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Speech – FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson Swearing-In Remarks

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Washington, DC

As Prepared

Thank you for that kind introduction and thanks to all of you for being here today. Id like to thank President Trump and Secretary Chao for their confidence in me to lead the FAA during this very important time. It was an honor to receive the Presidents nomination, and the Secretarys support was vital during my confirmation process.

I would like to thank our emcee for today, Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell, for his strong, principled leadership during a very challenging time in the agencys history. Dan, you have served your country and the aviation industry with distinction, and I look forward to working with you and the outstanding team at the FAA as we move forward together.

I see so many friends, colleagues and leaders from across the aviation industry who are so critical to the safety and success in aviation we enjoy as a nation. Welcome and thank you for coming. Janice and I are blessed that so many friends made the trip to spend this day with us.

My biggest thanks are for my family. My Mom, Joy and my father-in-law, Hank Borger, both made the trip and I am thankful you were able to share this day with us.

Sadly my Dad, Bill, passed away in May about six days after my confirmation hearing. But I know he is looking down on us now with great pride.

To my biggest supporter, the love of my life, my wife, Janicethe glue that holds our family together. Honey, I know the FAA was not originally in your flight plan and that we are diverting for a few years from our intended destination. I am so thankful for your support, your encouragement and your love. I love you and appreciate you so much!

With that, I am reminded of that basic principle of military change of command speeches: be brief, be brilliant, and be gone! So lets get on with it.

The US aviation system is the safest, most dynamic, and innovative in the world, largely due to the collaborative approach to safety championed by the FAA and shared by various segments of the industry represented here today. Your presence here sends a strong message to the traveling public, to those who operate in our airspace, and to the international aviation community: that while we have earned their trust through our robust approach to safety, the job is not done. In fact it is never done. We all have to work together to retain- and in places, restore- that trust.

I am honored to join the outstanding team at the FAA. I want all FAA people to know that I look forward to working with them to ensure our aviation system maintains its proper place leading the world in both safety and operational performance. Nowhere else in the world sees the volume, complexity and pace of innovation that we have in our aviation system here in America. That certainly presents challenges, but also tremendous opportunities.

The public, and all those who work in American aviation, should know that FAA will continue to lead as a values-driven organization. Our highest and most important value is safetythis cannot be compromised. A lesson I learned in my service to our country in the Air Force, and will bring to my leadership of the FAA, is that safety is a journey, and not a destination. Its a journey that we must embark upon with renewed vigor each and every day.

At this moment, an entire fleet of U.S.-made aircraft is grounded due to two tragic accidents overseas. My heart goes out to the families of those who perished in Indonesia and Ethiopia. I want to again be clear: FAA is a safety-driven organization and safety is my highest priority. This plane will not fly in commercial service until I am completely assured that it is safe to do so. FAA is following no timeline in returning the aircraft to service. Rather, we are going where the facts lead us and diligently ensuring that all technology and training is present and correct before the plane returns to passenger service.

Throughout the U.S. aviation sector, any safety programwhether at an airline, an airport, a manufacturer or even at a regulatorhas at its foundation a just culture that places an extremely high value on front-line employee reporting.

Programs like ASAP, ATSAP, FOQA and ASIAS provide extremely valuable data that allow us to take proactive safety actions. Now you can see that I am already adapting quite well to the Washington environmentjust in that last sentence I used four acronyms! Seriously, these safety reporting programs require collaboration between the operator, the regulator and labor. The benefits of this collaboration in enhancing safety have been demonstrated time and again. We will do everything in our power to ensure the FAA promotes and walks the walk on employee safety reporting programs. And you can expect us to take actions to ensure this same philosophy permeates all sectors of the aviation system.

FAA strives to be a constructive partner with the wider industry, but we can never and will never forget that we are a regulator whose first responsibility is the safety of the flying public. FAA will seek out consensus, but ultimately will act in the best interests of the safety of the aviation system as a whole.

As we work together, it is important to recognize that we will not always agree. But you can count on me to deal with each issue with honesty, integrity and from a standpoint of mutual respect. My team at the FAA will, too.

Maintaining the highest levels of safety while adapting to technological advancements will be a key part of our success. The rate of change is something that will require the focus and attention of the FAA and all aviation stakeholders. Innovation, automation, new entrants coming into the systemyou see it every day in the headlines. To be successful as a regulator and air navigation service provider, the FAA must be able to operate ahead of that rate of change. I will not allow FAA to be bureaucratic or to ever accept the inertia that can be so prevalent in large organizations. Our mantra must be continuous improvement, because what we did yesterday will simply not be good enough tomorrow.

It is such a privilege to stand before you today with the opportunity to lead the premier aviation authority in the world. Id like to thank the Secretary again for her support, advice, and leadership of this Department. Im grateful to the President for this nomination and the opportunity to serve our country again.

