The 4/3/2008 Congressional Hearing about FAA Whistleblowers

House of Representatives, Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure

Oversight and Investigations Hearing on Critical Lapses in FAA Safety Oversight of Airlines: Abuses of Regulatory ‘Partnership Programs’

The Hearing was held on Thursday, April 3, 2008, and ran from 10:00AM until it was adjourned at 7:37PM. The Hearing Record shows one brief recess for committee members to depart and cast votes on the main floor of Congress.

Presiding over the Hearing was Congressman James Oberstar (Minnesota). There were four witness panels. The first panel consisted of six FAA employees and managers, stating their concerns about an FAA safety failure. The second panel included the DoT Inspector General, the U.S. Special Counsel, and three high-level FAA managers. The third panel included two top executives from Southwest Airlines, and two FAA employees critical of the Whistleblowers. The fourth panel included two union officials (from PASS) and three FAA employees with inspection experience at other FAA offices.

Here is the entire 744-page Hearing record. Click on the page numbers to view/download copies of specific pages:
p.1-3 CRITICAL LAPSES IN FAA SAFETY OVERSIGHT OF AIRLINES: Abuses of Regulatory ‘Partnership Programs’ (cover pages)
p.4 Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure (list of members)
p.5-6 Contents
p.7-24 MEMO by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (4/1/2008). This lays out the Purpose of the hearing, the Allegations, the four Witness Panels, etc.
p.25-29 Opening Remarks: Chairman Oberstar (D-MN)
p.29-31 Opening Remarks: Ranking member John Mica (R-FL)
p.31-33 Opening Remarks: Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL)
p.33-34 Opening Remarks: Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI)
p.34-44 Witness Panel I: Mr. Charalambe ‘Bobby’ Boutris, Aviation Safety Inspector, Southwest Airlines CMO (Irving, TX)
p.44-49 Witness Panel I: Mr. Douglas E. Peters, Aviation Safety Inspector, American Airlines CMO (Irving, TX)
p.49-52 Witness Panel I: Mr. Michael C. Mills, Assistant Manager DFW FSDO (Irving, TX)
p.52-55 Witness Panel I: Mr. Paul E. Cotti, Supervisor, American Eagle Airworthiness Unit, AMR CMO (Irving, TX)
p.55-57 Witness Panel I: Mr. Robert A. Naccache, retired Assistant Manager, Southwest Airlines CMO (Irving, TX)
p.57-59 Witness Panel I: Mr. Terry D. Lambert, Manager, Safety and Analysis Group, FSDO (Irving, TX)
p.59-61 Questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.61-62 Questions by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI)
p.62-65 Questions by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL)
p.65 RECESS
p.65-67 Questions by Rep. Robin Hayes (R-NC)
p.67-70 Questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
p.70-71 Questions by Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
p.71-73 Questions by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.73-75 Questions by Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
p.75-76 …further questions by Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
p.76-78 Questions by Rep. John Hall (D-NY)
p.78 Comment by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman (D-IL)
p.78-80 …further questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
p.80-83 …further questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.83 Questions by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX)
p.83-84 Wrap-up by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.84-87 Witness Panel II: The Honorable Calvin L. Scovell III, DoT Inspector General
p.87-89 Witness Panel II: The Honorable Scott J. Bloch, Special Counsel, U.S. Office of the Special Counsel
p.89-91 Witness Panel II: Mr. Nicholas A. Sabatini, FAA, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety
p.91 Witness Panel II: Mr. James J. Ballough, Director of FAA’s Flight Standards Service. He had no comments.
p.91 Witness Panel II: Mr. Thomas Stuckey, Manager of FAA’s Flight Standards Service, FAA Southwest Region (Fort Worth, TX). He had no comments.
p.91-95 Questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.95-97 Questions by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI)
p.97-99 Questions by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL)
p.99-101 Questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
p.101-103 Questions by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX)
p.103-104 …further questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.104-106 Questions by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
p.106-108 Questions by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.108-110 Questions by Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
p.110-111 … further questions by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI)
p.111-112 …further questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.112-113 Comment by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL)
p.113-116 …further questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) [re: Customer Service Initiative]
p.116-117 …further questions by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.117-119 …further questions by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
p.119-120 Questions by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
p.120-121 …further questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.121-122 Comments by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI) [SUBJ: insufficient discipline against Gawadzinski]
p.122-124 …further questions (and wrap-up) by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.124-128 Witness Panel III: Mr. Herb Kelleher, Executive Chairman, Southwest Airlines Co.
p.128-130 Witness Panel III: Mr. Gary Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Airlines Co.
p.130-133 Witness Panel III: Mr. John Bassler, Principal Avionics Inspector, (Irving, TX)
p.133 Witness Panel III: Mr. Vincent Larry Collamore, Aviation Safety Inspector, Southwest Airlines CMO (Irving, TX) He had no comments.
p.133-135 Questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.135-138 Questions by Aviation Subcommittee Ranking member Thomas Petri (R-WI)
p.138-139 Questions by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
p.139-141 Questions by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX)
