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Testimony – Before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation; concerning Implementation of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018

Chairman Larsen, Ranking Member Graves, Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) ongoing work to implement the provisions of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (2018 Act or Act). The 2018 Act is a wide-ranging reauthorization measure that provided the FAA with a host of critical new authorities and responsibilities on a broad range of aviation issues including enhancing safety, improving infrastructure, and enabling innovation. Although the 2018 Act reauthorized aviation programs for five years, the vast majority of the specific mandates require FAA action within the first year. The Acts focus on the first year of the reauthorization period, as well as other challenges that the FAA has encountered since enactment, has required the FAA to prioritize its implementation strategy. Despite these challenges, I am pleased to report that the FAA has made substantial progress on fulfilling the congressional mandates in the Act, and I would like to summarize for you some of the FAAs accomplishments.

Aircraft Certification & Flight Standards

The regulations and policies that guide the FAAs approach to aircraft certification and flight standards have evolved over time in order to adapt to an ever-changing industry, and to ensure that safety is always our first priority. Continuous improvement is an integral component of the FAAs safety culture and we are committed to learning from our experiences and using what we have learned to improve our process.

  • Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee. The 2018 Act requires the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC) to advise the Secretary on policy-level issues facing the aviation community related to FAA safety oversight and certification programs and activities. The Act further requires the new advisory committee to focus on a number of specific aspects of the FAAs safety oversight role including, for example, organization designation authorization (ODA).

Secretary Chao this summer announced the appointment of 22 members to the advisory committee. The SOCAC consists of members representing stakeholders from across the aviation sector. Additionally, the Secretary created a Special Committee within the structure of the SOCAC to specifically review FAA procedures for the certification of new aircraft. Through this framework, leading outside experts will help determine if improvements can be made to the FAAs aircraft certification process. As Secretary Chao emphasized, safety is the number one priority of the Department. The FAA embraces meaningful oversight to make air transportation safer. We welcome the work of the SOCAC and the Special Committee and look forward to reviewing their recommendations.

  • Organization Designation Authorization Office. The use of delegation, in some form, has been a vital part of our Nations aviation safety system since the 1920s. Congress has continually expanded the designee program since creation of the FAA in 1958, and it is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process. In March 2019, consistent with requirements under the 2018 Act, the FAA formally established the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) Office within the Office of Aviation Safety. This Office will ensure consistency of ODA oversight functions. It will facilitate standardized application of policy, ensure the proficiency of ODA staff in executing oversight processes, monitor risk and performance issues, and facilitate continuous improvement of ODA program performance.
  • Aircraft Certification Performance Objectives and Metrics. The 2018 Act requires the FAA to establish, in conjunction with the SOCAC, aircraft certification performance metrics and to apply and track the metrics for both the FAA and industry. After a months-long effort to develop the metrics, the FAA, in collaboration with the Safety Oversight and Certification Aviation Rulemaking Committee, established a list of 14 metrics in August 2019. The FAA is prepared to track the metrics after coordinating with the SOCAC at their initial meeting in November 2019. We expect that tracking these metrics will allow the FAA to identify inefficiencies, increase accountability, and improve safety.
  • Flight Standards Performance Objectives and Metrics. The Act also requires FAA to establish, in conjunction with the SOCAC, flight standards performance metrics. In August 2019, the FAA established the Flight Standards Transparency, Performance, Accountability, and Efficiency Aviation Rulemaking Committee. This rulemaking committee has been tasked to make recommendations concerning the performance metrics for both the FAA and industry.

Aviation Safety

The 2018 Act is the most comprehensive aviation reauthorization measure enacted in over 30 years. In addition to the 33 separate FAA rulemakings required under the Act, Congress also required the FAA to create new Aviation Rulemaking Committees (ARCs) and to task the existing Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) with specific responsibilities concerning various aviation safety objectives. The list below provides a glimpse into some of the important work the FAA has accomplished in this area since enactment.

  • Flight Attendant Duty/Rest Period. Ensuring that crewmembers are properly rested is a critical component of aviation safety. In April 2019, the FAA initiated a rulemaking in accordance with the 2018 Act, to modify applicable rules to require a minimum rest period of 10 hours for any flight attendant scheduled to a duty period of 14 hours or less. In support of this effort, the FAA drafted an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that published earlier this week. We expect the process will provide us with data from aviation stakeholders and the general public to assist us in developing the proposed rule.

Additionally, on June 18, 2019, the FAA published information to advise the industry of the flight attendant fatigue risk management plan requirements contained in the 2018 Act. The FAA is actively receiving and reviewing air carrier flight attendant fatigue risk management plans.

  • Designated Pilot Examiners. On June 20, 2019, the FAA directed the ARAC to review all regulations and policies related to designated pilot examiners. Through the ARAC, the FAA will gather recommendations on regulatory and policy changes necessary to ensure that an adequate number of designated pilot examiners are deployed and available to perform their duties to meet the growing needs of the public.
  • Secondary Cockpit Barriers. The 2018 Act requires the FAA to issue an order requiring the installation of a secondary cockpit barrier on each new aircraft that is manufactured for delivery to a passenger air carrier in the United States operating under part 121 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations. The FAA is committed to implementing this requirement. On June 20, 2019, the ARAC accepted an FAA tasking to provide recommendations regarding implementation of this provision. The FAA looks forward to reviewing the ARACs recommendations and moving forward on this mandate.
  • Pilot Duty/Rest Period. On May 21, 2019, the FAA established the Part 135 Pilot Rest and Duty Rules Aviation Rulemaking Committee. The 2018 Act requires the FAA to convene the committee to review, and develop findings and recommendations regarding, pilot rest and duty rules under part 135 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Emergency Evacuation Standards. On April 24, 2019, the FAA established the Emergency Evacuation Standards Aviation Rulemaking Committee. This ARC will provide a forum for affected parties to discuss and provide recommendations to the FAA on certification of emergency evacuation systems, designs, and procedures. The formation of the ARC is a significant step forward in fulfilling the requirements under the 2018 Act to review and report on cabin evacuation procedures.
  • Safety Critical Staffing. The 2018 Act requires the FAA to update its safety critical staffing model. The staffing model is an important mechanism to help determine the number of aviation safety inspectors needed to fulfill the FAAs safety oversight mission. The staffing model has been updated and new staffing forecasts have been developed. The FAAs Aviation Safety Workforce Plan was delivered to Congress in March 2019.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)

The 2018 Act devoted considerable attention to the FAAs continued work on the integration of UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS). The points below highlight some of the Agencys important work in this area.

  • Remote ID. To further the overall objective of integrating UAS into the NAS, Congress recognized the importance of remote identification when it enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. That Act laid the foundation for the FAAs work with operators and security partners to realize the importance of remote identification and reach a consensus on how to address it. More recently, the 2018 Act provided the FAA with the authority to continue its work on this important issue. In May 2019, the FAA published a notice implementing the 2018 Acts legislative exception for limited recreational operations of unmanned aircraft. Additionally, in July 2019, the FAA expanded the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC) system to include recreational flyers. This action increased the safety of the NAS and the ability of recreational UAS operators to gain rapid authorization for access to controlled airspace nationwide. Further, the 2018 Act provided clarity on the requirements for recreational UAS operations and has allowed the FAA to move ahead with work on UAS registration and remote identificationboth of which are critical to the success of commercial UAS operations and UAS integration more broadly.

Remote identification is fundamental to both safety and security of UAS operations. Remote identification will be necessary for routine beyond visual line-of-sight operations, operations over people, package deliveries, operations in congested areas, and the continued safe operation of all aircraft in shared airspace. It will also be foundational for the advancement of automated passenger or cargo-carrying air transportation, which is often referred to as Urban Air Mobility. With remote identification, the FAA and our national security and public safety partners will be better able to identify a UAS and its operator, assess if a UAS is being operated in a clueless, careless, or criminal manner, and take appropriate action if necessary. Remote identification is the FAAs highest priority UAS-related rulemaking effort. A draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on this subject is presently in Executive Branch clearance.