I am honored to be able to help write the next chapter in the history of the FAA. Im excited to come on board and roll up my sleeves, and am humbled to work with all of you and the team at the FAA. I believe our best days are ahead of us.

Thank you again for being here today.

Speech – AirVenture 2019 Meet the Administrator

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Remarks as Delivered

Thank you for that introduction Jack.

This is my sixth AirVenture and my second time here as Acting Administrator.

What a privilegeto be on stage at the Theater in the Woods, in the great State of Wisconsin, at whats become the greatest airshow in the World, bar none.

Wow.

For me, AirVenture is the perfect marriage of innovation and passion a pure love of things that fly. AirVenture is also the perfect marriage of old and new; past, present and future.

We aviators are able to embrace the next new thing without losing our reverence for what got us here.

Like you, I get goosebumps when those big radial engines and Merlins resonate and rumble into the sky.

Im left speechless by the aluminum overcast of the airshow every afternoon,

And I never tire walking among the 10,000 flying machines of all shapes and sizes that decorate the airport turf, each one reflecting the unique character and qualities of its owner, often waiting nearby to proudly share his or her story.

I too have a story to tellnon-fiction of course. Its a story about the FAAs work for the GA community and three outstanding members of that community, the winners of this years General Aviation Awards.

Theyll join me later on stage. The awards are presented by the General Aviation Awards program, a cooperation between the FAA and industry.

My story starts with a very exciting development for GA.

As you know, several years ago we overhauled the old prescriptive Part 23 aircraft design rules with performance-based rules and we also offered new policies like NORSEE (which stands for non-required safety enhancing equipment) so that owners of legacy Part 23 aircraft could more easily acquire and install safety equipment like AOA sensors.

But Part 23 Reform and NORSEE are just warmups for MOSAICthe Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification program -that were working on.

This is a big one. Weve been talking about it for several years, but when Congress last year asked us to change the rules so that drone builders could use light sport-type consensus standards, we saw a great opportunity to kick it into high gear.

Here are just a few of the benefits for seven aircraft categories were looking to modernize:

For light sport aircraft, well be able to do things like safely bump up the maximum weight so that instructors can now have some margin when flying with guys like me who like brats and beer a little too much.

They will also be able to have four seats and an electric motor.

For experimentals, if theyre not actually doing experimental work, theyll likely fit into a more appropriate Special Airworthiness category.

Say goodbye to those lovely big EXPERIMENTAL stickers.

For legacy Part 23 aircraft, an owner of a small plane that is not using it for commercial purposes, will be able to exchange the standard airworthiness certificate for a special airworthiness certificate.

That means the owner will be able to install lower-cost safety equipment the kind that is widely available for the Experimental market without an STC or 337.

There are tradeoffs of course like new operating limitations.

As I said, you would not be able to use it for compensation or hire, and you probably wouldnt be able to take it into Canada. For many owners though, the benefits will far outweigh the limitations.

Its not a free pass to do whatever you likeyou still have to do quality work.

Take it from a mechanic whos seen it all. Not me, Dave Monti, the winner of the 2019 National Aviation Technician of the Year.

We asked Dave what we could do better in the maintenance area to improve GA safety. His answereducation for what owner/operators can or cant do to their certified aircraft.

We see a lot of owner maintenance that is just poor, Monti told us. That kind of intel is essential for us as we craft new rules.

Dave is also a pilot. He first soloed in 1962 at the ripe old age of 16 in an Aeronca Champ AND a Beech Bonanzaand hes been flying ever since.

Along the way he started a maintenance business. 40 years and 8,000 flight hours later, hes at the same maintenance company.

I cant say exactly when the MOSAIC proposal will come out, but it will be worth the wait. And its not just me saying it. Jack will tell you MOSAIC is a huge priority for EAA.

Its definitely a high priority for the FAA too, but its not our number one. Thats safety. Always has been. Always will be.

Safety is the second part of my story.

You all know that some of the very same traits that make for great pilots being goal-oriented and mission-minded are behind many of the accidents weve seen for all too long in GA.

Wanting to complete the mission can result in tunnel vision and risky decisions.

To be sure, our collective focus on the issue has resulted in a reduction in the fatal accident rate by approximately 20% from 2009 to 2018.

But heres the bad newsOur preliminary data for 2018 shows that the GA fatal accident rate will be slightly higher than it was in 2017.

Were still well below our overall fatal accident rate reduction target of 1% year-over-year, but I think we can all agree 2018 is not the direction we want to be heading.

For my part, I will be convening a government-industry GA Safety Roundtable this Fall in Washington.

Well bring to the table our perspectives on the causes of the increase in GA fatalities, and well look for ways to effectively address those causes.

Interventions will be targeted, and based on data. And well work with you and with industry to voluntarily make the changes that need to be made basically the same approach the airlines have taken.

