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Speech – A Conversation with FAA Administrator Steve Dickson on Global Aviation Safety and Innovation

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Dubai, UAE

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you for that introduction, Bailey (Edwards). Its good to be here in Dubai at the premier aviation and air industry event in the Middle East. Like the U.S., the UAE has a safety-focused, vibrant and competitive aviation industry, with innovative new entrants like commercial space, unmanned aircraft and flying taxis.

The aviation industry is an economic driver here, accounting for 1.4 million jobs and U.S. $130 billion to the regional Gross Domestic Product of the Middle East. At lot of that activity flows through Dubai International airportthe largest international airport in the worldwith 90 million passengers annually.

Bailey mentioned my position as Senior VP for Flight Ops at Delta. I learned many things during 12 years in that position, but the main thing the job made me understand was that regardless of change, new entrants, increasing complexity or competitionsafety always has to remain the focus and bedrock of our industry.

Im sure we agree that safety is a journey, not a destination. We know that we must build on what weve learned from the hard lessons along the way, and we must never allow ourselves to become complacent.

The 737 MAX remains a key focus for the FAA and our partners throughout the world, including here in the UAE where FlyDubai has 14 aircraft in its fleet, and firm orders for 225 more.

On behalf of the Federal Aviation Administration, I would like to, once again, extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents. Many nations, including the United States, had citizens on those flights. Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell and I have been meeting with family members and friends of those onboard. Each time we meet, we see their pain, their loss, and it reaffirms the seriousness with which we must approach safety every single day. We want our citizens and our own families to have confidence in the aviation system when they travel. That is why we, as regulators and operators, work so hard in our jobs every day.

I am absolutely committed to honoring the memory of those who lost their lives, by working tirelesslyeach and every day of my tenureto ensure the highest possible margin of safety in the global aviation system. Safety is a journey we undertake each and every day with humility and a focus on continuous improvement.

The FAA welcomes scrutiny and feedback on how we can improve our processes. Several independent reviews have been undertaken of the 737 MAX and the FAAs certification and delegation processes. The first to be completed was one we commissioned-asking nine other authoritiesincluding the UAEto join us in the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) to assess the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system certification. Never before have 10 authorities come together to conduct a review of this sort. And I want to emphasize that we invited this probing review by our peer regulators. That is the FAA at its best. We welcome the input and critique from the various other reviews and audits as well.

Willingness to accept input and critique is a sign of humility and transparency. It is also a strength. I have seen this firsthand as Ive met our regulatory counterparts around the world. They appreciate and value US leadership. They understand that by working together, we will all be better and raise the bar on global aviation safety.

Going forward beyond the MAX, some key themes are emerging regarding aircraft certification processes not only in the US, but around the world. I am committed to addressing each of these issues. They include:

  • Moving toward a more holistic versus transactional, item-by-item approach to aircraft certification;
  • Integrating human factors considerations more effectively throughout the design process, as aircraft become more automated and systems more complex; and
  • Ensuring coordinated and flexible information flow during the oversight process.

These are among the many issues that we must address to prevent the next accident from happening. We must look at the overall aviation system and how all the pieces interact.

Its much more than aircraft and pilots when we talk about the overall aviation system. For one, the airspace through which we fly must be clear of conflicts and there is the ever present threat of cyberattacks to infrastructure and the aircraft itself.

The most tragic and vivid demonstration of an airspace threat was the horrific shoot down of Malaysia Air Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine in July 2014. It was a watershed moment for aviation safety and security, underscoring the necessity of assessing the risk that conflict zones pose to civil aviation.

Since that time, FAA has redoubled its efforts to work with partners inside and outside the U.S. Government to identify and analyze emergent threats. We issue, when necessary flight advisories or prohibitions for airspace affected by specific aviation threats.

The FAA currently has a prohibition preventing U.S. carriers from operating in the Damascus Flight Information Region due to the conflict in Syria.

While there considerations internationally for resuming services in the Damascus FIR and to the Damascus International Airport, the FAA considers this airspace unsafe for civil aviation due to ongoing military operations, threats from extremists, heavy jamming of Global Positioning System navigation signals, and uncoordinated surface-to-air missile launches.

I said earlier, safety is a journey, not a destination, and we must be constantly vigilant of the entire system.

By the same token, if and when incidents and accidents do happenhowever infrequentlywe cant prematurely point the finger of blame against the pilots, the airplane, the operator, or any other single factor. Too ofteneven in the recent pastrushing to judgment has resulted in some segments of the industry missing out on opportunities to improve our margin of safety.

We have to look at the whole system and how all the parts interact. That will require truly integrated data, enterprise-wide, and constant learning from each other regulator and those we regulate. Thats the only way the system is going to get better.

Ill end by saying that its a pleasure to be here and I look forward to learning a great deal about Dubai and the UAE here at the show. Thank you everyone for coming and I hope you have a great show. Now Bailey will begin the question and answer portion of the forum.

