Segment 2 Of 2 Previous Hearing Segment(1)
SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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PUBLIC AIRCRAFT AND SPECIAL PURPOSE AIRCRAFT
PLEASE NOTE: The following transcript is a portion of the official hearing record of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Additional material pertinent to this transcript may be found on the web site of the Committee at [http://www.house.gov/transportation]. Complete hearing records are available for review at the Committee offices and also may be purchased at the U.S. Government Printing Office.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 COMMITTEE ON
TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FOURTH CONGRESS
OCTOBER 19 AND DECEMBER 7, 1995
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania, Chairman
DON YOUNG, Alaska
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
THOMAS E. PETRI, Wisconsin
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT, New York
HERBERT H. BATEMAN, Virginia
BILL EMERSON, Missouri
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
SUSAN MOLINARI, New York
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
BILL BAKER, California
JAY KIM, California
STEPHEN HORN, California
BOB FRANKS, New Jersey
PETER I. BLUTE, Massachusetts
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
JACK QUINN, New York
TILLIE K. FOWLER, Florida
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
JERRY WELLER, Illinois
ZACH WAMP, Tennessee
TOM LATHAM, Iowa
STEVEN C. LaTOURETTE, Ohio
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
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JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
ROBERT A. BORSKI, Pennsylvania
WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
PETE GEREN, Texas
GLENN POSHARD, Illinois
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of Columbia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES A. BARCIA, Michigan
BOB FILNER, California
EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON, Texas
BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma
KAREN McCARTHY, Missouri
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 FRANK MASCARA, Pennsylvania
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
JUANITA MILLENDER-McDONALD, California
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee, Chairman
JERRY WELLER, Illinois, Vice-Chairman
WILLIAM F. CLINGER, Jr., Pennsylvania
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
WILLIAM H. ZELIFF, Jr., New Hampshire
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
Y. TIM HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
JAY KIM, California
VERNON J. EHLERS, Michigan
SPENCER T. BACHUS, Alabama
ANDREA SEASTRAND, California
RANDY TATE, Washington
SUE KELLY, New York
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
BILL MARTINI, New Jersey
BUD SHUSTER, Pennsylvania
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WILLIAM O. LIPINSKI, Illinois
JERRY F. COSTELLO, Illinois
JAMES A. TRAFICANT, Jr., Ohio
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
BUD CRAMER, Alabama
BARBARA-ROSE COLLINS, Michigan
JERROLD NADLER, New York
PAT DANNER, Missouri
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
JAMES E. CLYBURN, South Carolina
CORRINE BROWN, Florida
JAMES L. OBERSTAR, Minnesota
OCTOBER 19, 1995
Branham, Jim, Chief Deputy Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, on behalf of the National Association of State Foresters
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Breda, Dan, Sheriff, Chelan County, Washington, and Chairman, Aviation Committee, National Sheriffs' Association
Brooks, David L., Captain, Costa Mesa Police Department, Costa Mesa, CA, on behalf of the AirBorne Law Enforcement Services
Carpenter, Larry, Sheriff, Ventura County, Ventura, CA
Coyne, James K., President, National Air Transportation Association
Driscoll, Edward J., President and CEO, National Air Carrier Association, accompanied by William Langton, President, Southern Air Transport
Hatfield, Jerry E., Chief Trooper Pilot, Alabama Department of Public Safety
Jensen, Frank L., Jr., President, Helicopter Association International
Perriguey, Charles D., Jr., President, Airborne Law Enforcement Association
Rich, Deborah, Division Director, EMS, Travis County, TX
Rogers, Wanda L., President, Rogers Helicopters, Inc.
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PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Brooks, David L
Coyne, James K
Driscoll, Edward J
Hatfield, Jerry E
Jensen, Frank L., Jr
Langton, William G
Perriguey, Charles D., Jr
Rogers, Wanda L
SUBMISSIONS FOR THE RECORD
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Branham, Jim, Chief Deputy Director, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, on behalf of the National Association of State Foresters:
NASF White Paper on State Forestry Aircraft
Breda, Dan, Sheriff, Chelan County, Washington, and Chairman, Aviation Committee, National Sheriffs' Association:
National Sheriffs' Association resolution in opposition to P.L. 103411, June 14, 1995
Article, ''How Will FAA Regulations Affect Sheriffs' Aircraft'', Sheriff magazine, Mar/April 1995
Editorial, ''Will the FAA Pull the Plug on Helicopter Rescue'', Rescue magazine, Nov/Dec 1994
National Sheriffs' Association comment on FAA proposed Advisory Circular 001.1 March 21, 1995
National Sheriffs' Association, analysis of P.L. 103411
Memo, Interagency Committee for Aviation Policy, implementation of P.L. 103411, January 6, 19956
Page 120 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 National Sheriffs' Association, response to FAA Invitation for Comment on ''Compensation'' and ''Commercial Purposes'' Issues, August 25, 19940
Driscoll, Edward J., President and CEO, National Air Carrier Association:
National Air Carrier Association Point Paper on Restricted Category Aircraft (with attachments)0
National Air Carrier Association Point Paper on C130 Military Surplus Aircraft in Civil Transportation1
Article, ''GSA Orders Return of 'Illegally Removed' Aircraft'', Aviation Daily, October 11, 19950
Jensen, Frank L., Jr., President, Helicopter Association International:
Memorandum of Understanding, between the Airborne Law Enforcement Association, Inc., and the Helicopter Association International, Inc., May 27, 1987
Transcript of interview from Good Morning America, August 5, 1995
Perriguey, Charles D., Jr., President, Airborne Law Enforcement Association:
Page 121 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Position Paper, Public Service Aircraft
Position Paper, Surplus Military Aircraft Re-Utilization
Rich, Deborah, Division Director, EMS, Travis County, TX:
Attachment A, Legal Interpretation of ''For Commercial Purposes''
Attachment B, Newspaper articles about STAR Flight
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Aerial Firefighting Industry Association, statement
County of San Bernardino, Position Statement and Comments on Public Law 103411
Dailey, Hon. Jim, Mayor, City of Little Rock, AR, letter to Hon. Ray Thornton, a Representative in Congress from Arkansas, October 5, 1995
Gerace, Joseph A., Sheriff, Chautauqua County, New York, statement on the Starflight Medivac Helicopter Program
Holmes, Larry J., Orange County Fire Authority, Director of Fire Services, letter, October 17, 1995
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Rohrabacher, Hon. Dana, a Representative in Congress from California, statement
DECEMBER 7, 1995
Broderick, Anthony J., Associate Administrator, Regulation and Certification, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation
Hyland, Paul V., President, Mercy Flight Central, Inc. and EMS Air Services of New York, Inc
Joseph, Stephen L., Esquire, on behalf of T&G Aviation, Inc., accompanied by Woody Grantham, President, T&G Aviation, Inc
Pressler, Hon. Larry, a U.S. Senator from South Dakota
Schechter, Claudia, Director of Operations, U.S. Department of the Interior, acccompanied by Art Gary, Solicitor, Office of Aircraft Services, and Tom Monterastelli, Principal Technical Representative, Office of Aircraft Services
Shinnamon, Colonel Donald L., Chairman, Aviation Committee, International Association of Chiefs of Police
Page 123 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 PREPARED STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY A MEMBER OF CONGRESS
Lipinski, Hon. William O., of Illinois
PREPARED STATEMENTS SUBMITTED BY WITNESSES
Broderick, Anthony J
Hyland, Paul V
Joseph, Stephen L., Esq
Pressler, Hon. Larry
Shinnamon, Col. Donald L
ADDITIONS TO THE RECORD
Aylesworth, Howard, Jr., Director, Airworthiness & Regulation Aerospace Industries Association of America, statement
Driscoll, Edward J., President and CEO, National Air Carrier Assocation, Inc., exchange of correspondence between National Air Carrier Assocation, Inc. and the Federal Aviation Administration
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Furse, Hon. Elizabeth, a Representative in Congress from Oregon, letter to Rep. Oberstar, dated November 14, 1995
Berrong, James, Sheriff, State of Tennessee, letter, February 16, 1996
Broadwell, William R., Executive Director, Aerial Firefighting Industry Association, H.R. 1320 white paper and addendum
Colson, Frank J., Executive Director, U.S. Department of Defense, Policy Board on Federal Aviation, letter, February 22, 1996
Curry, Paul R., Sergeant, Legislative Liaison, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, letter and proposed amendment to Public Law 103-411
Dorsey, Dennis, Action Helicopter Service, memo, October 17, 1995, and letter from Laquinnia Lawson, Manager, Flight Standards District Office, Oklahoma City, OK, November 4, 1995
Ergle, Ken, Sheriff, Marion County, Florida, letter, January 12, 1996
Fois, Andrew, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs, U.S. Department of Justice, letter, April 18, 1996
Garaufis, Nicholas G., Chief Counsel, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, letter and White Paper on H.R. 1320
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Harrington, David R., Manager, Air Transportation Division, Flight Standards Service, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, list of equipment items required for civil aircraft operations under Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations
Hinson, David R., Administrator, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, Advisory Circular on Government-Owned Aircraft, Issued April 19, 1995
Holmes, Larry J., Orange County Fire Authority, Director of Fire Services, letter, October 17, 1995
Kyes, Ford N., President, Association of Air Medical Services, statement
Marcy, Kristine M., Acting Assistant Director, Prisoner Services Division, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Department of Justice, letter, May 1, 1996
Matsui, Hon. Robert T., a Representative in Congress from California, letter from Glen Craig, Sheriff, Sacramento County Sherif's Department, Sacramento, CA
Neighbors, B.J., President, Pacific Air Logistics, Inc., letter, October 17, 1996
State of Alaska, statement
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Stearns, Hon. Cliff, a Representative in Congresses from Florida, letter, February 7, 1996
Stewart, Randy, Chairman, Joint Airworthiness and Operations Task Force, memorandum, April 17, 1996
Thomas, Bill, Executive Director, Tennessee Sheriffs Association, letter
REGULATION OF PUBLIC AIRCRAFT UNDER P.L. 103411 AND RESTRICTIONS ON SPECIAL PURPOSE AIRCRAFT UNDER H.R. 1320
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 1995
U.S. House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Aviation,
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2167, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John J. Duncan, Jr. (chairman of the Subcommittee) presiding.
Page 127 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. DUNCAN. We will go ahead and call the meeting to order. I know we'll have other members come in shortly, but I like to get started on time if possible.
And I understand Senator Pressler has another meeting to go to in a few minutes. But I would like first of all to say good morning and welcome everyone to the second day of hearings on the FAA's new regulations concerning public aircraft. This is a difficult problem, because there certainly seems to be a conflict between various public, particularly law enforcement organizations, concerning this issue, and certain private interests.
I want to thank our witnesses, and we have some very distinguished witnesses here today, for coming to our hearing. We held our first hearing on this issue about 7 weeks ago, on October 19. During that hearing we heard from several witnesses from the private sector as well as State and local law enforcement officials from all across the country.
Many of the concerns expressed from the private sector witnesses centered around the fact that many private sector aircraft operators can provide the services now performed by public aircraft. State and local law enforcement law officials in turn expressed concerns about the burdens and costs associated with the FAA's new regulations on public aircraft. So this is a difficult issue, to say the least.
The purpose of this hearing today is to hear from several other witnesses as well as to give the FAA a chance to respond to the complaints raised at the first day of hearings.
I would like to say that we are especially honored to have Senator Larry Pressler here with us today. In fact, I suppose that Senator Pressler knows more or as much about this issue as anyone. We're very pleased that he has taken the time from his very busy schedule to be with us. Senator Pressler authored what is commonly referred to as the Pressler Amendment. This is something we will certainly discuss here today.
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In addition, the Subcommittee would also like to look further into the FAA's interpretation of special purpose aircraft. It became very clear at our last hearing that there is a great deal of interest in these issues outside of Washington, particularly within the law enforcement community. And so we are anxious to hear from our witnesses today.
At this time I will now recognize the ranking member of the Subcommittee, my good friend, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's a pleasure to be here. I welcome everyone here this morning.
I have a statement that I would like to have submitted into the record, and I turn the microphone back to you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lipinski follows:]
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much.
Senator Pressler, thank you for being here, and you may begin your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF HON. LARRY PRESSLER, A UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM SOUTH DAKOTA
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Senator PRESSLER. Thank you very much, Chairman Duncan and Congressman Lipinski, ranking member, for this opportunity. I shall summarize, as I know you are very busy at this time of the year.