We really need the general aviation communitythe people in this roomto step up with your can-do attitude and work with us and industry to figure this out and turn it around.

Weve already got an infrastructure in placewe formed the GA Joint Steering Committee, or GAJSC, precisely for this reason to combat fatal accidents.

The committee made up of the GA community, industry and the FAA analyzes data and develops consensus-based training, procedural and technological approaches to target problem areas, the worst of which has beenand remainsloss of control.

We also provide, through the FAA Safety Team, continuous training opportunities and a Wings program designed to get pilots to learn and stay proficient by fine tuning their flying skills.

We have one of the FAA Safety teams finest here today, Karen Kalishek (CallisShek). Shes our 2019 FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year award winner.

Karens a full-time flight instructor whose passion is emergency preparedness as a way to prevent accidents.

She says that on her flight reviews, shell do something unexpected with the goal of eliciting the proverbial deer in the headlights look from her clients as they become startled.

Its no secret that many pilots will avoid an instructor like Karen when they venture out for their preferably boring biennial check.

But what Karen is offering is precisely what happens in the real world something unexpected that will cause the unprepared pilot to freeze up and possibly make a bad decision.

Another safety resource that Karen is passionate about is the FAA Wings Program. On the web at FAA Safety dot Gov.

As I said, its chock full of relevant training materials and its free. Sign up and start taking classes and attending seminars and using it for your flight reviews. Youll be a safer, more knowledgeable pilot because of it.

And theres a new sweepstakes where well be giving out at least $10,000 a year in prizes.

You enter the pool of potential prize winners every time you finish a Wings phase, or for instructors, any time you sign-off a Wings phase.

Another firm believer in the Wings program is our CFI of the Year, Gary Reeves. He signed off 5,000 Wings credits last yearthats an average of 14 a day.

You can attend his free courses here at AirVenture for credits, and in fact there are loads of presentations here that will get you credits.

Unfortunately, at the moment, both Gary and Karen say there are too many pilots who dont even know the Wings program exists.

Thats something all of us here can help with lets get the word out about Wings and other safety initiatives to other pilots you know who are not as engaged.

Heres another safety effort I want to promotethe FAA is working on a plain language, sensible retooling of the NOTAM system that will work better for you.

I promised you last year that wed do it, and Im a man of my word.

Were going to fix it and were going to take your advice as we do it.

Part of the fix will be to either redesign the existing Notam information management system, or start from scratch on a new one, with single technology gateways for entering, processing and retrieving Notam data.

And we cant forget about the contributions technology is making to improve GA safety.

We have deployed advanced technologies like ADS-B Out and In to boost situational awareness for pilots so they can do a better job with avoiding mid-air, controlled flight into terrain and weather-related accidents.

In the event of an accident, first responders can very quickly get a bead on your location based on ATC-provided ADS-B information.

We have a new study quantifying the safety advantages that pilots get when they equip with ADS-B OUT and ADS-B IN, including moving map displays.

We found that aircraft using the technology in the contiguous US experienced 50 percent fewer mid-air, CFIT and weather-related accidents between 2013 and 2017 as compared to unequipped aircraft.

That translates into 36 avoided accidents over that time period.

As equipage increases, we expect the accidents avoided by using ADS-B to increase significantly.

Ill speak a bit more about ADS-B when Jack and I talk a little later.

So on to the final part of my story I promise firing up the next generation of aviation and aerospace professionals.

Demand is high. Here in the U.S., some analysts say well need more than 100,000 new pilots over the next 20 years, but our numbers are shrinking.

Already we have about 30% fewer private pilots and 20% fewer commercial pilots than we had a decade ago.

There are other reasons we need more pilots they develop skills that can translate to success in business and in life.

Pilots are self-starters and go-getters and goal-oriented people.

We want to get from point A to point B by the most direct and expeditious route above the earth, and typically with the blue side upwell, you acro people might see it differently But those are admirable traits for any new generation.

Where do new pilots come from? One of our award winners, Dave Monti, took a very traditional route, soloing at age 16 and never stopping.

But Karen and Gary took quite different roads. Gary was a paramedic who then operated a pet ambulance service yes, I said pet ambulance

He dabbled with flying as a hobby before selling the fluffy 911 business. He then became a CFI at age 36 and now calls his specialized flight instruction service his dream job.

Karen was a bank executive, graduate school teacher and globetrotting consultant in 35 countries before getting her private pilots license. at age 50.

She says starting to fly later in life helps with being patient with students and all that international experience has paid off in being able to better understand diversity in talents and skills of her students and clients.

Their stories are an inspiration to others. Think about the folks you see at the airport fence with their kids or grandkids, who look longingly at the sky and are probably thinking, You know Ive always thought about being a pilot some day.

Why not reach out and tell them that some day can be today. One of Karens students is in his mid-70s.