Speech – Unleashing the Power of Commercial Space Transportation

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Washington, DC

Remarks As Delivered

Hello everyone.. Its great to be here representing the FAA at the second annual U.S. Chamber of Commerce Space Summit. The title of your eventLaunch: The Space Economy, is very appropriate for me considering my short time in this job. Ive been learning so much, so fast, and in so many locations around the world for the past three months that sometimes it feels like Ive been launched on a rocket.

Its been an exhilarating and fascinating ride though. I just came back from the Dubai Air Show, where I met officials with the Dubai-based Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Center, which builds and operates Earth observation satellites. The Center is part of the broader UAE Space Agency. The UAE is an energetic new participant in human space flight, having sent their first astronaut to the International Space Station in late September for an 8-day mission. Next year, they plan to launch a probe to Mars. Their long-range goal? To eventually colonize the red planet. Talk about a stretch goal!

If thats not proof of a vibrant and expanding aerospace industry, Im not sure what is.

Developments like that strengthen my resolve to unleash the power of commercial space transportation by paving the way for easier access to low Earth orbit through the National Airspace System, and doing so safely and efficiently.

The FAA has maximum support for doing this workits a mission that is front and center for the Trump Administration and the Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao. Last year, as you know, President Trump signed Space Policy Directive-2, which calls on the FAA to streamline the rules for commercial launch and re-entry while at the same time protecting national security and public safety. The idea in part is to boost the confidence of private industry to invest in commercial space.

Those investments are substantialand already growing at a fast pace. According to the National Space Council, in the first half of 2019, we saw almost as much investment in space companies as we did in all of 2018. Over the past decade, weve seen a total of nearly $25 billion invested in about 500 space companies, most of which are American. What those dollars are fueling are commercial ventures that could be right out of a science fiction book: space travel and tourism, satellite servicing, orbital debris removal, in-space manufacturing and huge constellations of miniature satellites for global Internet connectivity and other services. Im sure there are many more brilliant ideas in the minds of bright entrepreneurs.

And lets face it this is not just about commerce. All of this innovation is exciting for Americas youth in a way that the Apollo program was for me and many others when I was a kid a few years ago….Ok, quite a few years ago.

At the Dubai Air Show two weeks ago, I met Apollo 15 Command Module Pilot Al Worden, who was one of my Dads West Point classmatesClass of 55. I was reminded of how that program was the driving force behind a generation of engineers, scientists and pilots, myself among them. Three of our biggest commercial space innovatorsJeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Richard Bransonsay the Apollo missions lit the fuse that led to them becoming space entrepreneurs.

Our visions of launching beyond the wild blue yonder into space were based on a black-and-white RCA TV and baritone-voiced anchormen. Todayright from their high def smart phoneskids see the dashboard camera from a Tesla Roadster that Elon Musk launched atop his Falcon Heavy test rocket and put into orbit around the sun. On social media, they see two 160-foot-tall SpaceX rocket boosters sticking a landing after delivering upper stages to orbit; they see Beth Moses floating free in SpaceShipTwo as the first woman to make a commercial space flight; they see the massive Stratolauncherthe worlds largest aircrafttaking to the skies on its first flight in preparation for dropping boosters at altitude for what they call airline-style access to space.

And while us Apollo kids could only imagine what it would be like to go into space one day, todays youth can actually save their money to buy a ride on a suborbital excursion which may one day, in the not too distant future, zoom them to anywhere in the world in about 30 minutes.

Or better yetfrom my perspective as a potential employerthey can take part in creating and launching an on-orbit experiment on as early as fifth grade. I think such real-time exposure and engagement will pay off some day with a whole new generation of scientists and aerospace engineers.

Modernizing the way we regulate and license commercial space operations will allow all of this to be done more affordably and efficiently, while keeping the focus on our North Starsafety. Its a tall order, but we have to succeed or well be left behind.

The FAA learned the hard way with the Unmanned Aircraft revolution that innovation and technology wait for no one. In that case, an entirely new industry sprung up practically overnight, and we werent ready for it. Im happy to say the agency has come a long way toward getting caught up on UAS, but we are determined not to let it happen again for other new entrants, commercial space chief among them.

So what do we do? To start with, we do the crucial work the Administration and the DOT have asked us to do: We rework our launch and reentry licensing regime to streamline regulations for licensing commercial space transportation activities, and we work to more efficiently integrate real-time launch operations with ongoing aviation operations in the National Airspace System.

Eventually, we envision that commercial space will have a modern set of flexible, performance-based regulations that parallel commercial aviation, with vehicle and crew certifications as well as operational approvals, installation of safety management systems, and the associated Just Culture methodologies. But as you know, given the fragile nature of such a nascent industry, the U.S. Congress in 2004 imposed a regulations moratorium on commercial human spaceflight that has been extended several times, and now continues through 2023.

As it is, the FAA has a mandate to protect the public on the ground and aircraft from the surface to 60,000 feet. For the public on the ground, we do this through launch, reentry and spaceport regulations; for aircraft deconfliction, we do it through some less than efficient means. More on that later.

