Lautenberg v. Babbitt


Well-Known Member
Just an interesting excerpt from a recent Congressional hearing, which proves that we have idiots running our country. Does the esteemed Senator even know that NASA Pilots fail checks every once in a while? I'd be interested if Sully had any re-checks in his jacket, too.

SEN. LAUTENBERG: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. As we listen to the testimony and review the matters that got us to this point of concern and investigation, and we see that the captain of the Colgan flight had several test failures, I ask Mr. Babbitt, how many strikes put you out? Should there be a measure there that says, look, if we have to squeeze you through the test, what are you going to do when the pressure's on? And I think that there ought to be some finite limit that says, look, if you can't get through it in a couple of turns that you're not fit for this kind of a post. What do you think?

MR. BABBITT: Senator, it's an excellent question. Let me address it if you'd indulge me for a second. There's a couple of things to look at here. Number one, the regulations require and the carrier standards require training to a level of proficiency, and people are human.

They have a bad day and you could have a situation where a good pilot takes an excellent check ride. I've had situations in my own career, taking the check ride in parallel with someone and watch someone that I knew was a good pilot who didn't feel well, had no business taking the check; failed it. Is that, you know, grounds to terminate their career?

SEN. LAUTENBERG: Well, would NASA say if you want to go up in a shuttle that they give you a bunch of times to pass the test?


SEN. LAUTENBERG: I hope not.

MR. BABBITT: Following onto that, we would take that pilot, the particular element that they failed and you'd would train them to proficiency. I think there's another human aspect that we have to look at. If we had, whatever the number is, one strike, two strikes, three strikes and you're out, remember the check pilots. We're raising them to now management hire/fire decision authority. W

e have someone who's giving another pilot a check ride, just the training check pilot and now somebody else's career is in my hands. If I fail this pilot, that's the end of their career. My concern would be that you might have the wrong reaction, that someone instead of saying, look, you've busted this portion, go back, get trained, come back when you get this right, as opposed to, you know what, I'm not going to end his career. I'm going to let him pass.

SEN. LAUTENBERG: Mr. Babbitt, I have great respect for you and the others at the table, but I would say this to you. I'd rather end his career than have my wife and my children on that airplane, I can tell you that. So I think, you know, these are things that we saw with the brilliance of Captain Sullinger -- (sic)—

MR. BABBITT: Sullenberger.

SEN. LAUTENBERG: --who took that airplane down past my apartment building, by the way, on the way to the river. I wasn't home then, but, you know, how do we know that the react time, that the training is sufficient as the captain did on the United flight that saved over 150 lives.

MR. BABBITT: Mm-hmm. -- (In agreement.)--

SEN. LAUTENBERG: And the thing, I think that picture of them standing on that wing will go down in history as—

MR. BABBITT: Yes, sir.

SEN. LAUTENBERG: -- an icon of what safety is about.

MR. BABBITT: Well, I wanted to add one other point. And your point is a good one, and I appreciate that, but there are mechanisms, and this is one of the reasons we're bringing everybody together. We have carriers today that have good practices, where they have training review boards and, you know, at the FAA you would look at two things. Is a particular pilot showing and/or exhibiting an excessive failure rate and is your training program -- maybe the training program itself.