Hearing

FAA Reauthorization: Reforming and Streamlining the FAA’s Regulatory Certification Processes

2167 Rayburn House Office Building

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0 Wednesday, January 21, 2015 @ 10:00 | Contact: Contact: Jim Billimoria 202-225-9446
This is a hearing of the Full Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

This hearing will cover the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) aircraft and flight standards certification processes, progress the FAA has made to streamline the processes since the last FAA bill was signed into law, and areas in need of additional reform. With the current FAA authorization set to expire at the end of September, passing a new bill that helps lay the groundwork for the future of U.S. aviation is a top priority for the Committee.

Summary of Subject Matter
Official Hearing Transcript
 
Witnesses:

Panel I
Mr. Ray Conner, President and CEO, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, The Boeing Company | Written Testimony
Mr. Aaron Hilkemann, President and CEO, Duncan Aviation | Written Testimony

Panel II
The Honorable Chris Hart, Acting Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board | Written Testimony
Ms. Dorenda Baker, Director, Aircraft Certification Service, Federal Aviation Administration | Written Testimony
Dr. Gerald Dillingham, Director of Civil Aviation Issues, Government Accountability Office | Written Testimony


Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA)
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Hearing on “FAA Reauthorization: Reforming and Streamlining the FAA’s Regulatory Certification Processes”

 January 21, 2015
Opening Statement
(Remarks as Prepared)

With the current FAA authorization set to expire at the end of September, passing a new bill that helps lay the groundwork for the future of U.S. aviation is a top priority for the Committee.  I look forward to hearing about the progress the FAA has made to streamline the certification processes since the last FAA bill was signed into law, as well as areas that witnesses believe is in need of additional reform.  I think everyone here today understands the important role that aviation plays in our nation’s economy. 

Aviation manufacturing is at the heart of American leadership in aviation and high-technology. This vital industry contributes billions of dollars and supports millions of jobs in our country’s economy and is our leading export sector. 

Today we are discussing FAA regulatory certification processes which have significant impacts on our nation’s ability to innovate, manufacture and export the very safest products efficiently in an increasingly competitive global market.  FAA is responsible for ensuring every aircraft in our skies is safe; and that those that maintain and fly those aircraft are well-qualified and well-trained.   Besides assuring the safety of aircraft, our certification system must be efficient and rational. 

Too often, we are seeing unnecessary regulatory burdens that do not serve to improve actual aircraft safety.  It seems to be process…simply for the sake of process.  Products and technologies that can actually enhance aircraft safety are often caught in a bureaucratic maze, substantially delaying their implementation and realization of safety benefits.  By the time an American company receives certification for a product it submits, the technology is often out of date as competitors elsewhere are able to move more quickly.  

I have heard concerns that our certification processes are much slower than the processes in other foreign countries, resulting in American manufacturers at a disadvantage to foreign competitors who have a more streamlined process to get their products certified and into the market.   

While our aerospace products are the safest in the world, we must also act to ensure that our safety regulations and processes are effective, consistent and keep pace with the modern world. The FAA is the gold standard across the world for aviation safety and standards.  It is a big part of what makes this country the global leader in aviation. 

We cannot let American leadership slip or be squandered away because of regulatory processes that are out of sync with all of the changes in the world. As our aviation manufacturers innovate it is important that FAA’s standards keep pace to enable these innovations. Instead of being the unquestioned global leader in bringing innovative products to market, the United States sometimes lags behind the rest of the world in the introduction of new technology.

Given the concerns that we have heard about FAA’s certification processes we look to our witnesses to hear what Congress can do in our next FAA reauthorization to ensure that our certification processes ensure the safety of our system while not inhibiting aviation growth.

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