Our regulations require us to license each commercial launch in the U.S. or launches conducted by a U.S. company anywhere in the world. Each license requires the applicant to submit a system safety analysis and a ground safety analysis, detailed documents that prove to the FAA that the intended launch or reentry will not pose an undue threat to the public.

While this way of doing business worked well for a few commercial launches a yearthe way it used to bethe pace has picked up to the point where it is quickly becoming impractical. In 2018, the FAA issued a record 35 launch and reentry licenses. The total this year is expected to be similar, but for 2020, were on tap for 52 licensed activities, and theres ample reason to believe the numbers will climb. There are currently 11 licensed spaceports in 8 states around the U.S., many in non-traditional locations, like New Mexico, Oklahoma and Colorado, and a handful more in the pipeline.

Our Streamlined Launch and Reentry Licensing Requirements Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or NPRM, is the first step in modernizing access to space. The goal is to simplify the licensing process, enable novel operations and reduce costs. One example: the rules would allow companies to use a single FAA license for multiple launches from multiple launch sites.

We closed the public comment period on the NPRM in August, receiving 154 submissions, many of which included very detailed and well thought out comments from industry. Our commercial space team is carefully reviewing all the input, and we are working toward publishing a final rule in the fall of 2020.

One area where the FAA can make significant progress in making launches more efficient from an overall commerce standpointwithout new regulationis moving to dynamic deconfliction of space vehicles and commercial airliners, using shared data. Today, the FAA uses a manual process to close off relatively large swaths of airspace around launch and reentry corridors for relatively long periods as there is no operational real-time surveillance and communication between the launch providers and FAA air traffic control. Considering the growing number of launches, these impacts will only increase.

The FAA recognizes the issue, and we are working on solutions. Our Space Data Integrator, or SDI, concept is key to providing relief. We currently have a prototypewhich we developed in part with data that SpaceX and Blue Origin provided from their launchesthat automates the current manual process of transmitting real-time launch and reentry data from the commercial launch provider to the FAAs Joint Space Operations Group and Air Traffic managers.

At the Command Center, analysts review the information and determine how to modify aircraft hazard areas to reduce the impact to flights in the area. This is the first step in a phased approach to get to the end goal real-time launch and reentry information that will allow for dynamic rerouting information automatically sent to air traffic controllers and directly to the cockpit an important capability, especially in launch contingency situations. With dynamic rerouting, we can close and open airspace faster and more efficiently, while keeping safety as our top priority.

The FAAs Program Management Organization is currently working to operationalize the first stage of SDIthe piece that takes in real time surveillance quality data from the launch providersby 2022. The next step will be getting the information to controllers, and finally, to pilots.

You can see from the tempo and diversity in launch operations that its critical that we get all of this righttheres too much important and innovative work to be done in space. Consider the payloads on the Electron rocket built by new entrant, Rocket Lab, with its Running out of Fingers mission set for launch as soon as Friday out of the Mahia (Muh-hee-ah) Peninsula in New Zealand. The FAA licenses Rocket Lab launches because its a U.S. company. Why Running out of Fingers? Its their tenth mission….and as an FYI, theyve only been launching for two years.

Payloads on the Electron include a thermal isolation material experiment from Hungarian company, ATL; a telecommunications picosatellite that can fit in the palm of your hand, developed by a Spanish company Fossa Systems; and a small satellite built by Tokyo-based ALE Company that aims to create man-made shooting stars by simulating re-entering meteor showers. ALEs tag line probably wont surprise you: Shooting stars, on demand.

As they say, you couldnt make this stuff up if you tried!

But that one mission highlights just a small dose of the massive amount of energy, creativity, and multi-national industry collaboration that commercial space is bringing to the table.

We at the FAA are doing our part to make sure these companies and payloads get the most efficient and safest access to space, while at the same time making sure those on the ground will be able to enjoy their shooting stars, on demand.

Thank you for your time.

Speech – Safety Through Integrity, Innovation and People

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Washington, DC

Remarks As Delivered

Introduction

Thank you for that kind introduction, Paul. Its good to be here at the Washington Aero Club among so many friends and colleagues. You know, Im a bit embarrassed to say this, but this is the first time Ive been to a Washington Aero Club luncheon, despite being in the aviation business for 40 years. It wasnt anything deliberate on my part, even though there are many familiar faces hereits just that our paths never crossed at this venue. Actually, truth be told, somebody told me you have to give up your outside the Beltway membership card if you come to one of these, so thats why I stayed away.

Im also thrilled to be here today to see Carl receive the Engen Trophy. As you all know, Carl is the epitome of a public servant, and hes passionate about aviation. We at the FAA are better because of him, and the American public has benefited greatly from Carls leadership and dedication. It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to work with him, and call him colleague and friend. Congratulations, Carl.

Its hard not to be passionate about an industry that makes our world smaller. Aviation fundamentally redefines geographic boundaries, provides tremendous economic opportunities, and connecting people and cultures in ways that were unimaginable not too long ago. And I know the people in this room- regardless of differences in perspectives and experiences–share a common bond–a love for aviation. We also share a commitment to enhancing the benefits aviation offers our citizens today, as well as the promise it holds to connect the world in the decades ahead.

