARVEY. Safety is clearly our priority, but I guess our goal would be to try to respect the letter of the law and find a way to make sure our safety program is not affected.

    Mr. WOLF. You will be subsidizing EAS out of your budget by $50 million?

    Ms. GARVEY. We will, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. Does that sound very logical, though, if you were sitting up at Amherst?

    Ms. GARVEY. Well, it certainly seemed logical when we were thinking in terms of user fees because that was a vehicle by which we could do it. It certainly makes it much more challenging now.
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    Mr. WOLF. Well, I mean, if you get to the two points, that they are in conflict, and you find this is a safety problem, I think you ought to——

    Ms. GARVEY. We certainly can't compromise on safety.


    Mr. WOLF. On training, there has been a lot of concern over the past few years about the adequacy of FAA's resources in technical training. Controllers say they are not getting enough training, and GAO and the IG say safety inspectors are not getting enough training. The Coopers and Lybrand study indicated FAA invests less in training than technically-oriented private businesses they look at. Does your fiscal 1999 budget request an increase in technical training for controllers, inspectors, and other elements of the safety work force particularly?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not sure it specifically calls out those areas. I am going to ask for clarification.

    Mr. WOLF. Go ahead.

    Ms. GARVEY. They are leaving me here.

    Mr. BELGER. The 1999 request, Mr. Chairman, does include an increase for technical training for air traffic controllers and it does include an increase in technical training for airways facilities technicians and engineers.
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    Mr. WOLF. Of how much?

    Mr. BELGER. The increase for controller training, I think, is about $2 million. That is primarily for the contract for the training of air traffic controllers in the facilities. The increase for airways facilities technicians and engineers is in the NAS hand-off area. We can provide the specific dollar amount to you.

    Mr. GARDNER. In the safety work force side, sir, the 1998 budget, you gave us a large increase in the training budget which we are using for that purpose this year and that continues on as part of our base throughout—in 1999 and on.
    offset folio 787 insert here

    Mr. WOLF. Would it make any sense to develop a relationship with a consortium of universities, around the country, to develop a training program that could be—you could do it by teleconferencing one day a week, on a Monday from 5 to 6:30, or whatever the case may be, to really aggressively—because I have seen statements from some of the flight service people and different safety occupations, inferring there was not a lot of training. And obviously the job is so complex that what the private sector is doing, you spend a lot of time on training. In my office we spend a lot of time on training, in new computers, and new this and new that. Would it not make sense to develop a relationship with a consortium of universities scattered around the country?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think that is an excellent suggestion, one we ought to take an action on and take a good hard look at. Because, I think the benefit of something like that is you really get to take advantage of the most up-to-date training that is available. And I think that kind of constant refreshing of what is out there and constantly having that kind of training available would be a real benefit to us. And certainly I think your point about using the video teleconferencing that we can do so readily now is a way to deal with the large work force that we have.
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    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Sabo.


    Mr. SABO. Just one question at this point. One program that has been of ongoing interest to me is the MARC program in Minnesota. We have some problems with OMB, but my question is, does MARC continue to do good work?

    Ms. GARVEY. They continue to do very good work. It is a good outfit.

    Mr. SABO. I thank you.

    Mr. WOLF. You made the record.

    Ms. GARVEY. If it is for the record, excellent work.

    Mr. WOLF. We have a number of questions more. I tell you what I thought we would do; go until about 1 o'clock and give you an opportunity to take a break and get a sandwich and maybe come back at 1:30.

    Ms. GARVEY. That is just fine. That is great.

    Mr. WOLF. Wouldn't you rather keep moving than break for a long 2-hour period?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Absolutely, if those are the options. Is there a third option that we could just break? [Laughter]. Don't push it, I know.


    Mr. WOLF. With regard to maintenance, the maintenance union testified before the subcommittee a few weeks ago that the National Airspace System is experiencing increased maintenance problems. They said the time to restore equipment has increased from 7 hours in fiscal year 1983, to 27.5 in 1997. Unscheduled outage time has gone from 210,000 hours in 1983 to over 600,000 in 1997. Aircraft delays caused by equipment have increased from 5,000 in 1991 to 6,500 in 1996.

    Is the NAS experiencing a deterioration of service due to inadequate maintenance, as PASS suggested during the hearing?

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Fanfallone and I have talked a great deal about this. This is an absolutely critical and important issue. I mean we certainly bear some responsibility in making sure we get the equipment in place they need, the up-to-date equipment that is easier to maintain.

    As he has pointed out, we also bear some responsibility in providing the right kind of training for the personnel that are working on these issues. We have invited PASS and Mr. Fanfallone has been very generous: in giving his time on this issue to be with us as we are thinking and developing the training programs, as we move forward; also to be part of the kind of task force that we have that are looking at the staffing issues; and in looking at ways that we can make some improvements. He has brought to my attention some very specific issues around some of the equipment we have, where we really need to make some changes in order to make the maintenance work a little bit better. He has brought those issues to our attention. I think we are very much aware of them and working closely with PASS to address them.
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    I don't know if Monte wanted to add anything.

    Mr. BELGER. No.


    Mr. WOLF. He also said the work force is currently staffed at 71 percent of staffing, and even if FAA officials agree that the level needs to be maintained at a minimum of 80 percent of the standard, which would result in 575 current vacant positions being filled. Do you agree that at least 80 percent of the staffing standards should be filled?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. And I think our hiring plans will get us to that level. We continue to look at the validity and the appropriateness of the airways facilities staffing standards. As the Administrator mentioned, we have an effort underway right now with both of the major unions, PASS and NATCA, to look at our needs for the future in terms of skills, knowledge, abilities, training, and numbers of people, so I continue to be concerned about our airway facilities staffing standards.

    Mr. WOLF. PASS says that, in addition to the current workload, the workload of FAA maintenance specialists will increase over the next five years because they will have to operate both the old and new systems in parallel during the transition period. Is this accurate, and if so, do your 1999 and out year staffing estimates reflect this workload?

    [The information follows:]
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    Yes, this is accurate. We expect to be maintaining both the existing NAS infrastructure, as well as new systems coming on line. The Staffing Standards Analysis System takes this into account, and generates outyear staffing requirements based on the expected inventory. This growth in the total number of facilities is the main driver behind FAA's request for an additional 150 field maintenance staff in FY 1999.

    Mr. WOLF. They also say that an average attrition rate of about 660, along with 1,200 to 1,500 specialists who are typically in a developmental status, means that on any given day, over 25 percent of the field maintenance work force is either waiting for the FAA to provide essential training or preparing for retirement. Do you think those figures are accurate?

    Mr. BELGER. We can provide very accurate figures. I think the 600 number for retirement is quite high. We do have employees, obviously, in developmental positions, being trained to the full performance level, and that is why we need the technical training dollars to provide the training for those folks.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you have enough in the budget that you asked for?

    Mr. BELGER. I think we made a lot of progress on technical training. If you look at the trends for technical training in airways facilities, there has been a significant increase in technical training dollars since 1994. So I am much more confident that we do now than we did several years ago.

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    Mr. WOLF. PASS claims that the 1994 Airways Facilities Realignment Plan, signed by FAA and the union, agreed to fund a nationwide business process engineering (BPE) effort, to streamline the work procedures that would have enabled more employees to work efficiently with fewer supervisors. The FAA envisioned that 1,100 supervisory personnel would be placed into hands-on, safety-related positions, and BPE would streamline the processes. However, the union claims that a majority of these supervisors instead took a buyout in 1995 and the hands-on positions were never filled. In addition, the BPE was never funded by the agency, leaving many people working harder than ever before. Is this accurate?

    [The information follows:]

    Yes, there were large reductions in supervisory and administrative staffs as result of employment targets set by the National Performance Review (NPR). Many of these employees left as the result of the buyout and early out authorities.


    Mr. WOLF. PASS advised the Committee that FAA does not typically conduct a cost-benefit analysis before contracting out the maintenance of a new system. Is that accurate? If so, why?

    [The information follows:]

    These types of analyses are required as part of the FAA Acquisition Management System (AMS). During the investment analysis phase of an acquisition, the airway facilities directorates and users working with the air traffic systems requirements service establishes initial requirements and participates in an alternative analysis process to fulfill those requirements. As part of the alternative analysis process, maintenance strategies are evaluated and life-cycle costs are determined for each likely alternative.
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    The FAA must also follow the Office of Management and Budget, Circular No. A–76, ''Performance of Commercial Activities'', March 1996, which establishes Federal policy for the performance of recurring commercial activities. This circular provides the procedures for determining whether recurring commercial activities, such as equipment maintenance, should be placed under contract with commercial sources of performed in-house using government facilities and personnel.


    Mr. WOLF. What guidelines does the FAA use when determining whether to perform maintenance in house with government employees or contracting it out?

    Mr. BELGER. The basic guideline is two criteria. Number one, there obviously has to be no decrease in the safety level; and number two, it really boils down to how can the work be performed, more efficiently, or more cheaply, for the taxpayer.

    There are certain circumstances and situations where the contractor can provide the services more quickly and at a lower cost than we can in-house. Many times, though, it is much more efficient and cheaper for us to do the work in-house. If that is the case, then we should do the work in house.

    Mr. WOLF. I agree. But do you have standards?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir; we have published criteria.
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    Mr. WOLF. That are understandable to everybody?

    Mr. BELGER. I think they are pretty straightforward, just like I said. It really boils down to how can we provide the best service for the users of the system.

    Mr. WOLF. In most, if not all cases, it is the airlines and, obviously, the passengers that suffer when your NAS systems are down for maintenance because they suffer the delays and the passengers suffer inconvenience. PASS offers several examples in their testimony where it appeared that contractors were not as responsive as government employees might have been, causing the system to be out of operation longer than necessary. Are the airlines involved in this maintenance, too?

    Mr. BELGER. They are not involved in the maintenance.

    Mr. WOLF. In the decisions?

    Mr. BELGER. They are obviously impacted.

    Mr. WOLF. Are they involved in the maintenance decisions?

    Mr. BELGER. Oh, yes, sir. As a matter of fact, we have significantly increased the dialogue.

    Mr. WOLF. Whether to use in-house or out?
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    Mr. BELGER. They, quite frankly, want it fixed. You know, now, regardless of whether it is done in-house or by the contractor. So their pressure on me and on us is, you know, get it fixed now, and however we can best do that is what we ought to be doing.

    Mr. WOLF. What has been the trend, say, in the last year? Have you gone outside more?

    Mr. BELGER. I think the trend in the past couple years is we brought more in-house. We actually made decisions on pieces of equipment like ASOS and some of the other equipment in the centers where, because we have been able to show it is cheaper to do it in-house, we have brought it in-house. My challenge to the union and to our airway facilities organization is, you know, show us how it can be done more cheaply in-house and that is what I will support.


    Mr. WOLF. They have recommended we fund an independent review of how FAA legal staffs respond to and enforce the recommendations coming from inspectors in the field. Their testimony says inspectors are concerned that enforcement actions are not undertaken quickly enough to ensure public safety.

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me make a couple comments about it, and I don't know if Mr. Gardner wants to add anything, but that is a very serious issue. It is one I have talked with people internally about. And I will tell you I have talked with some inspectors about it. I think we have had even a recent example where some of our inspectors, early on in the process, uncovered some issues they thought were of great concern. We brought an additional national team in—again, by the way, working with the IG to take a very hard look at it.
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    One of the changes that we have made, which I think is very important, is when we produce a report. Recently we just produced a report that I think illustrates this quite nicely. The issues that have been raised in the course of the investigation are laid out and the responses laid out, so that if an inspector finds something and it is something that he believes is serious, but if upon further investigation, further evaluation, that issue is disposed of adequately, we say that in the report. So, there is a full understanding and there is not the appearance or reality of trying to sweep something under the rug.

    I think that is a very good step forward because it really does say: Look. You can find things early on in the process and you should—that is what the inspector should be doing, throwing up some red flags for us. If you go back in and learn more about it, some may be disposed of, some may not. Some may be just as serious as the inspector first thought.

    So I think part of what we need to do is be very clear to the public—your point earlier. The American public really needs to know these things. We need to be clear to the public and our own work force that we are taking this seriously and here is the answer.


