Speech – Aero Club of Washington Luncheon

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Thank you, Margaret.

Ive attended many Aero Club luncheons over the years. So, its a bit surreal to be looking at all of you from this side of the podium.

Ive had a lot of those moments this year. Being back at the agency its humbling. It hit me when I was at Udvar Hazy a few weeks ago. Aviation has such an amazing legacy.

I saw the Blackbird 1960s technology with analog dials and Mach 4 capability.

I saw the Concorde, and the Space Shuttle. And the iconic Boeing 707. Theyre just a few of aviations monuments.

A few of those birds were the brainchild of Kelly Johnson, and there are more than a handful of others who owed a debt of gratitude to the founder of Skunk Works.

He used to have a saying Be quick, be quiet, and be on time. Sounds like an airline mission statement, but Im pretty sure he was talking to his engineers.

And, I think we can all agree. We are right on time for something big.

We find ourselves on the cusp of the third great era of aviation: the age of autonomous and unmanned aircraft.

The jet age was just as consequential. But in many ways, it was simpler. The skies werent as crowded as they are today.

Now, were looking at a future where thousands of airliners still crisscross the globe. But theyre joined by huge commercial rockets and a million drones.

Im not sure we appreciate how much of a seismic change its going to be for all of us.

Government and industry have spent the last few decades honing the system. We carved out our roles, and figured out how to work together.

But for aviation to continueto thrive the system we have today must get better.

We dont want to becaught flat-footed this time around. We want to be ready for the next era of aviation.Especiallysince we almost missed the boatwith the first.

This is what guys like me arent supposed to talk about.The original sin government committed against this industry.

The Wrightsmay have been bicycle repairmen, but they were no strangers to the pen. They wrote letter after letter after letterall sent to an address not far from where were sitting right now.

They told Washington what they had. They explained that theyd conquered the impossible. And Uncle Sam shrugged.

Thank you for your interest, Mr. Wright, but we at the War Department have already invested in our own flight experimentwith Samuel Langley.

That was a solid planright up until the moment Mr. Langleys project crashed into the Potomac.

Conclusion? If the government couldnt solve this problem then it couldnt be solved. Until, of course, it was.

That was an early and important lesson that still applies today: Innovation fuels aviation, and innovation rarely comes from the federal government.

And theres an important corollary to that lesson: Bureaucrats shouldnt tell innovators what they cant do. See? Its right there…page 27, section 3, paragraph 1, subpart b in the footnote.

Weve had too many of those exchanges in the past. But, thats changing. And thats thanks, in part, to a lot of whats in a 400 page piece of legislation.

Weve got a new five-year authorization the longest the FAA has had in more than 35 years. It doesnt have everything we asked for. No bill ever does. But its full of a lot of good things.

We have a mandate to accelerate our momentum on unmanned aircraft. It clears the way to remote identification standards. It supports us moving forward on long-awaited rules for drone operations over people and at night.

And we will be coordinating closely with our federal law enforcement partners in the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice who have new authority to counter the malicious use of UAS.

Congress didnt stop there. The new law authorizes an increase in commercial space funding to the tune of 236 percent over the next five years. Well also be creating an Office of Spaceports.

It even sets us up for the return of supersonic aircraft. Thats something most of us thought wed never see again. And those aircraft advancements will be aided by a reformed certification system that helps manufacturers press ideas into metal faster.

Theres plenty more where that comes from. In fact, theres so much more…were using a 30-page spreadsheet to track hundreds of deliverables were responsible for over the next five years.

But we still want more legislatively. We need more. We need funding reform.

This isnt about more money. We collect plenty to keep the system running. What we need is stability and predictability. It would also be nice to have the flexibility to spend that money how and where and when we need to.

That may be asking a lot, but something has to give. Were in our 47th continuing resolution in the last 11 years.

The FAA hasnt started a fiscal year with a full appropriation since 1997. Think about that for a second. We support two-thirds of the worlds airspace nearly a billion passengers and 5 percent of the GDP.

Thats your bottom line. Thats Americas bottom line. And its just no way to run the largest, most complex air navigation system in the world.

President Trump gets that. Hes a businessman. And hes bringing those same principles to this Administration. He told us to get rid of rules that have outlived their usefulness.

You dont have to tell us twice. Under Secretary Chaos leadership, DOT leads the federal government in cutting outdated, burdensome and unnecessary regulations. And the FAA has been the largest contributor to the Departments success in this area.

Were answering the Presidents call to cut two regulations for every new one. At the same time, were busy creating a new and improved regulatory framework for drones and commercial space transportation.

This year alone, weve taken deregulatory actions that should save $65 million annually.

But this isnt just about saving dollars. Its about saving time. About making it easier for people to operate in our system.

These are our commercial space launch and reentry licensing regs today.

Soon, theyll look like this.

Weve got momentum on this, and believe me when I tell you, were just getting started.