But I have an opinion on a very important safety issue. As you know, in the last Congress, I introduced S. 1092, the Public Use Aircraft Safety Act of 1993, because of the disparities which existed within our Nation's aviation safety net. Simply put, S. 1092 sought to assure that public use aircraft, aircraft operated by State, local and Federal agencies, is operated and maintained at the same level of safety as all other civil aircraft operating in the United States.
Frankly, it seems a rather common sense proposition that the public use aircraft be as safe as all other civil aircraft. Therefore, I must say I am distressed to learn that under pressure from certain public use aircraft groups, there has been an effort in the House to eliminate this recently-enacted law. That would be a grave mistake.
Soon after South Dakota Governor George Mickelson and seven others were killed in an airplane crash in 1993, I learned that government-owned aircraft were exempt from most FAA safety standards which apply to civil aircraft operators. Of the 63 Federal aviation regulations in existence at the time of that crash, public use operators were exempt from 54. These exemptions went as far as allowing a person without a pilot's certificate to legally operate a public use aircraft without an airworthiness certificate.
Let me be clear. Exemptions from FARs were not a factor in the Governor's tragic death. However, the accident brought to light a discrepancy regarding the safety of the air space shared by the public use and civil aircraft and those passengers on the aircraft.
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A review of the National Transportation Safety Board records for a 10 year period beginning in 1983 revealed 272 reported public use crashes which resulted in 181 fatalities. In 1992 alone, 51 people died in public use aircraft crashes, as compared to 33 who died in commercial air travel that same year. These numbers alone do not tell the whole story. The fact that there were about twice as many commercial aircraft flying more air miles, makes this an extremely significant and very disturbing statistic.
Another significant fact also surfaced in that review. Experts looking at NTSB data from the 272 accidents determined that 57 of those accidents might have been avoided if the operator simply had been subjected to existing FAA regulations imposed on civil aircraft.
Mr. Chairman, a witness at your last hearing stated that my concern about the FAR exemptions and passenger safety was unsubstantiated by any documented incident involving public aircraft. That statement is inaccurate and completely erroneous. Any way you look at the statistics, 272 crashes, 57 crashes, 181 fatalities or 1 fatality clearly substantiates the need for the safety controls imposed by P.L. 103411.
Another important element of the law provides NTSB the authority to investigate public use aircraft accidents. Prior to its enactment, NTSB did not have authority to investigate such accidents. They only investigated upon request. In fact, prior to 1989, public use operators were not even required to report such events. As a result, NTSB has relatively scarce data on the total number of accidents and even less information about the underlying causes. Indeed, NTSB's former chairman, James Burnett, felt the figure of 272 accidents over the 10 year period was vastly understated and estimated the actual figure at several hundred a year.
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NTSB's involvement in public use aircraft crash investigations is a significant factor in the safety equation. A relatively recent crash investigation highlights a number of issues on these points. On December 14 of last year, a Learjet operated under a U.S. Air Force contract for the California Air National Guard crashed while attempting an emergency landing at the Fresno, California airport. The pilot and co-pilot were killed. Twenty-one people in a nearby apartment complex were injured. The aircraft missed an elementary school just prior to impact.
The NTSB investigated this public use accident upon Air Force request and determined that special mission electronic equipment had been improperly installed by the operator, causing an explosion, fire and structural failure. Upon further inspection, 14 other aircraft modified by the operator were found to have the same improper installation. In between public use operations, all 15 modified aircraft had been operating as on-call air taxis.
The Fresno accident graphically illustrates the discontinuity created by the public use aircraft exemption, as well as the resulting danger to operators, passengers and people on the ground. It also demonstrates the important role the NTSB plays in helping avert further potential disasters. Air safety demands proactive policy.
Now let me turn to another aspect of P.L. 103411. During the development of the bill, Speaker Foley offered an amendment which sought to level the playing field between public use and private sector operations. This provision accounted for the fact that compensation for aircraft services can frequently occur between Government agencies, constituting compensation for hire.
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In such instances, the Government operator would be required to meet the same FARs as commercial operators incurring similar associated costs. However, the law also acknowledges the possibility of emergency situations, and the unique role public aircraft play in ensuring public safety. P.L. 103411 provides the FAA Administrator the authority to grant exemptions to Government agencies in specific emergencies and allow them later to be compensated. The only requirement is for the unit of Government receiving the service to certify, ''that the operation was necessary to respond to a significant and imminent threat to life or property, including natural resources, and that no service by a private operator was reasonably available to meet the threat.''
Mr. Chairman, a witness at the October hearing provided testimony which I find disturbing. He testified that while fires raged in his and other States, his county fire district's helicopter, while available, sat on the ground because of some supposed Federal preference for private sector operators. Although 12 public operators previously had indicated an interest in fighting fires, only two were available at the time.
First, let me state that the incident occurred prior to the enactment of P.L. 103411. And his statements associating the two were misleading. Second, let me emphasize the law's provision which places the highest priority on saving lives. Frankly, the failure of an agency head to mobilize available resources under such imminent threat conditions, given this law, raises a number of questions about that operation.
It appears that delineation between various public use aircraft as a function of operation and cost reimbursement only complicates the issue. S. 1092 as offered took a more straightforward approach and included all public use aircraft regardless of operation. Frankly, I would endorse returning to that policy. The law enforcement officers, firefighters and rescuers, as well as any Government passengers or officials, flying throughout this country, deserve the same level of safety as those traveling on other civil aircraft.
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Probably one of the most contentious issues raised by the Public Use Safety Act is its effect on Government agencies that operate military surplus aircraft. Many military aircraft, particularly helicopters, lend themselves to public use operations such as law enforcement, because the operations are so similar to those of the military. In fact, the highway patrol in my home State of South Dakota recently took delivery of a military surplus Bell helicopter for use in drug enforcement and search and rescue missions.
Military surplus aircraft doesn't mean junk aircraft. It means the military no longer needs it. When I was a lieutenant in the Army, stationed in Vietnam, I often flew on a Huey helicopter. It, like many other models, has a long and distinguished career and safety record. These aircraft are now being excessed from military service, and are finding their way into public use operations.
Not surprisingly, the operators and maintainers have related military backgrounds, simplifying the agency's transition to operational status. Probably the most attractive aspect of the military surplus aircraft program is the price. In the case of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the helicopter was free. Unfortunately, most military aircraft were not originally designed with an FAA certificate in mind, and do not fit into FAA standards. Spare parts for these aircraft also present a challenge to the current system of trafficking and inspection.
However, military aircraft and their parts, designed to detailed specifications, have well developed inspection and maintenance procedures, and have a long history of working well. We should not allow the fact that these aircraft and parts do not fit into an existing paradigm to stop us from developing a safety program for public use aircraft which acknowledges military surplus aircraft. The Part 911 idea offered at the last hearing is one such approach and reflects proactive thinking in the law enforcement and emergency services segment. The goal here is to establish and enforce a safety program.
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Many representatives of the public use community have appeared before this Subcommittee and met with Senate staff declaring that their safety programs meet or exceed FAA or military requirements. These individuals typically come from organizations with well developed, responsibly run aviation bureaus.
Some of the statistics I quoted earlier, however, indicate this level of safety consciousness is not uniform nationwide. P.L. 103411 establishes a minimum standard for public use aircraft. The representatives who met with us should have no difficulty meeting the standards. In addition, I think we can reasonably expect other public use operators to be held to those same standards.
Mr. Chairman, in summary I would say the Public Use Aircraft Safety act is a good law which takes a common sense approach to aviation safety. Common sense intuited that widespread exemptions for public use aircraft was not a safe practice. Analysis of historical crash data supported that intuition. Moreover, proactive policy and aviation safety must go hand in hand.
Common sense also dictated that some unique situations arise in Government aircraft operations. The law acknowledges the unique role Government aircraft play in ensuring public safety and provides the necessary flexibility.
Frankly, common sense said banning former military aircraft with a solid history of utility from service in other Government sectors would be an expensive and unnecessary action. The law enables the FAA Administrator to allow the specific exemptions after making a determination of undue burden and examining an agency's safety program. Further, there is nothing which prohibits the FAA from tailoring regulations or developing a special category which applies to military surplus aircraft.
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Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, P.L. 103411 is sound policy, and I am certain it will prove to be a significant improvement in the national aviation safety program. It will enhance the safety of the operators and the passengers on public use aircraft, as well as the safety of other aircraft sharing the airspace and individuals on the ground.
Mr. Chairman, and Mr. Lipinski, thank you very much for your time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, Senator Pressler, thank you very much for a very thorough and detailed statement. Certainly it will add a lot to the record of these hearings. I don't think there's anyone who has played a more active role or has shown more interest and concern in this issue than you have.
Now, ordinarily, this Subcommittee, because we know that members have so little time, and because we can talk to each other privately at any time we want to, we generally don't ask questions of members. So I know you have a meeting at 10:00 o'clock. Unless Mr. Lipinski has some questions, or you may have some comments at this time.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Senator, thank you for your testimony. Have a wonderful day.
Senator PRESSLER. Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much for being with us.
Page 136 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 We'll call then the next panel, which is the panel consisting of Mr. Anthony Broderick, Associate Administrator for Regulations and Certification from the Federal Aviation Administration; Claudia Schechter, who is the Director of Operations for the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ms. Schechter is accompanied by Art Gary, who is the Solicitor of the Office of Aircraft Services for the U.S. Department of the Interior and Tom Monterastelli, who is the Principal Technical Representative, Office of Aircraft Services, for the Interior Department.
I would ask that all of you come forward, and come to the table at this time.
Thank you very much for being here with us today. Mr. Broderick, we'll begin with your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR, REGULATION AND CERTIFICATION, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; AND CLAUDIA SCHECHTER, DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, ACCCOMPANIED BY ART GARY, SOLICITOR, OFFICE OF AIRCRAFT SERVICES, AND TOM MONTERASTELLI, PRINCIPAL TECHNICAL REPRESENTATIVE, OFFICE OF AIRCRAFT SERVICES
Mr. BRODERICK. Thank you very much, and good morning, Mr. Chairman.
If it's okay, I'll summarize the statement and ask that it be entered into the record in full.
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Last year, the Congress enacted two major changes to the statutory definition of public aircraft that is contained in Title 49 of the United States Code. For more than 50 years, aircraft classified as public aircraft have been operated by Government agencies for governmental purposes, with limited safety oversight by the FAA. By law, public aircraft are not subject to FAA's safety certification and maintenance requirements, but are required to follow air traffic operating rules.
This past year, however, the Congress acted to except from the definition of public aircraft those which are used for passenger transportation. Despite the prohibition against using public aircraft for passenger transportation, aircraft carrying persons whose presence is associated with certain activities, such as firefighting or law enforcement, continue to be classified as public aircraft.
Legislation initially under consideration in the Senate would not have provided exceptions for any aircraft. All public aircraft would have had to become civil aircraft with appropriate certificates, maintenance programs, and the like. The legislative focus on passenger transportation, however, evolved after concerns were raised by governmental entities that operated public aircraft. In some cases, these aircraft were unsuitable for civil certification, since they have been modified to meet special Government missions, or were of military derivation for which no corresponding civil type certificate existed.
The legislation to limit the application of public aircraft status to non-passenger carrying aircraft was further modified in the House, as a result of concerns that arose last year over a series of fires that were occurring in the West. Some governmental entities were providing their aircraft, on a reimbursable basis, to assist other governments in firefighting. We believe the statutory limitation prohibiting use of a public aircraft for commercial purposes prevented arrangements such as these when reimbursement was actually made.
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The House Aviation Subcommittee developed a legislative change which was enacted that provided a limited exception allowing this reimbursement. That change permits one Government unit to provide assistance to another on a cost-reimbursable basis if the Government on whose behalf such assistance is provided certifies that there was a significant and imminent threat to life or property, and that no private aircraft operator was reasonably available to provide such service. The change regarding reimbursement was intended to provide a balanced approach between Government competition with the private sector and permitting a Government body to render emergency assistance when lives or property would otherwise be at stake.
We recognize that the effects of the legislation, which altered half a century of practice, would be significant on some operators. And we set out to obtain compliance through assistance and education, rather than blindly using the enforcement hammer. Although enforcement tools will be used when compliance is not forthcoming.