    Mr. WOLF. We seem to be seeing an increasing number of reports which show inadequate coordination of FAA's field activities. The IG went out to your regional offices and found that different offices had their own definition of what constitutes a runway incursion, making measurement of this important safety problem difficult. PASS claims that there is an inconsistency among your regions in their pursuit and enforcement of safety regulations. How does FAA coordinate the work of its regional field offices to ensure consistency, fairness, and aggressive enforcement? And obviously the standards should be the same, I would imagine, for safety in every region.
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    Ms. GARVEY. Absolutely. And it really originates in the lines of business. In other words, the lines of business establish the policies. I will tell you, though, that is a criticism I have heard almost across the board, that in different regions there are different interpretations sometimes of the airport's rules or sometimes of some of the safety rules and so forth. One of the efforts that is currently underway, and I know in the regulation field they are working very hard on this, is first of all to make sure the policies are clear. I think sometimes it is an interpretation issue. And so making sure that the policies are first and foremost very clear. The policies that we are issuing, and regulations, are going through all of the policies that we have and making great progress and making sure there is first and foremost a clarity.

    The second step is going to be to make sure we do additional training so that we are all interpreting it in the same way. And I think there is also, sometimes, a disconnect, as I understand it, between what the inspector sees and what some of our lawyers—and I think that may be referenced in your question—but some of our lawyers see as well. One of the activities that our Chief Counsel has talked about and is undertaking as part of his performance plan for this year, is to bring together both the legal people that he deals with, with some of the inspection folks that Guy Gardner deals with, in certain locations throughout the country. Let's do some case studies and let's look at how we are interpreting some of the laws that we have.

    I think this is a very real issue and I think it is an issue that is going to take us sometime to make sure we are getting at all aspects. I think, when Mr. Hinson talked about the lines of business, one of the reasons he really wanted to do that was to make sure that within the lines of business they were establishing clear policies. But we need to take it even a step further and make sure it is being implemented consistently across the country.
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    Mr. WOLF. So all of them would come together at the same time.

    Ms. GARVEY. Right. Everyone could hear the same message.


    Mr. WOLF. Congressman Young asked if we would raise this issue with you. He has written about the problems with the reliability of the ASR–9 radar in Tampa. Do you know anything about these problems and can you tell me if FAA has done anything to fix them, is doing anything to fix them, or when the problem will be resolved? What can we tell Mr. Young?

    Ms. GARVEY. The good news is we are on schedule. I am going to let Monte explain the details, but I like to at least deliver the good news.

    Mr. BELGER. There have been problems with the ASR–9, which is a terminal radar in Tampa. Most have been related to a power conditioning system, and we have had that problem throughout the country with the ASR–9 radars. We are installing a state-of-the-art power conditioning system, which does the same function as you would use on your computer to condition and purify the power that goes to the radar. We are on schedule to do that by the end of this year.


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    Mr. WOLF. We will tell Mr. Young that, and maybe you could give us a letter we could give to Mr. Young.

    What is the status of the doppler radar up in New York, I know there has been opposition to it and we have put report language in, I think, on several occasions urging them to move ahead because that is probably the busiest area—what is the status of that?

    Ms. GARVEY. Go ahead.

    Mr. BELGER. As you know, there has been a lot of controversy around the siting of that radar. We are currently doing an environmental assessment. I believe the schedule for the completion and the schedule for record of decision is in the late summer of this year.

    Ms. GARVEY. Early fall, yes.

    Mr. WOLF. Rich said the Coast Guard is closing the station where you hoped to put the radar. Is that good for you or bad for you?

    Mr. BELGER. I think that the land either has been or will be turned over to us, so I don't see that as a negative at all.

    Mr. WOLF. So, this summer you will make a decision?

    Ms. GARVEY. I believe it is closer, actually, to September. This is the environmental work going on now, and there are a number of environmental issues being raised by neighbors and community folks. I know people in New York are meeting with them and there have been a number of public forums for people to voice the concerns that they have.
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    Mr. WOLF. Do you agree that that is a major safety problem?

    Ms. GARVEY. We know it is an issue we have to deal with and come to grips with. Absolutely.

    Mr. WOLF. How long will it take once you make a decision—say, Labor Day—how long will it take until it is up and running and moving, roughly, and if you can elaborate a little bit more for the record?

    Mr. BELGER. We will do that for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process for Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (TDWR) to serve John F. Kennedy International JFK) and LaGuardia airports is well underway. A draft EIS was distributed to over 500 members of the public and government agencies in August 1997. The FAA accepted comments on the draft EIS through November 1997 and held 5 public hearings in Brooklyn and Queens during the comment period. A large number of verbal and written comments were received. These comments are currently under review by the FAA. An analysis of alternatives suggested by the public is being prepared for inclusion in the final EIS. The FAA expects to complete the EIS process by issuing a Final EIS by August with a record of decision by late fall.

    A commissioning date will be determined pending the results of the EIS process. If any site other than the current preferred site is selected, additional public hearings would be required.
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    Assuming approval of funding in Fiscal Year 1999, construction would commence 2 months after the record of decision. The TDWR would be commissioned 12 months later.

    Mr. WOLF. But I would like to get some sense of this, because I think there is going to be opposition.

    Mr. BELGER. That is what I was going to say.

    Mr. WOLF. But if you are bold and forthright and say this is a major safety issue and this is the fundamental problem for anyone flying into New York, I think——

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, we would support that.

    Mr. WOLF. Yes, you would support that. How long if you move normally?

    Mr. BELGER. If we are not sidetracked by other appeals or obstacles, it is just a matter of the installation of the radar. I will correct this if I am wrong and too optimistic, but probably a year or less for the actual installation and commissioning of the radar.

    Mr. WOLF. By the end of 1999.

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    Mr. BELGER. I would hope. Hopefully we don't run into other obstacles.


    Mr. WOLF. On the issue of STARS, in our last hearing last October on STARS, the FAA said that human factors-related design changes could affect the program's cost and schedule. You said these changes might be more clear in April of 1998, next month's time frame. Do you have a better handle today on the cost and the schedule impact?

    Ms. GARVEY. We have somewhat of a handle and we are going to have a better one in April, as indicated. Let me say, first of all, I think this committee did a wonderful thing in really acting as a catalyst to get the right group of people together to work on this issue. I am not overstating it when I say great progress has been made. The model we are establishing with STARS, a way to deal with human factors and to deal with them early on in the process, would be an excellent model as we move forward with other automation tools and with other new technology. I think both PASS and NATCA have felt very encouraged by the progress to date.

    I have been encouraged and I have been very appreciative, of the work that the union members have put into it, that the FAA management team has and that, frankly, Mitre and the IG as well, who have been active participants in this. We are in a very critical period now. We have dealt with, I think, most of the issues on the controller's side, we have a good process underway with PASS. We have gotten a little further behind, but I think we can close the gap quickly on dealing with the issues that PASS has raised. In 1998, I believe, we are down to about 11 issues with NATCA, and a slightly larger number with PASS. But I talked to Mr. McNally and Mr. Fanfallone last week and said the next few weeks for our folks is going to be very, very important because we want to do this right. At the same time, we want to be mindful of a schedule and a budget and we want to make sure we are prioritizing the issues correctly.
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    So we have agreed to meet either March 31st or early April, depending again when people's schedules allow, the first couple days in April; and the top folks, myself and Fanfallone and Mike McNally and the IG and so forth, and say all right, where are we, how much progress have we made and what needs to be resolved, and really take a look at it ourselves. So I am very encouraged. But I also, as Ken Mead said last week in one of the testimonies, it is also important we bring it to a conclusion, it not be an endless process. We must figure out a way to have a good strong exit criteria.

    Mr. WOLF. You are going to bring everybody together, the unions, everybody, and say this is it, put a bow on it.

    Ms. GARVEY. Let's try to put a bow on it and let's try to move forward. It is really at that time we will have a better sense of what the cost implications are.


    Mr. WOLF. That is what I was going to ask you. What about the additional $28.9 million?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is actually part of the reprogramming that we put in, even before we had these issues on the table; that that reprogramming allows us to deal with some of the software issues and also to advance the National piece. We are not sure yet whether that $28 million will deal with the human factors issues. Again, we will know more after our staffs are working it. We know Raytheon is working very hard to make sure they can address it, and trying to give us some budget numbers as well.
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    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Looking at it locally here, last year you agreed to accelerate the deployment of STARS for National Airport. In your reprogramming request, I see you are also planning to accelerate deployments for New York and Dallas-Fort Worth. Will you explain why the list of early deployment sites is expanding, and is this the final list, and what is the status of early deployment of STARS at National Airport, when do you think it will be at National Airport, bring us up to date?

    Ms. GARVEY. Our contractor is still optimistic but, quite honestly, the human factors issues and software issues will impact Washington National as well. We will know better when we meet with everyone in April.


    Mr. WOLF. What was the target for National?

    Ms. GARVEY. It was at the end of the summer, early fall.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think that is going to slip?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think it may slip a little bit, but again we will know more after we meet with folks, because the human factors issues we are dealing with also, obviously, affects National. In fact, we are focusing on the National piece.
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    Mr. WOLF. At the time you announced it would, would you be able to say it will be in National on this date?

    Ms. GARVEY. That is our goal, that once we see how we do with our meeting with the union people and with Mitre, that we can collectively, as a group, say this is what our schedule is. I mean, we talked a little bit last week that, look, if this schedule slips by a few months but we have gotten what we need, which is the human factors dealt with in a way that will be a model for future deployments, then I think all of us can be comfortable. My great concern is if we are not able to prioritize some of the human factor issues, or if the list is really much more complicated than we thought, then the impact may be greater. That is really what we need to understand and certainly be back to you with that information.

    Mr. WOLF. So you really can't say when it will be.

    Ms. GARVEY. Not at this point, until we explore the human factors issue a little bit more.


    Mr. WOLF. Currently nearly half of the maintenance renovation and repair of commercial aircraft owned by U.S. airlines is conducted by independent repair stations rather than by air carriers themselves. They are located worldwide and use has grown significantly in recent years. In a recent audit of repair station oversight, GAO found the FAA was not deploying its staff efficiently to oversee these stations and that the FAA had no standards on what documentation should be kept by your inspectors. What is your overall response to the GAO findings?
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    Ms. GARVEY. We actually agree with the findings and the recommendations the GAO made in that report. We think they made some excellent recommendations and we implemented many of them, including the idea of using teams to take a look at the repair stations and focusing those resources in a team effort. We also looked at the documentation issues they raised, and so we are well on our way in terms of implementing those recommendations. That was one that I thought, where again having GAO weigh in with some specific recommendations and giving us an opportunity to respond in a timely fashion, I think was important.

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe you answered this, maybe not. If the FAA doesn't specify what documentation is to be kept on safety deficiencies, how will inspectors know when they conduct the followup inspection that the problems have been corrected?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think that is quite honestly the fair issue that GAO raised for us. The documentation that we have in place now is much more specific and is something that you could use as a followup.

    Mr. WOLF. The report also notes GAO and IG have been reporting on FAA shortcomings and documenting inspection activities as far back as 1987. And I know you were in high school then. [Laughter].

    Ms. GARVEY. I was, Mr. Chairman, thank you.

    Mr. WOLF. That is just an indication; 1997, 1998.

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    Ms. GARVEY. I hope, by the way, the laughter was not coming from anyone who works at the FAA.

    Mr. WOLF. The report also expresses concern over the, quote, ''relatively limited amount of oversight FAA gives repair stations compared with the oversight it gives air carriers.'' Each was to have a minimum of one facility inspection, while each air carrier was required to have many more. So you really have different standards and you are much more aggressive, which I think is appropriate. Probably on ones who have less of a problem in the areas where there might be a greater problem, there is less aggressive activity.

    The GAO interviews of FAA inspectors at European field offices found that in Europe, your inspectors spent 80 percent of their time on surveillance and the oversight of repair stations, whereas in the U.S., they spent only 30 percent of their time on surveillance, and this includes all types of facilities, not just repair stations. Why the difference?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not sure I can answer why the difference, except to say that the recommendations—we have made the modifications, based on GAO's report. But let me ask Guy if there is anything more you would like to add to that, Mr. Gardner.