Thats why Im herebecause I love aviation, and I love people. Its a privilege to lead. Ive discovered great people at the FAA, and as you might imagine Im getting a lot of advice about how to run the place. Now, some of that advice has been more helpful than other advice has. But seriously, its already been a rewarding adventure.

Background

Now I know youre probably asking yourself, Why did you do it, Steve? Why become FAA Administrator? Several people asked me the same question when I was going through the confirmation process. One of those people was my wife, who also questioned my sanity at several points along the way. The FAA was actually an unplanned diversion from our original flight plan. I was looking for what the next thing would be after my military and airline career. My wife thought it would be retirement.

But when Secretary Chao called me and asked if Id consider leading the FAA, I said Id be interested in talking about it. FAA Administrator is not something you aspire to or even contemplate, but if I could help make a difference, I could think of no better way to serve my country in a way that allows me to use my passion for flying and my four decades of experience in the aviation industry. I am both humbled and grateful that I have the chance to lead the FAA at this historic–and challenging–time. But challenges create opportunities, dont they?

My experience includes flying F-15 fighters in our Air Force and 27 years at Delta Air Lines. At Delta, I flew as a line pilot for the first nine years of my career, eventually qualifying on the B727, B737, B757, B767 and A320 series aircraft. The last 12 years I served as the Senior Vice President of Flight Operations.

During a visit to an aviation high school last month, one of the students asked me my favorite plane to fly during my airline career. I said I liked them all, but my favorite big jet is the 757. But Im also fond of the 727, where I started out as a flight engineer. Even though I was qualified as a fighter pilot, the most difficult training program I ever completed was as a flight engineer trainee in the 727 at Delta. On that airplane the flight engineer was the system integrator, and you had to really have a detailed understanding of every system on the aircraft. Sitting down in front of the engineer panel was something very foreign for a single-seat fighter pilot. Early in training, staring at the banks of amber indicator lights on the panel while figuring out what to doif a student hesitated the instructors would joke that you were sitting there getting a suntan.

But it was a great way to learn about airline operations. The way the cockpit was laid out, the flight engineer was always working with the flight attendants, working customer service issues, working with the captain on checklists, all the time gaining valuable insight into how the captain was managing the flight deck and making decisions.

As SVP of flight ops, I was responsible for the safety and operational performance of the companys global flight operations of more than a million flights a year on six continents, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance. That job made me understand this simple fact: regardless of change, increasing complexity or competition– safety always has to remain the focus and bedrock of our industry.

So now three months into my job here at the FAA, let me share a few observations. Ill start out by saying I feel a little like that new-hire flight engineera lot experience, but a completely new environment and a lot to learn!

The MAX

Not surprisingly, Ive been in a lot of conversations about the Boeing 737 MAX.

On behalf of everyone at the FAA, I would like to, once again, extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents. Many nations, including the United States, had citizens on those flights. Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell and I have met with the family members and friends of those onboard. Each time we meet, we see their pain, their loss, and it reaffirms the seriousness with which we must approach safety every single day. We want our citizens and our own families to have confidence in the aviation system when they travel. These accidents should not have happened. That is why we, as regulators and operators, work so hard in our jobs every day.

I will tell you this, and if you dont remember anything else I say today, please remember this: I am absolutely committed to honoring the memory of those who lost their lives, by working tirelesslyeach and every day of my tenureto ensure the highest possible margin of safety in the global aviation system. We will never rest. We can always find ways to improve. We can always do better. Safety is a journey, not a destinationa journey we undertake each and every day with humility and a focus on continuous improvement.

Ive said this before but will continue to repeat it: the FAAs return-to-service decision for the MAX will be based solely on our assessment of the sufficiency of Boeings proposed software updates and pilot training that addresses the known issues for grounding the aircraft. We are not delegating anything. When we finally take the decision to return this aircraft to service, it will be the most scrutinized aircraft in history. It will also be one of the safest machines to ever take to the sky. I am not going to sign off on this aircraft until I fly it myself and am satisfied that I would put my own family on it without a second thought.

As both Dan and I have said, we welcome scrutiny and feedback on how we can improve our processes. Several independent reviews have been undertaken of the 737 MAX and the FAAs certification and delegation processes. The first to be completed was one we commissionedasking 9 other authorities to join us in the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) to assess the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system certification. Never before have 10 authorities come together to conduct a review of this sort. And I want to emphasize that we invited this probing review by our peer regulators. That is the FAA at its best. We welcome the JATRs recommendations, and I appreciate their thorough review and hard work.

We also created a Technical Advisory Board, or TAB, made up of FAA Chief Scientists and experts from the U.S. Air Force, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and NASA. The TABs job is to conduct an independent review of the proposed integrated system, training, and continued operational safety determination for the 737 MAX. The TAB recently briefed members of Congress and myself on their progress and status of Boeings and the FAAs response to the Return to Service action items.