  • Carriage of Property by Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Congress also recognized, in the 2018 Act, the growing potential of UAS to deliver cargo. In particular, the Act requires the FAA to update existing regulations to authorize the carriage of property by operators of UAS for compensation or hire in the United States. The FAA has been working closely with the participants in the UAS Integration Pilot Program (IPP) to accelerate safe UAS operations. The IPP has evaluated a host of operational concepts including operations at night, over people, beyond the pilots line of sight, and package delivery. This work is ongoing, and the FAA is currently meeting the intent of the mandate through an exemption process. Earlier this year, the FAA granted the first air carrier certification to a commercial UAS operator for package deliveries in rural Blacksburg, Virginia. Although the regulatory framework for broader UAS operations is not complete, the IPP has helped to inform the FAA and UAS operators of the extent to which operations can begin under existing rules.
  • Local Public Safety Engagement on UAS Operations. The 2018 Act directed the FAA to develop a comprehensive strategy to support and provide guidance for state and local public safety partners to identify and respond to threats posed by UAS as well as opportunities to use UAS to enhance the effectiveness of first responders. The FAA has made a substantial and continuing effort to make the information needed by Federal, state and local entities readily available. The FAA has assembled a great amount of useful and easily accessible information on its web page dedicated to public safety and government UAS issues. Here, government stakeholders can find information on how to operate UAS, how to start a UAS public safety program, and information on waivers and authorizations supporting emergency UAS operations. The website also provides guidance on understanding local authority and the handling of UAS sightings and reports of non-compliant UAS operations. The FAAs informational toolkit consists of videos, guidance, and other resources that can assist local law enforcement agencies in their handling of situations involving UAS, including a public safety engagement plan. Throughout this information, the FAA has sought to emphasize that: (1) flying UAS is a regulated activity and there are Federal rules for flying UAS legally and safely; (2) flying at night, too close to people, or in restricted or controlled airspace is generally prohibited without FAA authorization; (3) the small UAS rulepart 107 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulationsprovides the framework for routine, low-altitude small UAS operations; and (4) FAAs Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) can help local public safety partners distinguish between what is and is not allowed under Federal rules.

Airports

In keeping with this Administrations goal of improving our Nations airport infrastructure, the 2018 Act prioritized efforts to improve airport infrastructure planning and development. The FAA is making continuous progress in carrying out the congressional mandates contained in the Act. Some of the more important initiatives that the FAA is working on include the following:

  • Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) Streamlining. In the 2018 Act, Congress directed the FAA to expand the streamlining concept for PFC applications to all eligible airports (no longer limiting it to just non-hub primary airports). The FAA is making excellent progress in developing a proposed approach to a new pilot program, while also identifying opportunities to improve the existing process in the interim. This potential approach would yield near-term benefits for the Nations airports, while also providing the necessary data to support the regulatory changes that are still required under the statute. It will also help the FAA address concerns expressed by the airline community.
  • Airfield Pavement for Non-Primary Airports. The 2018 Act authorized states to request the use of highway specifications for airfield paving and construction if aircraft serving the airport do not exceed 60,000 pounds and safety would not be affected. The FAAs draft guidance on this provision is nearing completion and we anticipate that this authority will create some opportunities for capital cost reductions without eroding safety. Additionally, as required by the Act, the FAA stands ready to provide technical assistance to any state that may want to develop alternative airport pavement standards where local conditions and locally available materials may make this desirable.
  • Contract Towers. The FAA is making significant progress in implementing the 2018 Act concerning the processing of new applications to the Contract Tower program and benefit-cost analysis of contract towers. In June 2019, the FAA re-opened the applications for new towers to the program. To date, we have received nine applications for entry into the program. In accordance with congressional direction, the FAA has conducted updated benefit-cost analyses for existing cost-share participants and will notify sponsor airports of the results by the end of September.

In addition, the FAA is making significant progress on implementing the 2018 Acts elimination of the $2 million cumulative Airport Improvement Program (AIP) cap, and authorization for the FAA to use resources from the Small Airport Fund (a key component of the AIP) for eligible contract tower projects. The FAA has moved swiftly to implement these changes with updated guidance, and is working with potential recipients of these funds for high-priority tower projects.

  • Limited Land Use Regulation for Airports. As part of the 2018 Act, Congress imposed limitations, with certain exceptions, on the FAAs authority to regulate an airports acquisition, use, lease, encumbrance, transfer, or disposal of land and facilities. Implementation of this section is a high priority for the FAA. We have already identified more than 25 projects where airports have been able to move forward with minimal FAA involvement. These early examples have provided valuable information that is helping the FAA to develop guidance to ensure that the provision is consistently implemented.
  • Airport Firefighting. The 2018 Act enacted limitations on the FAAs authority to require the use of certain firefighting chemicals. In particular, starting three years after the date of enactment, the FAA is prohibited from requiring the use of fluorinated chemicals to meet performance standards for firefighting agents. The FAA is making great progress in both the development of a facility to conduct live firefighting agent testing and, in its collaboration with other agencies, to advance identification and evaluation of alternative firefighting agents. In the meantime, we have also implemented short-term changes to reduce the release of fluorinated chemicals into the environment by airports, including the approval of three testing systems that do not result in the external discharge of fluorinated chemicals. We also issued guidance to airports alerting them to their ability to use AIP funds to purchase these testing systems.

Hazardous Materials in Air Transportation

Within the Department of Transportation, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has the primary responsibility for establishing multi-modal regulations for the safe transportation of hazardous materials, to include establishing rules for the classification, containment, and communication of the presence of hazardous materials. PHMSA is leading critical lithium battery regulatory initiatives prescribed by the 2018 Act and the FAA is working to ensure compliance with air transport safety regulations as well as conducting a public awareness campaign.

  • Lithium Battery Safety Working Group and Safety Advisory Committee. PHMSA is establishing a working group to promote and coordinate efforts related to the safe manufacture, use, and transportation of lithium batteries and cells. PHMSA is also establishing a lithium ion and lithium metal battery air safety advisory committee to facilitate communication between manufacturers, air carriers, and the Federal Government regarding the safe air transportation of lithium ion and lithium metal batteries as well as the effectiveness, economic, and social impacts of the regulation of such transportation.
  • FAA Cooperative Efforts to Ensure Compliance with Safety Regulations. In support of the broader hazardous materials safety effort, the FAA focuses on conducting oversight of the integration of hazardous materials safety measures into the aviation transportation system. Accordingly, the FAA is leading efforts, consistent with the 2018 Act requirements, to improve interagency and international cooperative efforts to ensure compliance with safety regulations for air transport of lithium batteries.
  • Undeclared Hazardous Materials Public Awareness Campaign. The FAA launched a new website that provides stakeholders including shippers, air carriers, and the traveling publicwith a one-stop shop they can easily access to find information and answers to their questions. The FAA recently provided Congress with an update of our public awareness campaign to reduce undeclared dangerous goods in air commerce. The FAA is also participating in an industry/government/labor coalition that meets regularly to strategize on improvements to the messaging and other tools that industry uses to educate their customers on the proper procedures for transporting hazardous materials by aircraft. Additionally, the FAA is supporting a PHMSA-led public education campaign known as Check the Box to increase public awareness of the risks associated with undeclared shipments of hazardous materials.

Innovation

This Administration has made it a priority to engage with new and emerging technologies and enable innovation wherever possible. Innovations in aviation and aerospace have benefitted our economy, transformed the way we travel, helped the environment, and saved lives. In the 2018 Act, Congress recognized the importance of innovation and the FAA is working to foster it while maintaining the safety of the NAS.