    Mr. GARDNER. No. We are addressing those issues. I don't have the response to the 80/30 percent, other than we are methodically working to equate foreign repair station oversight with domestic repair oversight.

    Mr. WOLF. The report went on to say FAA field inspectors who worked domestically and overseas want to extend the annual certificate renewal to domestic repair facilities. However, inspectors based in the U.S., it said, are more suspicious because they fear an increase in their workload. The least amount of support came from FAA management, and I think that is important. You have read the report?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, I have studied the report and also been briefed by staff. Again I want to say this is one where—in the briefing I have had, people have embraced those recommendations enthusiastically and said this is really something we need to do. It is part of our action plan.


    Mr. WOLF. Are the regulations being totally overhauled or will new regulations come out? When will they come out, just roughly?

    Ms. GARVEY. Actually, a new part 145 NPRM is in the works right now. It is in executive review, ironing out some of the specific details of it, but we hope to have it out on the street very shortly.

    Mr. WOLF. Rich said it has been in the works about 8 years.

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir, it has.

    Mr. WOLF. That is a long time. When do you think it will actually be in effect? What is the problem? Maybe I am missing something here.

    Mr. GARDNER. It is up at OST right now, sir. They had some changes they wanted us to make. We are making the changes and should be back there within a month.

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    Mr. WOLF. Is there somebody lobbying against it? Is that part of the problem?

    Mr. GARDNER. It is a very complicated rule, it covers a lot of things, and the specific difficulties of it I am not completely up to speed on. I will have to provide that for the record.

    [The information follows:]

     The oversight of the domestic and foreign stations is consistent with the certification basis of each station. For example, foreign repair stations have an initial and biannual recertification requirement, whereas domestic stations once certificated are not required to go through a recertification, and their certificates are valid until revoked or surrendered. All other aspects of oversight are identical.

    Ms. GARVEY. I will mention there are a couple of key rules that we are very concerned about and working closely with OST's legal counsel to make sure we get them out. They have made some good suggestions and I think will make the rules we have been concerned about even better, but we need to move it out. We will follow up with the Chief Counsel's Office on that.


    Mr. WOLF. Eight years is too long, obviously. Eight months is too long.
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    Congress has funded a 41.8 percent increase in the number of aviation safety inspectors, that is 984 inspectors, between 1994 and 1998, and additional increases are proposed for 1999, 45. The GAO report indicates that the FAA may waste these additional resources by not deploying them efficiently in teams. Is that one of the implementation—do you plan on following the GAO recommendations?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. Actually, as a result of the safety review done following the ValuJet accident, there is a tremendous renovation in both how we do inspection and how we prioritize our inspection resources, including the national certification team that is just now up to speed and starting their process. We are particularly looking at the new entrant carriers, but looking more at a national basis to address several of the issues you brought up here today, not only the issue of how do we focus and prioritize our resources but also to accomplish a better standardization of our inspectors across the spectrum of the United States and the world.


    Mr. WOLF. In the GAO survey, safety inspectors also said—80 percent of them believe that more training was needed on inspection skills, and almost half said that inadequate training undercut their ability to ensure compliance with existing safety regs. Is that in the budget this year, more training?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. As I mentioned, you gave it to us in the 1998 budget.
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    Mr. WOLF. But in this coming year, too?

    Mr. GARDNER. Yes, sir. That continues on in 1999 and on.

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, I want to mention the 90-day report Mr. Gardner referred to. The IG and the FAA initiated very early in September a review of that. How well have we done? Have we implemented all of the recommendations that came out of a 90-day review? That review was just completed and sent up to the Secretary and we would be happy to provide a copy to you. I think it is a very positive report. It says that the FAA has made progress in some areas. It has pointed out some areas where perhaps originally the schedule we outlined may have been a little ambitious, but says we are on track. It made a couple other additional recommendations, including reporting to the Administrator on a quarterly basis. So I think it is, again, another example of a good cooperative working effort with the FAA. Both of our teams, the FAA and the IG, went down to Atlanta, spent time, really met with inspectors and teams. It was a very good effort and I am encouraged by the progress that we are making and will continue to make in that area.

    Mr. WOLF. How often do you meet with Mr. Mead and Mr. Anderson?

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Anderson, less so, because Mr. Mead is part of the Department and I see him at the Secretary's staff meetings. I would bet we meet a couple times a week. We certainly talk at least two times a week, but we probably meet a couple times a week. He was a very active participant in the Task Force on Modernization and it was very helpful to have that perspective of somebody who has watched this through the years.
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    Mr. WOLF. Your fiscal year 1999 request for regulation and certification includes funding to raise end-of-year employment by 45 during the fiscal year. The comparable increases in the two prior years were 632 and 372. Would you explain why the rate of staffing growth has slowed in this activity?

    [The information follows:]

    The rate of staffing growth has slowed in FY 1999 because the requirements which drove relatively large staffing increases in FY 1997 and FY 1998 have been satisfied. Specifically, the FY 1997 and FY 1998 increases were designed to increase staffing commensurate with staffing standards and with the 90 Day Safety Review. Having achieved these increases, the FY 1999 requested increase is based solely on projected growth using the current staffing models.

    A new integrated staffing model is being developed that will include essential elements of the existing flight standards staffing models, additional staffing identified as a result of the 90 day safety review, and other changes in work requirements, workload drivers and performance measures. With the planned completion of the model in the summer of 1999, it will be used to project future staffing requirements.


    Mr. WOLF. I give the Secretary a lot of credit for appointing him. I think it is one of the better appointments.
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    We were disturbed over something Mr. Mead said, speaking of Mr. Mead again—what would we do without Mr. Mead and Mr. Anderson we don't know, we would have to rely on just one person—but Mr. Mead's testimony said that runway incursions are increasing. He said the FAA must focus like a laser on reducing runway incursions.

    What are your plans for dealing with this safety issue? And, again, they found out the FAA's regional offices did not focus their efforts on airports with the most runway incursions, they did not have a person designated to identify the causes of incursions or periodically analyze runway incursion data. Are you planning to make specific improvements at the field level? What are you planning with regard to this issue?

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, on the issue of runway incursions, there were 10 recommendations that came out of the GAO report. They were also the same recommendations that came out of RTCA. We have embraced those.

    Mr. WOLF. RTCA. What is that?

    Mr. DEGAETANO. It no longer stands for anything. It used to be Radio Telecommunications Administration.

    Ms. GARVEY. I just deliver the message. This is the industry branch that takes a look at some of the recommendations as well. They have come up with the same. All 10 are in our strategic plan, they are part of our action plan. We have actually implemented some of them having to do with procedures.
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    The issue that you mentioned is one that we have talked about internally and Ken has raised as well, which is how can we get the air traffic operation and the airports people to sort of come together on this issue. Susan Kurland has been working with Monte to really appoint the right people in the region so we have communication and we have coordination between the airports office and air traffic control, but the 10 recommendations that came out of GAO are very much a part of our strategic plans.

    Mr. WOLF. Are they the same 10 recommendations that came out of Mitre in 1994?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would bet they are very similar. I am not as familiar with the Mitre report, but we talked with Mitre about runway incursion.

    Mr. WOLF. Are you going to ask they follow up with this?

    Mr. BELGER. Mitre is helping us. Mitre has already conducted a survey of pilots and is in the process of completing a survey of air traffic controllers, specifically on the question of runway incursions. These are all being incorporated into our new runway incursion action plan which we will publish in June. That will incorporate all the recommendations from the IG, from the advisory committee, and some other recommendations that we are coming up with on our own. Specifically, one of the actions will be to establish, in fact we are already doing it, runway incursion action teams in each of the regions. That will be a specific action that we will follow through on. In fact, some of the teams have been out and visited airports and some of the fixes that we have put in place, like in Cleveland, which was mentioned as one of the airports with the highest occurrence of runway incursions, have already shown results. And so we are optimistic that we will stay on top of it this time.
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    Mr. WOLF. Why did it take the IG, though, to have to do this?

    Mr. BELGER. I think it was a question of, quite frankly, just a question of priorities, and we perhaps didn't put enough emphasis on the runway incursion program over the past 2 or 3 years. I think that is probably the most straightforward answer.


    Mr. WOLF. For the record, maybe you can tell me if you have it, how many runway incursions have there been, say, in 1997, 1996 and 1995? They are up. Can you tell us a little bit, so this will be complete for the record?

    Mr. BELGER. We will provide the specific numbers for the record, but the trend in runway incursions are increasing.

    [The information follows:]
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. In 1994, Mitre issued a report on the runway incursion problem and recommended 10 areas for improvement. To what extent has FAA resolved those 10 areas, and what further progress is needed.

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    [The information follows:]

    The following describes the status of the recommendations, including those recommendations that are under consideration.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."

    Mr. WOLF. Are you planning to have Mitre follow up this year on that earlier report?

    [The information follows:]

    MITRE issued two reports on Airports Surface Operations in the 1994–1995 timeframe. The first, Part 1, identified problems and proposed solutions for Surface Navigation and Communications, and was issued in May 1994. Those recommendations, in part, were included in the FAA's 1995 Action Plan.

    The second, Part 2, identified problems and proposed solutions for Surface Operational Procedures and Factors Affecting Pilot Performance.

    Both Part 1 and 2 were reviewed by the Runway Incursion Subcommittee of the RE&D Subcommittee last year. Their report was issued January 1998, and incorporated MITRE's issues, when appropriate.

    The FAA is currently preparing the 1998 Airport Surface Operations Safety Action Plan. The approach in this preparation is to create specific and measurable goals and objectives based on past recommendations. This plan will be completed by June 30, 1998.
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    MITRE is assisting the FAA with an air traffic controller survey, which will be similar to the efforts MITRE conducted in 1994 for pilots. Their work is scheduled to be completed in September 1998. If necessary, the FAA will revise their action plan in response to this survey.

    MITRE is also conducting a review of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS). This work should be completed this fall.


    Mr. WOLF. By?

    Mr. BELGER. It is significant, let me put it that way. It is enough for us to be concerned and to make it a major part of the strategic plan and a major part of the Administrator's initiatives for this year.

    Mr. WOLF. Any fatalities?

    Mr. BELGER. There have been fatalities as a result of accidents, yes. We categorize runway incursions into three categories: those caused by errors and mistakes made by air traffic controllers; those caused by errors or mistakes made by pilots; and those caused by people inadvertently, whether employee or pedestrian, getting on the runway where they shouldn't be, or vehicles on the return way that shouldn't be there.

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    The single biggest area where we have seen an increase in runway incursions is in the area of pilot deviations or pilot errors in the general aviation community. That is the area where the increase has been the most dramatic, and that is where we are really going to focus our efforts, in the areas of education, in the areas of visual aids on the airports to help the pilots. Whatever we can do to make the airport easier for the pilot to use decreases the likelihood that a mistake will be made.

    Ms. GARVEY. Mr. Chairman, just as an anecdote, I am just remembering Mr. Morgan last week brought to our senior staff meeting a letter following on some of the activities from the teams that Monte has talked about, where a particular airport that talked with the FAA about the importance of this. An airport director noticed that there had been a violation and got right out with a letter to the pilot, citing the concern of the FAA that the FAA had raised around incursions, and mentioned that this is an important issue and you really have to pay attention. So I thought it showed the level of consciousness for some of the airports, too, it was raising on this issue.


    Mr. WOLF. I also think this is an opportunity for the bully pulpit, too, when you see some of these issues. As Mr. Belger seemed to say, it just kind of got away from you. It is almost like—and I have used this example before in the hearings—when you were a little kid, you watched the Ed Sullivan Show, and the magician came on and he would spin the plates, and after he would turn around he would talk to the audience and the audience would holler that the plate is ready to fall and he would quickly spin it again. I think it is a question of going back and spinning the plates, and I think speaking out about it verbally in communications, giving speeches on it, I think sensitizes people.
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    On another safety issue, near mid-air collisions were up 22.5 percent last year, from 195 to 239, and pilot deviations were up 18.1 percent, from 1,288 to 1,521. Is this something else we should be worried about or something we should be doing something about; is this part of your program?