To that end, our inspectors have met and consulted with governmental entities throughout the country, and we established a telephone hotline to address issues raised by our inspectors and by governments on as timely and consistent a basis as we can. For the first time, we are creating a comprehensive data base of all public aircraft, and are monitoring such operations.
Since enactment of the legislative changes, and through creation of our data base and tracking system, we have learned much more about the extent and nature of the uses of public aircraft than we had previously known. We have encountered a number of cases involving reimbursement between governments that have resulted in aircraft operations being considered civil aircraft operations under the commercial purposes provision in the public aircraft statute.
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In many of these cases, the new limited exception permitting reimbursement does not permit the exchange of funds between these governments, even though the nature of the operation conducted would be considered a public aircraft operation if reimbursement were not involved. This has created concern among both Federal and non-Federal government operators about some longstanding practices under which they have operated, which we do not consider public aircraft operations under either the prior or the current statute.
Given the Subcommittee's interest in learning from our experiences with the statutory changes, I'd like to highlight a few areas that the Subcommittee may wish to consider in its current evaluation of the issues. The first involves the issue of reimbursement, in particular, grants involving the use of aircraft to advance a Government purpose.
We have found, for example, that the Drug Enforcement Administration provides grants to local and State governments, and on occasions to Civil Air Patrol, to conduct certain air activities designed to detect or suppress drug trafficking. If the DEA were to conduct these aerial missions itself, they would appropriately be considered public aircraft operations.
Similarly, if the State or local government were to conduct these law enforcement-related activities for itself, without DEA financial assistance, they would be public aircraft operations. However, since the only exception to the prohibition against use the of a public aircraft for commercial purposes requires the finding of a significant and imminent threat, the compensation through a grant in these cases results in the aircraft being classified as civil rather than public aircraft.
Page 140 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Similarly, the reimbursement limitation precludes the Department of Justice from receiving pro rata reimbursements from State or local law enforcement agencies when State or local prisoners are transported on a space available basis on public aircraft operated by DOJ. NASA has indicated to us as well that there is an impact on the reimbursable flight support that it provides to institutions of higher learning for their independent research, in which NASA research and program support aircraft have often been heavily modified to accommodate sensors and equipment.
Although there were initial concerns about the potential impact of the law's changes on military activities, we have received advice from the Department of Justice that the military's operation of aircraft is unaffected by the statutory change.
Another issue we would note for the Subcommittee concerns the status of leased versus Government-owned aircraft. There is what appears to be an historical anomaly in the definition of public aircraft, perhaps associated with a mail strike early in this century, under which aircraft that are leased by a government, in the case of a State or local government that has to be for more than 90 continuous days, are treated differently from Government-owned aircraft.
This distinction was carried over in the recent public aircraft changes, meaning that, while a non-military Government-owned aircraft may not be used for passenger transportation in a public aircraft status, aircraft leased by Government entities may. Similarly, the commercial purposes prohibition, on its face, applies only to Government-owned aircraft, not Government-leased aircraft.
Page 141 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Should the Subcommittee wish to revisit the leased aircraft or reimbursement issues, we will be pleased to work with you. The subject of public aircraft has proven to be not only extraordinarily complex, but, as you have heard from other witnesses, controversial. Some private operators believe that the Government is still too much in competition with them, while a number of Government entities believe that the application of the law is too harsh and expensive and doesn't involve competition, but necessary Government functions.
For these reasons, we would urge the Subcommittee to consider carefully any changes in the law, both to assure that there are not unintended consequences from any proposed change, and that the issues of safety, Government functions, competition and unfunded Federal mandates are carefully evaluated. And I would stress that we are willing to work very closely with you and them in achieving compliance with aircraft regulations.
Let me just take one minute and turn to H.R. 1320, which is presently pending before the Subcommittee. This bill would statutorily apply the FAA's prohibition on the carriage of persons or property for compensation or hire, for special purpose aircraft, to all special purpose aircraft operations, whether within the U.S. or outside. Further, the bill would also require that the use of any of these aircraft outside the U.S. would have to be specifically approved by the FAA based on certain findings.
From an FAA perspective, we don't see a basis for, nor do we support the enactment of, this legislation. The legislation appears to be more designed to serve economic competitive purposes between categories of U.S. registered aircraft, rather than fulfilling a domestic safety requirement. Within the United States, FAA regulations prohibit the use of special purpose aircraft for compensation or hire. Outside the U.S., we do not believe that the use of such aircraft for compensation or hire, if consistent with another nation's law and best interest, should be a domestic concern to us.
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Moreover, with the severe resource constraints we are all facing due to budgetary pressures, we simply would not have the ability to conduct effective surveillance of such activities outside this country if they were statutorily prohibited. Further, we don't believe that such surveillance and enforcement should be a priority to us, given the many existing domestic safety demands on us.
There also may be mission related activities of the Departments of State and Defense and the intelligence community with which this legislation could interfere, and for which their views would be useful.
Mr. Chairman, I want to assure you that we stand ready to work with you and the Subcommittee on these issues, and we'll be happy to answer questions at the appropriate time.
Thank you, sir.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Broderick.
And we'll turn now to Ms. Claudia Schechter, who is the Director of Operations for the Department of the Interior.
Ms. SCHECHTER. Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for allowing us to testify today.
Page 143 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 I'd like to introduce Tom Monterastelli of our Aircraft Services area of our Solicitor's Office. We've come today to share with you some of the difficulties we have experienced with one particular statutory provision of P.L. 103411, that which denies public aircraft status when an aircraft is used for ''commercial purposes.'' This definition includes any aviation services, whether or not a governmental function, between governmental entities when one entity reimburses the other. When there is reimbursement, the aviation operation is no longer a public aircraft operation. There are only two exceptions: reimbursement between two Federal agencies and circumstances of imminent threat.
We recognize that the FAA believes its position is dictated by the language of P.L. 103411. However, this interpretation has serious repercussions for our many useful and cost-effective arrangements, many of which are authorized by statutes for the Department with State and local government partners. In carrying out Interior's mandate to protect public lands and visitors, we must employ the closest available resource. This has frequently been State and local governmental resources. In as many circumstances, we provide similar service to State and local governments. This cooperation has been crucial to our work.
Let me share three specific examples of areas of past cooperation in which sharing and reimbursement of resources is no longer allowed, and they are on page three of our written testimony. The first involves a situation where normally our Fish and Wildlife Service would have performed a 2-hour annual survey, wildlife survey, for the State of Oregon. Because of the fact that no imminent threat applied in this circumstance, and the flight pattern, the survey, the State of Oregon had to perform that survey at a greater cost in time and dollars for the State.
Page 144 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 In conducting wildlife surveys, most of which are required by law, we frequently call, in the obverse, on State and local natural resources managers who possess aviation assets. Because it minimizes the cost to the taxpayer. As this additional flight activity has adverse impact on their budgets, we have traditionally reimbursed them for the cost. Because of the required flight profiles, these flights are in violation of the FARs if not flown in public aircraft. Without the latitude to reimburse State and local governments, the Interior would be forced to acquire additional aviation services at a potentially higher cost.
The Alaska Fire Service is a partnership between Interior bureaus and other Federal and State government agencies dedicated to wildfire suppression in the State of Alaska. The reimbursement interpretation has resulted in having to duplicate some aviation resources rather than relying on the traditional mixed Federal-state aircraft pool that is dispatched on the basis of the nearest effective resource regardless of ownership. Shared resources are now available only when an imminent threat exists, that is, when the wildfire is raging, but not as we prepare or adjust to the wildfire situation.
Other agencies, such as NASA and the U.S. Forest Service, have also expressed their concerns. The Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice has suggested that a remedial clarification relating to reimbursement of costs would be helpful.
Over the past 10 years, Interior has flown more than 80,000 hours annually. Using these three examples, and extrapolating across our aviation, we will face two alternatives. One is to duplicate what would have been shared, and the second is to reduce our current high level of commercial operator support. And we are proud that commercial operators supply 85 to 90 percent of all of our aviation services in the Department in favor of in-house public aircraft operations. We feel in both cases we have decreased services and increased costs.
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Interior has an excellent safety record for its fleet aircraft. Over the past 15 years, we have experienced no fatalities in our fleet aircraft, which supply 15 percent of our aviation. We have experienced 18 fatalities in our commercial operator aircraft. But I would like to point out that both translate to rates that demonstrate superior safety achievement.
Most important to the Department, in managing the public lands entrusted to our care, we forged innumerable partnerships with State and local governments, by statutory direction and simply as neighbors sharing common boundaries. On a routine and emergency basis, we share resources to reach common objectives. An inability to reimburse our partners and be reimbursed by them increases costs and creates impediments to working together.
The Department looks forward to working within the Administration to resolve these intergovernmental reimbursement difficulties. We would welcome the opportunity and the invitation to work with you and the FAA in this regard. And we particularly thank you for this opportunity to discuss the problems that we've encountered. Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Ms. Schechter. Hopefully, some of what we do today will help in regard to this conflict that exists.
But Mr. Broderick, you heard me mention earlier that we held a hearing on October 19, and we heard several hours of testimony that day. And frankly, it was a surprise to me, but we had to turn away a large number of witnesses, because we had law enforcement from all over the country who wanted to come testify. And over and over again that day, we heard the public aircraft operators contend or say that they were, that their safety record was just as good or even better than civil aircraft operators overall.
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In your experience, and from your knowledge, is this true? Do you have any evidence to the contrary, or that they are not as safe?
Mr. BRODERICK. We don't have a good data base for that, Mr. Chairman. The reason for that is that frankly, for a long time, since public aircraft were not regulated by the FAA and accidents weren't investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, that kind of statistic just wasn't developed.
You heard Senator Pressler quote some figures which are approximately what I understand them to be over the past few years. There are not no accidents, but the accident rate isn't clear because we don't have good data on the number of operations. So all we can tell you is how many accidents occurred, but not how many flights that occurred, just because those records aren't available.
Mr. DUNCAN. We also heard many of these public aircraft operators say that they already meet or even exceed FAA requirements. And yet they also seem to think that it would be very expensive to require them to prove this, and come into compliance. Do you think this would be a burdensome or expensive requirement?
Mr. BRODERICK. Proving that an aircraft design is in fact safe is in fact the heart of the aircraft certification program. Demonstrating that your operation is safe is generally not something that is particularly burdensome or expensive, I wouldn't think. And if people have an operation and maintenance program that meets or exceeds FAA requirements, it's merely a question of putting together the right documents and working with the FAA to certificate the operator.
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But if you have aircraft that have been maintained in such a way that records haven't been kept, and FAA approvals haven't been obtained for modifications and the maintenance program itself, it can indeed be quite expensive to, the word I think we use is conform the aircraft, to a properly certificated type. If there is no type certificate on the aircraft, it can be very expensive indeed for the manufacturer to obtain one.
But that is in fact the heart of aviation safety. The motto of our certification service is that aviation safety begins with safe aircraft. And determining that an aircraft is safe is a detailed technical process of certification.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, of course, this certification process that you're talking about being very expensive. Most of these public, or many of these public aircraft come from the military. And so that would apply in that situation, wouldn't it?
Mr. BRODERICK. It actually depends. Some military aircraft have civil counterparts. To give you one example, a Bell 206 civil helicopter has a military counterpart. And there is a process that one can use to take a military Bell 206, change the parts, Bell will tell you what the numbers are, and convert it over to a civil aircraft. And then have it go down the maintenance program and make sure all the maintenance has been done properly.
So in cases like that, where there's a civil counterpart, it isn't too complicated. But when you have an aircraft that has not been certificated by the FAA at all, and there is no civil counterpart, the military specifications don't really substitute for that. It's a military program completely that the military operates to, not necessarily one that the FAA even can have corresponding relationships with in a technical sense.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Let me ask you this. You, or other people from the FAA have indicated that they feel the reimbursement regulations have, that the FAA has made them more liberal or less restrictive. And yet you've heard the testimony from Ms. Schechter, and she seems to indicate that it's just the opposite, that it's become more restrictive or tight or whatever. What do you say about that?
Mr. BRODERICK. Mr. Chairman, for years, when public aircraft were by definition exempt from FAA coverage, we frankly did not look behind the government that operated the aircraft. We assumed, and it turns out now in retrospect in some cases wrongly, that they were not only familiar with their legal responsibilities, but were complying with them.
When in fact the question came to us, and it's come to us many times in the past few decades, about whether or not a compensation or hire operation could be conducted under public aircraft status, we have said no, and until very recently, the precipitant for the legislation, until very recently, we had no problems. The government involved would make appropriate adjustments, either get a certificate or stop the operation or not take reimbursement.