These streamlining efforts go well beyond rulemaking. Were using technology to clear out many of the pain points in our system. The delays the inefficiencies the bottlenecks.

The Northeast Corridor brings the system to its knees. Its a petri dish for delays due to weather, construction and volume. About a third of all delays in the system originate in the Northeast Corridor.

So I want you to know we know how important this artery is to our nation and what happens when its clogged. Thats why were adding Performance Based Navigation procedures, and prioritizing initial trajectory-based operations that will reduce congestion in the region.

But were not just about this side of the country. Were rolling out technologies and procedures all across the NAS with more on the way.

Were standing up Data Comm En Route Services in Memphis, Indianapolis and Kansas City that should be operational before the end of this year.

The ADS-B mandate is about fourteen months from taking effect. We dont want you to find yourself on the wrong side of that, stuck in the hangar on New Years. We re-launched the incentive program, and more of you are getting equipped every day.

Were also gearing up for the Terminal Flight Data Manager, which will improve controllers situational awareness. Well begin rolling out those capabilities in 2020.

Of course, individual programs have deadlines, but overall system improvement doesnt. We dont have a hard stop on safety or efficiency.

Thats what these things are doing in the cockpit and on the ground and in the tower. The systems not slowing down, so we have to do our best to keep up.

The fact is, if the FAA is going to achieve its mission, safety and innovation cant be at odds. I truly believe that innovation is the future of safety.

Government shouldnt be a stop signal for great ideas. It should be a springboard. Moving map displays. Remote towers. Artificial intelligence. Theyre game-changers. And we need to support them.

When Secretary Chao launched the UAS Integration Pilot Program, she was all in. She was talking about drones, but that attitude applies to everything were doing.

The President, the Vice President, and the Secretary have given us the green light to think outside the box. The stars dont always line up like that. And we need to take advantage. I think we already are but we can do more.

I want to create an innovation incubator inside the FAA. Itll separate out early innovation from real-time operations, so that good ideas dont die on the vine.

Well give people the freedom to tackle tough questions, and the time to figure out how a new technology can be incorporated into the NAS.

If it works, were off to the races. If not, we havent wasted much time.

Well measure success by our ability to disrupt the status quo and break down obstacles so that new ideas can be transformed into concrete actions without disturbing current operations.

And let me just say this isnt just about being a better service provider and regulator. Its about maintaining our position as a global leader.

I think we take this for granted sometimes. In the international community, we used to say, Speak softly and carry a big market share.

We cant do that anymore, because times have changed. The rest of the world is catching up.

Complacency will kill us. Especially if you consider the sheer volume of innovative ideas coming at our agency on an almost daily basis.

Next year, go to InterDrone or the Consumer Electronics Show. Ill be there. I dont just want to see what theyre doingI need to see it. Because theyre figuring out solutions to challenges we havent even thought of yet.

We need to support these innovatorslet them know theyve got a seat at our table. We can’t afford to alienate them.

Because, the fact is were staring down a workforce crisis. I know theres been some debate about this. But, while we discuss the why, the what is moving right along. If you look at the facts look at the numbers they paint a clear picture.

The number of pilots holding active airmen certificates has decreased by nearly 30% since the 80s. Maintenance isnt exempt, either. Our technical workforce is aging at the same time our pipeline is running dry.

Were competing with Silicon Valley for talent. And were losing. If we dont turn this around, and I mean soon, were going to have empty flight decks. Not unmanned empty.

Thats why Secretary Chao, Air Force Secretary Wilson and I held an aviation workforce summit a few months ago.

We brought together stakeholders from government, industry, and academia to start talking about the pipelines, pathways, and partnerships we need to get young people excited about careers in aviation again.

Because thats gotta be part of the solution. We all have to roll up our sleeves if this is going to work. Each of us must take a personal and direct role in spreading the aviation bug. I caught it in elementary school.

Its a little ironic that aviation has a mojo crisis right now. I mean what kid wouldnt want to pilot a drone, or a space craft or your own jet pack?

This workforce dilemma were going to solve it. Like we do everything else with collaboration, calls to action, or just plain elbow grease.

But mark my words: there is a solution, and we will find it. Because thats what we do. Look at our monuments.

When Im at Udvar Hazy…I love going to Udvar-Hazy…I see our past. But I also think about our future.

Where are the next Wright Brothers? Would we even recognize them if they knocked on our door? Or worse…if they knocked, would we know to answer? The War Department didnt.

Wheres our next Kelly Johnson? We cant presume hes in this room having lunch with us. He, or she, might be working a booth at ComicCon. Or tooling away in a garage with the next Steve Wozniak.

Weve got to stop and think and ask the question, what are the monuments this next generation is going to build?

I dont know. But Im excited to find out.

Be quick: Respond to innovation.

Be quiet: Keep your head down and do the work, unhindered by unnecessary rules.

