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Hearing of the Aviation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee - Domestic Aviation Manufacturing: Challenges and Opportunities


Location: Washington, DC

American aviation manufacturing is a critical sector of our nation's economy, contributing billions of dollars and supporting millions of jobs annually. We are the world leader in aviation safety, standards, and manufacturing, delivering thousands of aircraft, aircraft components, and systems worldwide every year.

Today this subcommittee will look at the state of domestic aviation manufacturing and some of the challenges that it faces. Since recently encountering a hit during the economic downturn, our aviation manufacturing sector has seen positive growth and key economic indicators support this. We in Congress want this vital component of the aviation sector to succeed and surpass where it was prior to 2008. However, despite the industry's success, manufacturers continue to face some challenges as they work to bring products to market.

All aircraft, aircraft components, and aviation systems which operate and are manufactured in the United States must meet specific design and operational certification standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration. The role the FAA plays is absolutely critical and necessary to ensure that our standards continue to be the gold standard and provide for the safest air system in the world.

As manufacturers design and build to meet these standards they can experience delays in approval, both internationally and domestically. These delays can result in the loss of real dollars and jobs for our aviation manufacturing sector.

The previous FAA Reauthorization bill required the FAA to develop and implement plans to address inefficiencies and inconsistencies in their certification process. Currently the FAA, along with industry, is working to implement these plans in a cooperative fashion. We look forward to hearing what progress is being made on this front.

In regard to aviation certification, the FAA is truly the gold standard across the world. As the aviation industry continues to push technological boundaries, it is important the FAA certification processes also adapt to accommodate for this innovation. Furthermore, as American manufacturers compete in a global market, it is vital that the FAA's leadership is recognized and maintained globally, and we in Congress will do all that we can to help ensure this stays true.

In addition to an effective and efficient certification process, the manufacturing industry relies upon a dedicated and well-trained aerospace workforce. Today we will hear from a witness who can speak directly to some of the important work that is being done to respond to the need for an innovative and skilled aerospace workforce.

In my own district, Atlantic Cape Community College has recognized the need for a well-trained workforce in the growing industry of unmanned aerial systems. Under the leadership of College President Peter Mora, they are currently working to develop a curriculum that will bring the next generation -- of an already technologically savvy youth -- into this growing industry.

In addition, I have the privilege of representing the FAA's Tech Center, which is the premier FAA research and development facility in the world. Through their important research, experts at the Tech Center assist manufacturers as they work to bring innovative products to the market. For instance, CSC and dozens of other companies utilize the expertise of Tech Center employees as they develop their innovative technologies.

I am interested in hearing what role the government can play to promote the aviation manufacturing industry's success. It is key that we listen to the input that those in the real world have to offer us. Today we are fortunate to have a company who has been part of America's aviation manufacturing industry since the Wright Brothers first took flight and who can speak to the day in and day out complexities of the industry -- and the challenges they face.

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