So issues that came to our attention were always dealt with consistently, just like we deal with them today. The reason that I think people are saying that it's tighter is because they have learned of a law that they weren't aware of before.
Mr. DUNCAN. Ms. Schechter, the aircraft that the Department of the Interior uses, are these airplanes that have been certified as airworthy by the FAA, and do you use FAA licensed mechanics, or do you feel that you are complying with all the FAA rules and regulations?
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Ms. SCHECHTER. We do feel that we are complying with many of the FAA rules and regulations. I would like to ask Tom to speak directly to the types of airworthiness certificates that we have. In some cases, they are standard. In other cases, they are restricted. And in some cases, Mr. Pressler really spoke to our military aircraft issues. Tom.
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. By the numbers, approximately 50 percent of the Interior fleet has an FAA airworthiness certificate that meets the standards when being operated. Approximately 25 percent, or about 50 percent, or the remaining 50 percent or about 25 percent, has an FAA airworthiness certificate, but because of some of the operational necessities, we are forced to operate beyond what the FAA certification standards say. Normally, in the case of gross weights, because of the long distances, or special equipment that we're forced to put on the aircraft to meet our mission needs, we cannot operate within that parameter.
The remaining aircraft are either ex-military design for which no FAA type certificate exists, or they are a special aircraft which has been constructed specially or highly modified from an existing design to meet, again, to meet an operational need. In that case, there is no comparable FAA certificate and no data to obtain one.
Mr. DUNCAN. How many aircraft does the Department of the Interior have in its fleet?
Ms. SCHECHTER. We have 104 aircraft. And as I pointed out, they supply only 15 percent of our aviation. The rest we do with commercial operators.
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Let me take a moment to say that in our maintenance areas, we are FAA certified.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. My time has expired. I may have some additional questions. But I'll turn now to Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would first like to ask Mr. Broderick, I understand at the first hearing on this matter the ranking member of the full Committee and the former ranking member and the former chairman of this Subcommittee, and the man I call Mr. Aviation, Mr. Oberstar suggested that the FAA convene a forum similar to the safety forum held earlier this year. He wrote to Administrator Hinson and suggested that he organize such a forum.
The letter he received in response indicated that the FAA has already worked with the industry and Government entities on this matter. Therefore, no forum was necessary. Considering the extreme responses we have heard in regards to this issue, ranking member Oberstar and myself would like to know how can you say that a more thorough airing of this matter is not needed?
Mr. BRODERICK. Mr. Lipinski, I think that the way we looked at it was that we had an extraordinary outreach program for a long time when the legislation was first enacted, and through the development of all the advisory material. We met with literally hundreds of operators, all around the country. And we have a full, not only verbal record, but a written record of their concerns.
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Understanding peoples' concerns and problems with the law isn't really at the heart of the difficulty we're having today. The fact is that people do not like the way the current law is being applied by the FAA and would like to change it. They think it's too expensive or they should somehow be exempted from it. And the question really is not what are the problems that we could get from them, but how can those problems be solved.
And as you have heard already this morning from not only me but the Department of the Interior, there are difficulties that are specifically rooted in the statutory treatment of these issues. And it's not something I think we can advance in terms of understanding by meeting with constituents of the FAA. We in fact will continue to meet with them all the time. But I believe we really do fully understand their concerns. We have a good understanding of them.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, it seems to me that based upon the letter that Mr. Oberstar sent to the Administrator, it was his feeling that the FAA should play a more significant role and try to resolve some of these problems so we don't have to change the law in order to accomplish that. And it would also seem to me that the FAA is in a very good position to do this. And I realize that in Mr. Hinson's letter back to Mr. Oberstar, it lists what you have done, the meetings that you've had and so forth and so on.
But I have to say in all candor that if Mr. Oberstar thinks it's a very good idea, I would once again strongly recommend to the FAA that they involve themselves in this. Because I mean this very sincerely, I don't think there's anyone who is more dedicated to aviation and more knowledgeable of aviation than Mr. Oberstar is. And we have another gentleman sitting down here also who has been involved in aviation for a long period of time, and I'll be anxious to hear what he has to say in regards to that, Mr. Clinger.
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But I would like to see you do what Jim Oberstar suggested, and I would like you to think about that and take that back to the Administrator.
Mr. Broderick, based on the information we have received in the past, it would appear that the issue of public use aircraft is both complicated and confusing. In your opinion, would it make sense to completely revisit the concept of public use aircraft?
Mr. BRODERICK. Frankly, I don't think it needs a complete revisiting. I think that the Subcommittee, from the testimony it heard at the last hearing and the testimony it is being given today, should consider whether or not it wants to make some fairly small changes to the existing statute. I think that overall, the concepts are good and well understood.
But there are some organizations, government organizations, that have concerns. On the other side of the coin, there are a number of private entities that have concerns about making the very changes that some governments would seek. It's a difficult public policy issue that has to be dealt with. But it's one that, and I would stress that we need to be very careful. As we've seen, this can have some significant effects. We need to be very careful and precise about what specific changes we're talking about when we do talk about them.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Broderick, is there any way that the FAA could be authorized to grandfather existing public use aircraft in order to provide them with airworthiness certificates, so that the operators could comply with Part 135?
Page 153 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. BRODERICK. There would be a statutory change needed. Because it's currently a violation of the statute to operate a civil aircraft without an airworthiness certificate. Were the law to be changed, that would be permitted.
Again, I would caution that if we were talking about such a change that it be very, very sharply focused so that we don't effectively eliminate the need for anybody to have an airworthiness certificate, which is actually not hard to do with a few words in this law. It's a complex area that needs careful attention. And it would require a statutory change, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. It would?
Mr. BRODERICK. Yes.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you.
For the Department of the Interior, and anyone that wishes to answer, I'll be more than happy to accept the answer from that person. What FAA regulations does the Department of Interior currently not follow? Why would it be a problem to comply with such regulations? If there are any that you don't now follow.
Ms. SCHECHTER. I'm going to ask Tom to answer your question.
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. Primarily the regulations that we do not follow are the regulations that deal with the certification of aircraft. Again, as I said earlier, because of either the type of aircraft we operate or the operational configuration, which by the nature of our mission operate the aircraft, we are unable to comply with the FAA, with the type certificate sheets on these individual aircraft, if in fact they do exist.
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Mr. LIPINSKI. Am I correct that you have 104 aircraft?
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. That's correct.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Out of that 104, how many of them are certified at the present time?
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. Approximately 70, or let's see here, approximately 85 of them will have an airworthiness with the aircraft, some FAA certificate or another. There are about 13 aircraft that are ex-military, and 1 aircraft that is a specialized aircraft.
Mr. LIPINSKI. What is the specialized aircraft?
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. The specialized aircraft is a modification of a, started out as a De Havilland Beaver that was modified with a turbine engine, of originally a military design which had gone through FAA certification procedures on it. But the problem is that structurally, we have modified the aircraft for long-range, by adding extreme amount of fuel tanks in the aircraft. It's a very special purpose aircraft used for migratory research.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Would you run it by me once again, you have 104 aircraft. You say that 85 of them have a certificate, give or take a few?
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. Yes, that's correct.
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Mr. LIPINSKI. And you have 13 that don't, and then you have 1 special
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. We have approximately 13 that are military in origin, one which is special. I believe that number's going to get real close there. I'm doing the math in my head.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, somewhere we're about five off. But I see that my time is up, and I'm sure you can find those five somewhere.
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. I can get you a list of the exact numbers.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Okay. I'd appreciate that.
Mr. MONTERASTELLI. We can do that.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank Mr. Broderick and all of the witnesses for their testimony this morning.
Mr. Broderick, one of the things that concerns me, when we did reauthorize NTSB, and redefined public aircraft, was to raise at least the possibility that we were imposing a heavy economic burden on local governments that suddenly found themselves defined as civil aircraft rather than public aircraft, and therefore subject to all of the regulatory controls of the FAA and the expense that that might impose upon them.
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I've been involved in my other capacity with dealing with trying to get rid of unfunded mandates, and it seemed to me that this might well rise to the level of being another unfunded mandate imposed on local governments, which is why we did include in the bill the exemption which I felt was an escape valve, was going to give local governments an opportunity, at least, where it was going to prove to be an onerous or an oppressive burden, that they would have an opportunity to get an exemption from the FAA if it could be established that it would prevent an undue economic burden on the local government.
But at the same time, they would have to be able to establish that the safety program carried out by the local government was as effective as appropriate to ensure safety as the FAA standards might be.
I'm a little concerned that that doesn't seem to be getting a whole lot of consideration at the moment, and I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about that. Have you received any applications for exemption?
Mr. BRODERICK. We've gotten about 10, sir.
Mr. CLINGER. And these were from what sources? From local governments, primarily?
Mr. BRODERICK. Everybody from local governments to one of the Federal agencies, yes.
Page 157 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. CLINGER. And have you granted any exemptions?
Mr. BRODERICK. Not yet. The status of those 10 is that 6 of them have been rejected just based on lack of information in one form or another. We have four under active consideration now where most of the information in most cases is available for us to consider, the safety program, the economic burden, etc. And I will expect within a fairly short time to be making a final decision on those four exemptions.
Mr. CLINGER. The six you denied were denied on the basis of incomplete information, or the fact that you felt that they did not meet the standard either of providing undue burden or that their safety program was inadequate?
Mr. BRODERICK. It was really, in four cases, there was a simple letter written that didn't contain substantial information at all. We wrote back and said, gee, we need to have information on the economic burden and your safety program. And we never heard back from them. So that disposed of four of the six. The other two did respond to us, but with information that, you know, on its face clearly didn't provide a reasonable case. The other four, however, did.
So I guess you could say that six of them just were unable to provide us with any substantial information. The other four have, and we're considering them.
I might add, by the way, that this subject was a matter of intense discussion with all the users in these outreach meetings that I mentioned earlier. And there is a special section of the advisory circular on this subject that deals, point by point, with the law and how to write a request for an exemption, and what you need to do to format and formulate that request.
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Mr. CLINGER. So you have been taking a position discouraging this kind of application or discouraging people to apply for exemption?
Mr. BRODERICK. We very candidly tell people that it's not an easy exemption to get. I mean, the law itself puts a fairly stiff burden with the economic and the safety tests. But that having been said, we are of course willing to consider any request. And that's what we're doing.
Mr. CLINGER. With regard to the question of surplus military aircraft not subject to FAA certification, and that would be one area where I would think that an exemption might be considered, if you're not certified by FAA, there ought to be an opportunity, at least, to get an exemption for the fact that you're not. But is there a possibility that the FAA could develop a certification program for the so-called Section 1208 aircraft?
Mr. BRODERICK. We have a certification program. We have, in fact, special provisions for admitting military aircraft into the restricted category. And people do that. The C130s and other aircraft, UH1 helicopters, are admitted into that category.
I think where people are really concerned is that they would like to use these aircraft for passenger carrying operations, or for cargo carrying operations. And that creates quite a difficulty for us, because you can't do that with a restricted category aircraft. The exemption that you talk about does apply when the aircraft in question, the government in question, was affected by the statutory change that Senator Pressler first introduced.
Page 159 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It does not of course apply, the exemption doesn't apply to the language on compensation that this Subcommittee wrote. They were two different parts of the law.
In fact, I think there's some confusion about that. People want to be exempted from the compensation restrictions, and have talked to us about using the exemption provisions of the law to do that. And that's not what the law says. You can't do that. It's only for the public aircraft part of the law.
Mr. CLINGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think that's all.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you, Chairman Clinger.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Broderick, I wish I were a thorough-going expert on this entire area. And I'm not. But what I know is this. I've had lots of local governments, particularly sheriff's departments, in my district, who have been in contact with me and with our office expressing the very concerns that we've heard echoed today, that the current situation is unworkable, that it's costly, that it's a burden, and that these aircraft are being used in a very productive way for the good of the public, and that we need to find a solution.
My understanding was that in the October hearing Mr. Oberstar called for the conference. Did I hear correctly that that has not happened, that there has not been any kind of a mini-summit on the issues of the public aircraft and how to resolve it?