    Mr. BELGER. I think we should. We are concerned about any increases in those trends. Each one of those pilot deviations and near mid-air collision reports is investigated, and we are looking for trends in areas we can really focus on, if there are any trends.

    Mr. WOLF. Is there a trend?

    Mr. BELGER. I am not aware of any particular trends coming out of that increase, but we continue to look at each one of them.


    Mr. WOLF. The Civil Aviation Review Commission expressed the opinion—this is on the funding issue—that FAA's modernization program needed additional resources, and its true funding in this area has been reduced over the past few years. Yet, as we noted in our committee report last year, the FAA told us acquisition reform would save as much as 20 percent of the cost of the new systems, allowing you to buy more with the money you have. Two years into acquisition reform, there really haven't been the significant savings. Do you have any comments about that?
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    Ms. GARVEY. Let me make a couple comments.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think it will produce the savings?

    Ms. GARVEY. I think it will produce the savings, and I will provide this for the record. Some of the contractors have told us there are savings just in doing the early phases, just in getting the contracts in. I think a lot of what acquisition reform will produce still needs to be measured. It is still very early on in the process, and even determining some of the metrics, I think, is something we are focused on. How do you determine the metrics of whether it has been successful or not?

    For me, the key to modernization is putting in place those early building blocks so you can really have something to show for it, that I think we are going to be able to drive. At least in listening to industry and people like Mitre who spent time on it and listening to people within the FAA, that if we are able to put in place the early deployments, we will get the results we want, that we need. Some have suggested we will get them even at cost savings.

    I am not sure about that, and I think those are numbers we need to run and we are running those numbers presently. But I think acquisition reform is still very much in its infancy. There still are some benefits that can be derived.

    Based on the FAA's internal assessment and the independent assessment of the first year (April 1996—March 1997) under acquisition reform, we have found significant reductions in the time required to award contracts. This reduction in time translates to better utilization of resources and reduced expenses associated with contract awards. We are currently performing our assessments of the second year which ends March 30, 1998.
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    Based on the independent assessment of the FAA's first year under the Acquisition Management System, we found a reduction in the time to award an average contract of 53 percent. This equates to a reduction in the number of days to award an average contract from 380 days to 178 days, a savings of an average of 202 days. We also found a reduction of time from announcement of contract award of over 30 percent. This time savings ultimately translates to significant dollar savings.

    Concerning small procurements, we estimate the savings from increased use of credit cards as a procurement medium to be $1.4M.

    Finally we have increased our emphasis on the use of commercial off the shelf and non developmental items (COTS & NDI) throughout the agency. This tends to result in significant cost savings.

    We are currently tracking all major procurements which have been approved since the inception of acquisition reform. We will compare these programs with projects awarded under the old system and will be able to quantify savings in future years.

    Mr. WOLF. And this is not meant as a joke, but you will be around to see these.

    Ms. GARVEY. I will.

    Mr. WOLF. Because you have 5 years.
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    Ms. GARVEY. Four years, 6 months, 22 days and 16 hours. [Laughter]. Although I was interested, Mr. Chairman, that you were considering an 8 to 10 year term that you mentioned earlier.

    Mr. WOLF. I hope we can say if they took your picture 6 months ago and take it 5 years from now——

    Ms. GARVEY. That is what I am the most worried about, if you really want to know the truth.

    Mr. WOLF. I remember seeing the pictures of President Carter after 4 years, and he didn't have nearly as tough a job as you have. It will be interesting to watch. Can we get a camera in here? [Laughter].

    Ms. GARVEY. Before and after.


    Mr. WOLF. Your F&E budget requests $2.1 billion, a 13.6 percent increase over the previous year. If this is approved, it will represent the highest level of modernization funding in 6 years; yet some in the aviation community say this is far from adequate, and we hear calls for a level of $2.4 billion. Is your F&E request adequate for next year?

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    Ms. GARVEY. I think it is adequate for next year, Mr. Chairman. It does grow from $2.1 to $3 billion over a 5 year period, (1999–2003) for the early building blocks for Free Flight Phase 1 that RTCA and the Task Force have put forward. We are looking at that carefully in light of the President's budget.

    I was encouraged by the early comments we got back from the budget people. They are feeling reasonably optimistic. But we do have more analysis to do on that. Part will be determined by how many sites we deploy some of the activities on, and that will affect the budget a little bit. I feel reasonably confident right now and very good about the President's budget with the Free Flight Phase 1, and will certainly be in close communication with Members of Congress as we move forward. And also, by the way, with OMB. They have been very supportive in our discussion yesterday with Michael Deich. He was encouraged by the consensus that seems to be growing in industry, and said, ''Look, let us know, if you have the consensus and can move out more this year. Let us know that.''

    Mr. WOLF. Is he your OMB examiner?

    Ms. GARVEY. He is actually higher even than the examiner. I think the examiner is John Ball right here. John has left. Whew, I can relax. [Laughter].


    Mr. WOLF. As I understand it, you have been working with outside groups such as the RTCA Free Flight Select Committee and the Modernization Off-Site Task Force to determine whether the modernization plan can be phased in a more focused way, to get improved services and equipment into the field sooner. I know you were trying to have some decisions made in this area by the date of this hearing today. Can you share with us any decisions you have made?
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    [The information follows:]

    A proposal was made at the January 23 meeting of the NAS Modernization Task Force for a revised approach to NAS Modernization which outlined a Free Flight Phase I concept. Drawing on the draft NAS Architecture version 3.0, this approach was proposed with the purpose of minimizing risks, providing user commitment, and advancing capabilities that would assure early user benefits within budget by the year 2002. Research and Acquisition, Air Traffic Services, and Regulation and Certification organizations are directed to give this proposal their top priority. We will then provide this assessment and data to the RTCA Free Flight Select Committee and work with them to come up with the best possible approach, along with a plan for how we can successfully implement Free Flight Phase I.

    The plan is to reach agreement with industry at the April meeting of the Government/Industry Free Flight Steering Committee. We need the consensus and commitment of both Government and industry if we are to be successful.

    Mr. WOLF. Does all this recent activity indicate that many of your 1999 budget requests for individual programs are no longer valid—that some will need more money, and others less?

    [The information follows:]

    Some adjustments to FAA's 1999 budget will have to be made to accommodate the recommendations of the NAS Modernization Task Force and the RTCA Free Flight Select Committee. We are in the process of finalizing the analysis. Some of those programs associated with Free Flight Phase I will require additional funding in FY 1999, and others will have to be adjusted downward. The adjustments will be zero sum and the reductions will have to come from lower priority programs that will have to be delayed into the out years.
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    Mr. WOLF. If so, when will you be able to submit an update to the budget requests for your specific programs?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA will know what adjustments must be made to the 1999 budget in the April-May time frame.


    Mr. WOLF. Last year's committee report stated that the FAA should continue its responsibility for financing navigation systems and landing aids, and should not shift those responsibilities to airports. Why then did the FAA Southern Region notify the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport in January of this year that the city of Atlanta would be responsible for funding the ILS, runway visual range and the lighting system for the new runway?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me say that is an issue we have revisited that is going to be part of the year 2000 budget. We looked at the schedule for Atlanta. The runway is scheduled to be on line in the year 2002, so we think the year 2000 will be the appropriate time. The whole issue of lighting is one that has been debated within the agency and also with some of our stakeholders. I believe it is more appropriate for this to be part of our budget in 2000.

    Mr. WOLF. So we can tell the Members from that area.

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    Ms. GARVEY. Yes.

    Mr. WOLF. Did Denver Airport pay for the navigational aids and lighting systems and the radars?

    Ms. GARVEY. I believe they did not, but I would want to verify that for the record and, Monte, you may remember.

    Mr. BELGER. The navigational aids, the radars, would have been installed by the FAA under Facilities and Equipment costs.

    [Additional information follows:]

    No, Denver did not pay for the navigational aids, lighting systems radars, and control tower, in the Facilities and Equipment budget.

    The New Denver Airport Project was a special F&E project for a new airport, submitted through the Capital Investment Plan (CIP) process and funded under a separate F&E budget line item.

    The Atlanta project is an AIP project for an additional runway to an existing airport. The FAA F&E projects do not normally procure equipment for AIP projects. In this case, however, the FAA will submit a project in FY2000 to fund the equipment procedures.

    Mr. WOLF. The letter from Southern Region said ''at the present time, the FAA does not plan on funding any future ILS's.'' Isn't it likely that you will need additional ILS systems, given the need for a backup system for GPS?
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    [The information follows:]

    The Federal Aviation Administration expects Global Position Systems (GPS), to reduce the need for many of the current land-based radio navigation systems, including Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) which support Category I operations. We are in the process of determining if a backup system (such as Loran-C) for GPS is necessary. We have not identified a requirement for additional ILS's as a backup for GPS.

    Mr. WOLF. Was Atlanta Hartsfield treated differently than the new Denver airport?

    Mr. BELGER. As you referred to, about a year ago I guess, or maybe more, we were thinking about the possibility of transferring some of these costs, for lights particularly, and for some instrument landing systems and certain categories over to the AIP program. We never followed through with that, so I think there might be some communication.

    Mr. WOLF. Do you think they were treated fairly, if an objective person came in and looked at Denver?

    Mr. BELGER. Yes, sir. It is appropriate for the FAA to install the navigational aids and radars, as we do at all other airports.


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    Mr. WOLF. The FAA's airports' office recently signed a $75 million letter of intent in support of Atlanta's new runway. Yet the regional office and acquisition executives will not pay for the FAA equipment necessary for the new runway to open. Can you see how this sends mixed signals to communities like Atlanta about the steadfastness of FAA's support?

    [The information follows:]

    The expansion of the Hartsfield International Airport is a priority for the FAA. The FAA will fund a new runway and equipment for a new tower. This will allow sufficient time to procure and install the equipment to meet the proposed commissioning date of the new runway in 2002.

    Mr. WOLF. Until this Committee stepped in and added funds to the budget, FAA officials had been telling Atlanta that they would have to pay the costs of a new consolidated radar facility in order to achieve airspace efficiencies. Then they told the city they would have to pay for their new control tower. After this, the agency advised Atlanta that, although they had reserved a precision runway monitor for the airport, the City would have to pay the FAA to install it; and now they say Atlanta will have to find money for navigation aids and lighting systems for the new runway to open. Is there some reason why Atlanta is being asked to pay so many costs which have almost always been paid by the FAA?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA is funding the cost of the new consolidated radar facility. It is currently scheduled for commissioning in July 2000. The FAA will fund the installation of the precision runway monitor, the navigation aids and lighting system.
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YEAR 2000

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe we can just continue, if you don't mind. That way we won't even have to take a break and we can just finish. There are a number of other questions, but we will submit them for the record. I think we covered the year 2000 issue. I would like to go out——

    Ms. GARVEY. We would love to have you.

    Mr. WOLF. Maybe we can pick a Friday or something.

    Ms. GARVEY. I think I mentioned I spent New Year's Eve with the Deputy Secretary at the command center.

    Mr. WOLF. How big is the command center?

    Ms. GARVEY. Not big enough. No, it is actually several offices. But we are right with Coopers, so that we have our business partner with us as we are looking at the issues. Ray Long now has both an office in headquarters and at the command center.

    Mr. WOLF. We will submit most of these for the record. I think we have covered a large number of them.

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    Mr. WOLF. What is the total cost to pursue a parallel repair-and-replace strategy for the HOST computer system, and how much funding is included in your fiscal year 1998 budget and 1999 request to address the HOST problem?

    [The information follows:]

    The total amount requested to pursue a parallel repair-and-replace strategy for the HOST computer system is $149.3 million in FY 1998–1999. Of that amount, $2 million is included in the FY 1998 Y2K reprogramming request to renovate software and microcode; $75.3 million was proposed for FY 1998 reprogramming to replace the HOST; and $72 million is contained in the FY 1999 President's budget.


    Mr. WOLF. What is your total estimated cost to analyze and fix the Y2K problem at FAA, and what confidence do you have in that number?

    [The information follows:]

    The total estimated cost (FY97–01) to analyze and fix the Y2K problem at the FAA is currently $156.1 million.

