Pilot Safety Rule Focus of New FAA Administrator Babbitt

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Senior Special Writer Andy Pasztor states:

Federal Aviation Administration chief Randy Babbitt, in his most detailed comments yet about combating pilot fatigue, vowed to tailor future regulations to better reflect the safety challenges facing commuter pilots.  In a speech to the country’s largest commercial-pilot union, the agency’s administrator said the current “one size fits all” regulations don’t adequately take into account fatigue typically experienced by commuter pilots, some of whom fly five or more segments per day.

This speech by Administrator Babbitt underscores the growing concern about Pilot fatigue and safety of the aircraft that are flown.  Ever since it came to light that the co-pilot of the Continental Flight 3407, which crashed in Buffalo, New York, had commuted from Seattle to Newark to be on the flight, and that the pilot was not familiar with the de-icing procedures for the type of aircraft he was flying, pilot training, fatigue and maintenance have been hot topics.

Administrator Babbitt vowed in his speech to the Air Line Pilots Air Safety Forum not to wait until the Congress gets its act together and passes legislation.  He said that he has set up a rulemaking committee studying fatigue:  “I want to make sure that we get the answers we need as working men and women aviators.  In rulemaking not only does one size not fit all, but it’s unsafe to think that it can.”

Although not part of his rulemaking committee, Administrator Babbitt also mentioned that the FAA is holding a series of 12 nationwide airline safety forums aimed at “stimulat[ing] a safer, more professional enviroment at regional airlines. . . the discussions are focusing on air carrier management responsibilities for crew education and support, professional standards, flight discipline, training standards and performeance.”

This is not to say that Congress is standing still waiting to see the outcome of these rules and meetings.  The Senate Subcommittee on Aviation has a held a series of three hearings on Aviation Safety, the most recent being August  6, 2009, which focused on “the relationship between the major, or network, airlines and their regional airline partners.” (Witness lists for the three hearings appear after the jump).  The goal, as expressed by Subcommittee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) is to “to determine if there are further steps we can or must take to ensure there is one level of safety throughout the commercial air transportation system.”

Maybe Administrator Babbitt got it right when he concluded his remarks by stating that “if you think the safety bar is set too high, your sights are set way too low.”

Aviation Safety: The Relationship Between Network Airlines and Regional Airlines
Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
Thursday, August 6, 2009
10:00 AM
SR – 253
View Archive Webcast
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security Subcommittee hearing on Aviation Safety: The Relationship Between Network Airlines and Regional Airlines.

Majority Statements

John D. Rockefeller, IV
Minority Statements

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Witnesses

Opening Remarks

Mr. Philip H. Trenary
President and Chief Executive Officer
Pinnacle Airlines Corp.
Mr. Peter Bowler
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Eagle Airlines
Captain Don Gunther
Vice President for Safety
Continental Airlines, Inc.
Captain Stephen M. Dickson
Senior Vice President Flight Operations
Delta Air Lines, Inc.

Aviation Safety: The Role and Responsibility of Commercial Air Carriers and Employees
Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
10:00 AM
SR – 253
View Archive Webcast
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, announces the following subcommittee hearing on Aviation Safety: The Role and Responsibility of Commercial Air Carriers and Employees.

Majority Statements

John D. Rockefeller, IV
Minority Statements

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Witnesses

Opening Remarks

Mr. Jim May
President and Chief Executive Officer
Air Transport Association of America
Captain John Prater
President
Airline Pilots Association International
Mr. Scott Maurer
Representative of the Families of Continental Flight 3407
Mr. Roger Cohen
President
Regional Airline Association

Aviation Safety: FAA’s Role in the Oversight of Air Carriers
Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
02:30 PM
SR – 253
View Archive Webcast
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV (D-WV), Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, announces the following subcommittee hearing on Aviation Safety: FAA’s Role in the Oversight of Air Carriers.

Majority Statements

John D. Rockefeller, IV
Byron L. Dorgan
Minority Statements

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Witnesses

Opening Remarks

The Honorable Mark V. Rosenker
Acting Chairman
National Transportation Safety Board
The Honorable Calvin L. Scovel III
Inspector General
U.S. Department of Transportation
The Honorable J. Randolph Babbitt
Administrator
Federal Aviation Administration
Mr. John O’Brien
Board Member
The Flight Safety Foundation
Advertisements
This entry was posted in Airlines, Aviation, Congress, FAA, Regulatory and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s