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Mr. BRODERICK. That's correct. Mr. Lipinski asked that we reconsider that. As I indicated, and as we indicated in a letter to Mr. Oberstar just the other day, we think we have, and we think the affected agencies have, a very good understanding of the problems. It's not a question of fact-finding. It's really a question of dealing with a law that, whose effects are distasteful to some people.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. I guess my hope in a meeting like that would not be to talk more about the problem, but to try to resolve how you might come up with a workable solution. And I want to associate my remarks with those of Mr. Clinger, that I think this does rise to the level of unfunded mandate.
The exemption policy, you've indicated that you're going to take a very narrow approach on that, which doesn't seem to be a solution. You've said that there's statutory problems that as far as grandfathering, that you don't feel, I guess, that you have the latitude administratively to do anything there. And that the certification program is very restrictive in the use.
Let me follow up the questions of Mr. Clinger on the development of a certification program for 1208 aircraft. You, if I heard your response correctly, you just kind of expanded on what the current policy is on the certification program. And I think Mr. Clinger was getting at the idea of a new certification program to address the problems that we face, with greater latitude and while ensuring safety, relieving some of this burden on local government.
Mr. BRODERICK. We have great sympathy for any burden that is placed on local government by the Federal Government. And we will do whatever is possible within the law and of course good safety practice to reduce that burden or eliminate it if possible.
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Let me point out something that we haven't discussed here yet, but it's something I think we have to bear in mind, and that is that in the past, relatively few aircraft have been excessed from the military. That's not going to be the case in the very near future. There are some nearly 2,000 C120 Hercules transports that one of these days are going to be excessed from the military. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of helicopters that are now beginning the process of being excessed.
When we talk about surplus military aircraft, we need to take, in my view, a 10 or 15 year look at what might be the future population of these aircraft. And it's large. There is a very, very large potential population of these aircraft. It's not a few airplanes. It's not even a few dozen airplanes. It's literally a few thousand of these airplanes.
And that poses some real safety issues that we have to consider. We have and we will always accept valid military or other data on our certification programs. But when data simply hasn't been obtained, we need to have it in order to assure ourselves that the problem that that data needs to say doesn't exist, doesn't exist. These are fairly complex programs, because these are complicated machines, and very sophisticated machines in some cases.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. What data does not exist?
Mr. BRODERICK. Let me give you an example. The flight test data that we require that establishes things like maximum weights, climb performance, how long the runway has to be to safely take off, all of those kinds of things, the military doesn't obtain the same kind of data that we do. We have to establish new flight test data.
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That can be done. But it is expensive to do. And someone has to do it.
Things like all of the material specifications, the part specifications, all have to be somehow established as acceptable to the FAA technical experts so that they can say that this is in fact an airplane that is operated, can be operated safely in accordance with the following limits.
We're working with people who ask us to do so. For example, in surplus military aircraft, to develop, to adapt the military maintenance program to an acceptable FAA program.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Is there an assumption there, though, that the military criteria and their standards are somehow effective? I mean, why is it necessary, why can we not simply accept that
Mr. BRODERICK. Most military aircraft are not built for the civil purpose which they would now be used. So it's not a question of it not being acceptable. It's a question of does the data exist. If the data exists, and if the data is taken for the same purposes that the FAA would have taken it, we can certainly accept the military data.
But the point is, it doesn't exist in many cases. And it needs to be gathered and reviewed.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. As a novice, it would seem to me that the military criteria would be more rigorous, and the usages required of military aircraft would be more strenuous than anything that would be anticipated in the civilian use.
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Mr. BRODERICK. You'd be surprised, I think, at the different uses that civil operators put aircraft to. I mean, the military, we just had a DC9 that went over for the first time in the fleet, 100,000 flights on that DC9. Military aircraft just aren't used that much.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. My time is up. But I want to ask you this question. What would you tell me to tell county sheriffs, local governments? What am I as an elected official supposed to tell them? It seems to me there's a pretty inflexible attitude on this. I hear the problem, I don't hear any great desire to find us a solution here.
Mr. BRODERICK. There is a terrible desire on my part to find a solution. But I can't craft a solution that is outside the limits of the legislation. We have very clear legislation on the issue, for example, which I think is probably the sheriff's concern, about when an aircraft can be used in a compensation or hire operation, in other words, when the sheriff can hire himself and his aircraft out and when he cannot.
And that's a statutory fence, if you will. We will go right to the edge of that fence. But we're not able to cross the boundaries set by the statute.
Mr. HUTCHINSON. Thank you.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, Mr. Broderick, of course, that's the purpose, I suppose, of these hearings, is to try to see if there is some type of solution that we can come up with to solve these problems. There's obviously a great deal of dissatisfaction that exists, and I think Mr. Hutchinson made a real good point there in that perhaps the FAA should regard a little more highly data or certification from the military.
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I wonder if the military worked with the FAA to collect data to get FAA certification, would that help the military to sell the surplus aircraft at that point? Or do you think there could be closer cooperation between the military and the FAA before these aircraft are released?
Mr. BRODERICK. We have superb cooperation with the military on the issue of not only aircraft, but parts, and are working at very high levels with them to cooperate. Actually, the appropriate party, because the military, remember, didn't design and test the aircraft, they contracted for its design and test. The appropriate party to work with the FAA is the original manufacturer of the aircraft. If it's a helicopter, it might be Bell, or an aircraft from Lockheed or whomever. They have the expertise, they actually have resident in their company the data.
Of course, what they don't have is the funding to do the certification program. But they are the experts.
We have an excellent relationship with the Under Secretary of Defense for Logistics, and are working very closely with them on the issue of releasing aircraft, and making sure that the only aircraft that get released are released with a proper set of information that tells you what the aircraft is eligible for, whether it's eligible for a standard certificate or restricted category, or no certificate at all.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, I think Mr. Hutchinson has touched on something of it. Most people in the country would feel that most of the potential, and I realize there are differences between military uses and civilian uses, but most people would feel that the uses the military puts an aircraft to generally would have to be, or might be more potentially dangerous than what the civilian uses would be.
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But let me touch on one other thing very briefly. We got in at the last hearing almost as a side issue on 1320. And you mentioned that in your testimony as well. Do you think, and then you mentioned just now, that there are some 2,000 Hercules transport aircraft that are about to be declared surplus or something. Do you think this is going to cause major competitive disadvantage if a lot of these aircraft are exported and then used in the same ways that certain U.S. companies are using them?
Mr. BRODERICK. Well, certainly that's the argument, that aircraft that are used in other countries should compete with U.S. operated aircraft on a level playing field. Of course, we have to remember that, to use a fairly clear example, Russian aircraft that are manufactured in Russia today are not certificated by the U.S. They cannot be operated by U.S. airlines. But they are operated by foreign airlines. Aeroflot flies an IL62M in here daily, I believe.
So that situation exists today. Domestically, we don't have a problem. We have a specific prohibition. When we learn of a foreign use of an aircraft that is inconsistent with what we would permit if it were domestic, we very aggressively work with the other government to inform them of this, to inform them that the aircraft doesn't meet international standards of airworthiness.
And if a U.S. person is involved, we ensure that that involvement is legal in accordance with our regulations. And we have been relatively successful. I'm unaware of any practice right now that is not in accordance with our law. On the other hand, you raise the point of exporting the aircraft and having unfair competition overseas.
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And that's a fact. It's the same exact situation overseas as we're talking about with local sheriffs operating the uncertificated aircraft for compensation or hire in the United States. They are identical situations.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right.
Ms. Schechter, let me just very briefly ask you, you mentioned that 85 percent of your air transportation is provided from private sources. What is most of your use of aircraft done for? Is it for firefighting and wildlife surveys? Could you give me a rough guess as to the percentage of breakdown of your uses of aircraft?
Ms. SCHECHTER. I'm not sure I can give you a rough guess on percentages. Of the amount that we purchase from commercial operators, the highest use of commercial operators is for transport of goods and materials and people. The second highest use is probably wildland fire. The highest uses within our own fleet are very specialized operations. And I think they would lie in three areas: wildland fire, law enforcement, and aerial surveys for biological reasons or other scientific research.
Mr. DUNCAN. But when you talk about transport of people on commercial aircraft, is most of your air travel, is it just Department of Interior officials, or Park Service people coming from other States into Washington for meetings or things of that nature?
Ms. SCHECHTER. No, we would actually use commercial airlines for that.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Right. Are you talking, are you including that in the 85 percent?
Ms. SCHECHTER. No. I was not. I'm talking about our use of commercial operators, other than commercial airlines. The primary use of those would be transport. I believe the largest use of those would be transport of people and goods, particularly to remoter locations in some of the areas that we have. We use commercial operators extensively for that.
Mr. DUNCAN. I'm a little curious as to this first specific example. I like specific examples. You say that in this first example that you gave, you say that the Fish and Wildlife biologists would have been able to complete a wildlife survey in 2 hours if they had been allowed to work with the State of Oregon. But because of this restrictive policy from the FAA, they had to drive for 4 hours and then fly for four more. What are you talking about?
Ms. SCHECHTER. The State personnel did. Our biologist, and the plane that the biologist used, was readily available and had traditionally done the survey. Instead, the State of Oregon had to do that. I can get you further information from the Fish and Wildlife Service on that. There were no vendors immediately available at the point at which the survey needed to be flown.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Well, thank you very much for being here today. We'll move on to the next panel. But I appreciate very much your testimony and your responses to our questions.
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Ms. SCHECHTER. Thank you for your time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Our third panel today consists of Colonel Donald L. Shinnamon, who is Chairman of the Aviation Committee of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police; Mr. Stephen L. Joseph, of T&G Aviation, Inc., who is accompanied by Mr. Woody Grantham, who is the President of T&G Aviation; and finally, Mr. Paul V. Hyland, who is President of Mercy Flight Central, Inc., and the EMS Air Services of New York, Inc.
And likewise, we are grateful to all of you for being here today. We welcome you to the Subcommittee and we'll proceed with the testimony. We'll just do it in the order that the witnesses are listed. And that means we'll start with Colonel Shinnamon. Thank you very much for being here.
TESTIMONY OF COLONEL DONALD L. SHINNAMON, CHAIRMAN, AVIATION COMMITTEE, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE; STEPHEN L. JOSEPH, ESQUIRE, ON BEHALF OF T&G AVIATION, INC., ACCOMPANIED BY WOODY GRANTHAM, PRESIDENT, T&G AVIATION, INC.; AND PAUL V. HYLAND, PRESIDENT, MERCY FLIGHT CENTRAL, INC. AND EMS AIR SERVICES OF NEW YORK, INC.
Colonel SHINNAMON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and good morning.
As you said, my name is Don Shinnamon, I'm here representing the Aviation Committee of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The IACP is the world's oldest and largest organization of police executives with some 14,000 members in the United States and 84 foreign countries. Together we operate some 1,000 aircraft in the United States alone.
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The effect that P.L. 103411 has had on police aviation varies, frankly, from minimal to severe impact. Some of the actual negative impacts include the Alaska Department of Public Safety that declined the transfer of six military surplus helicopters because of the limitations P.L. 103411 imposes on surplus aircraft. These aircraft were conservatively valued at over $1 million. The citizens of Alaska are thus deprived of the benefit of the use of these aircraft or they must purchase new or used aircraft. The military aircraft would of course cost the State of Alaska nothing.
The West Virginia State Police have reported to me that they were unable to accept $150,000 from the National Forest Service for marijuana eradication efforts in national parks in West Virginia. The Alabama Department of Public Safety reports they can no longer transport their Governor on their aircraft. Further, they were also unable to accept Federal grants. In this case it was for aerial traffic enforcement.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement advised that they can no longer accept grants for marijuana eradication from the DEA or the National Forest Service. Many agencies across the country, including my own, the Baltimore County, Maryland, police department, just 30 minutes north of the Capital Beltway, report similar restrictions.
When P.L. 103411 became law, many public aircraft operations became civil and subject to Federal aviation regulation, or the FARs. These regulations were for the most part developed with civil aircraft operations, such as air taxi operators and large air carriers. They were not designed for nor can they accommodate in many cases public aircraft operations. P.L. 103411 attempts to force the proverbial round peg into a square hole.
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Flying under civil designation means that operations must comply with the FARs, which basically says that pilots have to be properly trained and licensed by the FAA and maintain a current medical certificate. Aircraft must be certified by the FAA as airworthy and aircraft must be maintained to minimum FAA standards.
As we've heard here this morning, or rather, certainly no responsible operator would object to properly trained, licensed, medically fit pilots, nor would anyone object to minimum maintenance standards for aircraft.