  • Supersonics. In the 2018 Act, Congress supported FAA leadership on the creation of policies, regulations, and standards to enable the safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft. As part of the FAAs efforts to implement this authority, the FAA in June 2019 published an NPRM intended to clarify and streamline the procedures for special flight authorizations for supersonic aircraft. The FAA is currently reviewing the comments we received on the NPRM and considers this rulemaking to be one of the FAAs first actions in a continued and concerted effort to advance the operation of civil supersonic aircraft consistent with our other statutory and international obligations concerning noise and emissions.
  • Noise. Over the decades, the aviation industry has made significant progress in the development of technology to reduce noise from aircraft. Congress and the FAA have worked closely on this continued effort and the FAA is currently working to complete the noise-related requirements contained in the 2018 Act. One provision directs the FAA to complete a study on the potential health and economic impacts of overflight noise. The FAA recently awarded a $1.7 million grant to university members from the FAAs Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment in order to carry out the study. The Act also required the FAA to designate a regional ombudsman for each of the FAAs regions to act as a liaison with the public on issues of noise, pollution, and safety. The FAA elected to designate our community engagement officers as the regional ombudsman. They are in the process of being on-boarded and trained. The FAA will announce the individuals as soon as training is completed, which we anticipate will be in October of this year. The FAA is constantly working to foster better communication between the Agency and affected communities.
  • Commercial Space. The commercial space transportation industry in the United States is innovative, dynamic, and growing. In Fiscal Year 2018, there were 32 launches and 3reentries of commercial space vehicles for a total of 35 licensed activitiesa record. For Fiscal Year 2019, we had 32 licensed and permitted operations. We are forecasting 35 to 54 licensed or permitted operations in Fiscal Year 2020, and between 33 and 56 licensed or permitted operations in Fiscal Year 2021. In anticipation of this expected growth, the FAA has intensified its efforts to fulfill its commercial space transportation mission, maintaining the highest level of safety without stifling industry expansion and innovation. Congress has recognized the importance of this growing industry and the 2018 Act called for the FAA to stand up an Office of Spaceports within the FAAs Office of Commercial Space Transportation. That Office of Spaceports is up and running and we are actively working with Spaceport licensees and stakeholders. Additionally, although not mandated in the 2018 Act, the FAA is engaged in an important rulemaking to streamline existing launch/reentry regulations to create an environment that promotes economic growth, minimizes uncertainty, protects safety, fosters security, aligns with foreign policy interests, and encourages American leadership in space commerce. The commercial space transportation market is changing rapidly and our regulatory process needs to keep up in order to protect public safety while enabling U.S. industry to innovate. We are currently analyzing industry comments to determine the best path forward to complete the rule.
  • Cyber Testbed. Cybersecurity has become a significant component of nearly every modern aviation technological development. The 2018 Act required the FAA to develop a cyber testbed for research, development, evaluation, and validation of air traffic control modernization technologies to ensure that they are compliant with FAA data security regulations before they become operational. The FAA completed this action and the Cybersecurity Test Facility (CyTF) is now operational at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The CyTF provides the FAA with an adaptable cybersecurity test environment to evaluate technologies prior to their integration into the National Airspace environment. The facility is also used for the cybersecurity training of the FAA workforce. Also, as part of an additional cybersecurity requirement under the Act, the FAA is updating its overall Strategic Cybersecurity Plan. The Agencys Cybersecurity Steering Committee has completed the yearly update, and we expect to publish the FAAs 20202025 cybersecurity strategy in the coming weeks.

Conclusion

Chairman Larsen, I want to assure you, and each member of the Subcommittee, that the FAA is fully committed to carrying out the provisions of the 2018 Act as quickly as possible. The FAA takes the congressional direction we receive very seriously and our employees work hard to achieve the mandated goals and directives. We have to ensure, however, that the substance behind each requirement is not sacrificed in a rush to declare completion. We are confident that we are making substantial and meaningful progress and we fully intend to keep Congress apprised of that progress on a regular basis. This concludes my statement and I will be glad to answer your questions.

Testimony – Before the Committee on Appropriations;Subcommittee on Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Oversight Hearing concerning FAA Aviation Certification

Chairman Price, Ranking Member Diaz-Balart, and Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me here today to speak with you about the Federal Aviation Administrations (FAA) certification process. The FAAs aircraft certification processes are well-established, thorough, and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs. Our aviation safety record in the United States bears this out; since 1997, the risk of a fatal commercial aviation accident in the United States has been cut by 94 percent. And in the past ten years, there has been one commercial airline passenger fatality in the United States in over 90 million flights. But one fatality is one too many, and a healthy safety culture requires commitment to continuous improvement.

The regulations and policies that guide our approach to aircraft certification have evolved over time in order to adapt to an ever-changing industry, and to ensure safety is always our first priority. Continuous improvement is an integral component of the FAAs safety culture and we are committed to learning from our experiences and using what weve learned to improve our process. With that as the basis for our approach to certification, I would like to outline for you the significant aspects of FAAs certification process and the recent initiatives that have been put in place to review our processes and procedures.

Aircraft Certification

Information sharing is a cornerstone of aviation safety and has significantly contributed to the United States outstanding safety record. One of the FAAs core functions, aircraft certification, has always relied on the exchange of information and technical data. The FAA certifies the design of aircraft and components that are used in civil aviation operations. Some version of our certification process has been in place and served us well for over 60 years. This does not mean the process has remained static. To the contrary, since 1964, the regulations covering certification processes have been under constant review. As a result, the general regulations have been modified over 90 times, and the rules applicable to large transport aircraft, like the Boeing 737 MAX, have been amended over 130 times. The regulations and our policies have evolved in order to adapt to an industry that uses global partnerships to develop new, more efficient, and safer aviation products and technologies. What has not changed is that, for any new project, the FAA identifies all safety standards and makes all key decisions regarding certification of the aircraft.

The use of delegation has been a vital part of our safety system, in one form or another, since the 1920s. Congress has continually expanded the designee program since creation of the FAA in 1958, and it is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process. Under this program, the FAA may delegate a matter related to aircraft certification to a qualified private person. During the past few years, Congress has endorsed FAAs delegation authority, including in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, which directed the FAA to delegate more certification tasks to the designees we oversee.

Delegation is not self-certification; the FAA retains strict oversight authority. The program allows the FAA to leverage its resources and technical expertise while holding the applicant accountable for compliance. The FAA reviews the applicants design descriptions and project plans, determines where FAA involvement will derive the most safety benefit, and coordinates its intentions with the applicant. When a particular decision or event is critical to the safety of the product or to the determination of compliance, the FAA is involved either directly or through the use of our designee system.

In aircraft certification, both individual and organizational designees support the FAA. The aircraft certification process has four stages: (1) certification basis; (2) planning and standards; (3) analysis and testing; and (4) final decision and certification of design. The FAA determines the level of involvement of the designees and the level of FAA participation needed based on many variables. These variables include the designees understanding of the compliance policy; consideration of any new and novel certification areas; or instances where adequate standards may not be in place. The work FAA delegates primarily relates to analysis and testing. About 94% of work in this area is delegated, and that work involves lower risk and routine items. The FAA does not delegate the other functions. The FAA determines the certification basis, identifies the standards, and makes all key and final decisions.

The Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program is the means by which the FAA may authorize an organization to act as a representative of the FAA under strict FAA oversight. Currently, there are 79 ODA holders. ODA certification processes allow FAA to leverage industry expertise in the conduct of the certification activities and focus on important safety matters. The FAA has a rigorous process for issuing an ODA and only grants this authorization to mature companies with a proven history of designing products that meet FAA safety standards. ODA holders must have demonstrated experience and expertise in FAA certification processes, a qualified staff, and an FAA-approved procedures manual before they are appointed. The FAA delegates authority on a project-by-project basis, and the manual defines the process and procedures to which the ODA must adhere when executing the delegated authority. The ODA holder is responsible to ensure that ODA staff are free to perform their authorized functions without conflicts of interest or undue pressure.

There are many issues that will always require direct FAA involvement, including equivalent level of safety determinations, and rulemakings required to approve special conditions. The FAA may choose to be involved in other project areas after considering factors such as our confidence in the applicant, the applicants experience, the applicants internal processes, and confidence in the designees.

Something that is not well understood about the certification process is that it is the applicants responsibility to ensure that an aircraft complies with FAA safety regulations. It is the applicant who is required to develop aircraft design plans and specifications, and perform the appropriate inspections and tests necessary to establish that an aircraft design complies with the regulations. The FAA is responsible for determining that the applicant has shown that the overall design meets the safety standards. We do that by reviewing data and by conducting risk-based evaluations of the applicant’s work.