Be on time: Recognize this moment were in and what it requires of us.

This is a new and exciting erafor new entrants, for innovation, for aviation. Lets make it memorable.

Thank you.

Speech – NBAA Remarks

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Orlando, FL

Good morning, and thanks, Ed. I know youre interested in technology, so heres a nugget for you. Google has an alert feature thats pretty handy. You enter a word, and every time that words pops up in the news, you get an email.

If you enter FAA, you get updates about the Federal Aviation Administration. And the Federal Arbitration Act. The Fine Arts Association. The Angolan Armed Forces. You can imagine what those news clips look like.

And not to be shortchanged, the Florida Aquaculture Association.

I must warn you, if youre going to try this, get ready for updates on the National Bass Anglers Association.

Worthless trivia aside, in this room, theres little doubt about what FAA and business aviation stand for. We stand for safety. Weve stood for safety from day one.

The good news here is that you can be counted on to step up at each and every turn.

With the help of the NBAA and the other General Aviation Joint Steering Committee members, the FAA has really started to broaden the scope of our data collection system.

Weve always needed GA information in the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing program ASIAS and now thanks to youwere getting the valuable safety data we need.

When we began building GA operations into ASIAS, there were just two business operators. They stepped forward to be the first to bring their data into the program.

Today, we have 82 corporate and business operators who actively participate in ASIAS. There are upwards of 1,600 jet and several hundred piston aircraft generating data in use today by the GA membership in ASIAS.

Thats a look behind the curtain that for a long time, we werent very optimistic about getting. But that was then, this is now. Business aviation has stepped up, and youve made it possible for us to raise the safety bar. Again.

Youve been active in our efforts to modernize as well. We appreciate your involvement on the NextGen advisory committee. Youve helped make next generation plans become a reality for this generation.

Youve been a lead advocate for the modernization of the NAS, allowing us to lay a forward-looking foundation. The business aviation community is pursuing the same goals we areaccess, efficiency and flexibility and, of course, safety.

But its just as important to note that for modernization to be a success, we need airspace users to be invested in aircraft avionics for communication, navigation and surveillance.

All of our avionics decisions were made after careful consultation with the aviation industry.

With the help of the NextGen Advisory Committee, were trying to tackle the Northeast Corridorbecause, quite frankly, its been tackling us for far too long.

We know that theres no new runway on anyones horizon. Weve capitalized on the natural progression of air traffic control. From procedural separation in the 50s based on knowing where we thought the aircraft was.

To surveillance controlwhere we know where the aircraft is. And for about the last 10 years, weve been focused on time-basedor trajectory based traffic management. Air traffic control based on where we know the aircraft will be.

This is where air traffic control needs to be.

You know, I was at FAA back when we signed the original ADS-B contract with ITT, and when we first started drafting the ADS-B Out NPRM.

Since then, weve heard two narratives: 1. NextGens great, FAA has been delivering billions of dollars in benefits. And then theres the other: NextGen is over-budget, delayedof no benefit at all.

I think the reality is somewhere in the middle. One thing is for sure: Despite considerable obstacles, that Ill talk about in a few minutes, FAA has done a great job, and business aviation has always embraced advances. Youre early adopters. Always have been.

Theres this notion that modernization has a start and a stop, as if innovators say, well, thats enough for now. Lets take a break.

The FAA has never looked at it that way; industry certainly doesnt. We continue to build, to streamline, to modify, to advance.

Modernization is more a journey than a destination.

But, if weve learned anything from our efforts the past few decades its that government doesnt have all the answers.

Were putting the specs out there with the expectation that industry will come up with solutions. We were never meant to be the only innovator. Our role as the regulator is safety.

My vision is that we give the innovator as free a reign as possible. We set the conditions for a safe and efficient NAS. How you get there is up to you. Thats the definition of a performance-based regulatory culture. We set the safety bar high very high. And you continue to go over it.

Business aviation has always been very helpful when it comes to supporting modernization especially as adopters of new technology. So, we need you to keep moving forward with us.

When the bill was signed, I think just about everybody breathed a sigh of relief. The first 5-year FAA bill since 1982. On that afternoon, we said that the Reauthorization delivers a safer, more secure and efficient aviation system to the traveling public that it fuels economic growth and competitiveness. And it does.

This leads directly to a discussion of the FAA Reauthorization bill the President signed a few weeks ago.

The bill creates a stronger infrastructure and does a lot to maintain American leadership in aviation. Its a bi-partisan bill, and aviationheck, everyone needs a little bipartisan thinking.

Weve already started working on the key provisions.

Of course, while the bill gives us the authority to exist the next five years, it doesnt give us the money to keep the lights on. So, while we get a respite from living under one short-term extension after another, were not out of the woods on funding.

In the last 11 years, the FAA has had to operate under 45 mini-appropriations cycles, some lasting only a few days; 28 Authorization cycles; Sequestration; Two government shutdowns; And a partridge in a pear tree.

