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Speech – Pillars of Safety

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Remarks as prepared for delivery

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

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

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

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

The FAA is turning 60.

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

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

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

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

So howd we do it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I get it. I get that thought process.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first is voluntary reporting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voluntary reporting. Risk management. Effective mitigation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this something we all need to pay attention to.

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

Were not going to compromise on this.

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

Nobody wants that.

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

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

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

But we know this is a shared responsibility.

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

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

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

Because the importance of pilot qualifications cant be overstated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thats about 90 million flights. And one life lost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We cant we wont stop reaching.

Thank you.

Speech – EAA AirVenture

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Oshkosh, WI

Remarks As Delivered

Good morning, everyone.

It feels so good to be back at AirVenture.

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

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

And it still does, to be honest.

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

To me, of course, its an easy answer.

Le Bourget is champagne. And chalets.

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

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

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

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

Twenty or more?

Wow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But heres the rub.

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

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

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

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

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

524 days. Thats what were looking at.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, speaking of safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfully, all fourteen people aboard that warbird survived.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ive got something bigger on my mind.

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

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

But the numbers dont lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The universal fascination with flight? Its still out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But what I can do is pay it forward.

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

Thank you.

Speech – A Shared Language

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Thank you, Eric. Good afternoon, everyone.

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

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

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

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

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

The language of safety.

Aviation is the safest form of transportation in the world.

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

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

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

So howd we get here?

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

We dont compete on safety.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, were looking to go further.

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

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

Were also changing our approach to commercial space launches.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we continue to build on this work today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What we need now is focus and clarity.

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

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

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

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

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

But that doesnt mean our work is done.

We cant get complacent.

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

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

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

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

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

Aviation doesnt have borders, or boundaries.

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

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

Speech – Amazing is What You Do

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you, Paul. Im happy to be here. I want to thank you and Trish for your leadership and for being such great partners.

I also want to thank our controllers for the job you do every day. You safely handle about 45 thousand IFR flights a day over 31 million miles of domestic and international airspace.

To the layperson, this is nothing short of amazing.

But its what you do, every single day.

When it comes to safety and efficiency, you have set an incredibly high bar.

Ill give you a good example.

Last month, controller Tim Martin at Daytona Beach Tower came through for a 20-year old student pilot who was in trouble.

The pilot was flying solo when engine oil sprayed all over his windscreen. He couldnt see anything forward or sideways.

Tim calmed him down, and got him towards the Daytona Beach Airport. Once the aircraft was close to the runway, our tower controllers gave vertical guidance to the radar controller to relay to the aircraft.

Tim and his colleagues worked together to guide this pilot all the way to touchdown, and then let him know how much runway he had left.

When the student landed, he said we had saved his life.

Saves like these remind us that we must always be vigilant. Whether youre in the cockpit, the tower cab or the centerthe calmest, most benign day can turn on a dime into a life and death situation.

This became all too clear after Captain Shultz engine failed on Southwest Flight 1380. Tragically, this event took a life.

But, if not for the calm professionalism and coordination of the flight crew and air traffic controllers, it could have been much worse.

We had gone 9 years and 3 months without a commercial passenger fatality. But that tragedy reminds us that ensuring safety is a never-ending task.

The FAA and NATCA are doing everything possible to drive down safety risk. We have to continue to collect and share safety data identify and target the highest risk areas and work with our stakeholders to address the problems.

Over the past 10 years, FAA controllers have submitted more than 147,000 ATSAP reports. From these reports, we have put in place 181 corrective actions.

Thats 181 more ways to extend the safety margin so that accidents dont happen!

Let me give you some examples.

A controller at Albany Tower reported that trees were obstructing the view of Runway 28.

Thats a potential trigger for runway incursions.

ATSAPs Event Review Committee shared the report and coordinated a full Obstruction Evaluation. And following that, we put out a contract to remove or trim the trees from public and private property.

Employees at Kansas City Center also submitted ATSAP reports indicating problems with some frequencies for Kirksville, Missouri.

There were scratchy readbacks, numerous repeats, and missed calls. The frequencies had become useless on main and standby.

This is a bad thing all the way around. It could lead to miscommunication between controllers and pilots.

This could result in increased workload, distractions, and the potential for airspace and separation issues.

Technical Operations looked for causes and solutions, and last year they implemented a series of mitigations to solve the problem.

It was the ATSAP reports that really elevated the issues, so they could get the attention they needed.

None of that happens without you leaning forward. ATSAP turns up things that otherwise would have gone unattended to. Were as safe as we are because we make sure we get things right, and when theyre not, we fix them. Together.

As I said, this is what we do.

And its the same approach we need to take as drones come into the field.

This industry is rapidly evolving, and the FAA must stay a step ahead.

Our goal is to ensure safety while enabling innovation.

We could be looking at 3.5 million drones by 2021. As part of this effort, we have to ensure the safety of other aircraft and people and property on the ground, while safeguarding the needs of traditional airspace users.

Earlier this month, Secretary Elaine Chao announced the ten selectees that will take part in the FAAs UAS Integration Pilot Program.