The FAA is directly involved in the testing and certification of new and novel features and technologies. When a new design or a change to an existing design of an aircraft is being proposed, the designer must apply to the FAA for a design approval. While an applicant usually works on its design before discussing it with the FAA, we encourage collaborative discussions well in advance of presenting a formal application. Once an applicant informs the FAA of the intent to develop and certify a product, a series of meetings are held both to familiarize the FAA with the proposed design, and to familiarize the applicant with the certification requirements. A number of formal and informal meetings are held on issues ranging from technical to procedural. Once the application is made, there is a structured way of documenting the resolution of technical, regulatory, and administrative issues that are identified during the process.

Once the certification basis is established for a proposed design, the FAA and the applicant develop and agree to a certification plan and initial schedule. In order to receive a type certificate, the applicant must conduct an extensive series of tests and reviews to show that the product is compliant with existing standards and any special conditions, including lab tests, flight tests, and conformity inspections. These analyses, tests, and inspections happen at a component-level and an airplane-level, all of which are subject to FAA oversight. If the FAA finds that a proposed new type of aircraft complies with safety standards, it issues a type certificate. Or, in the case of a change to an existing aircraft design, the FAA issues an amended type certificate.

737 MAX Post-Grounding Actions

The crashes of two Boeing 737 MAX airplanes in five months placed a spotlight on safety and FAAs approach to oversight of those we regulate. With respect to the certification of the 737MAX, the facts are these: it took five years to certify the 737 MAX. Boeing applied for certification in January 2012. The certification was completed in March 2017. During those five years, FAA safety engineers and test pilots put in 110,000 hours of work, and they flew or supported 297 test flights.

As part of the FAAs commitment to continuous improvement, we both welcome and invite review of our processes and procedures. A number of reviews and audits have been initiated to look at different aspects of the 737 MAX certification. After the FAA grounded the 737 MAX, Secretary Chao asked the Department of Transportations Inspector General to conduct an audit of the certification for the 737 MAX, with the goal of compiling an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the 737 MAX aircraft. Secretary Chao also announced the establishment of an expert Special Committee to advise the department on aviation safety oversight and certification programs, including a review of the FAAs procedures for the certification of new aircraft. The Special Committee has been formed within the structure of the Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee (SOCAC). Established by Congress in the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act, the SOCAC is an independent panel that will advise the FAA more broadly on aircraft and flight standards certification processes, oversight of safety management systems, risk-based oversight efforts, and utilization of delegation and designation authorities. Secretary Chao recently announced that the SOCACs 22-member panel will include officials from Delta Air Lines, GE Aviation, United Airlines, Bell Helicopter Textron, Garmin, Wing Aviation LLC, Pratt & Whitney (a unit of United Technologies Corp), and Gulfstream (a unit of General Dynamics Corp), as well as union, airport, and trade association officials.

The FAA established a Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) to conduct a comprehensive review of the certification of the automated flight control system on the Boeing 737 MAX. The JATR is chaired by former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Christopher Hart and comprises a team of experts from the FAA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the aviation authorities of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates.

Additionally, the FAA met with safety representatives of the three U.S.-based commercial airlines that have the Boeing 737 MAX in their fleets, as well as the pilot unions for those airlines. This meeting was an opportunity for the FAA to hear individual views from operators and pilots of the 737 MAX as the agency evaluates what needs to be done before the FAA makes a decision to return the aircraft to service in the United States. In keeping with the FAAs longstanding cooperation with its international partners, the FAA also hosted a meeting of Directors General of civil aviation authorities from around the world to discuss the FAAs activities toward ensuring the safe return of the 737 MAX to service. We continue to be in frequent communication with the international aviation safety community and are working closely with our counterparts to address their concerns and keep them informed of progress.

The FAA also initiated a multi-agency Technical Advisory Board (TAB) review of Boeings software update and system safety assessment in order to determine compliance. The TAB consists of a team of experts from the U.S. Air Force, NASA, Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, and the FAA. None of the TAB experts have been involved in any aspect of the Boeing 737 MAX certification. The TAB is charged with evaluating Boeing and FAA efforts related to the software update and its integration into the flight control system. The TAB will identify issues where further investigation is required prior to approval of the design change. The JATR is looking broadly at the original certification of the 737 MAX flight control system, while the TAB is evaluating Boeings proposed technical solutions related to the two accidents. The TABs recommendations will directly inform the FAAs decision concerning the 737 MAX fleets return to service.

The FAA is following a thorough process, not a prescribed timeline, for returning the 737MAX to passenger service. We continue to evaluate Boeings software modification and we are still developing necessary training requirements. The 737 MAX will not return to service for U.S. carriers and in U.S. airspace until the FAAs analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is safe to do so.

This concludes my statement. I would be happy to respond to your questions.

Testimony – Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space concerning the State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation

Chairman Cruz, Ranking Member Sinema, Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the current state of aviation safety.On behalf of the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident, as well as the Lion Air accident.

Safety is the core of the Federal Aviation Administrations mission and our top priority.With the support of this Committee, we have worked tirelessly to take a more proactive, data-driven approach to oversight that instills a safety above all approach inside the FAA and within the aviation community that we regulate.The result of this approach is that the United States has the safest air transportation system in the world.Since 1997, the risk of a fatal commercial aviation accident in the United States has been cut by 95 percent.And in the past ten years, there has only been one commercial airline passenger fatality in the United States in over 90 million flights.But a healthy safety culture requires commitment to continuous improvement.

Our commitment to safety and fact-based, data-driven decision making has been the guiding principle in the FAAs response to the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX airplane outside the United States.Today, I would like to provide you with an overview of the FAAs certification and oversight processes, our current actions with respect to the 737 MAX, and the next steps that the FAA will take to foster safety enhancements here and abroad.

As the aerospace system and its components become increasingly more complex, we know that our oversight approach needs to evolve to ensure that the FAA remains the global leader in achieving aviation safety.In order to maintain the safest air transportation system in the world, during the past two decades the FAA has been evolving from a prescriptive and more reactive approach for its safety oversight responsibilities to one that is performance-based, proactive, centered on managing risk, and focused on continuous improvement.A key part of this transition has been the adoption of safety management systems, or SMS, within the FAA.The evolution toward SMS began internally at the FAA more than 15 years ago, starting with the FAAs Air Traffic Organization and expanding across the FAA to include all of our lines of business. Consistent with recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we have been working with industry towards implementation of SMS in various sectors.For example, as of March 9, 2018, scheduled commercial air carriers, regulated under 14 CFR part 121, are required to have an SMS.

Safety is not just a set of programs that can be established or implemented. It is a way of living and working, and it requires the open and transparent exchange of information.We know that it takes collaboration, communication, and common safety objectives to allow the FAA and the aviation community to come together, to identify system hazards, and to implement safety solutions.This approach gives us knowledge that we would not otherwise have about events and risks.Sharing safety issues, trends, and lessons learned is critical to recognizing whatever might be emerging as a risk in the system. The more data we have, the more we can learn about the system, which in turn allows us to better manage and improve the system.

To be clear, the SMS approach does not diminish the FAAs role as a safety regulator.Any party that the FAA regulates remains responsible for compliance with the FAAs regulatory standards, and the FAA does not hesitate to take enforcement action when it is warranted.

One of the FAAs core functions, aircraft certification, has always relied on the exchange of information and technical data.The FAA certifies the design of aircraft and components that are used in civil aviation operations. Some version of our certification process has been in place and served us well for over 60 years. This does not mean the process has remained static. To the contrary, since 1964, the regulations covering certification processes have been under constant review.As a result, the general regulations have been modified over 90 times, and the rules applicable to large transport aircraft, like the Boeing 737 MAX, have been amended over 130 times.The regulations and our policies have evolved in order to adapt to an ever-changing industry that uses global partnerships to develop new, more efficient, and safer aviation products and technologies.

The FAA focuses its efforts on areas that present the highest risk within the system.The FAA reviews the applicants design descriptions and project plans, determines where FAA involvement will derive the most safety benefit, and coordinates its intentions with the applicant.When a particular decision or event is critical to the safety of the product or to the determination of compliance, the FAA is involved either directly or through the use of our designee system.