There is, however, as we've heard this morning, a serious requirement concerning the requirement that aircraft be certified by the FAA as airworthy. As we've also heard, this is normally accomplished when a new civil aircraft is originally designed and constructed. The key word, of course, is civil. Military aircraft don't go through that process, they go through their own.
So when we get a surplus military aircraft, we don't get a certificate of airworthiness with it. As a result, we can't operate them as civil aircraft. Are they any less safe? Of course not. As public aircraft, however, we cannot carry passengers or receive compensation with those aircraft. All the previously cited examples related to military surplus.
Now, for agencies who wish to obtain a certificate of airworthiness, they have to take their aircraft through that type certification process. One commercial vendor has done this for Bell UH1 Huey helicopter that Senator Pressler made reference to. We can now take, if you're operating a UH1, you can now take it to that commercial vendor and obtain the standard certificate of airworthiness for a cost of $200,000 to $300,000. That's no more than an unnecessary waste of resources to obtain a piece of appear from the FAA.
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This particular issue will have a disproportionate impact on small communities. Police agencies serving these areas that are fortunate enough to operate aircraft must in many cases rely on cost reimbursement agreements with other governments to support their aviation operation. If their aircraft is military surplus, this form of compensation is not allowed. The result could be the loss of police aircraft, a very valuable tool in that community.
Since 1978, over 400 surplus military aircraft have been transferred to State and local law enforcement. As we heard a few moments ago, in the next few years, the military plans to dispose of over 2,000 more helicopters, many of which will find their way to local law enforcement. Given these numbers, this issue alone is a significant problem with P.L. 103411, but it's not the only problem with P.L. 103411.
For example, managers of police aviation operations with over 20 years of experience do not qualify under the Federal aviation regulations to manage a civil operation. The same thing applies to maintenance supervisors and chief pilots. This is obviously an affront to highly experienced police professionals.
It's abundantly clear that regulations governing civil aircraft operations cannot be forced upon police aircraft without acknowledging the negative impact it will have on this valuable crime fighting tool. Given the concern that the American public has about crime, I believe it's doubtful that any diminished capacity for purely bureaucratic reasons would be acceptable.
So what is the solution to the problem from our standpoint? Given the problems that we were experiencing with the FAA and their interpretation of certain terms found in the FARs before P.L. 103411, simple repeal will not solve the problem. Nor would repeal of P.L. 103411 do anything to fight the perception held by some that an unregulated fleet of public aircraft equals an unsafe fleet of aircraft. We would suggest that steps be taken to repeal P.L. 103411 and at the same time require the FAA to work with representatives of the police aviation community to write a new part for the FAR. Somebody referred to it as Part 911.
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That would deal specifically with police aviation. They've done this in Britain. They issue a police air operator's certificate in that country.
I've discussed this issue with police aviation professionals from coast to coast. And we are not opposedcategoricallywe are not opposed to being regulated. However, those regulations must be able to address the needs and peculiarities of our type of operation. Steps must be taken to undo the damage that's been done by P.L. 103411, and we ask for your help in doing so.
Thank you very much.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you very much, Colonel Shinnamon. You know, that was very helpful testimony, because you had some specific suggestions there.
We'll go next to the next witness in order, Mr. Stephen Joseph of T&G Aviation. Mr. Joseph.
Mr. JOSEPH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
My name is Stephen Joseph, I'm an attorney in private practice in the District of Columbia. I represent a company called T&G Aviation of Chandler, Arizona. Mr. Grantham here, seated to my right, is the President of that company. And he will also make some comments. I'll try and keep my comments as short as possible.
Page 173 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 It's a pleasure and an honor for both Mr. Grantham and myself to appear here today. I have prepared written testimony and would ask for that to be entered into the record so I can make some oral remarks.
Mr. DUNCAN. Yes, that may be made a part of the record.
Mr. JOSEPH. I have distributed to the committee some photographs and two documents which I hope you will keep before you as I discuss H.R. 1320. This is a bill that T&G strongly opposes and we're pleased to hear this morning that Mr. Broderick testified that the FAA, too, opposes the bill.
T&G Aviation is a small company. It's about 35 people. Each year, it conducts a firefighting operation on behalf of the French government, on behalf of specifically, Securite Civile, which is the French government agency which has duties which include managing firefighting operations in southern France. And as you can see from the photographs I've sent up there, the aircraft are actually painted in the insignia of Securite Civile.
The purpose of H.R. 1320 as we see it would be effectively to ban that operation and any other operations of any C130A aircraft overseas. While we recognize that the bill is drafted in terms of an outright ban, subject to a discretionary exemption, the conditions for the exemption cannot possibly be met. One of the exemption conditions is that there be no standard certificated aircraft capable of performing the operation. Well, there will always be a standard certificated aircraft capable of performing the operation.
So to impose a condition like that is to impose a complete ban on all C130A operations overseas. I don't want to beat around the bush on that. It is a complete ban. H.R. 1320 doesn't say that it's a complete ban, but it is. And my written testimony contains a legal analysis which shows definitively that that is correct.
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There are other conditions, too, which cannot possibly be met, for instance, that no approvals can be for more than 90 days. Well, fires don't stop burning in southern France on the 91st day. The reality of the matter is that operations overseas will usually take longer than 90 days, certainly firefighting operations. It's a completely unreasonable requirement.
The bill is based on a totally invalid factual premise. And it's interesting that we find ourselves in mixed company here. Because we're not here as a public aircraft operator. This aircraft is the most heavily regulated aircraft on the U.S. civil register. And I mean to prove that.
First of all, I've given the committee copies of this huge document. These are the regulations, the special safety regulations that the FAA issued this year to regulate the safety of C130As. So the factual premise of the bill that these aircraft are unregulated is simply not correct.
Southern Air Transport, which is the principal competitor of T&G, testified on this bill at the last session. They said, and I'm quoting, Mr. Langton, the President of Southern, that the C130A is ''totally unregulated.'' Not true. These are enormous regulations. I've given you some photographs showing the tail of one of T&G's C130As having been removed, totally removed. And the horizontal stabilizers are about to be removed as well. Just before that picture was taken, they started work on that, too.
Those requirements, the requirement of removing the tail and also removing the cargo floor and pretty much pulling the plane to pieces, is a requirement that was imposed by these new regulations this year by the FAA. It is unfair for T&G's competitor, Southern, or anyone, to suggest that this aircraft is unregulated. It is hugely regulated.
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It's also regulated not just by the FAA, but by the State Department. The State Department regulates when any of these aircraft can fly overseas or when they can be sold or leased. The State Department often says no to such applications. In fact, in my experience, they usually say no. But they approve ones that they believe to be in the U.S. public interest.
So between the FAA, which has regulated to the ''nth'' degree the safety of these aircraft, and the State Department, which regulates all foreign operations of these aircraft, even non-U.S. registered aircraft, I don't understand how anybody could possibly suggest that these aircraft are totally unregulated, as Southern Air Transport did has suggested.
Moreover, the bill suggests, I think, I think it states, but it certainly seems to be based on the premise that these aircraft do not comply with international agreements. That would refer to Annex 8 of the Chicago Convention, I believe. We've looked through recently the Chicago Convention, Annex 8, and cannot find a single requirement that the new maintenance inspection program of the FAA does not satisfy.
So we're not quite sure how anyone could even suggest that international agreements have not been met. But it is not necessary to show that that's an invalid premise. Because the basic premise of the bill that the aircraft are unregulated from a safety point of view, that's invalid.
Mr. Grantham would like to address some other matters. And in particular, I'd like him to talk a little bit about the French operation and how that's conducted. The total unfairness of closing down that operation, I think, will become apparent from what he says.
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Mr. DUNCAN. Well, that's fine, Mr. Joseph.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes, sir. My name is Woody Grantham. I'm President of T&G Aviation.
I'd like to tell basically a short war story if you've got time to listen. Our company has been under great scrutiny from this committee for the past 6 years, mainly when this committee was chaired by Mr. Oberstar and the people prior to your taking the committee over. It was all done basically because of Southern Air Transport and Mr. Ed Driscoll at NACA, pressuring Mr. Oberstar and maybe Mr. Lipinski also into thinking that we are just bandits from the west and run all over the world doing crazy stuff.
To tell this story, we've been in the C130 civil licensing business since about 1985. The C130 is a wonderful aircraft, the longest running production aircraft ever built in the world. And it's still being built today, of course.
We were asked during Operation Desert Storm, on an emergency basis, to transport water desalting plant protection equipment to the Middle East, to Dhahran. I was initially called by the OFDA traffic manager because of a company that requested this requirement. We were then contacted by the company. I then told the company we had the aircraft, but we would not do it unless there was a U.S. State Department request and the FAA made these aircraft public aircraft for the purpose.
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All of that was done within a period of approximately 3 hours, because Saddam Hussein was pumping oil in the Gulf, and it was flowing toward these desalting plants in Dhahran, and of course we had approximately a half a million people assembled there. And you get thirsty in a short time with no water.
My crews loaded up. We worked day and night, we flew, we didn't quite exceed FAA hours, but very close, in our flights. Three hundred miles north of Cairo, Egypt, we were picked up by military escort and escorted into Dhahran, unloaded, escorted back out, went back to Copenhagen, Denmark, picked up additional loads of equipment, and then picked back up and were escorted back into Dhahran. And this went on for a number of days.
We then started, we were the first civil aircraft to land in Kuwait City. We hauled in equipment to repair the runways so that the larger jets could land there, and this type of stuff. And the operation went on for approximately 90 days or so.
All the time that was happening, I was under severe scrutiny and investigation at the direction of this committee, and I didn't know about it. I was over there trying to be patriotic and hopefully make a little money doing a job. And we were under this severe scrutiny here. All of this scrutiny came because of Southern Air Transport's influence over this committee at that time.
To make a long story short, we did the job. We performed, all of our people did, we didn't get as much as a thank you or any type of appreciation, a thing which we don't mind. The worst part about it, we didn't get paid for any of it. So we have become the largest private donor to Operation Desert Storm. It cost us approximately a million and a half dollars to donate our services there.
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At the time, the two aircraft that were being used were civilly certificated by the FAA. They were being operated under an approved maintenance inspection program by the FAA. And they were being operated on behalf, we considered, as an extension of the U.S. Government, through the FAA public aircraft approval and State Department request.
But it got carried away in this committee. And I became the bandit of the west, probably worse than Jesse James. And I think this committee was misled by our competitor, basically, Southern Air Transport, as to this situation. And I'd like in the future, if I'm going to be investigated, to at least please be notified timely, so I can have the chance to respond. Because all of the investigators would come to our small place of operation and we'd show them our FAA documentation and State Department documentation and they'd say, well, why are we here. And it would end there.
But we went through a lot of it. And it probably cost the taxpayers a couple of million dollars in addition to what I spent.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, Mr. Grantham, let me say this. I don't know the details of exactly all that you're talking about.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes, I know.
Mr. DUNCAN. I know of no investigation by this Subcommittee of your company. But you are always welcome at this Subcommittee, and the Subcommittee staff will always be willing to meet with you if you have some concerns.
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Do you mean to tell me, though, that you did all this work back at the time of Desert Storm, and you did a million and half dollars of work and you never were paid for any of it?
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes, sir, that's correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. Is that right.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes, sir. It caused my company to have to go into a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which we survived, at another cost. But what it was, there was so much high level political pressure being put on from Washington here on the situation
Mr. DUNCAN. But you didn't have an agreement with the military in advance to pay for the work you did?
Mr. GRANTHAM. No. What happened, when I say we weren't paid, we were actually supposed to have been paid on the contract. A private company owned this desalting plant protection equipment. They were a company that was based out of Anchorage, Alaska. We were given approval by the State Department and by the FAA to perform the services for this private company.
However, the private company, of course, was being paid by the U.S. military and the U.S. State Department. So we basically became a subcontractor.
Page 180 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. DUNCAN. Well, let me stop right there. I guess you've got me so curious that I jumped in there and started asking some questions. And I shouldn't have done that at this point. We'll have some questions later.
But I didn't mean to be rude in any respect to our next witness. Mr. Hyland, Paul V. Hyland, who is President of Mercy Flight Central, Inc., and the EMS Air Services of New York, last but certainly not least. Mr. Hyland.
Mr. HYLAND. My name is Paul Hyland, I am the President of Mercy Flight Central, an air ambulance service headquartered in Canandaigua, New York.