Work also continues on the Department of Transportations IG audit of the 737 MAX certification, as well as congressional investigations. And we welcome the recent recommendations issued by the NTSB. Finally, we are also awaiting a report from the Secretarys Special Committee on aircraft certification. This blue-ribbon panel was established earlier this year to advise and provide recommendations to the Department on policy-level topics related to certification across the manufacturer spectrum.

Willingness to accept critique is a sign of humility and transparency. It is also a strength. I have seen this firsthand as Ive met our regulatory counterparts around the world. They appreciate and value US leadership. They understand that by working together, we will all be better and raise the bar on global aviation safety.

Going forward beyond the MAX, some key themes are emerging regarding aircraft certification processes not only in the US, but around the world. I am committed to addressing each of these issues. They include:

  • moving toward a more holistic versus transactional, item-by-item approach to aircraft certification;
  • integrating human factors considerations more effectively throughout the design process, as aircraft become more automated and systems more complex;
  • ensuring coordinated and flexible information flow during the oversight process.

An Exciting Time

While attention has been rightfully focused on the 737MAX, we are also focused on integrating innovative new entrants into the NAS. If youve been watching your FAA Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds, youve certainly seen the boom in the unmanned aircraft and commercial space sectors.

Weve already registered about 1.5 million small drones, about 400,000 of which are for commercial purposes, and weve approved two Part 135 drone operators. As a point of reference for how fast this industry is moving, the FAA and its predecessors have been registering manned aircraft for 92 years, and after only four years of registering drones, weve got four times as many on the books.

UPS and FedEx are actively participating in trials to speed up the delivery of small packages and working on type certificates for small autonomous drones. Innovators up in Alaska are looking to do the same with much larger vehicles. We are learning a great deal about the innovative ways that drones can help society through our Integration Pilot Program, which Secretary Chao launched two years ago. Our strategy of operations first, is allowing us to use the existing regulatory regime, which helps us ensure innovation can drive forward. Said another way, over the last 3 years, weve shifted from writing rules to getting machines in the air and flyingand taking lessons learned from the operations approval process to write better rules. The vision is to integrate, rather than segregate, UAS into the NAS.

Through the Integration Pilot Program, we are partnering with 9 state, local and tribal governments and industry to inform UAS regulations, policy and guidance by learning from practical applications. Perhaps more importantly, these efforts have become the match that is lighting a creative fire in the industry and for what this novel new form of transportation might achieve.

Flying taxisaka urban air mobilityare on the horizon and chomping at the bit to begin airspace testing. According to the FAA UAS team, we are currently engaged with the builders of more than 15 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft projects.

Airframers are eyeing a potential renaissance in supersonic civil aircraft and startup civil space companies are looking to connect New York and Shanghai in less than 40 minutes. Commercial space launch activity has ramped up tenfold in just a few years. Just yesterday we saw a successful FAA-licensed and certified commercial space launch, which deployed 60 communications satellites to low Earth orbit.

Life-saving automation technologies are coming to smaller and smaller aircraft. Late last month, a prominent avionics maker unveiled a new product development that highlights the promise. In a nutshell, if the pilot of a small plane equipped with this technology becomes incapacitated, the passengers now have a chance. They push a button on the panel, and the automation takes over and lands the plane at the nearest suitable airport. Imagine that!

All of this is exciting. As the regulator, we must find ways to operate ahead of the rate of change of the industry. This will require us to improve continuously and avoid bureaucratic inertia. We have to leverage our collective experience without allowing the attitude of weve always done it that way to be an obstacle.

Safety First

So how do we reconcile incredibly bright and innovative minds and fast-moving technologies with a reinvigorated regulatory agency that wants and needs innovation, but at the same time maintains safety as its North Star?

We do it by sticking to our core values of safety, through integrity, innovation and people. And I see our strategy coalescing around four themes:

  • Big data;
  • Just culture;
  • Global leadership; and
  • People.

Big Data: We must continue leaning into our role as a data-driven, risk-based decision-making oversight organization that prioritizes safety above all else.We do that by breaking down silos between organizations and implementing Safety Management Systems supported by compliance programs. We look at the aviation ecosystem as a whole, including how all the parts interact: aircraft, pilots, engineers, flight attendants, technicians, mechanics, dispatchers, air traffic controllerseveryone and everything in the operating environment.

Just Culture: In addition to the technical work required for truly integrated data, a key enabler of a data-driven safety organization is a healthy reporting culture. A good safety culture produces the data you need to figure out whats really happening. If we know about safety risks and we know where threats are coming from and how errors are occurring, we can mitigate the risks and fix the processes that led to those errors. A good safety culture demands that we infuse that safety data into all of our processes from top to bottomin a continuous loop.

To be successful, a safety organization relies on a Just Culture that places great value on front-line employees and those involved in the operation raising and reporting safety concerns in a timely, systematic way, without fearing retaliation. That requires that a Just Culture starts at the top. Its something leadership has to nurture and support. Employees have to see the results, see what the data is showing, how the agency or company is using analysis tools to identify risks and errors and put actions in place to mitigate them.