These sites are going to change how we look at aviation. Were well familiar with border patrol, package delivery, and emergency response. Were just used to having someone sitting up front to do it.

Its a new day.

Over the next two and half years, the selectees will collect drone data on night operations, flights over people and beyond the pilots line of sight, and on detect-and-avoid technology.

For specific drone flights, they will be able get expedited approval for airspace authorizations. In turn, they will give us the data that will inform our regulations on drones.

Last month, the FAA announced a national beta test of a new automation tool called LAANC.

Were at the mercy of acronyms. LAANC is the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability.

LAANC is designed specifically to expedite requests by drone users to operate in controlled airspace near airports.

At early prototype locations, LAANC has cut the average approval time from three months to less than one minute.

As part of the beta test, over the next six months, the agency will be rolling out LAANC to nearly 300 air traffic facilities and about 500 airports.

We look forward to seeing the results.

Through the UAS Pilot, LAANC and the other efforts were making, the U.S. will continue to lead the world in safe drone integration.

None of this happens without you, and were going to hire more than 5,000 controllers in the next five years, to make sure were in a place to succeed.

Again this year, our hiring has been going very well. As of last week, we were at 82 percent of our hiring goal of 1701. This will be the third year in a row we have exceeded our goal.

Our largest staffing challenge is at New York TRACON. As you know, N90 is one of the worlds busiest and most complex RADAR facilities.

Over the past year, weve posted two announcements for experienced applicants to be assigned to N90. The ATO is providing the selected applicants with more intense simulator training that comes close to matching the real traffic there.

We have also taken steps to enhance Academy training. Its called Ten Eleven Twelve Radar Assessment, or TETRA. In the future, we will employ this training for new hires at N90 and other large complex RADAR facilities.

Thanks to NATCAs advocacy, there was a change in the law allowing us to post an announcement to hire applicants with no experience within a local commuting area.

We plan to post this announcement on June 19th, preceding an all-sources announcement scheduled for June 27th.

And whether its hiring, or any other important investment we make at the agency, stable funding is an important issue.

We must have a funding stream thats sustainable and matches what were trying to accomplish.

We were pleased that the House passed a five-year FAA reauthorization bill last month. But it certainly didnt play out the way we had hoped.

While we understand the political dynamics that prompted Chairman Shuster to remove the air traffic control reform title from the bill, we all agree that the status quo has not provided a stable, predictable funding stream to operate and modernize the NAS.

The stop-and-go funding has delayed needed system improvements. It makes planning for modernization projects difficult and more expensive.

And the 2013 sequestration forced us to suspend controller hiring and shutter the Academy for a year.

The pending bills are far from perfect, but Im committed to ensuring that you get the resources you need to continue delivering the level of service that the American people expect.

Under the leadership of Chairman Shuster and Chairman Thune, Im confident that a long-term bill will be enacted this year.

As controllers, your professionalism and teamwork are major reasons for aviations historic safety record.

I mentioned Flight 1380 earlier. When the pilot told Corey Davids, controller at New York center, they had to make an emergency landing, Cory and nine other controllers cleared the airspace so the plane could land in Philadelphia, as soon as possible.

Otherwise, the tragedy could have been much, much worse.

People who read or watched this story thought it was amazing.

But, I think Cory put it best when he said, We have thousands of controllers around the country that go in everyday, do their job, leave, and no one hears anything about anything.

Corys right. This is simply what you do. This is why FAA remains the gold standard around the world.

I look forward to working with you to keep it that way.

Speech – International Aviation Club Luncheon

Acting Administrator Daniel Elwell
Washington, DC

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

As you can tell from that kind introduction, Ive been in the aviation industry for about 80 years or, most of my adult life.

Ive been fortunate to see aviation from so many vantage points. Of course, none better than the view from the cockpit.

But, my time at the FAA has been extremely rewarding. And its such an honor to be back with the opportunity to help shape an agency Ive always admired, at a time when its work is more important than ever.

Its also very cool to be invited to speak to the International Aviation Club. Ive been a member for years. So many good friends and colleagues Ive gotten to know and work with over the past few decades are here today. Its great to see you all.

Aviation has always been defined by change because it is constantly reshaping the world we live in. But the pace of change happening in the world right now is unique even by our standards.

I was recently in London, where Brexit and its March 2019 deadline is on everyones mind. As the clock runs down, removing uncertainty about the UKs relationship with the global aviation community only becomes more important.

It has the potential to affect passengers, businesses, and the entire global supply chain. If you make, operate, or maintain aircraft on either side of the Atlantic, Brexit will affect you.

So I knew I spoke for the entire aviation community when I shared with my European counterparts that it is in everyones best interest to reach a decision on the aviation components of Brexit as soon as possible. We have to get this right.

But in many ways, this is one of the easier issues our industry is dealing with right now.

Weve been certificating aircraft for decades. We know what agreements we need to have in place to ensure safe and efficient operations. We have clarity we need focus. We must stay focused on minimizing disruptions and supporting a seamless transition. And by we, I mean all of us.

