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Senate Proceeding 03-11-10 on Mar 11th, 2010 :: 2:08:55 to 2:24:45
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John Rockefeller

2:08:52 to 2:09:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: time that the chairman will see. i will be glad to brief him and his staff -- and it would be ap madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. rockefeller: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i disuct that therder of the quorum call -- order of the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: without

John Rockefeller

2:08:55 to 2:24:45( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Rockefeller

John Rockefeller

2:09:14 to 2:09:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: objection, so ordered. mr. rockefeller: madam president, one of the primary emphasis that i've put into this federal aviation bill over the last number of years is modernizing our air traffic control system, and i've heard myself talk about it so much that i'm tired of listening to myself, but, on the other hand,

John Rockefeller

2:09:35 to 2:09:55( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: i'm not sure that other people have heard it enough. it's so important. one way of explaining it is that most cars use more sophisticated global positioning systems than

John Rockefeller

2:09:56 to 2:10:16( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: do our air carriers, our -- you know, our legacy airlines. that's kind of pathetic, and it has to end. the only way you can do that is by modernizing the air traffic control system. it's doable. there is he a money in the bill to -- there's money in the bill to do it on an annual basis. it should be completed by the

John Rockefeller

2:10:17 to 2:10:38( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: year 2025. in fact, it's already begun in one of the gulf states. its completed and they're using it. mongolia is using it, and we just -- we think it's not too much to ask to catch up to mongolia in air traffic control. we have a very safe air sysm,

John Rockefeller

2:10:39 to 2:10:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: but it's not safe enough. by that, i mean that we move 30,000 flights a day in america. more than half of all the air traffic in the world is american. and nearly 700 million people per year use our airplanes.

John Rockefeller

2:11:00 to 2:11:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: so that how you posion airplanes and how you guide them and how they know where they are and where they're going and how they can most quickly and safely get there is really very important. the if a's recent forecasts say that there will be -- the f.a.a.'s recent forecasts say that there will be probably a 50% increase in the foreseeable future.

John Rockefeller

2:11:22 to 2:11:46( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: that'll be over -- well over a billion passengers per year. but we're already stretched too thinn the air traffic control system which we have, which is antiquaitd, and which is --

John Rockefeller

2:11:47 to 2:12:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: antiquated, andhich is known by any other country in the world. nextgen will help clean up our air because airplanes will be able to go from one place to another because they'll be able to see what the weather patterns are, where the other planes are that'll help the air traffic controllers on the ground positioning them. airplanes will be able to fly

John Rockefeller

2:12:09 to 2:12:30( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: more closely in each other's tail, so to speak, altitude. in all ways, it'll be much more efficient, much more manageable, all in real-time. we don't it with our automobiles. and we ought to be able to do it -- and there will be much -- it is a very good environmental thing, which to the senator from new hampshire may sound like a

John Rockefeller

2:12:31 to 2:12:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: reasonable prospect. because if you -- you know, jet fuel is not inexpensive, and it's not carbon-free. and this will use a lot less carbon emissions, and it'll also lower another kind of emission, which is noise emissions, which affect people -- not in this

John Rockefeller

2:12:53 to 2:13:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: city b everywhere. most importantly, nextgen will dramatically improve safety, and that's the whole point. it'll provide pilots and air traffic controllers with better situational awareness. that's what we do for our troops. it's what we do for ourselves.

John Rockefeller

2:13:14 to 2:13:34( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and we need to do it for our airplanes. if you can see weather maps in realtime and you just know that airplanes are going this way understand that to avoid what they visually -- and that to avoid what they visually see in the way of clouds or rain or whatever.

John Rockefeller

2:13:35 to 2:13:55( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: but if they can get it in rea realtime g.p.s., then they can cut right through and go from point to point much more quickly. so our bill takes a lot of steps right away to do that. we'll be spending $500 billion a year -- that's in the bill -- on this. we expect it to 2025.