    These cost estimates are the result of completed assessments of all 430 agency mission critical systems. Of the 784 total FAA systems, 684 of those have been assessed. The remaining 100 non-mission critical assessments will be completed by April 15, 1998.
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    We are currently assessing the impact of a five month schedule acceleration on our cost estimates.

    Mr. WOLF. What is your fiscal year 1999 request and in which appropriations is that funding located?

    [The information follows:]

    FY 1999: $36 million (F&E appropriation).

    Mr. WOLF. I understand you have set aside about $50 million in the 1998 operating budget for Y2K work. Which Y2K activities are funded with operating funds and which are funded with capital dollars?

    [The information follows:]

    The only set aside in Operations in fiscal year 1998 is within Air Traffic Services; and the amount is $15.8 million versus $50 million.

    The majority of Y2K renovation will be funded with capital (F&E) dollars; $18 million was appropriated in fiscal year 1998 in F&E for Y2K, plus $37.7 million in the FY 98 reprogramming package. F&E funds are being used for both operational air traffic systems and those in development.

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    Mr. WOLF. What activities are being deferred or eliminated during fiscal year 1998 because of the need to dedicate $50 million to Y2K?

    [The information follows:]

    Based on our January 30, 1998, cost figure, we estimated that approximately $25.3 million will be absorbed by Operations. This number may change when new cost estimates are provided at the end of April consistent with plans to accelerate the Y2K implementation schedule. Some of the activities that may be reduced to absorb estimated costs include telecommunications and stock and stores.

Host Replacement and/or Repair

    Mr. WOLF. Do you consider the HOST repair and replacement project as part of the Y2K problem? Why or why not?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA is proceeding with an accelerated acquisition for HOST & Oceanic replacement systems primarily due to supportability issues and potential Y2K risk. The current systems' hardware supportability is questionable due to parts and repair skills availability. While this is the major driver for the hardware replacement, replacement is one of the two parallel approaches being pursued to mitigate potential Y2K risks for the HOST. Renovation of the FAA software and machine microcode is also being aggressively pursued in parallel, the original equipment manufacturer will not certify that the HOST & Oceanic computers are Y2K compliant.
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    Mr. WOLF. What is the total cost to pursue a parallel repair-and-replace strategy for the HOST computer system, and how much funding is included in your fiscal year 1998 budget and 1999 request to address the HOST problem?

    [The information follows:]

    The total amount requested to pursue a parallel repair-and-replace strategy for the HOST computer system is $149.3 million in FY 1998–1999. Of that amount, $2 million is included in the FY 1998 Y2K reprogramming request to renovate software and microcode; $75.3 million was proposed for FY 1998 reprogramming to replace the HOST; and $72 million is contained in the FY 1999 President's budget.

    Mr. WOLF. When will you decide whether this parallel strategy (suggested by the IG) is necessary?

    [The information follows:]

    In her testimony to this subcommittee on February 4, Administrator Garvey indicated that she agreed with DOT Inspector General Mead's recommendation of a parallel approach, and directed the FAA to proceed accordingly.

    Mr. WOLF. The FAA's original cost projections estimated it would cost $1.50 per software line of code to fix air traffic control systems. Especially since much of this software is written in the older Ada and Jovial programming languages, it is conceivable that cost could be much higher than that. What are your current estimates?
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    [The information follows;]

    Certain industry experts estimate the cost of code replacement at between $1.50 and $4.00 per line of code.

    The FAA is using estimates up to $8.00 per line of code, contingent on system complexity, for air traffic control systems.

    For administrative and non-ATC systems, the FAA is using estimates between $3.00 and $4.00 per line of code.

Year 2000 Problem

    Mr. WOLF. Do you have a published contingency plan that could be immediately implemented should significant Y2K problems appear, and has that been properly coordinated with airlines, manufacturers, general aviation groups, and others?

    [The information follows;]

    We have non-Y2K specific contingency plans in place for every deployed system in the National Airspace System (NAS), that can be implemented in the event of system outages.

    In addition, a Y2K contingency plan exists for each NAS system. The FAA Year 2000 Program Office is in the process of determining the status of non-NAS (administrative systems) contingency planning.
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    An agency-wide Y2K contingency plan has been mandated by the FAA Y2K Program Office, and is currently being developed. This plan will be broadly coordinated with airlines, manufactures, general aviation groups, and others with a need to know.

    Mr. WOLF. The PASS maintenance workers union suggests that additional funding is needed to fiscal year 1998 and 1999 to train Airway Facilities System Specialists on new computers being installed to address the Year 2000 problem, especially if you replace the HOST computer. Could you address the adequacy of your budget for such training?

    [The information follows;]

    The replacement of the Host of Oceanic computer hardware is one of our top priority efforts. We submitted a Facilities and Equipment (F&E) reprogramming request to Congress for $75.3 million in FY 1998, which includes training for Airway Facilities technicians. Our FY 1999 F&E budget requests funding to continue the effort.


    Mr. WOLF. Mr. Pastor raised a couple of issues we were going to raise. The FAA's capital appropriation is generally considered to be for establishment and modernization of the air traffic control system; the airports grant program, known as AIP, is for airport development and planning, including grants for enhanced airport safety and security.

    Given the purposes of these appropriations, why is funding for acquisition and installation and new explosive detection systems at airports more appropriately an expense of the F&E account rather than the AIP account?
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    Ms. GARVEY. That is an issue we have talked about with OMB and within the administration, and because the Gore Commission came out so firmly establishing security as a National Goal or a National interest, if you will, we felt it was more appropriate to be part of the F&E account. I think as airports become more familiar with some of this equipment, and as it becomes more institutionalized, if you will, it may be an issue that will be raised again and discussed in that context.

    Mr. WOLF. Didn't Congress make security systems eligible for AIP?

    Ms. GARVEY. I did not think it was eligible for AIP. Let me go back and check, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. FLYNN. There is language in the authorization permitting the expenditures of AIP for explosive detection. Whether that is equipment that can be used by the airlines, fulfilling their regulatory responsibility, versus the airports, is among the issues that we need to work through in the process the Administrator was mentioning.

    Mr. WOLF. How are you doing that—are you doing that with your lawyers, or what are you doing?

    Mr. FLYNN. It is a matter of lawyers looking at the law, of appropriate precedents.

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    Mr. WOLF. How long has that been in question?

    Mr. FLYNN. It only came to my attention within the last month or so.

    Mr. WOLF. When do you think it would be resolved? Fairly soon?

    Mr. FLYNN. I wouldn't give an estimate of that now. If we could look into it and provide an answer for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    In 1997 the White House Commission established aviation security as a national interest and the Congress supported the initiative by providing additional funds in the Facilities and Equipment (F&E) account to begin procuring advanced security equipment for airports. During the FY 1999 budget formulation process, we discussed alternatives for continued security funding, including the use of AIP. We concluded that funding security equipment in the F&E account is appropriate, considering the integral part that aviation security is to the entire safe, efficient operation of the National Airspace System.


    Mr. WOLF. Okay. Mr. Pastor raised the question about other competitors being certified. Did you want to tell us a little bit more? I wasn't quite clear if you were going to wait for the certification or if you were moving ahead aggressively.
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    Mr. FLYNN. The certification standard is important. In the 1997 Supplemental Appropriations Act, we were also directed to buy some uncertified equipment, so the division is 54 certified equipment.

    Mr. WOLF. Is what?

    Mr. FLYNN. Fifty-four units of the certified equipment and 22 machines—also for screening checked baggage—that were not certified, that we would use as high-speed surrogates for eventual high-speed certified equipment. In the request for fiscal year 1998, the request is for certified equipment. It is for 20 machines, which will be—the only certified ones now are the CTX 5000 made by InVision. We expect the one made by L3 Communications will come for certification testing in April.

    Mr. WOLF. Next month?

    Mr. FLYNN. Next April. Now, we have had some problems there. It first came for certification testing in January and has missed a couple of dates since, so we are not certain that it will pass certification testing in April. Then there are two other machines, one made by InVision and one made by Vivid Technologies, that will be coming for certification testing later this year. If they pass certification testing, and we have reasonable expectations that they will, we would fund their initial procurements in 1999 because they will be right up against the end of 1998 when they are certified.

    Mr. WOLF. Are they all three American companies?
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    Mr. FLYNN. Yes, they are all American companies.

    Mr. WOLF. What are the foreign companies doing in this area?

    Mr. FLYNN. They don't have anything quite in the same league. Heimann makes one of the uncertified——

    Mr. WOLF. Excuse me. Rich was saying there is one foreign company.

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes, Heimann is a manufacturer of X-rays, and we have bought two of their machines because they seem to be particularly appropriate in combination with another technology.

    Mr. WOLF. When will these be deployed?

    Mr. FLYNN. They are being deployed right now.

    Mr. WOLF. How many are deployed?

    Mr. FLYNN. We have 13 deployed now.


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    Mr. WOLF. Your February 13th reprogramming request includes $25.1 million for explosives detection equipment. Can you give us an idea of how this would be distributed among the various types of equipment and manufacturers?

    [The information follows:]

    The breakdown of the planned purchases is:

Table 3


    Mr. WOLF. Last year, this Committee recommended funding to prevent a shutdown of the manufacturing line at InVision. The administration did not support this, and used prior year funding to buy other, uncertified systems rather than keep the InVision production line going at a healthy rate. Yet, now you are concerned about the InVision production line. Why the change of heart?

    [The information follows:]

    The FAA purchased a limited number of automated x-ray and quadruple resonance checked baggage screening systems consistent with the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996, the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 and the recommendations of the White House Commission on Aviation Safety and Security. These 22 devices were purchased from funds provided in the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act along with the purchase of 54 certified systems.
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    The InVision CTX–5000, a computed tomography (CT) based machine, is currently the only device to meet the stringent national EDS performance standards required for certification. During 1998, FAA expects several candidates for testing. L3 Communications' second-generation CT based EDS is currently undergoing certification testing. InVision's second-generation CT system, the CTX 6000, is expected to be ready for certification testing this fall. VIVID Technologies' multi-view automated x-ray system's certification testing is expected late this summer. The goal is to achieve the high level of certified performance while offering improved operational characteristics, especially throughput, false alarm rate, and cost.

     The continued viability of the only available source of FAA-certified EDS equipment was an important consideration. If the L3 is certified in April, it will take 90 to 120 days to produce a limited quantity of systems to be deployed in airports for operational testing and take 6 to 9 months to manufacture full production units with all support capability in place for major acquisition. Even after FAA laboratory technical performance criteria are met for certification, the following support requirements must be met for widespread operational deployment:

     Test Procedures for Factory, Site, and Operational Acceptance.

     Image Quality Test Bag—Provides capability for daily calibration.

     Training Program for Screeners and Ground Security Coordinators.

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     Threat Image Projection—Provides capability to monitor on-line performance of screeners.

     Field Data Reporting—Provides capability to monitor operational system performance.

    Five CTX–5000SP units were initially procured and deployed for over a year, before a contract was awarded in December 1996 to procure 54 additional units. From lessons learned, the time required from certification to producing an operational production model with all support features will be reduced to 6–9 months. This will allow major acquisition and deployment to occur in FY 1999.

    Mr. WOLF. Does it take any particular skill to operate them?

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes. These are similar to hospital CAT scans.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the salary they are paying the people that are operating them?

    Mr. FLYNN. It is around $6, $6.50 an hour.

    Mr. WOLF. We have seen reports, and they may or may not be true, of people leaving and going to work at McDonald's, or going to work at other restaurants. Are those stories accurate or is that just an exaggeration?

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    Mr. FLYNN. I don't think it is an exaggeration. I am sure that has happened. However, there are some things; the performance of screeners at screening checkpoints has improved in our testing. We intend to have a regulation which will cause, will require, improved performance. We want to have ways of measuring that accurately, the performance, in detecting difficult-to-detect things such as improvised explosive devices, that is to say bombs. With those requirements on the screening companies, it will be necessary to retain employees longer; consequently, it will be necessary to compensate them.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the turnover rate?

    Mr. FLYNN. As we discussed last year, it is unacceptably high. The statistics that we provided for that last year showed a range from 30 percent—which is barely acceptable for the kind of work that might be used in using a CT machine—to 400 percent.

    Mr. WOLF. Four hundred percent?

