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.

Speech – EAA AirVenture

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Oshkosh, WI

Remarks As Delivered

Good morning, everyone.

It feels so good to be back at AirVenture.

I dont care whats going on in DC. I get here, and its where I feel like I need to be.

I remember my first trip here. When I saw all of the planes lined up, covering every square inch of available real estate it took my breath away.

And it still does, to be honest.

I once was asked in an interview to choose the best airshow. Which is better Paris or Oshkosh?

To me, of course, its an easy answer.

Le Bourget is champagne. And chalets.

Oshkosh? Its beer and blue jeans. And airplanes. A hell of a lot of airplanes.

And I know that if Orville and Wilbur were with us today theyd be right here.

So just out of curiosity show of hands, please. How many people are here for the first time?

How many people are here for the tenth or more time?

Twenty or more?


So, this is my fifth AirVenture, and the first as Acting Administrator of the FAA.

But it doesnt get any better than this, does it? No. And theres no place any of us would rather be.

And they tell me that this is my opportunity to talk about what the FAA is doing for the general aviation community.

And from the conversations Ive been having with many of you in the past few days, theres a lot to talk about.

So, for the next 90 minutes or so Nah. I thought Id get a good reaction from that.

But I do want to talk about some of the things weve been doing.

Weve changed our Airmen Certification Standards, so that tests focus less on memorization, and more on critical thinking and risk management.

Weve streamlined our medical clearance process so that most pilots can receive an exam from their own doctor.

About 36,000 have already saved time and money by skipping a trip to the AME, and meeting the requirements for BasicMed.

Then theres our new small airplane certification standards, which went into effect last year. And what were finding is that theyre freeing up manufacturers to dream big.

Weve already gotten proposals under Part 23 that combine elements of rotorcraft and fixed-wing vehicles into one, electric-powered aircraft. Its exciting stuff.

Advancements like these arent going to be limited to new builds. Weve also improved our policies to make it easier and more affordable to install safety-enhancing equipment in the existing fleet.

But heres the rub.

The FAA can do all sorts of things behind the scenes to help manufacturers get safety equipment off the drawing board and into your favorite supply store more quickly.

It doesnt do us any good if they dont end up on your aircraft.

And that, of course, brings me to the subject of ADS-B.

Now, I know youve been hearing guys like me come here and tell you about this mandate for years.

But its not going away. January 1, 2020 is getting closer and closer.

524 days. Thats what were looking at.

You know, its not a lot of time when you factor in researching the equipment, buying it, and finding a repair station thats got time on the schedule to install it.

Now some of you in the room may be thinking hey, Im not flying in ruled airspace. Im not flying in controlled airspace. I dont need to get ADS-B.

But if theres even the slightest possibility that youre gonna need to go into controlled airspace after 2020? You should get ADS-B.

And what Ive been finding out, in these conversations with you folks, is that those of you who have ADS-B already And I just talked to a guy yesterday whos got ADS-B In and Out in his RV-6.

He said its an incredible enhancement to his situational awareness. No matter where he flies.

So the FAA wants to make this as easy for you as possible.

We offered an equipage incentive last year. About 10,000 of you took advantage of it. And were actively looking for additional ways that we can make this an easier task.

Manufacturers have also stepped up. ADS-B transponder prices have fallen dramatically in the last few years. So if you havent looked into equipment costs recently, nows the time. You should do it.

And there are plenty of vendors here at Oshkosh that would be more than happy to help you figure out a set-up thats right for you and your aircraft.

ADS-B is going to make the National Airspace System safer. I am confident of that.

Now, speaking of safety

Thanks to technological advancements, accessible training and trouble-shooting resources, and pilots individual commitments to professionalism in the cockpit the GA fatality rate has fallen almost 23 percent over the last five years.

Look around you. Thats 95 lives that were saved last year, versus where we were in 2012.

This is great news. But if theres one thing we can all agree on, its this: We cannot get complacent on safety.

We always have to be on the lookout for new ways to do more, and to be better.

Now we had a couple of unfortunate events this past week.

We lost a pilot in Sheboygan who was participating in a formation exercise for Oshkosh in a Venom fighter jet.

And the C-47 known to all of us as Bluebonnet Belle crashed in Texas total loss on its way here.

Thankfully, all fourteen people aboard that warbird survived.

Now, incidents like these are rare. But they remind us that, even as we gather here to celebrate, we cant take safety for granted not for a second.

We need to remain vigilant in our personal safety checklists before we fly.

We also need to address emerging issues in the system as a community.

The FAA is going to be hosting a safety summit next month on wrong surface events, which our Air Traffic Organization has identified as a top-five hazard to our airspace.

These incidents occur, as you know, when an aircraft takes off from or lands at an incorrect taxiway, runway, or airport.

The risk is particularly high for the GA community, where weve seen a much higher rate of incidents happening.

Were going to be bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss how we continue to address this important issue.

And we need all of you to be part of the conversation.

So thats the business side of the talk. Appreciate you listening.

I know a lot of this can sound like inside baseball stuff. But all of you are a savvy group.

You get it about how the work were doing together makes a difference in how you operate within our airspace.