From the perspective of an operations leader at an airline, Safety Management Systems allowed us to find out about issues and put preventative measures in place before an accident or incident occurs. Of course, there were certain actions that were out of bounds for example, if someone intentionally violated a rule. But if someone made an honest mistake, we would put corrective actions in place to make sure we addressed the issues systemically. Sometimes, it might involve retraining a crew, but in those cases where the data indicated a trend, the corrective actions often involved modifications to processes, procedures, policies or training.

Global Leadership: When you think about how far aviation has come in a little more than a centuryfrom the barnstorming days to a safety record that is the envy of all modes of transportationits hard to argue the value of these safety tools and the importance of the FAAs leadership. Today, the U.S. aviation system is the safest, most dynamic and innovative in the world, and we have the numbers to prove it. This is largely due to these collaborative approaches to safety championed by the FAA and by many of the people in this room. Last Friday I spent some time out at MITRE with the ASIAS (Aviation Safety Information And Sharing) team. ASIAS is one of the crown jewels of the aviation safety system in the United States. It is unique in the world. This is an example of the kind of collaboration and safety innovation we can use to lead the global aviation safety system to even higher levels of performance. By working with and mentoring other authorities around the world, we will work to ensure we meet the publics expectations of the highest possible levels of safety globally, even in areas we dont regulate directly. Over the years the FAA has done more than any other organization around the world to promote and develop global aviation safety. We have an opportunity to do even more. We will do more.

Think about why you are here. At our core, we are all about working together to increase the margin of safety, because without that, we have nothing.

Maintaining the highest levels of safety, while adapting to technological advancements, is a key part of that success for all of us, here and around the world. Without safety as a foundation, we cannot have a vibrant aviation industry in any country, much less between countries. As it is, our international air transportation network is a tightly woven fabric that is dependent on all of us making safety our core value.

People: That brings me to my final pointpeople. We live in an exciting time in aviation, with new emerging technologies and capabilities. Ive told some that this might be the most exciting time in aviation since the introduction of the jet engine or maybe even all the way back to the DC-3. But at its core, a huge technical operations and regulatory agency like the FAA is made of peoplepeople who are driven to serve, people with families, hopes and dreams, people who want satisfying and fulfilling careers. I have the utmost respect for the job that they do every day, making sure our skies are safe and that the operation of the system is as efficientand serves the publicas well as it possibly can. Its now time to show that next generation of aviation leaders what incredible opportunities lie ahead for them in our field, both personally and professionally. It is the people who will innovate and collaborate to take us to the next level of safety, operational excellence and opportunity.

Conclusion

Aviations hard lessons and the industrys hard work have paved the way to creating a global aviation system with an enviable safety record. But as I said earlier, safety is a journey, not a destination. What we have done in the past and what we are doing now will not be good enough in the future. We must build on the lessons learned, and we must never allow ourselves to become complacent.

Those lessons teach us that in order to prevent the next accident from happening, we have to look at the overall aviation system and how all the pieces interact. If we dont do this and instead focus on a single factor, we will miss opportunities to improve our margin of safety.

That will require truly integrated data, enterprise-wide. When our dataand our organizationsare kept in silos, we may miss information that could provide an opportunity to make important safety decisions that will improve processes or even prevent accidents entirely. We have to be constantly learning from each other regulator and those we regulateto help each other improve. Thats the only way the system is going to get better.

We at the FAA are prepared to take the lead in this new phase of system safety, a task we approach with a spirit of humility and openness. Thats a strength we have as a country. We will lead. We have to.

Thank you for your time and hospitality today. I look forward to serving and getting to know the Aero Club and its members much better in the coming years. Its great to be with youeven if were inside the Beltway!

Speech – ALTA Airline Leaders Forum

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Brasilia, Brazil

Remarks As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Amanda Pinheiro [Consultant at AP Communications], for that kind introduction. Bom Dia [Good morning] to everyone. Its great to be here in the capital city of Brasilia. Although Ive flown to many South American countries in my years as an airline pilot, this is my first trip to Brazil.

As for Brasilia, I can think of no better location for this important Forum than a city built nearly 60 years ago in the shape of an airplane. A design that mimics one of our greatest human achievementspowered flightis a fitting architectural icon when it comes to spurring the imagination and progress.

Id like to thank our gracious hosts, ALTA and in particular, Felipe [de Oliveira, ALTAs Executive Director], as well as my counterparts here in Brazil, including ANAC, DECEA, Infraero and SAC.

The United States and Brazil have long been leaders in civil aviation. We honor the vision, passion and perseverance of our aviation pioneersthe Wright Brothers and Alberto Santos Dumontmore than 100 years ago.

Since then, the United States and the broader Latin America and Caribbean regions have made significant progress starting almost 90 years ago with the Havana Convention, which was later replaced by the Chicago Convention. Provisions in the Convention enabled U.S.-owned airlines to freely operate services within North and South America.

It was more than 75 years ago when the FAAs forerunner, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, launched its first Inter-American Training Program to train future pilots, mechanics and airways technicians.