Lookeach of you has a budget. Each of you makes sure that youre looking as far down the road as possible.

I cant do that. Im in a rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul scenario, a never-ending loop in which the vagaries of the political winds hamstring our chances of planning with certaintyreal, actual certainty, of what we plan to do in the long term.

If I asked you to buy into a business that ran on a continuing resolution, youd walk away.

Being for innovation and against a stable funding stream is like being pro-light bulb and anti-electricity.

Were trying to run a $16 billion operation with 45,000 employeeswith a budget system thats just like living check to check. This scenario will not go away. It will not resolve itself.

When your budget is a political football, it just gets way too easy to punt.And thats just whats been happening for years.

Weve shown that we can transform the NAS albeit with one hand tied behind our backs.Now its time to do the same with funding. Ed, we need your help on this. The one certainty here is that what were doing now just doesnt cut it.

My sense of urgency is fueled by three words: commercial, space and drones.

America witnessed its first passenger on a commercial spacecraft. These arent barnstormers. Theyre new entrants. Theyre investors, and they are here, in no uncertain terms, to stay.

They have no plans to make money on a zero-g carnival ride. Theyre looking long-term, and space, for them, anyway, isnt so much the final frontier as it is a helluva place to set up shop.

Theres a raised eyebrow about commercial space, and Id like to disabuse you of that notion. Its unsafe. Its too risky. We need more regulations. What about people and property on the ground? Its too expensive. Passengers would be putting their lives into someone elses hands.

For the record, thats what people used to say about us. But aviation evolved, and so will commercial space. We would be foolish to dismiss this as novelty.

Were learning the same lesson with unmanned aircraft. What started as a toy is now an economic juggernaut. This thing went from aisle 4 at Toys R Us to a pretty pricey business strategybut who am I to speak for Amazon, Google, Uber and Walmart?

We must find a path for these new entrants to be safely integrated into the NAS. The FAA will not create a segregated traffic management system. Thats not going to work.

We went from balloons to pistons to jets and rotorcraft. And were going to evolve again to accommodate commercial spacecraft, drones, and whatevers next. And believe me when I tell you, Ive come to realize that whats next comes around the corner a whole lot faster than it used to.

Personally, Ive flown: MD-80, B767/757, and Cessna Citation on the civilian side. On the military side: C-21 (Lear 35), C-141B, T-37/T-38. Becoming a registered drone pilot is next on my list.

Like I said, they are here to stay. Weve got to learn about them just as much as we want them to learn about us.

Before I close, Id like to leave you with a thought about the future. Weve discussed future workforce, future aircraft and future funding.

But I think each of these takes a backseat to the future of safety. The future of safety lies in analyzing data submitted through voluntary safety programs.

To those operators who participate in ASIAS today, thank you. Youre laying the groundwork for the safety of the next generation. I encourage you to share your experiences with operators who are a little gun-shy. The more data we have to learn about the system the better we can manage and improve the system.

Sharing safety issues, trends and lessons learned is critical to learning what may be emerging to become the next risk in the system. We wont be able to identify these without you and without all of us working together.

When it comes to safety, the corporate community is a leader and I admire what you have accomplished and the high bar you have set. I want to see that across our entire community and our new entrants. And Id like to see you step up wherever possible to make that point for me.

Weve covered a lot of ground, but as Ed and I have said on many occasions, weve got to move forward together. Our system is dynamic and constantly evolving. I firmly believe that collaboration is the only way forward.

Through cooperation, through voluntary data sharing, well be able to uncover risks. Well be able to mitigate them before they become a catastrophe.

The good news for all of us is that I know that we can count on NBAA to step up for safety. Thats what youre known for.

Thank you.

Speech – Aviation Workforce Symposium Opening Remarks

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Arlington, VA

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Aviation Workforce Symposium.

Its great to see the variety and caliber of the stakeholders here today, and I want to thank you for taking the time to join us.

The aviation community has always come together to tackle its most pressing challenges.

Today, we need to do it again.

Air travel in the United States and around the world is growing rapidly with no signs of slowing down.

Last year, IATA forecast that the number of air passengers traveling will nearly double by 2036.

The Boeing Pilot Outlook projects this growth will require 117,000 new pilots in North America alone.

But at a time when we need to see interest in aviation careers going up, the data is trending in the opposite direction.

The number of private pilots holding active airmen certificates has decreased by 27 percent in the last ten years. The number of commercial pilots in the same period has decreased by 21 percent.

The military which used to be one of the best sources for new hires isnt turning out as many new pilots as it used to. And college aviation programs dont have enough instructors to teach new students, because theyre taking jobs with the airlines as soon as they log enough time.

Meanwhile, the huge bubble of B-scale airline hires in the 80s of which I was one is up for retirement in the next 5 to 10 years. And the average age of an Airline Transport Pilot certificate-holder has climbed to 50.

