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ALPA TESTIFIES ON SAFETY ISSUES, ENDORSES TCAS

 ALPA TESTIFIES ON SAFETY ISSUES, ENDORSES TCAS
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- The president of the airline


pilots union today told Congress that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has made good progress in many areas of aviation safety but needs to press further ahead in these areas, especially with the TCAS collision avoidance system that has gained wide acceptance among airline pilots.
 "Line pilots have strongly endorsed TCAS and would emphatically resist any efforts to reduce its operational effectiveness," said Capt. J. Randolph Babbitt, president of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). Babbitt was testifying at House Aviation Subcommittee hearings on TCAS and three other safety items.
 Babbitt noted that the developmental problems experienced during the implementation of the initial version of the system, known as TCAS, were anticipated by the aviation community and do not represent any safety risks to passengers or aircraft. To the contrary, TCAS units already have averted a number of potential midair collisions.
 "However, TCAS II should only be considered an interim system. While it's performing as designed, its capability is very limited," Babbitt said.
 "Unfortunately, the funding for the TCAS III program is being raided by the FAA, in spite of the congressional mandate to complete its development and certification," he said. TCAS III can order the pilot to perform horizontal or vertical escape maneuvers, while TCAS II can order only vertical maneuvers. This and other limitations on TCAS II call for rapid development of TCAS III.
 Regarding aircraft deicing, Babbitt identified three deficiencies as seen from the cockpit. First, pilots have not been provided with timetables for determining maximum periods of protection after deicing. Second, for various reasons, pilots frequently cannot perform adequate inspection of an aircraft prior to takeoff. Third, when the flight crew cannot perform the inspection, often there are no personnel available outside the aircraft who have been trained to perform the inspection and report the findings to the pilots.
 "As a result of these informational shortcomings, I believe that for too many pilots-in-command on too many wintery nights, the 'go/no go' decision is being made on what is proving to be less than good information. Given good information, pilots make good decisions," Babbitt said.
 Babbitt gave the FAA good marks for its progress in difficulties associated with the aging of commercial airliners but said that the agency still needs a system to identify maintenance problems related to aging so that preventive measures can be ordered before an accident occurs.
 He likewise praised the FAA's efforts to date on fixing problems associated with runway incursions, but expressed concerns over adequate funding of these programs.
 -0- 8/4/92
 /CONTACT: John Mazor of the Air Lines Pilots Assocation, 202-797-4060/ CO: Air Line Pilots Association; Federal Aviation Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: AIR SU:


KD -- DC017 -- 6728 08/04/92 14:08 EDT
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Date:Aug 4, 1992
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