Today, air transport is an economic engine in the Latin America and Caribbean regions:

  • In Latin American and the Caribbean, aviation contributes more than $150 billion to the regions GDP while connecting 160 global cities.
  • Airlines in the region generate more than 7 million jobs and support 2.6 million flights per year.
  • Since 2012, the annual passenger traffic growth to, from and within Latin America has averaged nearly 6%, and the industry expects that strong growth to continue.
  • The Latin American Fleet has been transformed over the past twenty years, from one of the oldest in the world in terms of average ago to one of the youngest.

And that gets to the heart of why Im hereTo keep aviation a healthy and competitive industry, safety must be our foundation and top priority.

The accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopiaand the tragic loss of 346 livesremind us in the strongest terms that passengers expect one level of safety no matter where they fly. Without that confidence as a baseline, theres no need for competitivenessthe public will simply not fly.

Before I say more, I would like to acknowledge again the tragic loss of life in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Boeing 737 MAX accidents, especially as we approach the one-year anniversary of the Lion Air crash. Our thoughts are with the families and friends during this difficult time.

We want them to know that we are working our hardest to improve the margin of safety for the aviation industry globally, and that we are fully committed to implementing the recommendations from the various groups reviewing our processes as part of the necessary work of continuous improvement on safety.

The FAA and other international authorities are working diligently to ensure that this type of accident does not occur again. Getting it right is the most important part of the safety communitys obligation to the traveling public.

I would like to recognize our colleagues here in Brazil for their help on various aspects of the MAX analyses and reviews. Included are Roberto Honorato, of ANAC, and two of his colleagues who were members of the Joint Authorities Technical Review, or JATR. I will speak more about the JATRs work and the MAX return-to-service later.

When I was at Delta, I was responsible for the safety and operational performance of the companys global flight operations of more than a million flights a year on six continents, as well as pilot training, crew resources, crew scheduling and regulatory compliance.

That job made me understand this fact: To remain competitive in an industry of fast-paced change and increasing complexities, safety must be our main focus and core value.

I understand very well that there is always a certain tension between accomplishing the mission getting the job done- and focusing on safety.

For example, pilots always have to deal with operational pressure. There is pressure to get customers to their destinations on time. There is pressure to complete the flightpressure to accomplish the mission. We need to see this in ourselves and every so often step back and make sure we are doing things the right way, which means the safest way and usually the most efficient way because safety is built into the process.

And leadership needs to back their people up. You can ask any Delta pilot, and if they were around during my tenure they heard me say repeatedly: make the tough call and I will support you. If ever you need to stop the operation in the interest of safety, do it. Set the parking brake, get everything sorted out, and get everyone on the same page before proceeding. If you need help or resources, ask for them. If it turns out we need to delay or cancel the flight then we will. I will support you every time. There will always be pressure to get the job done. But we cant let it compromise our duty to do things the right waythe safest way.

Secondly, the abilities for self-examination and continuous improvement need to be ingrained in us. What we did yesterday, and what we are doing today will not be good enough tomorrow. Everything in our business is changing so fast and we have to able to stay ahead of that pace of change.

This is in so many ways the most exciting time in the history of aviation, probably since the introduction of the jet engine into commercial service, or going back even further to the DC-3.

Were seeing radically new entrants vying for access into the airspace…the likes of which 20 years ago, heck, even five years ago, were science fiction. The FAA has already registered more than 1.4 million small drones, about 400,000 of which are for commercial purposes; weve approved two Air Taxi applications.

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.

Flying taxisaka urban air mobilityare on the horizon and chomping at the bit to begin airspace testing. According to the FAA UAS team, we are currently engaged with the builders of more than 15 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft projects.

We have proposed new rules that will remove bureaucracy and streamline the testing process for a new generation of civil supersonic aircraft.

We have civilian space pioneers getting ready to take suborbital excursions offered by multiple startup space companies at non-traditional launch sites, like Oklahoma or Alcantara in Northern Brazil.

And lets not forget airspace modernization. On January 1, ADS-B the backbone of our next-generation, or NextGen, air traffic management systemwill become the primary surveillance technology in most U.S. controlled airspace. As of early October, we surpassed the 100,000 mark for equipped aircraft.

On January 1, 2020, all aircraft operating in certain U.S. airspace must be equipped for the ADS-B Out mandate.

Maintaining the highest levels of safety while adapting to technological advancements will be a key part of our success.

To effectively manage all this activity, I have set out four main priorities for my time at the FAASafety; Global Leadership; Stakeholder Engagement, and People. Note that my first priority is Safety…

Lets talk about the MAX. It is crucial that we make safety improvements to the overall aviation system as we learn from the various international efforts analyzing the 737 MAX and its certification.

Ive said this before but will continue to repeat it: The FAAs return-to-service decision based solely on our assessment of the sufficiency of Boeings proposed software updates and pilot training that addresses the known issues for grounding the aircraft. That decision will be applicable only to U.S. carriers operating in U.S. airspace.

Other civil aviation regulators have to take their own actions to return the 737 MAX to service for their air carriers and their airspace. We are conducting numerous outreach activities….

  • We are providing assistance to support states on return-to-service issues
  • Maintain communication and sharing of information; and
  • Schedule more technical webinars in the future.