I know this paints a sobering picture.

But there needs to be a common understanding of the gravity and urgency of this situation.

We have a diminishing supply of qualified pilots, mechanics, and technicians.

Thats why were here today to focus on solutions.

Were going to discuss how we can make aviation careers attractive and open to all Americans who have the skill to succeed in this profession.

But aptitude and innate talent can only get you so far.

Were also going to discuss how we can improve training, so that a new pilot can be transformed into the safe, experienced professional the traveling public deserves and expects on the flight deck.

And were going to look at how new and existing partnerships between the airlines, government, and academia can support all of these efforts.

Of course, ensuring an adequate pilot supply doesnt strictly fall under the FAAs jurisdiction.

But it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our aviation system and that the pilots flying within it receive the best training and are held to the highest standards.

Were not going to compromise on this.

So as we approach todays discussion, we need to remember that its not going to be enough to just maintain our current level of safety.

We need to actively improve on it.

So weve got a lot on our plates to discuss.

I know there are a lot of strong opinions in the room.

And Im really looking forward to hearing from each and every one of you.

Weve got the best of the best here with us today, serving as panelists, moderators even just sitting in the audience.

And with all of this collective expertise, I know well be able to come up with some actionable ideas that will ensure America maintains a robust pilot supply that also happens to be the safest and best-trained in the world.

Thank you.

Speech – A Success Story in the Making

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Las Vegas, NV

Good morning, everybody.

I know what youre thinking: Oh, jeezthe regulators here. Hes probably going to tell us hes here to help.

You laugh. But I get it theres a certain degree of skepticism when the fed shows up at an event like this.

I dont know that I blame you. After all, the old government philosophy of If it aint broke, lets fix it anyway is the ultimate buzzkill.

Well thats not who I am. And thats absolutely not what the Department of Transportation or this Administration is all about.

Believe it or not, we all want the same thing. We all know unmanned aircraft arent a novelty some expensive toy that needs to be accommodated. And were ready for the day when drones are a fully integrated, everyday player in our nations airspace.

So how do we make that happen safely and faster?

Wellto start with, we all need to acknowledge: Remotely piloted aircraft are a disruptive technology.

In this room, thats almost always a good thing, right? Drones are reinventing industries creating new ones. Theyre going to do for aviation what the internet did for information.

Ive been a pilot most of my life. But when I look around at some of the things youre working on here at InterDrone the possibilities blow me away.

But as exciting as this all is it can also make people nervous.

Safety security access privacyThe public has very real and justified questions about these aircraft. And their concerns cant just be swept under the rug.

If we want this technology to take hold, weve got to take these questions head on.

Opinions about drones are still being formed. Thats in our favor. And we can make the most of that opportunity by being responsive.

The recent event in Venezuela reminds us: All it takes is one bad actor one unfortunate incident And this industry could be grounded before it ever really takes off.

Thats not hyperbole. Sky-high expectations are just part of the world youre operating in.

The national airspace system doesnt have room for error. When something goes wrong up there, it shakes peoples confidence down here. And the entire industry feels the impact.

Fortunately, incidents like that are extremely rare. Airplanes are safer and more resilient than at any point in history. The people operating in the system take safety so seriously that they self-report mistakes. And that voluntary data reporting allows us to root out areas of risk in the system long before incidents occur.

The result? Aviation is the gold standard. The safest form of transportation in the world. Thats not a position were about to take a step back on.

Ive heard this argument a few times: Back in Orville and Wilburs era, people were willing to risk their lives for the birth of a new form of transportation. Now that were on the cusp of aviations next great era, shouldnt we be willing to accept some of the same risks in the name of progress?

Folks, theres a really simple answer to that question: No.

Manned aviation already learned those lessons. We paid that price. Were not going to do it again. And the public wouldnt let us, anyway.

Now, this insistence on safety isnt some limitation on unmanned aircraft. On the contrary its a leg up.

Because youre not starting from scratch, like the Wright brothers. The FAA has spent six decades working with airlines, manufacturers, and countless others to get where we are now. And were ready to use everything weve learned so that the drone industry can reach its full potential as quickly as possible.

Let me tell you a quick story.

A TV company was using a drone to film exteriors out in Louisville, Kentucky a couple weeks ago. And they just so happened to set up in the parking lot of the FAAs local Flight Standards office.

Our folks naturally got curious about the drone flying in their parking lot, and struck up a conversation with the production manager. Turns out, an uncertified pilot was flying an unregistered drone.

So what do you think the inspector didconfiscate the drone? Issue a fine?

No. Our guys didnt write them a ticket, or start talking about fines. They sat down with them, and helped register their drone right there in the FAAs conference room. Walked them through the rules and next steps.

The crew couldnt believe it. That we wanted to help them get back to filming the right way as quickly as possible.