Our two helicopters are the only air ambulance service providing 24 hour a day response with flight paramedics always on site. We are also in full compliance with all FAA regulations with respect to civil aircraft and their pilots, including Part 135.
Due to our 24 hour availability, numerous lives have been saved over the 4 years we have operated. Although we receive meaningful charitable contributions, most of our operating revenue comes from third party payors for the air ambulance services provided. Unfortunately, Mercy Flight has suffered from unfair and destructive efforts by the Onondaga County sheriff's department and the New York State Police in Onondaga County. They are using their tax supported helicopters to compete with us for patient transports. We believe their competition is contrary to the public interest of the citizens we serve for the following reasons.
Neither the sheriff's department helicopter nor the State Police helicopter is staffed with qualified paramedics on site at all times. Neither the sheriff nor the State Police is available 24 hours a day. The sheriff's department has no need to provide air ambulance services outside of Onondaga County, yet regularly responds to calls outside that county. The State Police have received a grandfathered certificate of need approval, but without establishing that they meet the standards required by the Department of Health in New York State.
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Neither the sheriff's department helicopter nor the State Police helicopter is required to comply with Part 135, which presents a serious safety hazard. For example, they may or may not have on board the equipment required by the State Health Department for civil air ambulance aircraft. They may or may not have anyone on board to care for that patient. At best, the aircraft and flight crew might comply with Part 91, but at worst, they might comply with none of the FARs applicable to civil aircraft.
The use of the sheriff's department and the State Police helicopters is in direct competition with Mercy Flight, threatens to make it economically impossible for Mercy Flight to provide helicopters in Onondaga County and the surrounding region. This would deprive the citizens of that county and surrounding counties of a very significant and potentially lifesaving community service.
It seems to Mercy Flight Central and Mercy Flight's legal counsel that P.L. 103411 clearly and absolutely excludes the carrying of passengers by the public aircraft. Therefore, according to section and Title 49 of the United States Code, when the Onondaga County sheriff's department helicopter and the New York State Police helicopter transport paramedics and patients, they are breaking that law.
Clearly, there is little or no purpose to be served in passing P.L. 103411 if the Federal Government will not enforce the law. Such a law is for all practical purposes totally ineffective if it can only be enforced through multitudes of civil actions by private helicopter operators. I can tell you that Staff Flight in Westchester County and Albany Med Center are experiencing exactly the same problems with the New York State Police in their region. In fact, in both areas, the State Police have demanded that they get every other patient transport.
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We have asked the FAA officials at all levels to enforce P.L. 103411. Regrettably, to date, the FAA has been totally unresponsive and has been unwilling to undertake any enforcement proceedings. The situation has become ridiculous. Why should any government unit comply with P.L. 103411 if it knows by experience that there will be no sanction from the FAA for non-compliance?
In light of the above, Mercy Flight recommends the following. If public aircraft are going to perform air ambulance services, they must comply with at least Part 135 of the FAA regulations. Immediately, require the FAA to enforce the intent of P.L. 103411, and require the FAA to retract the final version of its advisory circular in favor of the more strict interpretation contained in the draft version. The FAA's error is especially evident in that no parity exists between air ambulance operators from the public sector as compared with the private sector.
Again, Mercy Flight thanks you for the opportunity to express its views to Congress on these important safety and patient care issues. I respectfully request that my testimony in its entirety be entered into public record.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Hyland. And your full statement will be entered into the record. And we thank all of you for being here.
Colonel Shinnamon, I don't know if you were in the room, but I suppose you were, when I mentioned earlier, I guess we've held hearings on probably 20 different subjects this year. And I suppose that we've had to turn away some witnesses from most of those hearings.
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But in the hearings that we held on October 19, which went on for most of the day, we had, as I said, witnesses from all over the country. And I don't think we ever turned away as many witnesses and had as much interest in a hearing or as many people wanting to testify as on that subject.
And some of what you mentioned, or much of what you mentioned, came up then. But can you see that this is a difficult problem? Because we heard not only from law enforcement people that day, but we heard from many small businesses who said that they will be hurt if we allow public aircraft to just come in in some sort of, and make the public use even more widespread.
And I can assure you that there's great sympathy and support for local law enforcement people in the Congress. But there's also great sympathy and support in this Congress for small business.
Now, how do we resolve the conflicts that are here? Is there a way to resolve it?
Colonel SHINNAMON. I'm not sure. From my standpoint, I have, I'm the Chief of Operations for the Baltimore County Police Department, responsible for 610 square miles of population, 700,000, I have, well, in my particular bureau, about 1,800 employees. I'm responsible for providing police service to the citizens of my county, as are all the other folks in my community, police community. Aviation is just one small component of my bureau that provides that service.
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I'm not sure where we draw the line. I use aircraft to provide support to my police officers on the ground. I use aircraft to create the presence or enhance the presence of the police department and make citizens feel safe.
I don't see that as being in competition with a private helicopter operator. Nor, with all due respect to Mr. Hyland, I don't see scene work, Medevac scene work, where you use an air ambulance to transport a patient from the scene of an accident or some other, where trauma is inflicted, as being in competition with a private operator. No more than if, and this may be a stretch, but if the local taxicab company in my county came to me and said, I have excess capacity and I want to start delivering your cops to crime scenes with my taxis, my police cars are not in competition with the local taxicab operator. And the same kind of thought, I think, applies here.
If the issue is unfair competition, that's one issue. But I thought this, I thought P.L. 103411 was created to enhance the safety of air operations, or perhaps it's a dual purpose.
Mr. DUNCAN. What do you say, Mr. Hyland, about that? Particularly about the taxicab?
Mr. HYLAND. Well, I think it's interesting that he brings that point out. Because we don't transport police officers to scenes. But we do transport patients at high risk. And we do, on-scene work is about 60 percent of our business. Interfacility transports of high risk patients is the other.
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We maintain that there is surely a need for the law enforcement helicopter to back up the EMS side of the aviation factor out there in any community. They have done it for a long time. But inasmuch as there is a qualified Part 135 operator doing that job, and the law covers for them to provide that service if it's needed, but it also states in there only as a backup.
Mr. DUNCAN. Am I correct that you serve 11 counties but you have just two helicopters?
Mr. HYLAND. That's correct.
Mr. DUNCAN. What percentage of the emergency medical flights in that area do you provide, and what percentage are done by public?
Mr. HYLAND. We're doing about 95 percent.
Mr. DUNCAN. You're doing 95 percent.
Mr. HYLAND. The problem lies in, if you would look at my original testimony, in its total, there is a newspaper article in the back where they're advertising, basically, that they can operate cheaper than we do, and they only charge for the paramedics. Well, obviously, that's the fact, because they can't charge for their services, because they are public aircraft.
Page 186 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 That's unfair competition. It's happened continually in our region. We do have State laws under the Health Department which we have found tend to favor the police agencies inasmuch as several of the people who wrote the laws ride on the State Police helicopter.
We have what is referred to as a certificate of need in New York State to operate within a given area. Up until last year, the State Police only had a certificate of need in given areas. Through the efforts of certain people in the State Health Department, they grandfathered the State Police so they can go anyplace they want with any helicopter they want and do EMS work. And that was to thwart the efforts of about three of us in the State that were starting very successful air ambulance programs. And they are basically competing against us.
Mr. DUNCAN. Colonel Shinnamon, let me go back to you for just a minute. You state that even though military surplus aircraft do not have an FAA certificate of airworthiness, they are just as safe as aircraft with the FAA certification. Yet you heard Mr. Broderick say that there's no real, or he feels, insufficient data to support a claim like that.
Do you have any data to back up what you said about that?
Colonel SHINNAMON. No, sir, I don't, not specific data. We've inquired of the NTSB for accident data over the last several years. Unfortunately, I don't have that with me. The majority of public aircraft accidents over, I think there were 140 accidents over the last 10 years, and I could be wrong with that, the majority of them were National Guard accidents, Civil Air Patrol accidents. There were few police or public aircraft accidents in the sense that we're discussing here today.
Page 187 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 So I would say that the fact that they aren't falling out of the sky daily, that at least proves to some respects that military aircraft are of course safe. I had the pleasure of, Pope John Paul visited the United States in October. He ended his visit in Baltimore. I had the honor of shaking his hand as he boarded Marine 1 to depart Baltimore to go to Baltimore-Washington International and catch a flight back to the Vatican. Marine 1 does not have an FAA certificate of airworthiness. Air Force 1 does not have an FAA certificate of airworthiness. They are military aircraft.
I would think that, the assumption is by the FAA that because it doesn't have a C of A from the FAA that they're unsafe that we're doing a disservice to the folks who fly in those aircraft.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, it almost seems to me that we ought to end this procedure of the military giving surplus aircraft to local law enforcement agencies, just have the military sell these aircraft in the private market. Or we ought to simplify and make much less expensive this certification process. Because to require a small county, government, for instance, to spend $200,000 or $300,000 to get this certificate seems ridiculous to me.
If we had, for instance, statements that an aircraft was airworthy from the military agency releasing the aircraft, and from the local law enforcement agency and perhaps from some private pilot or local engineer, that seems to me that that should be sufficient. But maybe there's some way we can hit a happy medium here. I'm not sure.
Colonel SHINNAMON. I think that's, if I may, to end the program would be a tremendous disservice to local government, State and local government in the United States. Of the 1,000 aircraft that I mentioned, I'd guesstimate and say that probably 500 of those are former military aircraft.
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Many jurisdictions can't afford, my jurisdiction just received five Bell OH58 helicopters. We're one of the largest jurisdictions in the country, the 30th largest police department in the country. And my jurisdiction, like most other government jurisdictions, can't afford in these very tough fiscal times to go out and buy aircraft. To buy a new one would cost three quarters of a million dollars. But we need, we desperately need that support to our folks on the ground.
So to consider ending it is not the answer. To work with the FAA, like I suggested earlier in my comments, to work with them with an attitude of working together, I think we can resolve it. But that unfortunately will require an attitude change within the FAA.
Mr. DUNCAN. All right. Thank you very much.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Grantham, I wanted to address some questions to you. Because I wanted to go back to what you were talking about in regards to Mr. Oberstar and pressure.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. And I think you dropped my name in there, too, did you drop my name in there?
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Mr. GRANTHAM. That's correct, yes.
Mr. LIPINSKI. You did?
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes.
Mr. LIPINSKI. I thought you had, but I wasn't sure about that. Would you reiterate once again what you had to say so I make sure I hear exactly what you're talking about?
Mr. GRANTHAM. Well, not to tell the whole story again
Mr. LIPINSKI. Tell the story, I want to know the story about the pressure and Oberstar and me by one of your competitors to see that you were scrutinized and investigated. And I think somehow that led to you losing a lot of money and maybe going bankrupt.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Yes. I'll let Mr. Joseph answer.
Mr. JOSEPH. Yes, because I'm very familiar with this whole issue of Southern Air Transport. I don't know anything about the role of this committee back in 1991 when this incident occurred.
What I do know is that in 1991, when I first started representing T&G, I did a Freedom of Information Act request to the FAA. And I got a huge response. I couldn't believe it. Because usually with FOIA requests, you get almost nothing back and a lot of arguments.
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Mr. GRANTHAM. Eight hundred documents.
Mr. JOSEPH. But on this occasion, we got boxes of documents. And I was surprised.
And I couldn't believe it, but in going through these documents, there were a huge number of letters and obvious contacts from Southern Air Transport to the FAA, where Southern Air Transport was making representations to the FAA about the operations of T&G Aviation in the Gulf, and generally about C130A aircraft.
And of course, that whole effort has continued up until this day. And Southern Air Transport testified on this bill at the previous session, and NACA, the National Air Carriers Association, through Mr. Driscoll, which represents Southern Air Transport, has also testified.
When I said in my testimony that they have been making representations which are not correct, such as that the C130A is totally unregulated, that's part of a broader problem we are having with Southern Air Transport, that they say things which people pick up and accept and act on. And this caused serious problems for T&G. Certainly it has cost them an awful lot of money in a bankruptcy so far. And we're having to deal with these attacks on a daily basis.