And its not just pilots, mechanics and flight attendants we need a new workforce for the entire aerospace industry.

One of my highest priorities at the FAA is to bring new, well trained men and women into the aviation system.

Back in DC, we are working internally to double down on our Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach efforts, and have established the FAA Aviation Workforce Steering Committee to focus on these efforts at the agency level.

Wherever you stand on this, one thing is for sure:Unless and until each one of us takes an active and personal stand on getting kids interested in aviation and STEM, the pipeline will run dry.

OkIve had my say, and then some. Lets get our winners up here for their awards.

Please join me in congratulating:

Dave Monti of Gardnerville, NevadaNational Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year

Karen Kalishek of DePere, WisconsinNational FAA Safety Team Representative of the Year

And Gary Reeves of Decatur, TexasNational Certified Flight Instructor of the Year.

These folks embody the very best of the aviation community and we at the FAA thank them for everything they do to make General Aviation a better, safer and more vibrant community.

Lets give them a big round of applause.

Speech – Uber Elevate Urban Air Mobility Summit 2019

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington DC

Thank you for that kind introduction Nikhil. It is awesome to be here, soaking up the energy, creativity and innovation of a brand new form of transportation.

I find your vision for the future to be refreshing…invigorating even. And thats not easy to say, coming from where I come from.

We at the FAA have historically been a bit reticent to welcome new entrants in the National Airspace System, but that is changing rapidly.

It has to change, because this kind of energy, innovation and vision is what will fuel the future of aerospace, and frankly, get the next generation of kids interested in taking part.

They see innovation as a Tesla roadster circling the sun blasting David Bowie…or rocket boosters coming back and landing softly on the earth;

or drones delivering popsicles, or slipping the surly bonds of traffic in a flying taxi.

Hey… lets face it…you guys make aerospace cool again.

The energy you bring is also helping us at the FAA become more responsive to a rapidly evolving aerospace industry.

Gone are the days when we could ignore an entrant that was radically different. Nowadays, we either evolve or we get left behind.

We learned that the hard way when UAS technologies and an entirely new industry sprung up practically overnight and we werent ready for it.

Were sort of caught up now, but we are also determined not to let it happen again.

Thats why were out in front with urban air mobility, or UAM, working with the industry and with NASA to make sure we get it right.

Time is short companies are already testing a variety of vehicles both in the U.S. and abroad, some with passengers.

These two movements UAS and UAM really bring into focus how fast everything is changing now compared to earlier in my aviation career.

It doesnt seem possible that when I started flying as a C-141 pilot in the Air Force only 30-some years ago

yes…I realize that for a lot of the people in this crowd, 30-something years is like forever

But, when I started flying we had a dedicated navigator who would look through a small porthole in the top of the flight deck with a sextant.

Yes, a sextant. Its essentially the same equipment that Magellan used hundreds of years ago to look at the stars and get a position fix on the high seas.

Well, we got rid of the navigator and his medieval sextant in the 1980s when we ushered in the age of inertial navigation.

And soon after, computers and advanced systems design made flight engineers obsolete, leaving a pilot and copilot.

The pace of change picked up in the late 90s with the introduction of GPS, which greatly simplified navigation.

When GPS was combined with sensor and actuator miniaturization, more computer power and lithium-chemistry batteries, the unmanned aircraft revolution kicked into high gear.

And then some very bright minds saw too many people sitting in traffic and thought we can take all this technology and create a better way to move around cities-UAM.

Look what you collectively as an industry conceived and are currently working on.

These are some of the most exciting innovations and developments in aerospace since the Wright Brothers, and its all taken place over the course of a few short years.

Everyone is riveted by this. But then I put on my FAA regulator hat and now Ive got something new to keep me awake at night.

You see the ideal way of transporting people across cities. I see car-sized vehicles with multiple rotors hanging over dense urban areas.

Thats the challenge taking an industry of incredibly bright minds and fast-moving technology and joining that with a regulatory agency that wants innovation, but only if it can be safely brought into an urban environment.

Its why we have come up with the crawl, walk, run analogy.

As I said earlier, the FAA can no longer just say no to a new entrant. We are evolving and quite rapidly for us into a more responsive regulator.

And just like with technology, the pace of our evolution is accelerating.

Back in the 80s when I got into the business, it was not unusual for the FAA to take five or six years to write a rule do you have the patience for that?

It was fine to take 10-12 years to develop and certify a new aircraft type do you have the patience for that??

As you know, today, with the tech eruption that is coming to the aviation world, product cycles can be measured in months.

We dont have the luxury of so much time any more, but we have to ensure that safety is paramount. That cannot change.

So how do we do that?

We become a data-driven oversight organization that prioritizes safety above all else.

To do safety right, you have to start with a safety culture. A good safety culture produces the data you need to figure out whats really happening.