The designee program was originally authorized by Congress in 1958 and is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process. Under this program, the FAA may delegate a matter related to aircraft certification to a qualified private person.This is not self-certification; the FAA retains strict oversight authority.The program allows the FAA to leverage its resources through delegation. Last fall, Congress specifically directed the FAA to make full use of this authority in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.In aircraft certification, both individual and organizational designees support the FAA. The FAA determines the level of involvement of the designees and the level of FAA participation needed based on many variables.These variables include the designees understanding of the compliance policy; consideration of any novel or unusual certification areas; or instances where adequate standards may not be in place.

The Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program is the means by which the FAA may authorize an organization to act as a representative of the FAA, allowing that organization to conduct inspections and tests and issue certificates on behalf of the FAA.Currently, there are 79 ODA holders. ODA certification processes allow an applicant greater flexibility and control over schedules than applicants whose projects are directly managed by the FAA. The FAA has a rigorous process for issuing an ODA.ODA holders must have demonstrated experience and expertise in FAA certification processes, a qualified staff, and an FAA-approved procedures manual before they are appointed. The procedures manual defines an ODA holders authority and limitations, and identifies the functions it may perform.

The FAA determines its level of involvement on a project-by-project basis.There are many issues that will always require direct FAA involvement, including equivalent level of safety determinations, and rulemakings required to approve special conditions.The FAA may choose to be involved in other project areas after considering factors such as our confidence in the applicant, the applicants experience, the applicants internal processes, and confidence in the designees.

Something that is not well understood about the certification process is that it is the applicants responsibility to ensure that an aircraft conforms to FAA safety regulations.It is the applicant who is required to develop aircraft design plans and specifications, and perform the appropriate inspections and tests necessary to establish that an aircraft design complies with the regulations.The FAA is responsible for determining that the applicant has shown that the overall design meets the safety standards.We do that by reviewing data and by conducting risk-based evaluations of the applicants work.

The FAA is directly involved in the testing and certification of new and novel features and technologies.When a new design, or a change to an existing design, of aircraft is being proposed, the designer must apply to the FAA for a design approval.While an applicant usually works on its design before discussing it with the FAA, we encourage collaborative discussions well in advance of presenting a formal application.Once an applicant approaches us, a series of meetings are held both to familiarize the FAA with the proposed design, and to familiarize the applicant with the certification requirements.A number of formal and informal meetings are held on issues ranging from technical to procedural.Once the application is made, issue papers are developed to provide a structured way of documenting the resolution of technical, regulatory, and administrative issues that are identified during the process.

Once the certification basis is established for a proposed design, the FAA and the applicant develop and agree to a certification plan and initial schedule. In order to receive a type certificate, the applicant must conduct an extensive series of tests and reviews to show that the product is compliant with existing standards and any special conditions, including lab tests, flight tests, and conformity inspections.These analyses, tests, and inspections happen at a component-level and an airplane-level, all of which are subject to FAA oversight.If the FAA finds that a proposed new type of aircraft complies with safety standards, it issues a type certificate.Or, in the case of a change to an existing aircraft design, the FAA issues an amended type certificate.

The certification processes described above are extensive, well-established, and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs for decades.The Boeing Company has designed and built 14 variations of its original model 737 since the FAA issued the original type certificate in 1967.The FAA followed its standard procedures in determining that the 737 MAX project would qualify as an amended type certificate project, and identifying what items would be delegated to the Boeing ODA to approve and which would be retained by the FAA for approval. Boeing first applied for an amended type certificate for this aircraft in January 2012.As a result of regular meetings between the FAA and Boeing teams, the FAA determined in February 2012 that the project qualified as an amended type certificate project eligible for management by the Boeing ODA. The FAA was directly involved in the System Safety Review of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

The process from initial application to final certification took five years; the FAA added the 737 MAX to the 737 type certificate in March 2017.The process included 297 certification flight tests, some of which encompassed tests of the MCAS functions.FAA engineers and flight test pilots were involved in the MCAS operational evaluation flight test.The certification process was detailed and thorough, but, as is the case with newly certified products, time yields more data to be applied for continued analysis and improvement.As we obtain pertinent information, identify potential risk, or learn of a system failure, we analyze it, we find ways to mitigate the risk, and we require operators to implement the mitigation.And that is what has happened in the case of the 737 MAX.

On October 29, 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX operated by Lion Air as flight JT610 crashed after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.Flight JT610 departed from Jakarta with an intended destination of Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia.It departed Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. (local time), and crashed into the Java Sea approximately 13 minutes later.One hundred and eighty-four passengers and five crewmembers were on board.There were no survivors. An Indonesian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FAA, and Boeing.

On November 7, 2018, based on all available and relevant information, including evidence from the Lion Air accident investigation and analysis performed by Boeing, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive.The airworthiness directive requires operators of the 737 MAX to revise their flight manuals to reinforce to flight crews how to recognize and respond to uncommanded stabilizer trim movement and MCAS events.The FAA continued to evaluate the need for software and/or other design changes to the aircraft including operating procedures and training as additional information was received from the ongoing Lion Air accident investigation.On January 21, 2019, Boeing submitted a proposed MCAS software enhancement to the FAA for certification.To date, the FAA has tested this enhancement to the 737 MAX flight control system in both the simulator and the aircraft.The testing, which was conducted by FAA flight test engineers and flight test pilots, included aerodynamic stall situations and recovery procedures.The FAAs ongoing review of this software installation and training is an agency priority, as will be the roll-out of any software, training, or other measures to operators of the 737 MAX.

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, also a Boeing 737 MAX, crashed at 8:44 a.m. (local time), six minutes after takeoff.The flight departed from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with an intended destination of Nairobi, Kenya.The accident site is near Bishoftu, Ethiopia.One hundred and forty-nine passengers and eight crewmembers were on board.None survived.An Ethiopian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing.

Following the second accident, the FAA gathered all of the data it had and continued to review information from the investigation as it became available.On March 11, 2019, the FAA issued a Continuous Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) for 737 MAX operators.The CANIC included a list of all of the activities the FAA had completed in support of the continued operational safety of the 737 MAX fleet.These activities included the airworthiness directive issued on November 7, 2018, ongoing oversight of Boeings flight control system enhancements, and updated training requirements and flight crew manuals.

After issuing the CANIC, the FAA continued to evaluate all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the 737 MAX, none of which provided any data to support grounding the aircraft.The FAAs initial review of flight safety data for U.S. operators showed no systemic performance issues and provided no basis to order grounding the aircraft.This review included analysis of recent Aviation Safety Reporting System reports that reference MCAS and/or controllability issues with the Boeing 737 MAX.In no case did the reporting party state that the problems experienced were due to the MCAS system.Also, at that time, other civil aviation authorities had not provided any data to the FAA that warranted action.

On March 13, 2019, however, the Ethiopian Airlines investigation developed new information from the wreckage concerning the aircrafts configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircrafts flight path, indicated some similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents that warranted further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause that needed to be better understood and addressed. Accordingly, the FAA made the decision to ground all 737 MAX airplanes operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircrafts flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.

The FAA will continue to support the ongoing Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident investigations, review the evidence and data obtained, and take immediate and appropriate action based on the facts.U.S. and international operators of the 737 MAX are relying on the FAA to get it right.I want to assure this Committee and everyone else concerned that the FAA will go wherever the facts lead us, in the interest of safety.The 737 MAX will return to service for U.S. carriers and in U.S. airspace only when the FAAs analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is appropriate.In our quest for continuous safety improvement, the FAA welcomes external review of our systems, processes, and recommendations. We will work with the newly established Special Committee to Review FAAs Aircraft Certification Process, cooperate fully with the Inspector Generals review, and continue our work with the congressionally-mandated Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee and ODA Expert Review Panel.