p.141-143 Questions by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
p.143-145 Questions by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.145-147 Questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
p.147-148 …further questions by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
p.148-149 …further questions (and wrap-up) by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.149-151 Witness Panel IV: Mr. Tom Brantley, President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS)
p.151 Witness Panel IV: Ms. Linda Goodrich, Region IV Vice-President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) She had no comments.
p.151-152 Witness Panel IV: Mr. Richard A. Andrews, Aviation Safety Inspector, American Airlines CMO, PASS (Irving, TX)
p.152-155 Witness Panel IV: Mr. Joseph P. Thrash, retired Aviation Safety Inspector, Continental Airlines CMO (Houston, TX)
p.155-157 Witness Panel IV: Mr. Bill McNease, retired Aviation Safety Inspector, FedEx Airlines CMO (Memphis, TN)
p.157-158 Questions by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.158-160 Questions by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
p.160-161 Questions by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX)
p.161-163 Questions by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.163-165 …further questions (and wrap-up) by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.165 ADJOURNED at 7:37PM
p.166-197 Advisory Circular 120-66B, ASAP Program (11/15/2002)
p.198-212 Advisory Circular 00-58A, Voluntary Disclosure Reporting Programs (9/8/2006)
p.213-225 Airworthiness Directive AD-2004-18-06, signed by Kevin Mullin (8/26/2004)
p.226-228 FAA Order 8900.36, Special Emphasis Validation of Airworthiness Directives Oversight, signed by Ballough (3/13/2008)
p.229-239 FAA Order 8000.82, Designation of ASAP Information as Protected from Disclosure (9/3/2003)
p.240-271 FAA Order 8900.1 CHG 0, FSDO ASAP (11/8/2007)
p.272 FAA Fact Sheet, on Customer Service Initiative (April 2003)
p.273 Operator’s Guide to the AVR Customer Service Initiative (2/13/2004)
p.274 AVS Customer Service Principles
p.275-280 FAA’s 3/6/2008 letter to Southwest Airlines, proposing $10,200,000 in fines for noncompliance on AD-2004-18-06.
p.281-285 FAA Fact Sheet, with a Timeline on the Southwest issues
p.286 Statement by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA)
p.287-289 Statement by Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
p.290 Statement by Rep. Christopher Carney (D-PA)
p.291-295 Statement by Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Costello (D-IL)
p.296-298 Statement by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)
p.299-300 Statement by Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) [discusses a KSAN controller error]
p.301-306 Statement by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX)
p.307-309 Statement by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA)
p.310-311 Statement by Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ)
p.312-321 Statement by Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN)
p.322-324 Letter signed by Oberstar, Costello and DeFazio, to Sabatini, Ballough and Stuckey. With attached copy of the 2/12/2004 CSI memo by AFS-1.
p.325-327 2/12/2004 Memo on Customer Service Initiative, signed by Ballough
p.328-329 Statement by Rep. Timothy Walz (D-MN)
p.330-333 Statement by Mr. Richard A. Andrews, retired Aviation Safety Inspector, American Airlines CMO
p.334-375 Statement by Mr. John Bassler, Principal Avionics Inspector, (Irving, TX) Includes numerous attached emails and other records.
p.376-383 Statement by the Honorable Scott J. Bloch, Special Counsel, U.S. Office of the Special Counsel
p.384-398 Statement by Mr. Charalambe ‘Bobby’ Boutris, Aviation Safety Inspector, Southwest Airlines CMO (3/30/2008)
p.399-410 Statement by Mr. Tom Brantley, President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists
p.411 Statement by Mr. Vincent Larry Collamore, Aviation Safety Inspector, Southwest Airlines CMO
p.412-416 Statement by Mr. Paul E. Cotti, Supervisor, American Eagle Airworthiness Unit, AMR CMO
p.417-427 Statement by Herb Kelleher and Gary Kelly (Southwest Airlines)
p.428-452 — Attachments, for Statement by Kelleher and Kelly
p.453-460 Statement by Mr. Terry D. Lambert, Manager, Safety and Analysis Group, FSDO
p.461-462 Statement by Mr. Bill McNease, retired Aviation Safety Inspector, FedEx Airlines CMO
p.463-475 Statement by Mr. Michael C. Mills, Assistant Manager
p.476-482 Statement by Mr. Robert A. Naccache, retired Assistant Manager, Southwest Airlines CMO
p.483-489 Statement by Mr. Douglas E. Peters, Aviation Safety Inspector, American Airlines CMO
p.490-501 Statement by Mr. Nicholas A. Sabatini, FAA, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety
p.502-506 4/16/2008 Letter signed by Chairman Oberstar, to Sabatini & Ballough. With an attached list of 43 additional questions.
p.507-551 FAA’s answers to the 43 additional questions
p.552-566 4/23/2008 Letter signed by Chairman Oberstar, to Sabatini & Ballough. With an attached list of 8 additional questions, and a reminder that they need to answer the questions asked by Rep. DeFazio. FAA’s answers are provided at pages 554-566.
p.567-596 Statement by DoT-IG for the 4/3/2008 Committee Hearing, ‘Action Needed to Strengthen FAA’s Safety Oversight and Use of Partnership Programs’
p.597-727 Joseph Phil Thrash, Aviation Safety Inspector & Whistleblower (retired). Testimony & Exhibits regarding abuse of ASAP by FAA and Continental Airlines officials.
p.728-735 Gabriel D. Bruno, FAA FSDO manager & Whistleblower (retired). He attended the 4/3/2008 Hearing, then submitted this written testimony, ‘An Insider’s Analysis of FAA’s Failure to Protect the Skies’. This is Gabe’s assessment of what is broken at FAA.
p.736-741 Mary Rose Diefenderfer, FAA POI for Alaska Airlines & Whistleblower (SeaTac, WA). Fired in late 1999, she submitted this 4/17/2008 letter to Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), It details her experiences with retaliation by FAA during the 1991-2000 timeframe. Two months after Mary was fired, Alaska Flight #261 crashed off Santa Barbara, killing all 88 on board.
p.742-744 Southwest Airlines Pilot Association (SWAPA) written statement, submitted at the 4/3/2008 hearing.