Which is why I didnt come here just to tell you about the latest and greatest from the FAA.

Ive got something bigger on my mind.

Walking around here at AirVenture, it seems impossible that Americas general aviation community could be struggling.

Theres so much respect for our history. So much excitement for the future.

But the numbers dont lie.

In the last ten years, the number of private pilots holding active airmen certificates has decreased by 27 percent.

This is a big drop. And I hate to say it but the rest of us arent exactly getting any younger. Me included.

The average age of a private pilot certificate holder has gone up every year for the last twenty years. Its now pushing 50.

Look GA is the heart of Americas aviation system. Its one of the things that sets us apart from the rest of the world.

We have to protect the legacy we inherited from the pioneers that came before us. And we need to make it even stronger, so we can pass it on to the next generation.

And by we, I mean all of us. This is not something the FAA is going to do on its own.

How do we reach the people who arent already in our community? How do we ignite their passion for aviation?

Im a firm believer that the idea of flight intrigues everybody. I mean, at our core. As human beings.

When I was a really little kid, I remember having a recurring dream that in my dream, I had figured out how to fly, by myself.

I dont know if anybody else has had those dreams, but I used to have those dreams.

But they were just dreams. Id wake up in the morning, Id be all disappointed that I couldnt actually fly.

Until I went into fifth grade. And Mr. Tyler, my teacher I found out he was a private pilot. And I thought well, thats pretty cool.

And then he said to the class anybody who wants to go up on a flight with me in my airplane, let me know. Every single one of you who wants to go up, Ill take you up on the weekend. On his own time, his own dime.

Of course I raised my hand. Went out on his 150, out in Long Island, New York.

And as vivid as you all sitting here today, I can remember sitting up with him in the right seat, taking off And for the first time in my life, watching trees get smaller, and houses get smaller. And he knew exactly where I lived, and he flew over my house and my neighborhood at 3,000 feet.

And that was it. I was toast. I was done. Im gonna be a pilot for the rest of my life.

So I know every person in this room has a story just like that. Probably better. About the people who introduced us to this world we love so much.

So now, its our turn to be those people for the next generation, for the young kids.

The universal fascination with flight? Its still out there.

Weve got teenagers playing video games that let them build their own airplanes and fly simulated missions.

But they may not see how that connects them to a real-life cockpit.

Weve got a whole generation of kids that are growing up with drones under the Christmas tree.

Theyre already pilots. They just dont think of themselves that way.

Its our job to connect the dots. And to clear up some of the misperceptions about who we are and what we do.

Cause when you ask laypeople to describe a private pilot, a lot of them picture a millionaire shuttling himself between vacation homes.

Now, dont get me wrong weve got a few of those. Maybe not a whole of them here.

But weve also got people who dropped everything last year to hop in their personal planes and help out with hurricane relief efforts.

Who devote their time and resources to restoring old warbirds to their former glory so future generations can enjoy them.

Pilots who fly sick kids to receive medical treatment they couldnt afford to get to otherwise.

And weve got all of you. Some of you who do those very things. And you come to Oshkosh, every year. Park your planes out on the grass. Sleep under a tarp slung over the wing.

Just to be here. To be a part of this.

We truly are a community. And theres no better way to start growing our ranks than by harnessing this energy we feel here every year and using it to inspire the next generation of aviators.

Im heading to KidVenture later today. And you better believe Im telling those young people about all the possibilities that aviation has to offer.

And I hope youll do the same. I know many of you already do.

A lot of you are familiar with EAAs terrific Young Eagles program.

But did you know that its already given more than 2.1 million kids their first ride for free in an airplane? Just like Mr. Tyler did for me.

More than 40,000 people around the world already volunteer with them and theyre always looking for more. Can never have too many.

So please if youre not already involved, please consider it. Or think about other ways you can give back to the aviation community thats already given us so much.

Do it for the family members and mentors who once held the door open for you.

I could never thank Mr. Tyler enough for what he did for me. This gift he gave me. Where I am today. Because he took me up for 30 minutes in a Cessna 150, about a hundred years ago.

But what I can do is pay it forward.

And its my greatest hope that you all feel the same way, and will do the same thing.

Thank you.

Speech – A Shared Language

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Thank you, Eric. Good afternoon, everyone.

Its a real honor for the United States to be hosting this years FAA-EASA International Aviation Safety Conference. And I thank you all for joining us.

Its great to see so many of our international counterparts this week not only from Europe, but from around the world.

And having you all here I think speaks to the unique nature of the aviation industry.

Even at times when the geopolitical climate is tense when nations are more focused on differences than similarities the global aviation community comes together.

And its because, no matter where we hail from, we all share the same language.

The language of safety.

Aviation is the safest form of transportation in the world.

We say and hear those words all the time. But really think about it for a second.

Metal tubes, filled with some of the worlds most complex machinery, are hurtling through the air and navigating in three-dimensional space 35,000 feet above our heads right now.

Just figuring out how to do that was hard enough. Let alone to do it safely.

So howd we get here?

It comes down to a pretty simple idea. One that the entire aviation industry, from top to bottom, has embraced.

We dont compete on safety.