As recent events have reminded us, aviation does not have borders or boundaries.The FAA is focused on continuous safety improvement here at home and internationally through our ongoing engagement with other civil aviation authorities and industry stakeholders throughout the world.Aviation remains the safest mode of transportation globally, and we promote this level of safety by sharing issues, trends, and lessons learned throughout the world. The United States is the gold standard in aviation safety.The FAA is resolute in its commitment to maintaining that standard.

This concludes my prepared statement.I will be happy to answer your questions.

Testimony – Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space concerning the State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation

Chairman Cruz, Ranking Member Sinema, Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the current state of aviation safety.On behalf of the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident, as well as the Lion Air accident.

Safety is the core of the Federal Aviation Administrations mission and our top priority.With the support of this Committee, we have worked tirelessly to take a more proactive, data-driven approach to oversight that instills a safety above all approach inside the FAA and within the aviation community that we regulate.The result of this approach is that the United States has the safest air transportation system in the world.Since 1997, the risk of a fatal commercial aviation accident in the United States has been cut by 95 percent.And in the past ten years, there has only been one commercial airline passenger fatality in the United States in over 90 million flights.But a healthy safety culture requires commitment to continuous improvement.

Our commitment to safety and fact-based, data-driven decision making has been the guiding principle in the FAAs response to the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX airplane outside the United States.Today, I would like to provide you with an overview of the FAAs certification and oversight processes, our current actions with respect to the 737 MAX, and the next steps that the FAA will take to foster safety enhancements here and abroad.

As the aerospace system and its components become increasingly more complex, we know that our oversight approach needs to evolve to ensure that the FAA remains the global leader in achieving aviation safety.In order to maintain the safest air transportation system in the world, during the past two decades the FAA has been evolving from a prescriptive and more reactive approach for its safety oversight responsibilities to one that is performance-based, proactive, centered on managing risk, and focused on continuous improvement.A key part of this transition has been the adoption of safety management systems, or SMS, within the FAA.The evolution toward SMS began internally at the FAA more than 15 years ago, starting with the FAAs Air Traffic Organization and expanding across the FAA to include all of our lines of business. Consistent with recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we have been working with industry towards implementation of SMS in various sectors.For example, as of March 9, 2018, scheduled commercial air carriers, regulated under 14 CFR part 121, are required to have an SMS.

Safety is not just a set of programs that can be established or implemented. It is a way of living and working, and it requires the open and transparent exchange of information.We know that it takes collaboration, communication, and common safety objectives to allow the FAA and the aviation community to come together, to identify system hazards, and to implement safety solutions.This approach gives us knowledge that we would not otherwise have about events and risks.Sharing safety issues, trends, and lessons learned is critical to recognizing whatever might be emerging as a risk in the system. The more data we have, the more we can learn about the system, which in turn allows us to better manage and improve the system.

To be clear, the SMS approach does not diminish the FAAs role as a safety regulator.Any party that the FAA regulates remains responsible for compliance with the FAAs regulatory standards, and the FAA does not hesitate to take enforcement action when it is warranted.

One of the FAAs core functions, aircraft certification, has always relied on the exchange of information and technical data.The FAA certifies the design of aircraft and components that are used in civil aviation operations. Some version of our certification process has been in place and served us well for over 60 years. This does not mean the process has remained static. To the contrary, since 1964, the regulations covering certification processes have been under constant review.As a result, the general regulations have been modified over 90 times, and the rules applicable to large transport aircraft, like the Boeing 737 MAX, have been amended over 130 times.The regulations and our policies have evolved in order to adapt to an ever-changing industry that uses global partnerships to develop new, more efficient, and safer aviation products and technologies.

The FAA focuses its efforts on areas that present the highest risk within the system.The FAA reviews the applicants design descriptions and project plans, determines where FAA involvement will derive the most safety benefit, and coordinates its intentions with the applicant.When a particular decision or event is critical to the safety of the product or to the determination of compliance, the FAA is involved either directly or through the use of our designee system.

The designee program was originally authorized by Congress in 1958 and is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process. Under this program, the FAA may delegate a matter related to aircraft certification to a qualified private person.This is not self-certification; the FAA retains strict oversight authority.The program allows the FAA to leverage its resources through delegation. Last fall, Congress specifically directed the FAA to make full use of this authority in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.In aircraft certification, both individual and organizational designees support the FAA. The FAA determines the level of involvement of the designees and the level of FAA participation needed based on many variables.These variables include the designees understanding of the compliance policy; consideration of any novel or unusual certification areas; or instances where adequate standards may not be in place.

The Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program is the means by which the FAA may authorize an organization to act as a representative of the FAA, allowing that organization to conduct inspections and tests and issue certificates on behalf of the FAA.Currently, there are 79 ODA holders. ODA certification processes allow an applicant greater flexibility and control over schedules than applicants whose projects are directly managed by the FAA. The FAA has a rigorous process for issuing an ODA.ODA holders must have demonstrated experience and expertise in FAA certification processes, a qualified staff, and an FAA-approved procedures manual before they are appointed. The procedures manual defines an ODA holders authority and limitations, and identifies the functions it may perform.

The FAA determines its level of involvement on a project-by-project basis.There are many issues that will always require direct FAA involvement, including equivalent level of safety determinations, and rulemakings required to approve special conditions.The FAA may choose to be involved in other project areas after considering factors such as our confidence in the applicant, the applicants experience, the applicants internal processes, and confidence in the designees.

Something that is not well understood about the certification process is that it is the applicants responsibility to ensure that an aircraft conforms to FAA safety regulations.It is the applicant who is required to develop aircraft design plans and specifications, and perform the appropriate inspections and tests necessary to establish that an aircraft design complies with the regulations.The FAA is responsible for determining that the applicant has shown that the overall design meets the safety standards.We do that by reviewing data and by conducting risk-based evaluations of the applicants work.

The FAA is directly involved in the testing and certification of new and novel features and technologies.When a new design, or a change to an existing design, of aircraft is being proposed, the designer must apply to the FAA for a design approval.While an applicant usually works on its design before discussing it with the FAA, we encourage collaborative discussions well in advance of presenting a formal application.Once an applicant approaches us, a series of meetings are held both to familiarize the FAA with the proposed design, and to familiarize the applicant with the certification requirements.A number of formal and informal meetings are held on issues ranging from technical to procedural.Once the application is made, issue papers are developed to provide a structured way of documenting the resolution of technical, regulatory, and administrative issues that are identified during the process.

Once the certification basis is established for a proposed design, the FAA and the applicant develop and agree to a certification plan and initial schedule. In order to receive a type certificate, the applicant must conduct an extensive series of tests and reviews to show that the product is compliant with existing standards and any special conditions, including lab tests, flight tests, and conformity inspections.These analyses, tests, and inspections happen at a component-level and an airplane-level, all of which are subject to FAA oversight.If the FAA finds that a proposed new type of aircraft complies with safety standards, it issues a type certificate.Or, in the case of a change to an existing aircraft design, the FAA issues an amended type certificate.

The certification processes described above are extensive, well-established, and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs for decades.The Boeing Company has designed and built 14 variations of its original model 737 since the FAA issued the original type certificate in 1967.The FAA followed its standard procedures in determining that the 737 MAX project would qualify as an amended type certificate project, and identifying what items would be delegated to the Boeing ODA to approve and which would be retained by the FAA for approval. Boeing first applied for an amended type certificate for this aircraft in January 2012.As a result of regular meetings between the FAA and Boeing teams, the FAA determined in February 2012 that the project qualified as an amended type certificate project eligible for management by the Boeing ODA. The FAA was directly involved in the System Safety Review of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

The process from initial application to final certification took five years; the FAA added the 737 MAX to the 737 type certificate in March 2017.The process included 297 certification flight tests, some of which encompassed tests of the MCAS functions.FAA engineers and flight test pilots were involved in the MCAS operational evaluation flight test.The certification process was detailed and thorough, but, as is the case with newly certified products, time yields more data to be applied for continued analysis and improvement.As we obtain pertinent information, identify potential risk, or learn of a system failure, we analyze it, we find ways to mitigate the risk, and we require operators to implement the mitigation.And that is what has happened in the case of the 737 MAX.