    Mr. FLYNN. In some airports.

    Mr. WOLF. Why would the swing be so great?

    Mr. FLYNN. It depends on the local market, the size of the airport.

    Mr. WOLF. Harder to retain someone in a high-tech area where there are plenty of jobs.
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    Mr. FLYNN. And also the conditions. It can be quite a stressful job, screening at a very busy center, and indeed there are more jobs at those airports.

    Mr. WOLF. And that person's salary is paid for by the airport?

    Mr. FLYNN. No, sir; no, Mr. Chairman. It is paid, in the first instance, by a screening security company which is under contract to an airline.

    Mr. WOLF. How would it work at Dulles, for example? You are coming out through the main system; I mean, it is several different airlines you are servicing. Do they pool that?

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes, they do and we regulate through a joint screening checkpoint that is screening for several airlines, and then the actual operator there, for example, is Argenbright Security, and they are under contract to the airlines concerned.

    Mr. WOLF. If you find one not doing well, do you make a recommendation to the airlines that they change?

    Mr. FLYNN. We make strong recommendations to them that the performance should improve, and sometimes that can lead to the airlines having a change of contractors; yes.

    Mr. WOLF. Okay. Well, if you could for the record update us on this. I mean, at times I just didn't have a lot of confidence, and other times I did. I know it is a very, very stressful and tough job, and we should have a lot of respect for the people doing it. My sense is the salaries ought to be higher. I mean, you can't get a high school kid to come cut your grass for that—and I think it is just too low. They are not treating people fairly. It is a very important job.
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    Ms. GARVEY. This is an issue the airlines have raised with us and they are very concerned about it as well. And I know in discussions with them a couple months ago, a couple of airlines said they really wanted to get together with their colleagues and see if there was a way to approach the concern about the retention issue, the training issue and then the salary issue as well. So we would certainly welcome any suggestions that they would have or any thoughts they would have in this as well. I know it is an issue they are concerned about.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."


    Mr. WOLF. Rich was saying about EL AL. How do they pay compared to the others?

    Mr. FLYNN. It is an entirely different system and aspects of it, if I may—I know them because we have been told about them on a classified basis by the government of Israel, and I would like to——

    Mr. WOLF. I am not suggesting that you do that.

    Mr. FLYNN. They are paid more.

    Mr. WOLF. Significantly more?

    Mr. FLYNN. Significantly more.
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    Mr. WOLF. For instance?

    Mr. FLYNN. It is quite a different system, sir, and it involves incentives such as scholarships for school. It is quite an involved process; the overall compensation. And it is also the question of national service, sir.

    Mr. WOLF. Rich was saying he thought they did better on the FAA test. Do they?

    Mr. FLYNN. Well, we don't——

    Mr. WOLF. You do test.

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes.

    Mr. WOLF. If you were to test them——

    Mr. FLYNN. When EL AL has identical equipment to the U.S., we will have a basis for a test. And we also have a basis for examining test results among various airlines, including some in the United States who compensate their screeners at a considerably higher rate than I mentioned. There are very few who do that.

    Mr. WOLF. What is the range? Who compensates at the highest level?
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    Mr. FLYNN. My guess is Tower Airlines compensates more heavily than others.


    Mr. WOLF. There have been a number of cases over the past few years where FAA's ability to protect public safety and security is compromised by the agency's inability to protect sensitive information from public disclosure. Data collected by the safety performance analysis system and flight operations quality assurance programs are having this problem, as well as certain activities in the airport security area.

    The committee report last year encouraged the administration to explicitly recognize those cases where civil aviation security information falls within the definition of national security for the purpose of security classification. Have you made any headway over the past year in being able to appropriately protect this information?

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes. There are certain aggregations of data that are classified with regard to the performance of systems. We protect the others under a rule, the sensitive security information rule, that gives substantial protection to data on vulnerabilities and performance of systems.


    Mr. WOLF. How are you doing in dealing with the problem of people being stopped and searched, who are American citizens, who have complained they have been singled out?
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    Mr. FLYNN. We have done——

    Mr. WOLF. That came up, as you recall, last year.

    Mr. FLYNN. There has been considerable progress in that. We have automated systems, we have provided better equipment at the screening checkpoints, and the complaints are much fewer than there were at this time last year.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you just supply the number for the record—complaints this year versus last?

    Mr. FLYNN. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

    [The information follows:]

    Neither the Department of Transportation (DOT) nor the FAA maintains a tracking system of general complaints to the air carriers or to FAA regarding security measures. However, DOT carefully tracks complaints it receives of possible discriminatory actions that may have occurred under the guise of security measures. DOT received 78 complaints in the last six months of 1997, and only two complaints so far in 1998. The decline in complaints may be the result of the November 1997 implementation of alternatives to manual search procedures. The implementation of Computer Assisted Passenger Screening (CAPS) may lead to a further reduction in discrimination complaints.

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    Mr. Wolf. In a recent audit, the IG found that the FAA allows its individual facilities to negotiate their own impact and implementation (I&I) agreements deciding when controllers will allow new technology to be implemented in their facility, even though there is already a national agreement in place. At the Chicago and New York en route centers—two of our busiest facilities—commissioning dates for the new communications system VSCS were delayed for 5 or 6 months while FAA negotiated with the local chapter of the union. The agency incurred with $600,000 to lease the current system while that was going on. Why does the agency allow these local agreements, in addition to an agreement with the union nationally?

    [The information follows:]

    While it is usually in the agency's interest to negotiate comprehensive agreements at the national level, some unique conditions exist which are appropriate to address at the local facility level. Since the majority of en route sites are configured somewhat differently, the voice switching and control system (VSCS) national agreement could not possibly address the individual locations as a group. For example, equipment placements and certain procedures surrounding the implementation of the VSCS equipment, needed to be negotiated at the facility level as only the local sites have the information necessary to bargain on those issues.

    In addition, although both parties may bring issues to the bargaining table, neither is compelled to reach agreement at the national level. The union may choose to pursue a more acceptable agreement at the facility level. In such a case, the agency is prevented from unilaterally implementing changes by the Federal Labor Management Relations Statute and the party's collective bargaining agreement.
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    Mr. WOLF. Flight 2000.

    Your budget requests $90 million to initiate a flight 2000 demonstration program. Why was this included in your research budget rather than your engineering development, test, and evaluation budget? Does this indicate a focus more on long-term research than a demonstration of practical applications of new technology? Earlier today, you were talking about the next couple years versus the long term.

    Ms. GARVEY. We think Flight 2000 will give us an opportunity to really test some of the risks associated with the communication, navigation, and surveillance. We made the judgment call that since it is deployment, that we could put it in the RE&D account. I think that Flight 2000, as we talk even more with RTCA and understand some of the implications of free flight phase.

    [Additional information follows:]

    The FAA has a combined Research, Engineering and Development (R,E&D) Budget, comprised of roughly 15% long-term research, and the remainder consisting of near-term engineering and development efforts. Testing and evaluation is typically funded as a part of each individual program in the R,E&D account, or in the Facilities and Equipment (F&E) account.

    Flight 2000 is a limited real-world demonstration and validation of advanced operational capabilities. It is an R,E&D program focused on integrating technologies, developing procedures, and mitigating risks prior to a full-scale National Airspace System (NAS) deployment. As such, Flight 2000 is a key near-term learning effort in applying new communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) technology to the operational NAS.
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    Mr. WOLF. RTCA?

    Ms. GARVEY. It is the industry group. Am I giving that the right—

    Mr. BELGER. Standing advisory.

    Ms. GARVEY. I apologize for not knowing what all the letters stand for. But as they move forward and as we understand some of the Free Flight Phase 1 building blocks they have presented to us, we may refine Flight 2000 a little bit. We may make some modifications and changes to it, but we really want to use it as a way to understand what the risks are, how we might mitigate some of those risks to some of the early deployments that we have.

    Mr. WOLF. The FAA's research budget, as you know, is authorized by the Science Committee. Last year the Chairman of the committee wrote us and specifically requested that we not appropriate any money for this program. Have you succeeded in gaining the support and approval of the authorization committee for the Flight 2000 project at this point?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me just give you my informal observations. Dennis, did you testify yesterday?

    Mr. DEGAETANO. No.

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    Ms. GARVEY. I guess he testifies later this week and he will have a better handle on that.

    In talking about the Modernization Task Force efforts and some of the work that has come out, I have talked with members of the committee about fine-tuning Free Flight—or Flight 2000 and whether or not there might be some modifications. They seem open to that. They understand the need to test some of the deployments. They understand the need to better come to grips with the risks. And we will continue those discussions with them.

    [Additional information follows:]

    The committee has not yet approved the program. The staff of the House Authorization Committee has been briefed and provided full budget information on the Flight 2000 Program. Members of the Authorization Committee were briefed on the program at a hearing, March 12, 1998. FAA responded to a broad range of questions leading up to this hearing. While the committee was receptive to the discussion that took place on Flight 2000, no clear support or opposition to the program has been noted thus far.

    Mr. WOLF. Can you give us an idea how much would be for bending metal or buying and installing electronics versus paper studies and administration?

    Ms. GARVEY. I would have to get back to you, Mr. Chairman, on the breakdown on that.

    [The information follows:]
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    Since the purpose of Flight 2000 is to demonstrate and validate advanced flight systems technology in a real operational environment, the vast majority of funding will be spent installing the equipment necessary to conduct the demonstration. Roughly 44 percent of the total cost will go to equipping as many as 2000 aircraft with next generation avionics for the demonstration. Another 44 percent will be spent acquiring and installing the necessary ground systems to support Flight 2000 operations. The Flight 2000 demonstration is comprised of a cross-section of aircraft operators using advanced equipment to carry out their normal operations. Validation of Flight 2000 procedures will essentially be a by-product of these operations, and less than 10 percent of FAA funds for Flight 2000 will go to administrate the demonstration. Data collected will be analyzed, and the results reported to support future NAS modernization decisions. Other than these reports, no paper studies are envisioned as Flight 2000 products.

    Mr. WOLF. Some have said Flight 2000 is very risky, because if it fails, it will be a very public failure and undermine support for many key technologies needed to modernize the NAS. If we can't successfully integrate the technologies in a demonstration project, there is less confidence in nationwide implementation. How are you working to ensure Flight 2000 doesn't become gold-plated and is designed in a manner that can be successful?

    Ms. GARVEY. The building block approach we are taking on getting out the early deployment on the automation tools is one way to get some tools in place pretty quickly, that provides some real benefits. I think in defining Flight 2000, we are using it to test the communication, navigation and surveillance aspects of modernization and have it tightly defined, working closely with Mitre, working closely with the industry.

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    Mr. WOLF. What about the controllers? Will they be involved?

    Ms. GARVEY. They are with us every step of the way, and a key part of it.

    [Additional information follows:]

    Controller expertise has been involved in developing the concept for Flight 2000 from the beginning. Since Flight 2000 is an operational demonstration, controllers are an integral part of demonstrating and validating systems, and developing acceptable procedures.

    Mr. WOLF. Last year, we prohibited FAA from starting this program because many of the facts were not clear. Can you give us a better idea of the total cost of Flight 2000 for both the government and industry, and some specifics as to demonstration sites and how they were chosen?

    [The information follows:]

    The Flight 2000 Program will be accomplished through Partnership Agreement(s) with industry partners whose future company goals are tied to successful accomplishment of Flight 2000 goals and objectives. An avionics integrator will be utilized for acquiring, certifying, installing, and maintaining Flight 2000 avionics. To mitigate costs, the FAA is encouraging teaming arrangements by ground services providers, and avoinics producers or installers. All parties will share the costs of accomplishing the common goal of demonstrating operational Flight 2000 technology and procedures. Total Government costs for Flight 2000 are estimated to be $388 million over five years. Since the FAA will be furnishing Flight 2000 avionics, participating aircraft operator expenses will be revenue lost while an aircraft is out of service for installation of the avionics, crew training time, and possibly some minor maintenance costs during operation.
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    Hawaii and Alaska have been selected as operational demonstration sites because they offer a manageable fleet size and mix of aircraft that can be equipped affordably. At these locations, Flight 2000 can readily involve all classes of airspace users, in all phases of flight operations and surface movement, over a wide range of weather and terrain conditions. The adjoining oceanic airspace managed by the Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Center, simultaneously provides a great opportunity for assessment of enroute and international procedures supported by Flight 2000 technologies.