You knowif theres one thing I want you to take away from this conference, its this: the FAA is open for business.

For folks who are committed to doing the right thing were not your adversary. Were as invested in integrating unmanned aircraft into the system as you are.

Innovation is one of Secretary Chaos top priorities for the Department of Transportation. And were building flexible, responsive regulatory processes that can keep up with all your creativity while ensuring safety isnt compromised.

Weve automated how drone operators get permission to fly in controlled airspace.

Were laying the groundwork for a comprehensive Unmanned Traffic Management System.

Weve authorized low-risk small drone flights, and created a performance-based waiver and exemption process to allow more advanced operations.

And Secretary Chao recently launched the UAS Integration Pilot Program to let us work with local governments and private industry to figure out how best to expand unmanned operations beyond whats allowed by current regulations.

Thats a Cabinet-level official whos leaning in, and saying Lets move our efforts into the fast lane.

The first test under the pilot program happened a few weeks ago in Blacksburg, Virginia. A Project Wing drone delivered a popsicle to a two-year-old boy, just six minutes after the order was placed.

It was historic the first beyond visual line-of-sight residential drone delivery in the United States.It was the Mr. Watson, I want to see you for the 21st century.

But to Little Jack, it was just cool. In his words: Airplane brought me a Popsicle!

These are important steps forward steps that bring drones closer to just being a routine operator in our airspace.

But there are still critical hurdles that need to be cleared before thats a reality. And they are issues the FAA cannot tackle alone.

Everyones interested in drone operations at night and over people. But we need to address the concerns that our national security and law enforcement partners have first.

Chief among them: we and thats a collective we, not just the FAA have to be able to identify every drone in the airspace, and whos operating it. The National Airspace System is no place for hide-and-seek.

This is common sense stuff. No ones okay with the idea of people driving down the highway without a license in their pocket and a tag on their vehicle. Why should operating a drone be any different?

But right now, the FAAs hands are tied by a law that says we cannot require remote identification on model aircraft.

This isnt a sustainable situation. Until we can set remote ID requirements that will be universally applied to every drone until we can make sure everyone is following the same rules inside the system full integration just isnt possible.

Now, Congress knows this is an issue. And Im hopeful well see a legislative fix soon maybe even as part of the FAAs next reauthorization.

As soon as this gets resolved, rest assured: were ready to move forward as quickly as possible.

Thats not the only question hanging out there.

How are drones going to interact with each other? And with other users flying in the system?

How can we make sure unmanned aircraft dont interfere with critical infrastructure? Or emergency response efforts?

Remember dull, dirty, and dangerous? Drones shouldnt be impediments they should be first responders at events like the California wildfires. Thats what we should be working toward.

Im not going to stand up here and claim Ive got the answers. Im not a tech guy and the FAA is not a tech company.

Our business is safety. So when we look at an aircraft, we want to know two basic things: Is it reliable? And does it play nicely with others?

Thats it. Dont fall out of the sky, and dont crash into other aircraft. It sounds simple. But the execution can be a lot more complex. Especially when its an entirely new class of users coming into a system that already includes jumbo jets, helicopters, balloons, rockets, and everything in between.

The fact is, a lot of safety problems require technological solutions. And that means we need buy-in from all of you. The innovators. The inventers. The out-of-the-box thinkers.

Nobody knows how to tackle tough tech challenges better than the folks in this room. Thats what got you here. The advancements being highlighted this week are proof of that.

So heres my advice: If you share the FAAs goal of fully integrating drones into our airspace as soon as possible dont just make the business case for your products or operations. Start making the safety case, too. They go hand-in-hand.

And dont be afraid to take on the problems that are bigger than your individual companies. Go after the issues that are affecting the unmanned aircraft community as a whole and share what youre doing at events like this one.

I truly believe youre going to find the most success more quickly if you work together.

Some of you are already doing this. And its probably the single biggest lesson weve learned over the years in aviation.

If a company develops a new safety enhancement, they dont keep it to themselves. Or use it to sell more aircraft than the other guy. They share it with everybody else.

Over twenty years ago, the FAA actually put together a team specifically designed to share safety information, and then do something with the safety information thats being shared.

Its called CAST the Commercial Aviation Safety Team. Its a mix of safety professionals from industry and government a group of about a thousand that shares data and safety ideas.

In a world where its hard enough to get two people to agree on anything, this group is a stark exception to the rule.

CAST is responsible for implementing about 200 safety enhancements that are largely responsible for commercial aviations historic safety record.

One more thing you need to know about those safety enhancements: theyre voluntary. This industry doesnt wait for a rule, or a government mandate, or a call to action.

Safety is a race we run together, and CAST wants everyone in the system to finish in a tie for first. And that, I say with a certain amount of awe and not a little bit of pride, is what happens.

Thats why we went over nine years without a single fatality in commercial aviation. Safety is not a table for one.

