FAA Administrator Keynotes ALPA Safety Forum
Fresh from his fairly warm
reception at Oshkosh, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt shifted his
focus to airline pilots Wednesday with speech to the Airline Pilots
Association Safety Forum in Washington, DC.
“We cannot regulate professionalism,” Babbitt said.
"No matter how many rules, regulations, advisories, mandatory
training sessions, voluntary training sessions — pull them
all together, and it still comes down to us — and by us, I
mean every pilot."
Babbitt, a former president of ALPA, said the Colgan
Air incident called the professionalism of airline pilots into
question for the general public. "If you haven’t read the
transcript of the CVR for the Colgan accident, I’d encourage
you to do so. The professionalism of the flight crew has been
raised as an issue — and this isn’t the first time.
We’ve got to put a stop to that. The accidents we’ve
seen, and the call to action I’ve made all have the crying
need for refocus on professionalism running through them."
Still, Babbitt said he things there is a high level of
professionalism among airline pilots, but part of the issue is the
relative age of people in the left seats of airplanes. "I am saying
that this is a time for veterans to take the extra effort to mentor
the pilots coming up through the ranks to ensure we maintain the
highest levels of professionalism. This not only deals with safety,
but with the need for you to help the new pilots learn how to react
and adapt to change."
Babbitt also addressed the issue of pilot fatigue that has
become a major issue on Capitol Hill. "The timeline is 45 days for
a notice of proposed rulemaking. That brings us to September 1. We
vet it inside the FAA first, then ship it to DOT, which should turn
it around in less than 90 days, then the NPRM is on its way to OMB.
The proposed rule then will go out for public comment. By the way,
I’ve requested both DOT and OMB to expedite this one. Why
does it take so long? Well, rulemaking is a deliberative process,
and it’s slow by design. The last thing we want is a
knee-jerk rule that doesn’t answer the mail. I can tell you
that the committee is giving this issue a good, hard look."
FAA Administrator Randy
But, he said, the ultimate responsibility for safety is in the
cockpit. "I can’t say this any more directly than I am right
now: We all have to take on additional responsibilities
whether we’re legally required to or not. This is about
safety, and safety is about saving lives."