    Mr. WOLF. For many years, the committee strongly urged the FAA to submit a budget request which more effectively addresses safety hazards of adverse weather. Every year we go through this—I don't know what you want to call it—where FAA takes money out of the weather program and puts it into other research programs, and we cut the programs and put it back into weather. I almost want to say I know they are going to put this in and we are going to take it out and put it here, because I know the committee over the years has put this in. And if it is not said, I am sure some people think it. This, you know, is a problem.

    This year you are proposing a big cut in weather research, almost 20 percent. However, you have plenty of money to increase the FAA's laboratory facilities, assistance planning money, and you have the new $90 million we talked about for Flight 2000.

    Why does the FAA give weather such a low priority? With turbulence, we saw the flight coming out of Hawaii 2 or 3 months ago.
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    Ms. GARVEY. Let me start, and then have Monte step in as well, who has more of a history here. I know the issue is one that has been raised with me, particularly by members of the GA community, who like to see us put more money into it. I think trying to balance out budget priorities sometimes makes it more difficult.

    I think some of the information we are getting out of collaborative decision-making, dealing with some of the weather information that I know—for example, Northwest has a very good program on turbulence and we are using collaborative decision-making and that process to share information among the airlines. But, Monte, do you want to talk on that a little bit more?

    Mr. BELGER. Briefly. Weather is one of our priorities. It is a major cause of accidents and it is something we are trying to focus on. We created within the last 2 years a Weather Requirements Office so we can centralize and focus on FAA's requirements. One of our initiatives for this year, coming out of the office, is to look at everything we can do to provide better weather information to the pilot, particularly in general aviation environments. That is where our focus is.

    Mr. WOLF. Is there a cut this year, though, on weather research?

    Mr. BELGER. I will have to ask Dennis or check for the record to see why, if we did cut it—I mean, what I just said the priorities are reflected in the budget.
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     Mr. WOLF. Is there a cut this year, though, on weather research?

     [The information follows:]

     Our request for funding is $3 million less than the enacted funding level of 1998. This reduction is equal to the amount dedicated in 1998 to a feasibility study of a particular technology called SOCRATES. While the benefits of this technology in detecting clear air turbulence and wind shear would be very valuable, there is uncertainty in whether the capability is possible and if possible how much funding and time would be required to get to a prototype or production system.


    Mr. WOLF. If you can do that and elaborate, because I think the funding is down.

    Do you plan on doing anything with regard to any regulations on mandatory seat belt use at all times? I know the pilot comes on and says when you are walking around the cabin, fine; but when you sit down, use the seatbelt. But a lot of people aren't in their seat belts. Do you plan on doing anything?

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    Ms. GARVEY. I think you will see this in more detail when we talk about the safety agenda. But there are three elements of the safety agenda: a commercial side; a general aviation side; and something we are calling cabin safety, and that includes a number of activities that may or may not lead to regulations. It is in part, as you suggested earlier, using the bully pulpit. We are working very closely with the Pilots' Association, and with the flight attendants.

    Turbulence and seat belt uses are one of the issues. Right now we are taking the approach that rather than doing it by regulation, let's figure out a way with industry, through the bully pulpit, we can make this even more an issue in the public's mind.

    Mr. WOLF. Wouldn't the industry almost like you to say that you should stay in your seat belts?

    Ms. GARVEY. You mean through regulation?

    Mr. WOLF. Yes, I guess so.

    Ms. GARVEY. At this point, I think they are very willing to work with us. We had a very successful public service campaign a couple years ago on turbulence and it was actually an award-winning campaign and received a National award. We are looking at that again and seeing if we can update it and bring it back into the forefront, again, working with industry in ways we can deliver that message more effectively. We had a safety conference a couple weeks ago in Richmond. We had a number of professionals and people from the community there, and that was one of the issues that we talked about.
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    Mr. WOLF. How many deaths have there been from air turbulence over the last several years?

    Ms. GARVEY. We can get you the number for the record, but I can tell you it is a number that can absolutely be avoided.

    [The information follows:]

     A review of all accidents since 1978 shows 3 fatalities associated with turbulence: 1987 (Skyworld); 1990 (Eastern Airlines); and 1997 (United Airlines). In the first two cases, the injured passengers were moving about the aircraft despite aural warnings to be seated due to turbulence. The most recent case is still being investigated.

    Mr. WOLF. Right, it can.

    Ms. GARVEY. What I found striking is wearing the seat belt made the difference.

    Mr. WOLF. There was one in the Hawaii flight.

    Ms. GARVEY. That is right; there was one there.

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    Mr. WOLF. Can you tell us the number of injuries?

    Ms. GARVEY. We will get that for the record. Obviously the injuries would be more than the fatalities.

     [The information follows:]

     During the period from 1993 through 1997, Part 121 turbulence accidents resulted in 1 fatality, 58 serious injuries and 183 minor injuries.


    Mr. WOLF. Would most be prevented by continuing to sit in your seat with your seat belts buckled?

    Ms. GARVEY. It is one of the few times you can say, almost absolutely, those are injuries that would be prevented with the use of the seat belt, and that is pretty compelling.

    Mr. WOLF. It just would seem to me, and I don't know, I haven't talked to the industry about it, that they would welcome—I know no industry welcomes regulations, but I think most agree and I think this committee did a good thing when it supported Mr. Durbin several years ago in stopping smoking on airplanes.
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    I come from Virginia, which is a tobacco state, and I was very glad to cast my vote for it. I would think the same thing would hold true here, that by mandating that—because many people don't know, particularly people who may not fly as often as others, particularly young people, perhaps going on a class trip the first time to Washington or something like that—if it were a mandatory requirement, that unless you are walking around the cabin to use the restroom or whatever, that you should stay in your seat belt.

    If you could just have your people look and see, if that had been in effect for the decade of the nineties, how many lives would have been saved and how many injuries would have been prevented.

    Ms. GARVEY. We will provide that for the record.

    [The information follows:]

    Based on a FAA review of turbulence related injuries, all but 2 of 150 persons seriously injured in turbulence accidents from 1980 through March 1997 were moving about the aircraft or seated but not secured. A significant number of the 150 serious injuries would have been avoided if the individuals had been properly secured by their seat belts.

    Evidence points to the fact that the majority of injuries occur during turbulence when the seat belt sign is illuminated. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) contain requirements regarding seat belt usage. Specifically: FAR, Part 121, Section 317(d) mandates there be a placard visible to passengers that reads ''Fasten Seat Belt While Seated'', Section 317(f) requires passengers to be seated with their seat belts fastened when the seat belt sign is illuminated, and Section 571(a)(2) requires, after each takeoff and immediately before or after turning off the seat belt sign that an announcement be made stating that passengers should keep their seat belts fastened while seated.
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    In June of 1980, FAA withdrew rulemaking which would have required passengers to keep their seat belts fastened at all times while seated and allowing them to leave their seats only for physiological needs or when authorized by the crewmember. The majority of the commenters strongly opposed what they considered unnecessary regulatory restrictions on passengers.

    Currently, as part of the Partners in Cabin Safety, the FAA has formed a government/industry team to address these issues. The team proposes to develop additional information for passengers to emphasize the importance of proper seat belt usage and their responsibility.

    Mr. WOLF. Are there any flying carriers that require that?

    Ms. GARVEY. I don't believe it is regulated, but we will provide the numbers for the record.


    Mr. WOLF. Your budget request for Mitre's Center for Advanced Aviation Systems Development, considering both F&E and R&D funds, would be reduced by 1 percent, $544,000 in 1999. Given the extra work they have been doing for you over the past several months, should you be cutting them, or should you at least be giving them enough to cover their increases based on the rate of inflation?

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    Ms. GARVEY. Again, we try and work within the budget constraints and arrived at that number. We have rearranged some priorities in discussing it with Mitre. Your point about how helpful they are is well taken. It is certainly a group we work very closely with.

    Mr. WOLF. You mentioned them several times today.

    Ms. GARVEY. I have, yes.


    Mr. WOLF. And somehow I think to be reducing them now, it seems a little bit out of order.

    Denver. As you know, the Committee has maintained a prohibition on construction of a sixth runway at Denver International Airport. What are your views on the progress they are making with regard to the noise problem out there at Denver? If you recall, Senator Allard and Congressman Hefley have been concerned. Last year we put some language in, allowing them to move ahead with regard to the noise studies. What progress have they made?

    Ms. GARVEY. I understand, I think, last September I spoke with the Congressional delegation about this. At that point there was still a number of issues. They asked for more involvement from the FAA in the regional office to work with some of the neighbors on the noise issues. We were happy to provide that. I suspect it is still a difficult issue. Noise continues to be one of the issues we wrestle within communities and neighborhoods.
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    Mr. WOLF. Do you know when the report will be ready?

    Ms. GARVEY. We will have to provide you that for the record. I am not sure exactly when it will be completed.

    Mr. WOLF. Well, if you could try to do that, just to get some sense of it.

    [The information follows:]

    The Denver International Denver Study Coordination Group, Inc. released ''A Study of the Noise Impact of Aircraft Operations in the Denver, Colorado Area'' the week of March 16. The study was sponsored by local communities surrounding Denver International Airport and was to determine whether the FAA is maximizing its flexibility to minimize current noise impact and impacts resulting from construction of a sixth runway.


    Mr. WOLF. Has Denver resolved the issues of revenue diversion which came up a couple of years ago?

    Ms. GARVEY. The revenue diversion issues have all been resolved. In fact, we have a report from the IG that I must say I have not reviewed in detail but I have certainly talked with the IG about it He feels all the outstanding issues on revenue diversion have been resolved.
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    Mr. WOLF. At all of the airports?

    Ms. GARVEY. Yes, Mr. Chairman, including Denver and LAX. That one was resolved, Mr. Chairman.

    Mr. WOLF. How was that resolved?

    Ms. GARVEY. It is before my time, but I believe they paid back a significant amount of money to the airport and they were able to resolve it that way.

    Mr. WOLF. So there are no outstanding issues?

    Ms. GARVEY. There are no outstanding ones to date and it is something, by the way, we are monitoring very carefully.


    Mr. WOLF. On the AIP formula, are you familiar with the airport in Arkansas that apparently has been receiving funding from the FAA that apparently is not well thought of by certain people; can you tell me?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am not familiar with that issue.

    Mr. WOLF. Northwest Arkansas.
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    Ms. GARVEY. I can tell you I do remember it being discussed in the department when I was at the Federal Highway Administration, but I must confess I didn't pay as much attention to it, but I will look into how much money has gone into it.

    Mr. WOLF. If you can.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    [The information follows:]

    The airport in question is the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, located near Fayetteville. It is currently under construction. Airport Improvement Program funds totaling $40.0 million have been granted to this airport to date. The grants began with a master plan study in 1991. A letter of intent was approved in 1997. The scheduled payments through 2002 total $29.5 million, bringing the total AIP to $69.5 million.

    The construction is on schedule and under budget, and the new airport is scheduled for opening in late 1998. It will provide this growing area with the capability of accommodating full instrument operations and commercial jet passenger service, which cannot be accommodated at other airports servicing the region. On March 11, American Eagle announced that it would begin servicing Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport when the new airport opens. American Eagle has filed with the Department of Transportation for slots to operate three daily roundtrips between Chicago O'Hare and Northwest Arkansas using new Embraer regional jets.

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    The opening will be the culmination of a dedicated community effort and bipartisan congressional support which began in the early 1980s when the limitations of other airports for expansion to meet the long term needs of the area became apparent. A countywide vote in the early 1990s overwhelmingly endorsed the new airport concept.


    Mr. WOLF. At the request last year of the Senate, we agreed to a provision in conference which capped formula funding for the noise and military airport programs, and in fact switched those funds to provide capacity, safety and security enhancements. The 1996 reauthorization act changed the AIP formula in a way which provides huge increases for the noise program at the expense of safety and capacity. I understand your support for growth in these programs, as certainly I do, and I think everybody else on the committee does, but we are talking about a relative balance. Even with a cap, the noise program increased almost 40 percent in fiscal year 1998. Your budget proposes we drop the cap in 1999. Why?