And all of this is not just for the big guys the airlines, the manufacturers, who dominate the system. Its about general aviation just as well the private pilots. For them, we formed the General Aviation Joint Safety Committee for the same purpose.

In October 2016, we launched a similar effort designed just for this community the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team. Given the success weve seen with CAST, and the growing success were seeing with the general aviation community, I have no doubt that, in time, well see more of the same with you.

It sounds strange, maybe even a little weird, but the concept works, and the numbers prove it.

I know you guard your trade secrets and proprietary technologies, as well you should. Were not looking for the keys to the cabinet that holds your secret plans.

But we do want to know about safety mistakes that can end in tragedy.

Thats the thing about sharing this kind of information: we cant spot trends if the cards arent face up on the table.

What you think is a fluke a one in a million, an event thatll never happen again might very well be happening on this coast, that one, and at a number of cities in between. But we wont know that, and you wont know that, unless you share the information.

This is the reason for aviations unprecedented record. We dont compete on safety.

Thats the business were in. Now its your business, too. And Im really happy to welcome you into the fold.

For the last few years, at events like this, weve had a tendency to spend too much time reassuring each other.

Industry tells the FAA what drones are capable of, and that what youre doing isnt some kind of fad. And guys like me come here and tell you We get it. Were on top of the issue.

I think its time to end the therapy sessions.

Youve proven that unmanned aircraft are here to stay.

And I think I hope the FAA has proven that were 100 percent committed to making you a regular part of our national airspace.

Lookwere not strangers anymore. Were partners. In innovation and safety.

This is more than a work in progress. This is a success story in the making.I am confident of that. And you are giving me all the reasons in the world to keep it that way.

Thank you.

Speech – Pillars of Safety

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Good afternoon, everyone. Its been a few years since I was last here. So this feels like a bit of a homecoming to me.

As you just heard, I know what its like to be sitting where you are.

Now I find myself back at the FAA, which is a real honor.

And Im not sure if many of you know this, but were hitting a big milestone this month.

The FAA is turning 60.

And its had me reflecting on how far weve come not only as an agency, but as a community.

Aviation didnt start out as the safest form of transportation in the world. Far from it.

The earliest years of flight were filled with trial and error tragedy and sacrifice.

But today, were the gold standard. Over the last twenty years, commercial aviation fatalities in the U.S. have decreased by 95 percent.

So howd we do it?

Now, Im not going to stand up here and claim that everything good thats happened in aviation safety over the last few decades is thanks to the FAA. Its just not true.

My colleague from PHMSA, Skip Elliott, said it yesterday: regulation alone cant achieve the kind of results we demand for aviation.

Were as safe as we are today because we collaborate. Airlines pilots manufacturers mechanics and yes, the FAA.

Its old news to everybody here. ASRS reports, ASAP reports, VDRP, FOQA This is the culture we came up in. In a lot of ways, its all we know.

But every decade or so, this catches the attention of folks who arent in the aviation business. And it makes them scratch their heads.

What do you mean, the government is working with the airlines? Arent you supposed to be regulating those guys?

And I get it. I get that thought process.

But the relationship that exists between the FAA and the industry it regulates is the driving force behind our unprecedented safety record.

Im sure some of you have been following the developments in the automated vehicles world. Its hard not to.

Just about every week, theres a new story about which company will be first to market. Whos got the best tech. The safest systems.

We dont do that in aviation. We dont compete on safety.

When an incident occurs in the system, it doesnt just happen to one airline. It happens to all of us. It shakes the publics confidence in the entire industry.

So we all know safety isnt just good for business its our only business.

Thats why the FAA and the aviation industry have worked together to create a safety culture thats built on three key ideas.

The first is voluntary reporting.

In order to keep improving our procedures, we need good data. And the best way to get it is directly from you the people working and flying in the system.

Weve set up programs that allow aviation professionals to share critical safety data without fear of punishment. And the information weve received has been invaluable.

That leads me to the second pillar of our safety culture: risk management.

Once weve collected all of this data, we analyze it and look for trends to emerge. Then we identify areas of risk that can be addressed before incidents occur.

And thats the third piece of the puzzle: effective mitigation.

Once we find an issue, the question becomes: how do we deal with it?

Inadvertent mistakes can often be traced back to flawed processes or a lack of understanding. In those circumstances, we work with the airlines to develop safety enhancements that will mitigate the risk. Then we monitor the situation to make sure the solution works.

This is the most effective way to allow for an open exchange of information while still ensuring compliance.

Now, this doesnt mean strong enforcement isnt still a tool available to the FAA. It absolutely is. Voluntary reporting isnt some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card.

When we find intentionally reckless behavior, flagrant violations, or simply a refusal to comply with corrective actions, we levy fines and take legal actions. Even revoke a companys ability to operate.

But thats extremely rare. In most cases, airlines adopt our safety measures voluntarily. Because everybody operating within the aviation industry shares the same goal: making our system as safe as possible.