If we know about errors, we can fix the processes that led to those errors.

A safety culture demands that we infuse that safety data into all of our processes from top to bottomin a continuous loop.

When you think about how far aviation has come in a little more than a century, its hard to argue the point.

Weve gone from barnstorming to a safety record that is the envy of all modes of transportation.

We evolve in our rulemaking by transitioning from prescriptive to performance-based rules.

A few years ago, industry helped us modernize Part 23 airworthiness standards for how we certify small aircraft.

Performance-based rules will ultimately form the backbone for how UAM vehicles will be built.

For new entrants, we started with our legacy regulatory framework but have evolved to an operations first approach where we use existing rules where we can, and derive new rules where we need. As usual, safety is the primary concern.

Integrating UAS into the National Airspace System is a good example. Our process is simple: Get the data to assess our risks and then create useful regulations, policies and guidance where needed.

As a point of reference for how fast this industry is moving, the FAA has been registering manned aircraft for 92 years, and after only four years of registering drones, weve got four times as many on the books.

The UAS Integration Pilot Program, through a variety of demonstrations, is helping us capture data. Its also paying dividends on the investment side.

Recently, the FAA granted the first air carrier certification to Wing Aviation, a commercial drone operator.

Wing is doing beyond-visual line-of-sight package deliveries in rural Blacksburg, Virginia, using existing rules.

What happens next is that we gradually implement new rules to expand when and how those operators can conduct their business safely and securely.

Weve just closed the public comment period for proposed new rules that would allow small UAS to operate over people and at night.

On the horizon are rules for beyond visual-line-of-sight operations the Holy Grail of UAS rules.

To manage the traffic, were working with NASA and industry on a highly automated UAS Traffic Management, or UTM, system.

Even though were in the crawling phase of our crawl, walk, run path to full integration, were seeing positive impacts small drones are already changing the landscape of our economy and society.

And here are a few examples:

In San Diego, the Chula Vista police department and CAPE, a private UAS teleoperations company, are using drones as first responders to provide aerial views for officers to document accident or crime scenes, and search for missing persons.

Since October, they have launched drone first responders on more than 500 calls in which 67 arrests were made.

And for half of those calls, the drone was first on the scene with an average on-scene response time of 96 seconds.

Equally important is the 75 times that having the drone there first alleviated the need to send officers at all.

In Kansas, the State Department of Transportation showed us how to use drones for power line inspections and precision agriculture.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is using them to bait feral hog traps.

In North Carolina, they delivered blood samples to a lab for testing.

Drones delivered automated external defibrillators in Reno, Nevada, and inspected airport ramps and perimeter fencing in Memphis.

I have a strong hunch that the benefits we discover with Urban Air Mobility will be no less extraordinary.

NASA will again be our partner in this area with their UAM Grand Challenge planned for next year.

The Grand Challenge is about bringing the best and brightest minds from government and industry together to begin live testing of carefully designed scenarios to show how a variety of vehicles and airspace management systems will or wont work together.

And most importantly, to gather data.

Thats crawling. Were not ready to walk or run yet.

Walking and running will require that these highly automated or autonomous vehicles and systems meet the FAAs and the publics safety expectations for aviation when they buy a ticket…and as weve discussed, those expectations are very high.

We understand your desire to sprint out of the starting gate, but you have to understand our safety mandate.

Lets begin this integration by working with industry to start crawling, with low-risk operations in remote areas, gathering data and evaluating safety all the while.

When were ready, well systematically graduate to high-density urban areas with semi-autonomous operations the walking phase.

And, eventually, the system will mature to fully autonomous operations in busy urban airspace running.

And thats where given the level of safety that we have in the National Airspace System we cant fail.

Achieving this final state for a radically different new entrant will be an evolutionary process. It wont occur overnight, but it also wont take as long as it would have with yesterdays FAA.

Heres my challenge to you today: Shoot for the stars the commercial aviation safety record.

In the past 10 years, there have been more than 90 million commercial flights in our NAS, carrying more than 7 billion passengers, with one fatality.

Thats a safety record thats hard to get your mind around in any human endeavor, much less one where youre carrying humans in highly advanced aerospace vehicles at 500 mph, 7 miles above the earth.

You are working to become part of an elite club…commercial aviation. Work hard.

To be part of the safest mode of transportation on the planet, your operation must become synonymous with safety.

Thats the only way to fully exploit the energy, creativity and innovation of this exciting new industry.

Thank you all.

Speech – A Rebirth in Innovation

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, D.C.

Thank you, Mike. Thank you all for coming and focusing our attention on what promises to be one of our nations greatest achievements.

Commercial space has triggered, I believe, a rebirth in the interest not just of what lies on the edges of our atmosphere, but of creativity itself. This groupthe people here in this roomare the catalysts for what is very clearly the dawn of a new generation. A new generation for space transportation. A new generation for exploration. A new generation for innovation.

