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Public Statements

FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HALL. Madam Chair, I rise in strong support of H.R. 658, legislation reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration through fiscal year 2014.

Title X of H.R. 658 reauthorizes the agency's research and development programs. It was drafted by the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology as H.R. 970, the Federal Aviation Research and Development Reauthorization Act of 2011. On March 17, the committee met, amended and approved H.R. 970. The rule accompanying H.R. 658 fully incorporates the language from our amended bill into title X, which we support.

With regard to funding, title X adheres to the same principles of the larger bill, providing authorization levels for the Research, Engineering and Development account at the fiscal year 2008 level for the fiscal years 2012 through 2014. For fiscal year 2011, the authorization is a hybrid of current spending under the continuing resolution and the FY 2008 level.

Further, our bill authorizes spending for research and development activities that are funded through the agency's Facilities and Equipment and Airports accounts. None of our members relish cutting R&D funding, but members on our side of the aisle were passionate in their belief, as I am, that we must reduce Federal spending, and the FAA, like every other Federal agency, must bear some burden and some measure of burden.

Research and development plays a critical role at FAA, providing the agency with the tools and technologies it needs to carry out a diverse set of missions. The largest R&D program currently underway supports development of a whole host of technologies required to ensure successful deployment of the Next Generation Air Transportation System.

R&D also is fundamental to FAA's role in the safety of air travel, giving the agency the insight and data required to develop tools and policies guiding the introduction, use and the maintenance of new materials and systems incorporated in the modern jet aircraft.

These technologies are necessary if we're to continue improving the national airspace system's safety, efficiency and security, especially considering the critical role now played by aviation in our Nation's economy and public safety.

In addition, title X directs FAA to undertake research in a number of areas, including the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace, research on runways and engineered material restraining systems, research on developing unleaded fuel for the use in general aviation piston engine aircraft and on the development and certification of jet fuel from alternative sources, and research on the effects of aviation on the environment.

There are many other activities too numerous to mention here, but I did want to provide examples to Members of the broad sweep of FAA-sponsored R&D.

Finally, I understand Chairman Mica's amendment offered to the bill seeks to modify certain provisions while also adding a few. A specific provision amends existing law found in title 51 of the United States Code regarding the Office of Commercial Space Transportation. I support the goal of this language with the understanding that the inclusion of this language does not alter the jurisdiction of my committee on this issue and that the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will work with us to ensure this provision or similar provisions are preserved, they are preserved as we continue to move through the legislative process on H.R. 658, including any negotiations or conference with the other body.

Madam Chair, in closing, I want to urge all Members to support this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. HALL. Mr. Chair, I rise in support of Mr. NEUGEBAUER's amendment directing the FAA to carry out a feasibility study on using the internet as an information resource for pilots to locate difficult-to-see obstructions such as guy-wires and free-standing towers.

As a Navy pilot during World War II, I had firsthand experience flying fast and low, and while the prevalence of towers then does not compare to the number that exist today, it still created a lot of uncertainty to fly low without being fully aware of potential obstructions.

There are many active pilots today who make their living flying aircraft at very low altitudes, such as crop dusters, who could make excellent use of such a database.

Mr. NEUGEBAUER's amendment would be a good first step, simply asking the FAA to study whether or not an internet-based source of up-to-date information on obstructions and towers makes good sense.

I support his amendment and ask all Members to support it as well.


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