Conferences like this give us the opportunity to reaffirm that commitment. And its especially important to do so now.

The world and our industry are changing on an almost daily basis. That creates a lot of questions.

How do we safely integrate new users into our already busy airspace?

How do we harness technology to modernize the way we manage air traffic?

How do we maintain the safety of our system without stifling innovation?

These questions arent new. And theyre not unique to the United States. Were all grappling with them.

And if were going to find the right answers the best answers we need to continue building on the partnerships that have fueled so many of our successes to date.

That starts with how we integrate new users into our airspace.

This is an area where we can learn so much from each other. Unmanned aircraft and commercial space operations have truly captured the worlds imagination.

And as these industries grow, so do their airspace needs.

To help meet this increasing demand, the United States is embracing a flexible regulatory framework that can nimbly respond to innovation.

We were the first country to integrate commercial drone operations under specific conditions into complex airspace.

Now, were looking to go further.

I joined Secretary Chao last month to announce ten pilot program sites across the country where state, local, and tribal governments will be working with private industry to demonstrate and study expanded drone operations.

The information we gain from these trials will help us build out the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft nationwide including operations over people and beyond visual line of sight.

Were also changing our approach to commercial space launches.

Its not enough to just accommodate this growing industry. We need to fully integrate it into our airspace.

Were looking at how new technologies like the Space Data Integrator can make launches less disruptive to nearby airspace users.

And were revamping our licensing processes to make it easier for commercial space operators to receive the approvals they need more quickly.

Of course, integrating new users into a system that already includes everything from jumbo jets to helicopters goes hand-in-hand with investing in modern air traffic systems that can manage it all.

This has been a priority on both sides of the Atlantic for many years now.

Here in the United States, were working closely with industry to prioritize our modernization efforts so that we can deliver concrete benefits to airlines, passengers, and businesses as quickly as possible.

In FAA facilities around the country, state-of-the-art computers are supporting new automation systems that make managing air traffic more efficient.

Weve deployed Data Communications technology nationwide to help pilots and controllers send messages to each other faster and more accurately.

Were using Performance Based Navigation to create more direct flight routes that save time and cut down on emissions.

And were about 18 months away from a deadline that will require all aircraft flying within controlled airspace to be equipped with Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast better known as ADS-B.

ADS-B uses GPS satellites to give air traffic controllers a more accurate picture of where an aircraft is at any given moment.

About 25 percent of the U.S. airline fleet has already equipped with ADS-B.

And were working closely with our international partners to make sure any aircraft that will be flying in U.S. airspace has equipment installed that complies with the mandate by January 1, 2020.

This is part of our larger harmonization efforts with the global community.

The United States signed a revised Memorandum of Cooperation with the European Union late last year. It expanded our collaboration on air traffic modernization to include deployment activities. This will support continued seamless transatlantic operations.

At the same time, we signed an amendment to the US-EU Safety Agreement that makes it easier to validate and import each others aircraft and aviation parts.

Thanks to the relationship weve built over the years, we have a high-degree of confidence in our respective certification systems.

This agreement acknowledges that. It opens up a way for the US and EU to collaborate on flight simulation training devices, as well as on pilot licensing and training.

And we continue to build on this work today.

The FAA and the European Commission amended their Safety Agreement this morning, and took the first step toward lowering validation fees for manufacturers.

This amendment will also help get products to market faster by reducing the involvement of validating authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

These agreements are just the most recent examples of the value of the relationship between the United States and our European partners.

Weve been able to make tremendous safety gains in transatlantic operations by working together. And its essential we protect them as we look to the future.

That’s the message I’ll be taking to the United Kingdom when I visit the Farnborough Airshow next month.

Brexit and its March 2019 deadline is obviously on all of our minds.

And as the clock runs down, removing uncertainty about the UK and its aviation agreements with the rest of the world only becomes more important.

Brexit is going to affect passengers, businesses, and the entire global supply chain. But early planning can help mitigate those impacts.

So it’s in everyones best interest to reach a decision on the aviation components of Brexit as soon as possible.

Fortunately, weve been certificating aircraft for decades. We know what agreements we need to have in place to ensure safe and efficient operations.

What we need now is focus and clarity.

We need to do everything possible to ensure a seamless transition and minimize disruptions.

Because the safety, efficiency, and affordability of our systems depend on it.

I said it earlier aviation is the safest form of transportation in the world. But it didnt start out that way. Far from it.

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

But we did the work. We worked together. And we achieved more than this industrys founding fathers could have ever dreamed.

But that doesnt mean our work is done.

We cant get complacent.

We went more than nine years and two months without a commercial passenger fatality here in the United States.

But the engine failure on Southwest Flight 1380 reminded us that even a single incident in our system is one too many.

The United States is a worldwide leader in aviation. Were proud of that reputation. And the Trump Administration intends to keep it.

But we know we don’t have a monopoly on good ideas.

We need our partners in the international aviation community to help us reach the next level of safety.

Aviation doesnt have borders, or boundaries.

Were a global community. And theres no limit to what we can achieve when we work together.

Thank you again for joining us this week. Im looking forward to a productive conference.