And without question, this industry has given birth to a new generation of commerce. Trade routes started on landmoved to the seathen to the sky. And now, theyre set firmly on the final frontier. Its been 50 years since Apollo 11 set down at Tranquility Base. A lot has happened. A lot continues to happen.

This, of course, comes as absolutely no surprise especially to all of you given whats taken place since the last time we spoke. Since October 2018, the numbers speak volumes: 21 launches and 1 reentry. Dozens of payloads launched.

Virgin Galactic launched in December and February with five commercial astronauts. That included Beth Moses, the first female commercial astronaut in history. Falcon Heavy had its first commercial launch in April. The FAA supported not one, not two, but three commercial launches in less than 72 hours earlier this month. One of them took place half a world awayin New Zealand.

But the most important thing that happened since we last spoke is nothing. No fatalities. No missions delayed because of licensing.

This Administration said that government needed to hold the door open for innovators. I think we have. Vice President Pence and Secretary Chao are enthusiastic about commercial space, but theyre more excited about being a catalyst for innovation. I can see this group is capitalizing on that. Were making the most of it as well. Weve got a new Associate Administrator for Commercial Space TransportationBrigadier General Wayne Monteith. We welcomed him aboard in Januaryright in the middle of the shutdown. Lets just say hes not afraid of uncertainty.

His arrival may have been inauspicious, but Wayne has come at the right time. The proposed streamlined launch and reentry rule was published in draft form in March and posted to the Federal Register in mid-April with the comment period set at 60 days.

Weve received dozens of comments so far. Almost all have asked that the comment period be extended. No exaggeration there: almost every single comment made that point. And let me just say…we heard you.

Administratively, the recent FAA Reauthorization called for us to stand up an Office of Spaceports within the Office of Commercial Space. Im pleased to report its up. The office will act as the central point of contact for all spaceport activities. Congress also mandated that we consult with industry and our government partners and thats well underway.

Additionally, the Spaceports Categorization and the Airspace Access ARCs have made considerable progress. We expect a final report from the Airspace Access ARC any day now. The Spaceports ARC sent us their recommendations and while a specific categorization scheme was not identified, they provided a lot of food for thought. I know that Wayne is actively working through these recommendations with his counterparts throughout the FAA.

As the Secretary announced last month, AST is reorganizing. The licensing workload is increasing substantially. We need to be positioned to meet the expectations of performance based rules. So, weve got to change the way we work to meet that challenge in the most efficient and effective manner.

For your part, COMSTAC has also been busy. I understand youve been out to the FAAs Command Center in Warrenton to learn more about how Collaborative Decision Making works and how it might be applied to the commercial space transportation industry. CDM proved to be a game-changer for commercial aviation. A system that was once plagued with delays and scheduling hijinks now has evolved into a shared responsibility for efficiency. The carriers recognize that theres money to be made for all when everyone is working together. What everyone learnedno surprise to meis that safety and efficiency go hand in hand. You cant have one without the other.

This kind of forward-leaning, proactive attention will help keep the commercial space industry safe now and for years to come.

I also understand that you saw our Space Data Integrator project. Here, too, we are looking at ways in which we can accelerate these kind of innovations. We dont just want to integrate commercial space operations into the NAS more quickly and efficiently: we need to. We dont plan to do this alone. Count on us engaging you in these deliberations.

That said, questions remain.

Last time I was here I suggested your industry look to CDM as a means for increasing safety industry wide. Youve taken the first step. But that begs other questions. Notably whats next? How might CDM work for commercial space? Is it even a fit at all? If not, what other ways can firms in this highly-competitive and innovative industry work together to protect public safety?

Additionally, I know you are all very interested in export control. While this is not technically in our lane, FAA is happy to host these discussions. You have my commitment that the FAA intends to continue to advocate for the U.S. commercial space transportation industry with our colleagues across the globe. As a matter of fact, I am heading to the Paris Air Show in a couple of weeks. Ill be participating in a panel on commercial space transportation with the specific intention to let them know were making great strides. I love that I have such a good story to tell. We look forward to working with all of you and our interagency partners to maintain US competitiveness in this critical industry.

Ill close in the same way I closed my last speech to COMSTAC, and for those whove heard me in other venues, the way I close most remarks.

Safety. It bears repeating. If safety is not the hinge on which your company turns, you will not survive. The safest businessesin the long runare the most profitable. When you cut corners, youre actually cutting profits. It might not catch up with you right away, but make no mistake, it will, and it will do so in spectacular fashion. Theres no way around this. Safety has to be the underpinning for everything you do. This industry can ill afford the barnstorming reputation that beset aviation a hundred years ago.

The flying public wont stand for it, because aviation safety is a given.