    Ms. GARVEY. I know we are looking at the issue as we are developing a reauthorization proposal and whether or not the cap should exist. That is going to be part of what we will be putting forward with the AIP proposal. I am not exactly sure what is in the budget for next year. I believe it is a reflection of what we know to be the noise request or balancing it out again with the noise request for next year. I believe it keeps up with most of the requests that we have, but let me get back to you.

    [The information follows:]

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    The Administration's budget proposal includes $1.7 billion for grants under the AIP, not less than $200 million of which would be available for noise mitigation and planning. There is no reference to a cap on funding for any area within the AIP, nor to any mechanisms that would affect the distribution of AIP funds. The Administration's AIP reauthorization proposal will address the issues of balance among all areas of the grant program, taking into account the first priority of ensuring adequate funds for airport safety and security requirements and, second, the needs of smaller airports, noise mitigation and capacity enhancement.

    Mr. WOLF. Given the administration's priority on safety improvements at airports, and security equipment like explosive detection systems—all of which would be impacted by lifting the cap—wouldn't it make more sense instead to provide balanced increases across each of these areas?

    [The information follows:]

    The Administration's budget proposal includes $1.7 billion for grants under the AIP, not less than $200 million of which would be available for noise mitigation and planning. There is no reference to a cap on funding for any area within the AIP, nor to any mechanisms that would affect the distribution of AIP funds. The Administration's AIP reauthorization proposal will address the issues of balance among all areas of the grant program, taking into account the first priority of ensuring adequate funds for airport safety and security requirements and, second, the needs of smaller airports, noise mitigation and capacity enhancement.

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    Mr. WOLF. The AIP program is up for reauthorization this year. When do you intend to submit the reauthorization proposal, and can you give us a preview of any new initiatives?

    [The information follows:]

    Consistent with the President's commitment to strengthen investment in our nation's transportation infrastructure, the FAA will seek authorization of $1.7 billion annually. Other financing options, such as a consensual increase to passenger facility charges, are under review in an effort to provide airports more ways to increase capital investment.


    Mr. WOLF. A couple of last questions. On the most wanted list, how many FAA concerns are on there?

    Ms. GARVEY. We are doing very well. We had a good meeting with Jim Hall in the NTSB about a month ago. We identified a couple of areas where we wanted to go back and work on it together. We have a final report that is due in May. The latest update from staff about a month ago is we were making some very good progress, which I believe was consistent with what Mr. Hall was hearing from his staff as well. We have the final report in May, and I expect Chairman Hall and I will meet before the report becomes finalized, just to make sure we are all in the same place. There were really just a couple issues where there was some professional disagreement. People were going back to look at it again and work at those issues again.
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    Mr. WOLF. There was a ''Dear Colleague'' letter, and the issue I think is in the authorizing committee, with regard to the cardiac device used to revive victims on airliners, and I think Mr. Duncan has a piece of legislation. What is the FAA's position on this issue of requiring that this equipment be carried on the airlines?

    Ms. GARVEY. I know Mr. Duncan is working on legislation. I met with our chief physician about 2 weeks ago, and he has done a lot of work and analysis about what should be in medical kits. It seemed fairly straightforward to me. He raised a number of issues about what is appropriate in the medical kits. They are very close to coming back to the Management Board and to myself with a recommendation of a rulemaking or action we could take on what should be included in the medical kits.

    In the meantime, I think it is very good news that there are at least three airlines that have voluntarily stepped forward with the defibrillators. The issue for us is what should be in the kit, what should be included? As usual and as often happens, there are legal issues that need to be resolved. He said he thought we were very close to resolving them.

    Mr. WOLF. Who is he working with? Is he working with the Medical Association?

    Ms. GARVEY. There is an advisory group he works with and a number of people in the medical profession that have been very instrumental in helping with the analysis and offering some very sound medical judgments and opinions.
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    Mr. WOLF. So you are basically pretty supportive of doing this?

    Ms. GARVEY. I am, Mr. Chairman.


    Mr. WOLF. Do they do an inventory at the beginning of a boarding where they notify the airline whether or not you are a doctor or not, where when an airline is flying it knows there are several doctors on board, one on flight 9A, seat 13B or something; is there any mechanism? Obviously it would have to be on a voluntary basis. Some doctors may not want to do it.

    Ms. GARVEY. I think that is a good suggestion. I think it is only evident if it is in the manifest, if somebody indicates it by the title.

    Mr. WOLF. But that could be a Doctor of Philosophy.

    Would there be a mechanism whereby it could be notified at a time, or somehow whereby the airlines would ask, one, are there any medical doctors on board; are you a medical doctor; and, if so, would you agree to treat a patient if an emergency developed? Because there has been a case where they would say, is there a doctor around, and no one knows. And in a large aircraft, you may be sitting up in business class and the activity is taking place back in coach, or you may be sitting in coach when the activity is taking place in business class. So has there been any requirement to ask the airlines to inventory the passengers?
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    Ms. GARVEY. It is certainly not something that has come to my attention, but I think that is a good suggestion and we certainly have very constant communications with ATA, with Carol Hallet and the CEOs that are part of that, and that will be something we will raise with Ms. Hallet.


    Mr. WOLF. What is the liability of a doctor on an aircraft, and would there be any need for a Good Samaritan law to be passed, exempting a doctor from suit?

    Ms. GARVEY. Let me find the answer to that. I don't know, and that is something I would want to ask the lawyers. But, again, in talking with a physician a couple weeks ago, I know the liability issues were at the forefront and issues I know the lawyers were working on.

    [Additional information follows:]

    Generally speaking, tort liability is determined in accordance with state law. Even when the government is sued, its liability is determined in accordance with the law of the state where the alleged negligence occurred. In the case of a physician coming to the aid of an airline passenger in distress, the question of what state law applies is not necessarily easy to answer. The easy case is where the event occurs while the aircraft is on the ground; but even there the result is not certain. Moreover, if the aircraft is in flight there is a range of possibilities as to what state law would apply. It could be the law of 1) the state where the flight originated, 2) the destination state, 3) the state where the airline is incorporated, 4) the home state of the injured passenger, or 5) the state (airspace) where the alleged negligence took place. The actual law to be applied would also depend on the state where the plaintiff chose to file suit as, in the end, it is a question of that state's conflicts of laws application.
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    In order to ensure that a physician is immune from liability for coming to the aid of a passenger in distress, and avoid the uncertainties of state law, it will be necessary to pass Federal legislation that preempts any state law that would otherwise apply.

    FAA does not take a position on whether such legislation is necessary, but notes this is an area in which many states have laws providing such protection. Further, such legislation is pending in Congress. H.R. 2843, the Aviation Medical Assistance Act of 1997, would hold ''medically qualified individuals'' harmless from liability for their acts or omissions in providing or attempting to provide assistance in the case of an inflight medical emergency in the absence of gross negligence or willful misconduct. The term ''medically qualified individual'' includes nurses, physician assistants, paramedics, and emergency medical technicals, as well as doctors.


    Mr. WOLF. Okay. I think the last question is one I have spoken to you about. I received a letter from a gentleman who is not a constituent of mine, but he said, ''Dear Congressman, I am writing to you as a member of the Federal Aviation Administration family.'' He works at the FAA. He says, ''I feel compelled to defend my faith in what I believe is an ongoing concerted effort within the FAA to minimize and indeed ostracize Christian men and women.'' He went on to talk about this magazine, ''Managing Diversity.'' He said some of the diversity materials include magazines or newsletters to which the FAA subscribes for half of its employees. One of those publications is the monthly newsletter, ''Managing Diversity.''

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    ''My office, System Architecture and Investment Analysis receives 200 of ''Managing Diversity'' each month at a cost of approximately $1,951 annually. Over time, I noticed what I considered a subtle anti-Christian bias in the newsletter. Any doubt was quickly removed in the October of 1996 issue of 'Managing Diversity' in the article 'What are the Values of White People,' '' and he goes on to explain this article. He said that employee opinions on what are the values of white people varies.

    ''I am told by the Diversity Council that some people liked the article and support the 'Managing Diversity' newsletter. Yet when my branch conducted a poll of its employees as to whether 'Managing Diversity' ought to be continued or cancelled, we found 70 percent wanted the newsletter cancelled, 15 percent wanted it to stay, and 15 percent did not care one way or another. I believe once any publication breaches FAA employee trust, it is no longer a valid tool to promote understanding and healing and it ought to go.''

    Then he submits a series of the articles, along with an article which was in one of the local newspapers here. I share the concern. I think the greatness of our country is we are diverse. As I told you, I come from an immigrant family that came from another country. And in the old days when I was a staffer up here on Capitol Hill, they used to vote by voice and it took 45 minutes, then it took 45 minutes. Now we vote by cards, but once or twice a session, a voting machine will break down and they will call the roll and it is a nice sound to hear names from all over the world, they come together, and the reason is we have taken the best from every other country and blended it together, so diversity is really who we are. But when we have a newsletter that is creating that sort of feeling, then I think it ought to be reevaluated.

    He also sent me a magazine called ''Next Step: Coping With Change,'' about diversity that looks like it is a very good magazine, and something that would bring people together in reconciliation and healing and letting people know the differences and how we are diverse and that is our strength, rather than something that inflames people and creates a problem.
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    He then showed me this brochure, which I won't read all of it, put out by the Department of Transportation, FAA. He said diversity is an extremely broad term people use to refer to us. I really think this almost begins to smack of Gregory May, and we have gone through this before and this committee held hearings on it, and hopefully that has been eradicated from the FAA.

    I really think you ought to look at this. I will share it with you. The gentleman was willing to sign his name. I offered that I would do it, you know, without him signing his name. He said he was perfectly prepared. I think it is good to emphasize and to deal with diversity, but in a way that brings people together and not in a way that creates problems. And if the survey was accurate, that really creates a problem. So I would urge you, and if you want to make a comment, I would love to hear your comment about it.

    Ms. GARVEY. First of all, I think your point is one that I would share, and I think I speak for all of the management team. The issue of diversity is important in encouraging people to work together. It is a sense of honoring both their heritage and the uniqueness of each of us. And so we certainly want to foster that, and I think what I find, particularly, I guess disturbing, would be the statistics that you quoted—the quote there that there may be 70 percent of employees that feel they are not being well served by the magazine. It is something we obviously have to take a hard look at.

    I like the fact another alternative was suggested, because I think the idea of talking about diversity in the workplace can be positive and should be productive, so I would appreciate taking a look at it. I actually did talk with some of my staff folks last night when I got home and I called them at home and asked them to begin to take a look at the issue. So, thank you.
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    Mr. WOLF. I would appreciate it, and then I will just give you the whole packet. I don't see any need of going into it further. But if you could, to have something that says what are the values of white people and some of the inflammatory things. I will give you this magazine. You might want to just take a look at it.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you.

    [Additional information follows:]

    The FAA subscribes to many publications in the course of its operations, both for technical and general information germane to its mission.

Closing Remarks

    Mr. WOLF. Anyway, I think that covers all of the questions. There will be others to submit for the record, and if any other Members have any. I want to thank you for your openness and for your willingness not to be so sensitive if there is criticism. Just because there is criticism doesn't mean it is necessarily right either. The Congress may think something is one way and you may have the good judgment to think it is the opposite, and I respect that, and I think there will be those cases.

    I personally will do everything I can to work with you to see that we give you the necessary resources to do what you want to do, and I respect the fact you have taken this job. This is a tough, tough job, and you will see people run for cover when the mud gets thick, and that is why I think it is important you bring in good people around you, that you have confidence in, that you trust, because there will be difficult times. And it is very easy for the Congress to sit up here and pick on that one point and pick on that one point, but you have the responsibility.
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    So I want you to know we will do everything we can to work with you, to give you the resources, to give you the flexibility whereby if you see something, you don't have to wait and go through this long drawn-out process, to move quickly, and just stand ready to work with you in every way possible. You have a lot of good people in the FAA, a lot of very capable people, so any way we can help, let us know.

    The hearing is adjourned.

    Ms. GARVEY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
    "The Official Committee record contains additional material here."