On October 29, 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX operated by Lion Air as flight JT610 crashed after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.Flight JT610 departed from Jakarta with an intended destination of Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia.It departed Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. (local time), and crashed into the Java Sea approximately 13 minutes later.One hundred and eighty-four passengers and five crewmembers were on board.There were no survivors. An Indonesian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FAA, and Boeing.

On November 7, 2018, based on all available and relevant information, including evidence from the Lion Air accident investigation and analysis performed by Boeing, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive.The airworthiness directive requires operators of the 737 MAX to revise their flight manuals to reinforce to flight crews how to recognize and respond to uncommanded stabilizer trim movement and MCAS events.The FAA continued to evaluate the need for software and/or other design changes to the aircraft including operating procedures and training as additional information was received from the ongoing Lion Air accident investigation.On January 21, 2019, Boeing submitted a proposed MCAS software enhancement to the FAA for certification.To date, the FAA has tested this enhancement to the 737 MAX flight control system in both the simulator and the aircraft.The testing, which was conducted by FAA flight test engineers and flight test pilots, included aerodynamic stall situations and recovery procedures.The FAAs ongoing review of this software installation and training is an agency priority, as will be the roll-out of any software, training, or other measures to operators of the 737 MAX.

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, also a Boeing 737 MAX, crashed at 8:44 a.m. (local time), six minutes after takeoff.The flight departed from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with an intended destination of Nairobi, Kenya.The accident site is near Bishoftu, Ethiopia.One hundred and forty-nine passengers and eight crewmembers were on board.None survived.An Ethiopian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing.

Following the second accident, the FAA gathered all of the data it had and continued to review information from the investigation as it became available.On March 11, 2019, the FAA issued a Continuous Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) for 737 MAX operators.The CANIC included a list of all of the activities the FAA had completed in support of the continued operational safety of the 737 MAX fleet.These activities included the airworthiness directive issued on November 7, 2018, ongoing oversight of Boeings flight control system enhancements, and updated training requirements and flight crew manuals.

After issuing the CANIC, the FAA continued to evaluate all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the 737 MAX, none of which provided any data to support grounding the aircraft.The FAAs initial review of flight safety data for U.S. operators showed no systemic performance issues and provided no basis to order grounding the aircraft.This review included analysis of recent Aviation Safety Reporting System reports that reference MCAS and/or controllability issues with the Boeing 737 MAX.In no case did the reporting party state that the problems experienced were due to the MCAS system.Also, at that time, other civil aviation authorities had not provided any data to the FAA that warranted action.

On March 13, 2019, however, the Ethiopian Airlines investigation developed new information from the wreckage concerning the aircrafts configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircrafts flight path, indicated some similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents that warranted further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause that needed to be better understood and addressed. Accordingly, the FAA made the decision to ground all 737 MAX airplanes operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircrafts flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.

The FAA will continue to support the ongoing Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident investigations, review the evidence and data obtained, and take immediate and appropriate action based on the facts.U.S. and international operators of the 737 MAX are relying on the FAA to get it right.I want to assure this Committee and everyone else concerned that the FAA will go wherever the facts lead us, in the interest of safety.The 737 MAX will return to service for U.S. carriers and in U.S. airspace only when the FAAs analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is appropriate.In our quest for continuous safety improvement, the FAA welcomes external review of our systems, processes, and recommendations. We will work with the newly established Special Committee to Review FAAs Aircraft Certification Process, cooperate fully with the Inspector Generals review, and continue our work with the congressionally-mandated Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee and ODA Expert Review Panel.

As recent events have reminded us, aviation does not have borders or boundaries.The FAA is focused on continuous safety improvement here at home and internationally through our ongoing engagement with other civil aviation authorities and industry stakeholders throughout the world.Aviation remains the safest mode of transportation globally, and we promote this level of safety by sharing issues, trends, and lessons learned throughout the world. The United States is the gold standard in aviation safety.The FAA is resolute in its commitment to maintaining that standard.

This concludes my prepared statement.I will be happy to answer your questions.

Testimony – Before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation, Subcommittee on Aviation and Space concerning the State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation

Chairman Cruz, Ranking Member Sinema, Members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the current state of aviation safety.On behalf of the United States Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, we extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the victims of the recent Ethiopian Airlines accident, as well as the Lion Air accident.

Safety is the core of the Federal Aviation Administrations mission and our top priority.With the support of this Committee, we have worked tirelessly to take a more proactive, data-driven approach to oversight that instills a safety above all approach inside the FAA and within the aviation community that we regulate.The result of this approach is that the United States has the safest air transportation system in the world.Since 1997, the risk of a fatal commercial aviation accident in the United States has been cut by 95 percent.And in the past ten years, there has only been one commercial airline passenger fatality in the United States in over 90 million flights.But a healthy safety culture requires commitment to continuous improvement.

Our commitment to safety and fact-based, data-driven decision making has been the guiding principle in the FAAs response to the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 MAX airplane outside the United States.Today, I would like to provide you with an overview of the FAAs certification and oversight processes, our current actions with respect to the 737 MAX, and the next steps that the FAA will take to foster safety enhancements here and abroad.

As the aerospace system and its components become increasingly more complex, we know that our oversight approach needs to evolve to ensure that the FAA remains the global leader in achieving aviation safety.In order to maintain the safest air transportation system in the world, during the past two decades the FAA has been evolving from a prescriptive and more reactive approach for its safety oversight responsibilities to one that is performance-based, proactive, centered on managing risk, and focused on continuous improvement.A key part of this transition has been the adoption of safety management systems, or SMS, within the FAA.The evolution toward SMS began internally at the FAA more than 15 years ago, starting with the FAAs Air Traffic Organization and expanding across the FAA to include all of our lines of business. Consistent with recommendations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), we have been working with industry towards implementation of SMS in various sectors.For example, as of March 9, 2018, scheduled commercial air carriers, regulated under 14 CFR part 121, are required to have an SMS.

Safety is not just a set of programs that can be established or implemented. It is a way of living and working, and it requires the open and transparent exchange of information.We know that it takes collaboration, communication, and common safety objectives to allow the FAA and the aviation community to come together, to identify system hazards, and to implement safety solutions.This approach gives us knowledge that we would not otherwise have about events and risks.Sharing safety issues, trends, and lessons learned is critical to recognizing whatever might be emerging as a risk in the system. The more data we have, the more we can learn about the system, which in turn allows us to better manage and improve the system.

To be clear, the SMS approach does not diminish the FAAs role as a safety regulator.Any party that the FAA regulates remains responsible for compliance with the FAAs regulatory standards, and the FAA does not hesitate to take enforcement action when it is warranted.

One of the FAAs core functions, aircraft certification, has always relied on the exchange of information and technical data.The FAA certifies the design of aircraft and components that are used in civil aviation operations. Some version of our certification process has been in place and served us well for over 60 years. This does not mean the process has remained static. To the contrary, since 1964, the regulations covering certification processes have been under constant review.As a result, the general regulations have been modified over 90 times, and the rules applicable to large transport aircraft, like the Boeing 737 MAX, have been amended over 130 times.The regulations and our policies have evolved in order to adapt to an ever-changing industry that uses global partnerships to develop new, more efficient, and safer aviation products and technologies.

The FAA focuses its efforts on areas that present the highest risk within the system.The FAA reviews the applicants design descriptions and project plans, determines where FAA involvement will derive the most safety benefit, and coordinates its intentions with the applicant.When a particular decision or event is critical to the safety of the product or to the determination of compliance, the FAA is involved either directly or through the use of our designee system.

The designee program was originally authorized by Congress in 1958 and is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process. Under this program, the FAA may delegate a matter related to aircraft certification to a qualified private person.This is not self-certification; the FAA retains strict oversight authority.The program allows the FAA to leverage its resources through delegation. Last fall, Congress specifically directed the FAA to make full use of this authority in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.In aircraft certification, both individual and organizational designees support the FAA. The FAA determines the level of involvement of the designees and the level of FAA participation needed based on many variables.These variables include the designees understanding of the compliance policy; consideration of any novel or unusual certification areas; or instances where adequate standards may not be in place.

The Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program is the means by which the FAA may authorize an organization to act as a representative of the FAA, allowing that organization to conduct inspections and tests and issue certificates on behalf of the FAA.Currently, there are 79 ODA holders. ODA certification processes allow an applicant greater flexibility and control over schedules than applicants whose projects are directly managed by the FAA. The FAA has a rigorous process for issuing an ODA.ODA holders must have demonstrated experience and expertise in FAA certification processes, a qualified staff, and an FAA-approved procedures manual before they are appointed. The procedures manual defines an ODA holders authority and limitations, and identifies the functions it may perform.

The FAA determines its level of involvement on a project-by-project basis.There are many issues that will always require direct FAA involvement, including equivalent level of safety determinations, and rulemakings required to approve special conditions.The FAA may choose to be involved in other project areas after considering factors such as our confidence in the applicant, the applicants experience, the applicants internal processes, and confidence in the designees.

Something that is not well understood about the certification process is that it is the applicants responsibility to ensure that an aircraft conforms to FAA safety regulations.It is the applicant who is required to develop aircraft design plans and specifications, and perform the appropriate inspections and tests necessary to establish that an aircraft design complies with the regulations.The FAA is responsible for determining that the applicant has shown that the overall design meets the safety standards.We do that by reviewing data and by conducting risk-based evaluations of the applicants work.

The FAA is directly involved in the testing and certification of new and novel features and technologies.When a new design, or a change to an existing design, of aircraft is being proposed, the designer must apply to the FAA for a design approval.While an applicant usually works on its design before discussing it with the FAA, we encourage collaborative discussions well in advance of presenting a formal application.Once an applicant approaches us, a series of meetings are held both to familiarize the FAA with the proposed design, and to familiarize the applicant with the certification requirements.A number of formal and informal meetings are held on issues ranging from technical to procedural.Once the application is made, issue papers are developed to provide a structured way of documenting the resolution of technical, regulatory, and administrative issues that are identified during the process.

Once the certification basis is established for a proposed design, the FAA and the applicant develop and agree to a certification plan and initial schedule. In order to receive a type certificate, the applicant must conduct an extensive series of tests and reviews to show that the product is compliant with existing standards and any special conditions, including lab tests, flight tests, and conformity inspections.These analyses, tests, and inspections happen at a component-level and an airplane-level, all of which are subject to FAA oversight.If the FAA finds that a proposed new type of aircraft complies with safety standards, it issues a type certificate.Or, in the case of a change to an existing aircraft design, the FAA issues an amended type certificate.

The certification processes described above are extensive, well-established, and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs for decades.The Boeing Company has designed and built 14 variations of its original model 737 since the FAA issued the original type certificate in 1967.The FAA followed its standard procedures in determining that the 737 MAX project would qualify as an amended type certificate project, and identifying what items would be delegated to the Boeing ODA to approve and which would be retained by the FAA for approval. Boeing first applied for an amended type certificate for this aircraft in January 2012.As a result of regular meetings between the FAA and Boeing teams, the FAA determined in February 2012 that the project qualified as an amended type certificate project eligible for management by the Boeing ODA. The FAA was directly involved in the System Safety Review of the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS).

The process from initial application to final certification took five years; the FAA added the 737 MAX to the 737 type certificate in March 2017.The process included 297 certification flight tests, some of which encompassed tests of the MCAS functions.FAA engineers and flight test pilots were involved in the MCAS operational evaluation flight test.The certification process was detailed and thorough, but, as is the case with newly certified products, time yields more data to be applied for continued analysis and improvement.As we obtain pertinent information, identify potential risk, or learn of a system failure, we analyze it, we find ways to mitigate the risk, and we require operators to implement the mitigation.And that is what has happened in the case of the 737 MAX.

On October 29, 2018, a Boeing 737 MAX operated by Lion Air as flight JT610 crashed after taking off from Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.Flight JT610 departed from Jakarta with an intended destination of Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia.It departed Jakarta at 6:20 a.m. (local time), and crashed into the Java Sea approximately 13 minutes later.One hundred and eighty-four passengers and five crewmembers were on board.There were no survivors. An Indonesian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), FAA, and Boeing.

On November 7, 2018, based on all available and relevant information, including evidence from the Lion Air accident investigation and analysis performed by Boeing, the FAA issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive.The airworthiness directive requires operators of the 737 MAX to revise their flight manuals to reinforce to flight crews how to recognize and respond to uncommanded stabilizer trim movement and MCAS events.The FAA continued to evaluate the need for software and/or other design changes to the aircraft including operating procedures and training as additional information was received from the ongoing Lion Air accident investigation.On January 21, 2019, Boeing submitted a proposed MCAS software enhancement to the FAA for certification.To date, the FAA has tested this enhancement to the 737 MAX flight control system in both the simulator and the aircraft.The testing, which was conducted by FAA flight test engineers and flight test pilots, included aerodynamic stall situations and recovery procedures.The FAAs ongoing review of this software installation and training is an agency priority, as will be the roll-out of any software, training, or other measures to operators of the 737 MAX.

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, also a Boeing 737 MAX, crashed at 8:44 a.m. (local time), six minutes after takeoff.The flight departed from Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with an intended destination of Nairobi, Kenya.The accident site is near Bishoftu, Ethiopia.One hundred and forty-nine passengers and eight crewmembers were on board.None survived.An Ethiopian-led investigation into the cause of this accident is ongoing, supported by the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing.

Following the second accident, the FAA gathered all of the data it had and continued to review information from the investigation as it became available.On March 11, 2019, the FAA issued a Continuous Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) for 737 MAX operators.The CANIC included a list of all of the activities the FAA had completed in support of the continued operational safety of the 737 MAX fleet.These activities included the airworthiness directive issued on November 7, 2018, ongoing oversight of Boeings flight control system enhancements, and updated training requirements and flight crew manuals.

After issuing the CANIC, the FAA continued to evaluate all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the 737 MAX, none of which provided any data to support grounding the aircraft.The FAAs initial review of flight safety data for U.S. operators showed no systemic performance issues and provided no basis to order grounding the aircraft.This review included analysis of recent Aviation Safety Reporting System reports that reference MCAS and/or controllability issues with the Boeing 737 MAX.In no case did the reporting party state that the problems experienced were due to the MCAS system.Also, at that time, other civil aviation authorities had not provided any data to the FAA that warranted action.

On March 13, 2019, however, the Ethiopian Airlines investigation developed new information from the wreckage concerning the aircrafts configuration just after takeoff that, taken together with newly refined data from satellite-based tracking of the aircrafts flight path, indicated some similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents that warranted further investigation of the possibility of a shared cause that needed to be better understood and addressed. Accordingly, the FAA made the decision to ground all 737 MAX airplanes operated by U.S. airlines or in U.S. territory pending further investigation, including examination of information from the aircrafts flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders.

The FAA will continue to support the ongoing Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accident investigations, review the evidence and data obtained, and take immediate and appropriate action based on the facts.U.S. and international operators of the 737 MAX are relying on the FAA to get it right.I want to assure this Committee and everyone else concerned that the FAA will go wherever the facts lead us, in the interest of safety.The 737 MAX will return to service for U.S. carriers and in U.S. airspace only when the FAAs analysis of the facts and technical data indicate that it is appropriate.In our quest for continuous safety improvement, the FAA welcomes external review of our systems, processes, and recommendations. We will work with the newly established Special Committee to Review FAAs Aircraft Certification Process, cooperate fully with the Inspector Generals review, and continue our work with the congressionally-mandated Safety Oversight and Certification Advisory Committee and ODA Expert Review Panel.

As recent events have reminded us, aviation does not have borders or boundaries.The FAA is focused on continuous safety improvement here at home and internationally through our ongoing engagement with other civil aviation authorities and industry stakeholders throughout the world.Aviation remains the safest mode of transportation globally, and we promote this level of safety by sharing issues, trends, and lessons learned throughout the world. The United States is the gold standard in aviation safety.The FAA is resolute in its commitment to maintaining that standard.

This concludes my prepared statement.I will be happy to answer your questions.