I have said in our testimony, in our written testimony, that we are alarmed that we are here testifying on H.R. 1320, a bill that would the C130A them from international operations and would allow Southern simply to pick up the French contract, which is what this is really about, and to pick up any other overseas contracts that T&G could have competed for. And they're doing this not by competing in the field, not by competing on price or competing on the product, but by competing in the House Aviation Subcommittee, by competing in the FAA. These regulations
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Mr. LIPINSKI. Just let me interrupt you for one moment, though. You've got all this tremendous information through Freedom of Information Act. And you mentioned specifically Mr. Oberstar being influenced by SAT there to scrutinize him, investigate him. What in those documents, all these documents that you got, brings you to the conclusion that Mr. Oberstar or I, for that matter, had anything to do with this?
Mr. JOSEPH. Let me just say that I've never seen your name mentioned before. I think more it was a concern about this Subcommittee more than anyone in particular on the Subcommittee.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, but the gentleman said, now you're answering for it, and the gentleman said Mr. Oberstar a number of times, and he also dropped my name in there, too. Now, I'd like to know what evidence you have that I'm involved in some conspiracy against Mr. Grantham's company, or for that fact, that Mr. Oberstar is involved in some conspiracy.
Mr. GRANTHAM. I'm not saying that there's a conspiracy. The only reason I brought your name into it is because of the statement you made earlier this morning about the concerns and that Mr. Oberstar is the aviation expert in this committee, and maybe in the Congress, and that you basically appear to closely align yourself with him in that regard. That's why I associated you with him in that
Mr. LIPINSKI. Guilt by association.
Page 192 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. GRANTHAM. Basically, yes, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. We've had problems with that up here before. I thought those days were past, but apparently they aren't.
I want to say, in regards to Jim Oberstar, there is no one that I know of that knows more about aviation than Jim Oberstar. And I have the greatest respect for his knowledge of the aviation industry. And also, there's no one who I have greater respect for his integrity.
And I'm very much interested in getting to the bottom of what was, because you made charges against him as far as I am concerned, and myself, that we are working for a particular company that is in competition with you through this committee, through the FAA, to force you out of business, so that they can pick up all your business. I don't even know the company that you're in competition with. Frankly, up until I became the ranking member of this Subcommittee, I never heard of your company either, all right?
But I'm sure Mr. Oberstar has. And Mr. Oberstar was the chairman of this committee for a long time. But I think the charges that you're making here are outlandish, and I want to hear if you have any kind of proof whatsoever for this.
Mr. JOSEPH. Can I respond?
Page 193 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 Mr. LIPINSKI. Go right ahead.
Mr. JOSEPH. I was looking at Mr. Broderick's testimony, which I saw for the first time this morning. And in there he says that this legislation appears to be more designed to serve competitive purposes between categories of U.S. registered aircraft, rather than fulfilling a domestic safety requirement. Well, I agree.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, that's fine. You agree, and he said that. And you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But in his oral testimony, he's mentioned in names, and he's talking like there is some great conspiracy on the part of Jim Oberstar to drive him out of business so this other guy can get their business.
Mr. JOSEPH. I was going to get to that. I do want to address that.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Okay.
Mr. JOSEPH. When we received the FOIA request, Congressman Oberstar had been clearly by Southern Air Transport, or I should say, Mr. Driscoll, on numerous occasions. And he was essentially asking the FAA whether these things were true. He was kind of being led along, I think, by Southern. I think it's fair to say that's true.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Now, the conspiracy, what's true?
Mr. JOSEPH. No, I don't think Mr. Grantham has used the word conspiracy.
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Mr. LIPINSKI. I didn't hear what you just said. Would you repeat that?
Mr. JOSEPH. I'll get closer to the microphone.
Congressman Oberstar has certainly been involved in supporting this legislation, he sponsored this legislation
Mr. LIPINSKI. Obviously.
Mr. JOSEPH.and there's no question that Mr. Oberstar has been approached, certainly in the correspondence, has been approached by Southern. And that's not an issue. But I think that it is fair for us to say that this is part of an effort, and H.R. 1320 is part of an effort, which has really nothing, nothing to do with safety.
And yet everything is being stated in terms of safety. And that's just not fair. Especially when I am able to produce the safety program which is incidentally much more rigorous a program than Southern has to comply with. And then we hear them saying, and people repeating, and people thinking it's true, and I hear them saying, that we're totally unregulated. And they're saying they're subject to all these regulations that we're not.
I've got to think, well, they've been saying this to people, I know they've been saying this to people, and people are acting on these remarks. Well, that's irresponsible by them. Now, if Congressman Oberstar, who obviously has to accept what he hears to some extent, is being told the same thing by Southern as Southern has told this committee in the last session, then he's being misled.
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And this is proof. If this were a courtroom, I'd be winning a summary judgment right now, because I'd be able to produce this document to show that Southern has been making statements which are simply untrue. This
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, that's all your opinion, quite frankly. It would still be up to the judge to make that determination, or the jury to make that determination. You can't be the attorney, the judge and the jury.
But what you're saying here now really is not what he said earlier. I think that the gentleman definitely misspoke when he dropped my name in there. And I also believe the gentleman misspoke, at least in the context of talking about Jim Oberstar here.
And I resent it very much. You're saying that Jim Oberstar may have been misled by the testimony of another individual or another group of individuals to pursue a particular piece of legislation. He said orally, and he said in his testimony, without mentioning Jim Oberstar's name, that this legislation was geared towards putting him out of business, to the advantage of someone who had been pressured by Jim Oberstar. And I frankly don't believe I've heard anything whatsoever that is any kind of proof of that.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Sir, in our documentation that we received in the FOIA request, there are numerous documents that go from NACA, the National Air Carriers Association, Mr. Driscoll, to Mr. Oberstar, and to Mr. Broderick at the FAA, and there's correspondence back and back and forth. And I guess that is the reason that it appears to usand I never used the word conspiracy
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Mr. LIPINSKI. No, I used the word conspiracy.
Mr. GRANTHAM. The reason that we are of concern, and the position we took or the feelings we took, and the position we took, was that all of this was going on without us having any type of notification or any type of ability to respond to anything. And then this is old history. It dates back 5 years.
But it all went on, and I was very much available to anybody that wanted to ask me a question. In fact, I called Mr. Oberstar's committee person, or his staff people. And they basically didn't want to talk to me, didn't care to hear from me.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Did you ever try to talk to Mr. Oberstar directly?
Mr. GRANTHAM. No, I didn't, I could not
Mr. LIPINSKI. You've been here before testifying before this Subcommittee when he was the chairman, correct?
Mr. GRANTHAM. No, sir.
Mr. LIPINSKI. You've never been here?
Mr. GRANTHAM. No, sir.
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Mr. LIPINSKI. Have you ever expressed a desire to be here?
Mr. GRANTHAM. I've always expressed a desire, but I could never getthis has been our first opportunity
Mr. LIPINSKI. How did you express that desire? Did you send letters in here or call?
Mr. GRANTHAM. I didn't send letters here, I called Mr. Oberstar's staff people over the years. And I
Mr. LIPINSKI. And the staff people turned a deaf ear to your desire to testify before this committee?
Mr. GRANTHAM. That's correct.
Mr. LIPINSKI. You talked about the FAA, too, but in your oral testimony earlier, when you were talking about myself and Mr. Oberstar, you didn't say anything about the FAA. And if they're getting all this correspondence, couldn't you have logically said that the FAA, besides myself and Jim Oberstar, that the FAA was being pressured into putting your competitor out ofputting you out of business for the benefit of your competitor? And that's the word that you used, that Mr. Oberstar was pressured into
Mr. GRANTHAM. No
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Mr. JOSEPH. I would like to address that if I could.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Go right ahead.
Mr. JOSEPH. I have tremendous admiration for Mr. Broderick. You have described Congressman Oberstar as Mr. Aviation. I would describe Mr. Broderick as Mr. Safety. And Mr. Broderick has come before this Subcommittee today and said that this bill has nothing to do with safety. And I think that's a very, very important thing. I think he's very effectively resisted, to the extent he's been able, maybe totally, all of the pressure that has been applied.
I could tell you numerous stories about problems we've had over the last 4 years with Southern going in, saying things to Government agencies, and then all the flak descending on this operation in Arizona. It's been simply ridiculous. I've been practically thrown out of the Department of Agriculture for suggesting that Southern, something that Southern said was not true. And yet we had in writing proof that it was not true, and they wouldn't even accept my correspondence. It was returned to me.
So I cannot even
Mr. LIPINSKI. What's the name of this other company again?
Mr. GRANTHAM. Southern Air Transport.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, they must have enormous influence with the FAA, the Department of Interior, and Congressman Oberstar.
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Mr. GRANTHAM. No, they've tried to have enormous influence. Because Mr. Driscoll has of course pressured Mr. Broderick, and Mr. Broderick has basically kept the proper position all the time. But there's documents to show what was going on, or what was trying to go on at the time.
But what you have to get back to, Congressman, is Southern Air Transport was owned by the CIA for years and years. And the person who is now chairman of the board of it was the ex-legal counsel at the CIA. So they still have, they do have strong political influence. You're absolutely correct.
Mr. LIPINSKI. No, I was only alleging that they had this. I wasn't aware of the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency was involved in this, either.
Mr. GRANTHAM. I can give you a copy of the military intelligence report, if you'd like it, to show that.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Now, we have the CIA, we have guilt by association, and I have long exhausted my time. So in conclusion, I want to say to you that as far as I know, I wasn't part of any conspiracy to drive you out of business for the benefit of your competitor. I don't believe that Mr. Oberstar is, was in that position either, nor the Department of the Interior nor the FAA, nor the Department of Transportation.
But I do believe that based upon what has come up this morning that we should, Mr. Chairman, pursue this. Perhaps we should pursue this some time in the very near future in your office and see if we can't get to the bottom of what is going on over here, and why these gentlemen at least feel they way they feel, even though I think that they are totally wrong in their conclusions or in their charges. I think that we should at least try to find out why they are at that point.
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And I thank you very much for being gracious enough to give me all this time.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Lipinski.
Mr. Joseph, did you have something else that you wished to say?
Mr. JOSEPH. I am very, very happy to hear what you just said, Congressman Lipinski. I mean, it's not easy for us to talk about boxes of documents, which happen to be in my office, and then I have to tell you what's in them. But it's a lot easier, if we can actually bring some of these documents to you and show you what we've been up against.
But I'd like to just say, on behalf of Mr. Grantham, he is very alarmed, and I am very alarmed, that we're having to testify before this Subcommittee. Because this is a bill that would essentially put T&G out of business. And it's got no justification. It is a reason to be alarmed. It is fair for us to be reporting on these things and trying to bring the truth out.
I know what's been going on. I'm a lawyer, I'm not given to make wild accusations. But I've got these documents. And it's simply a matter of fact that they have been going out there saying that T&G's been operating illegally, which is not true. In fact, they said this on one occasion and the FAA descended upon T&G and did an enormous inspection. And then they gave them a letter, which I actually have in my briefcase here, saying, TEG did nothing wrong. Nothing. Absolutely perfect.
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But yet, one letter from Southern goes out to the FAA or the Department of Agriculture or whoever, well, T&G's operating illegally and he's doing this, that and the other. It's easy for them to say. But it's not true. And he has to deal with the consequences. So he's alarmed, and he's right to be alarmed.
Mr. LIPINSKI. Well, once again, I say to you that I have recommended to the Chairman that we have some kind of a meeting over this situation. And I hope that the Chairman will take my suggestion up, and we will proceed with it.
Mr. DUNCAN. Well, thank you, Mr. Lipinski. And certainly, in this Subcommittee, we have many meetings among members and the staff works, of course, full time. So a lot is done in addition to what is done in these public hearings.
And I think we've now concluded 2 days of hearings on topics, one dealing with P.L. 103411, and that's where we've heard most of the testimony, but also this legislation, H.R. 1320, which is in some ways related, but in a lot of a ways separate issue. I can assure you that no one on this Subcommittee that I know of wants to do anything to put any small business out of business.
I think that based on what we've heard that something, some adjustment or some technical correction needs to be made to P.L. 103411. And we're going to work to see if we can do that in such as way as to help local law enforcement bodies, but also in a way that will not provide unfair competition to small businesses around the country.
Page 202 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 2 Of 2 And with that, we'll conclude this testimony, and thank you, gentlemen, for coming. And I will say, Mr. Grantham and Mr. Joseph, if you want to meet with me or if you want to meet with Mr. Lipinski at some point, or both of us together, we'll be happy to do that some time. And thank you very much.
Mr. GRANTHAM. Appreciate that, thank you.
Mr. JOSEPH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[Whereupon, at 11:37 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned, to reconvene subject to the call of the Chair.]