Today its a commercial airline flight to Albuquerque. Tomorrow it will be a commercial space flight in low earth orbit either way…passengers will expect the same level of safety. But, I think this industry is up to the task. Yours is not a countdown to liftoff, it is a countdown to safety.

And from where I stand, you are well on the way. Thanks.

Speech – Safety First

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Baltimore, MD

Good morning. Theres a tendency, I think, to get caught up in the winds of technology. To the awe and the wonder and the incredible promise of what technology can do, of the potential it can bringto how we live, how we work, how we think about, literally, the way things are. We felt that way with the lap top, and we felt it again with the smart phone.

And now, looking at a symposium thats got more enthusiasm and excitement than theres room for, well, were having that kind of moment again.

If youre thinking, The age of unmanned aircraft has arrived. I think that, too. Given the year that was, its hard not to agree right down the line. Development has become production, and thats given way to application, and thats now well down the road to operations and integration.

The technology appears to have hit a sweet spot, the place where the right thing is happening the right way at the right time. The applications we hoped for are the operations we have. And those we have not are soon to be.

Now as we accelerate toward integrationseamless integrationlet us remember that to become a full-fledged part of the national airspace system is not the stuff of technology or development or application. It remains all about safety. Safety should remain fundamental to our collective mission.

To the question of whats next: The when, the if, the howtheyre all secondary to the foundation on which all of this stands. And make no mistake, that foundation is safety. If its not safe, its not going to fly. Thats true for absolutely everything thats in the national airspace system, and its absolutely true for drones. We demand that of the airlines. We demand that of commercial space. And we demand that from you.

I get it: This is an audience of innovators driven, fundamentally, by a Fail Fast mentality. After all…isnt that how progress is made? You fail, you learn, you improve.

We can failand we willbut we just cant fail with casualties or collateral damage. It has to be that way. To borrow an overused sports quote, safety isnt everything … its the only thing. But to really reach the full potential this industry has to offer, you must make safety your thing as well. Together, we will solve the most difficult technical and policy challenges. We have achieved an unparalleled record for safety, and the seamless integration of drones has tremendous potential to be part of that performance. But it can only happen if safety is our collective focus.

All things considered, the steady development and expansion of drones is proving to be transformational for aviation as a whole. The volume of UAS operations is fast outpacing manned aircraft. Drones outnumber traditional, registered manned aircraft by four to one. This is a fast-moving industry, and were doing our level best to keep up. Weve redoubled our outreach to drone operators and the public to educate current and prospective drone users about their safety responsibilities. We signed an agreement with AUVSI and AMA strengthening our partnership for the Know before You Fly educational campaign. That encourages UAS operators and the general public to understand the rules and responsibilities for flying an aircraft in the NAS. Lets face it, the national airspace system is the deep end of the pool. Its not for the faint-hearted or the careless. 900 million passengers were in it last year. Collectively, our education and outreach efforts are yielding results. The annual rate of increase of pilot reports about drones in places they shouldnt be is dropping by 50 percent each yearwhile the number of UAS operating in the airspace is increasing.

Raising awareness makes a difference. Im proud to announce National Drone Safety Awareness Week. I think its a creative way to connect the drone community with the general public.

The event will be held later this year. We want it to be an annual thinga weeklong series of drone-related events that will put the spotlight on drone safety. For communities, for stakeholdersin all 50 states. Its aimed at being a public-private partnership that will draw upon the collective resources of the drone community with guidance and support from the FAA and DOT.

Together, well develop an on-line playbook with suggestions to make this fly. We want everyone in on the conversation-manufacturers, operators, policy makers, public safety officials, state and local legislators, educators, the Test Sites, the Integration Pilot Program Lead Participants, the UAS Center of excellence, FAA regional resources and staff, model aircraft field operators, retailers, the research community. We have a lot of people to reach. Later this week, we will be discussing this topic with our Drone Advisory Committee. Were going to post additional details on how you can be a part of this conversation as quickly as possible.

Were thinking outside the box. We want to be more than the rule maker.

When it comes to policy making, we want to be the enabler for bright minds to come up with things that quite frankly we hadnt thought of. We recently moved forward with a number of enabling regulatory initiatives. On February 13, we published a proposed new rule on the operation of small UAS over people. Easily said, much harder to do. The trick is to mitigate safety risks without putting the cuffs on technological and operational advances.

We also put out an ANPRM asking for your thoughts on the best ways to identify drone safety and security issues. What risks do drones create in communities and around critical infrastructure and sensitive security sites, and whats the best way to reduce them? We want broad thinking here: the risks to aircraft, the risks to people on the ground, the risks to national security. 9/11 taught us a lot as an industry and as a nation. We want to use this advance notice to make sure we dont have to learn any of those lessons twice. Security and public safety questions are just about the most important questions we can be asking, and we need to be asking them at every turn.