John Rockefeller

2:13:56 to 2:14:16( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it seems like a longime. we're not going to pay all of it. we're going to ask the airlines to pay equipage, which is their electronic response to what is on the ground, which is will pay for. and obviously every airplane will have to have that. they will want to do that. they will -- they won't like

John Rockefeller

2:14:17 to 2:14:37( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: paying for it, but they won't like not having it when everybody else does. the bill takes further steps to make certain about nextgen. this is one of those things that doesn't sound very good. but if it's done properly, it'll be very good.

John Rockefeller

2:14:38 to 2:14:59( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we create an air traffic control modernization oversight board within the f.a.a. and they will be active. we establish a nextgen officer at the f.a.a. that's a person and a group. they'll be responsible simply for seeing the progress is on schedule, pushing people that have to be pushed.

John Rockefeller

2:15:00 to 2:15:20( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and we will include representatives of federal employees in these all planning the nextgen projects. it's appropriate that you include people who fly airplanes, in other words, in this. so we need to begin implementing this technology now, and we need to get to the day when we can now that we're as safe as we are

John Rockefeller

2:15:21 to 2:15:42( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: in our car. actually, i'm not sure that's a very encouraging statement, but it's dangerous up there, and we take a lot of chances. i've been in an airplane that was struck by lightning, a single-engine airplane with one pilot.

John Rockefeller

2:15:43 to 2:16:06( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: did a lot of praying, and here i am. and the subject of safety, madam president, that is -- senator dorgan was talking about that. you know, the grieving families from flight 3407, that accident in buffalo, new york, they are never to be forgotten, and we can never allow a tragedy like that to happen again.

John Rockefeller

2:16:07 to 2:16:31( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and that's the problem when you have commuter airlines. 50% of all of our air traffic is now commuter airlines. as i'm sure the senator, the presiding officer understands, in west virginia and new hampshire, we don't get -- you get a lot more than we do, madam president, major jet flights. we don't get those very much, so

John Rockefeller

2:16:32 to 2:16:52( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: we do with the propellers, and i squeeze my 6' 7" frame as best i can usually next to the exit door because there is more room there. that accident in new york was unavoidable. it didn't have to happen and should never happen again. we have an important opportunity to make serious changes, and we need to make sure those changes

John Rockefeller

2:16:53 to 2:17:13( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: put safety first. safety is always the number-one consideration. so, a few ideas: our bill includes measures to strengthen the nation's aviation safety system. it takes great strides to promote something called one level of safety. as i stand here today speaking to the presiding officer, i can't believe that one level of

John Rockefeller

2:17:14 to 2:17:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: safety is going to be achieved within six months, but that is the objective of the bill that. nobody gets to be more safe than somebody else. when the senator from north dakota was talking about -- and this is, i think, the airline pilot folks, that they pay their senior people a great deal. but if you pay somebody who did

John Rockefeller

2:17:37 to 2:17:58( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: not land in buffalo, new york, in tt tragic flight, he was being paid between $20,000 and $25,000. in your state, madam president -- neither your state, madam president, nor mine pays teachers that little. it's shocking, absolutely

John Rockefeller

2:17:59 to 2:18:19( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: shocking, that an airline pilot would be subject to such wages and therefore can't stay in a motel overnight, and, therefore, may go one or two nights without sleep and then fly a plane. you can't do that. you can't allow that. that's why we ought to get to this bill and we ought to pass this bill instead of waiting year after year and postponing

John Rockefeller

2:18:20 to 2:18:41( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: it 11 times as we have by extending the authorization. so, in recent years we actually have seen the safest period in aviation history, even with the busiest system in the world. our air traffic controllers oversee more than 30,000 flights a day. i think it's closer to 36,000

John Rockefeller

2:18:42 to 2:19:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: flights a day, and again 800 million people each year. but there are ways that we can do better. our passengers in the dedicated airline workforce deserve better. as chairman of the commerce committee and as former chairman of the aviation subcommittee, for more than ten years -- i've been into this a lot -- i appreciate the work that senator