A lot of other questions we need to answer about access, technology, and safety are much more complicated. And weve been facing those questions here in the U.S., and around the world for years.

A few weeks ago, I attended the Uber Elevate conference in Los Angeles. During a panel, I was asked if I would ever ride in an autonomous aerial taxi. The question sounded almost surreal. That used to be Jetsons stuff. Now, its right around the corner were talking when, not if.

But, the list of how do we? questions is not to be taken lightly. How do we safely integrate these new users into our already busy airspace? How do we harness technology to modernize the way we manage air traffic? How do we maintain the safety of our system without stifling innovation?

The questions arent new, but just because theyre familiar doesnt make answering them any easier. And were doing it at a time when some folks are wondering: Are we up to the task?

Theres a perception out there that government is where good ideas go to die. Too many bureaucrats. Nothing gets done. And that makes people not want to work with us.

The pace of change is too fast. The scope of work is too big. The stakes are too high. We cant afford to be alienating the pioneers the trailblazers the groundbreakers. Theyre the foundation of our industry. And we need them at our table.

So if theres one message you need to hear, from the Trump Administration, Elaine Chaos DOT, and the FAA, its this: The era of red tape strangling good ideas is over.

Were building a bigger table not just for traditional aviation stakeholders, but the newest Silicon Valley start-ups. Were doing away with outdated processes that dont work in todays aviation system. And if people come into my office and say the reason we do something a certain way is because thats the way its always been done? You better believe Im sending them back to the drawing board.

At the very time when American innovators are leading the charge by doing things in a new way, government has to keep up. The FAA has to keep up. If theres a way for us to improve a process, weve got to lead the way. Thats what makes us a world leader in aviation, in safety, in efficiency.

But, I knowtalk is cheap. Youre thinkingwhat does this look like in the real world?

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

We will get a better understanding of how operations over people, beyond visual line of sight ops, and flying drones at night work at the local level. The information we gain from these trials will not only help us expand the regulatory framework for unmanned aircraft nationwide, but it will also help us determine the appropriate level of local control.

Were changing our approach to commercial space launches. Its not enough to just accommodate this growing industry. We need to fully integrate it into our airspace.

Were using new technologies like the Space Data Integrator to make launches less disruptive to nearby airspace users. And were revamping our licensing process to make it easier for commercial space operators to receive the approvals they need more quickly.

This attitude also extends to certification. Were moving toward a more performance-based system where the FAA sets safety standards and lets manufacturers figure out the best way to meet them.

A rule overhauling how we certify small general aviation aircraft went into effect last year. And while its going to take some time, we plan to apply these same principles to more aircraft categories, including UAS, moving forward.

We also remain committed to modernizing our air traffic control system.

Ill be the first to admit: the debate around the FAAs latest reauthorization didnt go the way I hoped it would. And while Im happy to see a long-term bill on the horizon, I worry it still doesnt tackle some of the larger funding and management issues we face.

But Im not going to stop using the megaphone Ive been handed to make sure our workforce gets the resources and technology it needs to keep delivering the level of safety and efficiency the American people expect. And were going to continue working with industry to prioritize our modernization efforts.

Now, let me be clear about something: Making the FAA a better partner to the aviation industry doesnt mean were cutting corners on safety.

Our commitment to being the gold standard is not going to change. In fact, were setting the bar even higher. Were just not going to tell you how to clear it. We know this industry is going to solve some of the challenges were facing more quickly and more creatively than the FAA ever could alone.

We need our partners in the international community, as well.

The challenges facing the FAA arent unique. Civil aviation authorities around the world are grappling with the same issues. And the United States doesnt have a monopoly on good ideas.

Working together, we can and do get things done. We already have an impressive record of achievement from reducing aviations environmental impact, and harmonizing our air traffic control systems to sharing safety data, and streamlining our certification processes.

Theres so much we can learn from each other that can help us reach the next level of safety.

I come from a military background. My father was a Marine, and I was in the Air Force. Growing up as the son of a Marine, and later, as an officer myself, I learned that leadership isnt a fixed point.

You cant just declare yourself a leader one day, then say: Im done. Instead, you must keep asking yourself: How can I do more? How can I be better?

Our industry has always been like that. Aviation certainly didnt start out as the safest mode of travel on the planet far from it. But it is today.

No one handed us our current safety record. We did the work. You did the work. Together, we earned it.

But that doesnt mean our job is done. And we cant become complacent. The last few weeks have been a tough reminder one fatality in our system is one too many.

How can we do more? How can we be better?

We ask ourselves those questions every day at the FAA. But we cant answer them alone. Aviation doesnt have borders, or boundaries. Were a global community. We dont compete on safety. And theres no limit to what we can achieve when we work together.

So the United States stands ready to lead, and ready to partner with anyone who shares our vision for the future of aviation.

A future that is safe. A future that is innovative. A future that is limitless.

Oh I almost forgot The answer I gave to the question of whether I would ever consider riding in an autonomous aerial taxi? It was the same answer most of you would have given: In a heartbeat. Sign me up.

Thank you for the invitation to be here today.