Thats why we put out an interim final rule in February on external marking requirements for small UAS. Registration numbers are aviations license plate: everybodys got to have one. Youve got to display your unique identifier on an external surface. Thats how we do it in traditional aviation, and that registration number has served us well. As you know, we assign those identifiers upon completion of the registration process. And, yes, NCC-1701 is taken. Because of this rule, first responders can address the incident at handinstead of having to open the battery compartment.

This brings us to remote ID. Congress called for this in 2016. That laid the foundation for FAAs work with operators and our security partners. Everyone gets this. Maybe better put, everyone needs to get this. While we can think of registration markings as a drones physical license plate, we can view remote ID as the electronic counterpart. Weve got to establish the importance of remote identification, and weve got to reach a consensus on how to do it as quickly as feasible. Last year, Congress gave even more authority to the FAA to move ahead with work on universal registration and remote identification. I must emphasize here: this isnt a paperwork exercise. Weve got to work together. Safe operations and safe integration both demand that we get this right. If we dont, well have a patchwork system that you cant use and we cant manage. Without that, UAS integration is not going to progress much further.

Remote identification is the gateway to beyond visual line-of-sight operations and operations over people. Its the backbone for UAS Traffic Management. Remote ID is the enabler for package delivery, for operations in congested areas, for the continued safe operation of all aircraft in shared airspace. In the future, its what makes Urban Air Mobility possible. Its going to make automated cargo-carrying air transportation a reality. From a security perspective, universal remote identification will enable the FAA and our national security partners to identify friend from foe, thus enabling effective security response, investigation, education, and, when necessary, enforcement. This topic is so important, well be talking more about it with the Drone Advisory Committee later this week.

Security is an issue for all of us. As you all know, the unauthorized use of UAS poses a real problem around airports. At Gatwick, Heathrow, Dubaiand right here near Newarkweve seen how the presence of unauthorized UAS can disrupt air travel and cause safety concerns. Because there are existing laws on the use of counter UAS technologies, the FAA recently published guidance on our website for airport operators on the deployment of counter UAS solutions.

This checklist for airports to follow, helps further facilitate coordination with the FAA on the deployment of UAS detection systems. And we are also working with our federal security partners and airport stakeholders to develop a federal response plan for countering persistent UAS disruptions at major U.S. airportstaking lessons learned from our foreign partners, like the U.K. Theres no magic formula here: dont fly your drone without authorization near an airport. We arent shy about pursuing enforcement action. This coordination allows the FAA to identify and assess potential safety hazards as well as develop coordinated operational response protocols that will help prevent undesirable safety and efficiency impacts.

Just one bad incident, intentional or unintentional, can have a lasting negative impact on this emerging industry. We are focusing our educational efforts on the clueless and the careless and our enforcement activities on the criminal. This is a top priority, and as well it should be. Thats why FAA is committed to establishing remote identification requirements as quickly as possible.

In short, were committed to making this UAS integration a reality. Eighteen months ago, we launched the UAS Integration Pilot Program. Nine different communities across the country are pushing the envelope to identify ways to balance local and national interests. The IPP is a case study in communications, security, privacy and data collection.

This is about global leadership. Secretary Chao was right when she said that we must lead the way. The experience gained and the data collected from the IPP will help ensure the United States remains the global leader in safe UAS integration and fully realizes the economic and societal benefits of this technology.

Its already paying off. We recently granted the first air carrier certification to a commercial drone operator for package deliveries in rural Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability most people call LAANC is live at 500 airports and weve processed 100,000 LAANC authorizations. We worked with DOJ and FBI to quickly enable the safe use of Counter UAS systems to protect the Super Bowl. We held an urban air mobility roundtable. We held a series of webinars on how to fill out waiver applications to speed processing times. Were in the midst of a second webinar series on airspace requirements and restrictions. We partnered with Kitty Hawk to re-imagine and re-develop B4UFLY. New members were appointed to the Drone Advisory Committee. And we announced the exceptions for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft.

But thats not everything. In response to a Congressional requirement, later today, well release a Broad Agency Announcement on the FAAs contracting opportunities website. Were going to partner with qualified commercial entities that will match our $6 million dollar budget to perform UAS-integration related work at the Test Sites. Through these contracts, the FAA intends to bridge the gap between industry and the Test Sites. These partnerships will help us tackle some of the most pressing technical and operational challenges.

In short, were focused and were gaining ground. We want to integrate, not segregate. Were setting a global standard. And were showing that success quite clearly is not the exception to the rule. The future for drones is as unlimited as your creativity, drive, and technical brilliance. And I think the future for full integration is even more boundless. For our part, we seek to enable not to impede.

We believe safety, innovation, and progress can coexistin that order. Together, we can make this happen. Together, we are making history in real time. Im glad youre with us for the next few days. Thank you.