And thats allowed us to build an environment of mutual trust.

Let me give you an example of what this safety culture looks like in action.

Last year, a commercial airline crew landed on a taxiway instead of a runway at an airport without a control tower.

The crew voluntarily reported the incident to the FAA. And since they knew they could speak freely without fear of reprisal, they were comfortable discussing exactly what happened.

Turns out, the only lights they saw were coming from the taxiway.

Thanks to the crews report, we found that a flooded electrical box had extinguished the runway lights. And the problem was fixed before another flight crew could make the same mistake.

Voluntary reporting. Risk management. Effective mitigation.

Now, its important to note: this system only works if each one of those three prongs is functioning properly. Without any one of them, the whole thing falls apart.

So I think its pretty clear: Working with industry doesnt lower the bar on safety. Its what allows us to raise it even higher.

Were going to need these partnerships more than ever if were going to tackle the challenges heading our way in the future.

We have entirely new classes of users asking for airspace access. Drones and commercial space vehicles are here and theyre not going away.

A lot of these companies dont have experience working in the aviation business. They dont understand the culture weve built, and how important it is.

So its incumbent upon us to welcome them into the fold. And to share the lessons weve learned. Especially the lessons written in blood.

We also need to make sure were ready for the dramatic increase in air traffic were going to see in the coming decades.

Last year, IATA forecast that the number of air passengers traveling will nearly double by 2036. Thats 7.8 billion passengers worldwide.

I dont know how else to say this, but: were going to need a lot of pilots to fly those folks around.

Now, I know theres some skepticism out there about whether there is a real problem with the pilot supply pipeline. But we can see the trends and they dont look promising.

In the last ten years, the number of private pilots holding active airmen certificates has decreased by 27 percent. The number of commercial pilots in the same period has decreased by 21 percent.

The military, which used to be one of our best sources for new hires, isnt turning out as many pilots as it used to.

College aviation programs dont have enough instructors to teach new students, because theyre taking jobs with the airlines as soon as they log enough time.

Only about 40 percent of commercial airline pilots are under the age of 45. And the huge bubble of B-scale hires in the 80s of which I am one will create a tsunami of retirements in the next 5 to 10 years thats going to further deplete the ranks.

Some of your employers are already starting to take action on this with in-house training programs and increased salaries.

But this something we all need to pay attention to.

Ensuring an adequate pilot supply doesnt fall under the FAAs jurisdiction. But it is our responsibility to ensure the pilots we do have receive the best training, and are held to the highest standards.

Were not going to compromise on this.

So if there arent enough qualified pilots to meet the demand we know is coming, its going to reduce the potential growth of the industry and impact our national economy.

Nobody wants that.

We also cant assume the way pilots learn and gain experience should remain static. We dont rest on our laurels. Just like on safety, our work here is never really finished.

We have to look at data. We have to address emerging risks. And we have to consider how advancements in technology should be factored in to how we measure a pilots qualifications.

The FAA has been improving our training program standards across all categories for a number of years. And were going to continue looking at the tools and options available to us so that Americas pilots remain the best in the world.

But we know this is a shared responsibility.

Thats why the FAA is holding an Aviation Workforce Symposium at Reagan National Airport on September 13th.

Were going to be bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss how we can attract more young people to the aviation industry, improve the quality and efficiency of training, and build better partnerships to support our next generation of pilots and aviation technicians.

Now, I know this is a topic that a lot of people care about. And Im sure theres going to be a lot of passionate discussions. I welcome it. This is a conversation we need to have as a community.

Because the importance of pilot qualifications cant be overstated.

We all prepare for the worst-case scenario while praying it never comes. And for most of us, it doesnt.

But when it does, good training can make the difference between life and death.

Look at what happened with Southwest 1380. If any of us got a situation like that in a simulator, wed call it a dial-a-disaster.

Catastrophic engine failure, explosive depressurization, passenger medical emergency But this was real life.

And Captain Shults, First Officer Ellisor, and their crew exemplified grace under pressure. They got that plane back on the ground.

It was a near-perfect application of excellent training by an experienced team. It probably saved a lot of lives. And I cant thank them enough for their heroism that day.

Thats the real reason for aviations safety record. All of you. Our pilots. Our controllers. Our mechanics. Our manufacturers. All professionals.

The United States went more than nine years and two months without a passenger fatality in commercial aviation.

Thats about 90 million flights. And one life lost.

A lot of people look at that record and say, Wow, thats incredible. And it is.

But I also look at it and think: Its not good enough. It cant be.

Jennifer Riordan. 43 years old. A wife. A mom. On her way back home to her family.

I think about her a lot. I think we all do.

Aviation is the only form of transportation on the planet where the idea of perfection actually seems within reach.

We always have the opportunity to do more. To be better.

We cant we wont stop reaching.

Thank you.