As far as regaining public trust in the FAA and the safety of the 737 MAX, when we return it to service, we believe the transparency, open and honest communication, and our willingness to constantly improve our systems and processes are the key.

Transparency into our process, transparency into the independent reviews and changes that result from them, our testimony in congressional hearings, our informational briefings to Congressional staff, and our media outreach through our FAA Office of Communications are all important. The public and civil aviation authorities must know that we are not resting on previous safety rates or current processes.

We welcome feedback on how we certified the 737 MAX and are dedicated to providing the safest aviation system in the world. We remain transparent and communicate our actions with international regulators, so that they have the information to make an informed decision.

As you know, there are multiple different independent investigations and audits ongoing on the 737 MAX and the FAAs certification and delegation processes. The first to be completed was the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) teams review of the Boeing 737 MAX flight control system certification.In addition to FAA specialists, the JATR team included aviation safety professionals from NASA, Europe, Canada, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, China, United Arab Emirates, and Japan.

We welcomed the teams recommendations in their final report, and I appreciate their thorough review and hard work.The JATR report highlighted 12 recommendations that would address certain certification and policy-related observations about system safety assessments, human factors, staffing, and oversight of the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) process.

We are fully committed to address all of the recommendations, with special emphasis on those that might pertain to returning the 737 MAX to service. As we have said repeatedly, the aircraft will fly ONLY after we determine it is safe.

The FAAs formation of the JATR was an unprecedented step in that direction. Never before, have 10 civil aviation authorities come together to jointly evaluate the certification processes of one of the partners. The scope of inclusion and communication with our international partners far exceeds any previous effort. The decision to launch the JATR was based on full transparency, openness and delivering on our obligation as the global leader in aviation safety.

Based on what were learning, I see tremendous opportunities for us to make meaningful improvements to the international aviation system. Included is the need to advocate for a global conversation about deepening the understanding of human factors and raising the standards on pilot training.

In closing, I would like to emphasize that while competitiveness is in our naturewe all strive to be the best and our industry thrives because of itwe cannot compete on safety.

Safety must be our top priority and most important core value. Without that foundation, we falter as an interconnected global transportation network.

We at the FAA support ALTAs mission to provide for the development of a safer, more efficient air transport system, and we thank you for your support of our initiatives of the same.

We remain committed to working closely with our government and industry partners throughout Latin America to address the safety and air navigation challenges in the region, and to increase the margins of safety for all of aviation.

I would like to again thank ALTA for inviting me, and to my counterparts here in Brazil for being such gracious hosts.

Obrigado Thank you.

Speech – Boeing 737 MAX Status Meeting with Aviation Regulators in Montreal

Administrator Stephen Dickson
Montreal, Canada

Welcome to everyone and thank you for joining us today.

When we fly anywhere in the world, we enjoy a certainty of safety that is unrivaled in the modern transportation era. All of us here understand that the success of the global aviation system rests squarely on our shared commitment to safety and our common understanding of what it takes to achieve it.

The grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX placed a spotlight on safety and the FAAs approach to oversight of those we regulate.For the MAX, as with all aircraft, we made use of a thorough certification process that has consistently produced safe aviation products.

However, that process and the regulations that we use in certification programs are not static. They are continuously evolving. In the name of continuous improvement, we welcome feedback from our fellow civil aviation authorities, the aviation industry and the important independent reviews of the MAX and the FAAs certification process.

The last few months have made it clear that, in the mind of the traveling public, aviation safety recognizes no borders. Travelers demand the same high level of safety no matter where they fly. It is up to us as aviation regulators to deliver on this shared responsibility.

The collaboration and transparency that has been so vital to our progress in understanding and responding to the 737 MAX accidents must continue as the world aviation community pursues new and more innovative ways to improve safety. Forums such as this weeks ICAO conference are vital to that ongoing exchange of ideas.

As we in the aviation world know, accidents in complex systems rarely are the result of a single cause; rather, they often happen due to a complex chain of events and interaction between man and machine. If we are to continue to raise the bar for safety across the globe, it will be important for all of us at ICAO to foster improvements in standards and approaches for not just in how aircraft are designed and produced, but how they are maintained and operated.

With respect to our international partners, the FAA clearly understands its responsibilities as State of Design for the 737 MAX. This meeting today is one of those key responsibilitiessharing the status of the FAAs efforts to date. In addition to bringing you up to date with our latest progress, we stand ready to assist you technically and discuss the next steps in safely returning the aircraft to service in the U.S.

This rigorous process and our commitment to improvement will get us to the right answer an aircraft that meets the highest safety standards. Our commitment to safety is unwavering, and we are doing everything we can to assure the public that we are being thorough in these efforts. I announced last week that I plan to fly the aircraft myself before the FAA returns the aircraft to flight.

As you make your own decisions about returning the MAX to service, we will continue to make available to you all that we have learned, all that we have done, and all of our assistance. You have my commitment on that. And because each of you is here, its clear you share that same commitment. I have every confidence and high expectations that this will be a constructive day.

Thank you for joining us.