John Rockefeller

2:19:03 to 2:19:23( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: dorgan, who is now chairman of the aviation subcommittee, has done to continue this focus on safety using flight 3407 that crashed in buffalo as his sort of emotional touchpoint, but simply driving and driving and driving. we've had actually eight safety

John Rockefeller

2:19:24 to 2:19:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: hearings in the committee since that time, since that accident. and you can say, well, so what. but that's what galvanizes us. that's what allows us to put together a better safety section in this bill, which in fact we've done. so in the bill, we strengthen greatly the training and certification of commercial

John Rockefeller

2:19:45 to 2:20:05( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: aviation pilots. two vague words but two very sharp meanings in those words. our bill requires the f.a.a. t reevaluate pilot training and qualifications and issue a new rule to make certain flight crew members have the proper skills and experience. and they either do or they don't. there's less questions. they have to be evaluated.

John Rockefeller

2:20:06 to 2:20:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: and if they don't make it, they're out. i don't know what the union will say about that, but that's what we have to do. if the f.a.a. fails to do this and do is by the end of 2011, then all air carrier pilots must have at least 1,500 flight hours. and now it would be more at the 800 level.

John Rockefeller

2:20:29 to 2:20:49( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: but, in other words, that's a jolt. that's a real stick which we're holding out there in this bill to make them better certification and the rest of it. we fox a lot on -- we focus a lot on pilot fatigue. that's a human phenomenon, but it's a dangerous one if you're

John Rockefeller

2:20:50 to 2:21:12( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: flying an airplane. it requires the f.a.a. to revise the flight and duty time regulations for commercial airline pilots and issue the final rule within one year. no, that's not tomorrow. but within one year, they will have a schedule that will hopefully stop this kind of thing where pilots fly in from san francisco, don't get any

John Rockefeller

2:21:13 to 2:21:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: sleep, have to sleep in a little bunkhouse. and so otherwise we also require some other key changes. we require an electronic data base that the f.a.a. must develop and that carriers must consult to obtain a full picture of a pilot's experience and skills before giving them such enormous responsibility.

John Rockefeller

2:21:34 to 2:21:54( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: they have to pass that data base examination. the f.a.a. will also require air carriers to implement a formal remedial training program for underperforming pilots. the underperforming is a hard thing to evaluate but it's doable. the remedial training is not hard to do. that's just time in simulated

John Rockefeller

2:21:55 to 2:22:15( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: cockpits or real cockpit situations. so, in conclusion, i just want to say that we all must understand the reality that we're living with here, that our utmost priority is always safety. but that's easier said than accomplished. the national transportation safety board, which the ranking

John Rockefeller

2:22:16 to 2:22:36( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: member of the commerce committee, kay bailey hutchison of texas, i say chair and she says was acting, but chaired, they recently determined pilot error was the primary cause of that flight in buffalo, flight 3407. to put it even more clearly, this tragedy simply did not have

John Rockefeller

2:22:37 to 2:23:02( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: to happen and could have been avoided. and by passing this bill, we can do more to make sure we don't repeat that kind of history. safety is always important. i don't know of anyplace that it's more important than in the i thank the presiding officer. i yield the floor and note the absence of the presiding officer: the

John Rockefeller

2:23:05 to 2:23:10( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: clerk will call the roll.

John Rockefeller

2:23:58 to 2:24:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: quorum call: mr. rockefeller: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: madam president, i ask unanimous consent that the sessions amendment 3453 -- the senate is in a quorum call. mr. rockefeller: i ask unanimous consent the order of th and apologize. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: i ask unanimous consent that the

John Rockefeller

2:24:19 to 2:24:40( Edit History Discussion )

John Rockefeller: sessions amendment which is 3453 be modified with the changes at the desk. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. rockefeller: i yield the floor quorum. the presid clerk will call the roll.

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