Chair Larsen Opening Statement at Aviation Subcommittee Hearing on "The Leading Edge: Innovation in U.S. Aerospace”
Washington, D.C., April 27, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Aviation Subcommittee Chair Rick Larsen (WA-02) delivered the below opening statement at today’s House Aviation Subcommittee hearing entitled "The Leading Edge: Innovation in U.S. Aerospace.” More information about Tuesday’s hearing, including witnesses, testimony, additional background information and live webcast, can be found here. For video of Larsen’s opening statement, click here.
Remarks as prepared for delivery
Good morning and welcome to today’s witnesses joining the Aviation Subcommittee’s hearing titled “The Leading Edge: Innovation in U.S. Aerospace.”
This is a long overdue discussion to explore promising opportunities for U.S. aerospace, including emerging airspace entrants and new aviation technologies with potential societal, safety, and environmental benefits.
Today’s hearing is also a great opportunity to examine challenges in making these concepts a reality, and what Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can do to ensure the safe and efficient integration of new entrants and technologies into the National Airspace System (NAS).
Fostering innovation is one of my top priorities as Chair because it will help bolster U.S. jobs and grow the nation’s leadership in the aerospace industry.
Today’s witnesses represent a range of emerging airspace entrants, from small unmanned aircraft systems to electric aircraft and supersonic airplanes.
I am also pleased to have representatives from city and tribal governments at the table to highlight why new airspace entrants and technologies are important to their communities and how to build public acceptance.
Advanced Air Mobility/Electric Aircraft
Electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles could reduce traffic congestion and improve mobility options, particularly in dense urban environments.
However, Congress and the FAA must consider infrastructure, how new entrants will be integrated into an already busy U.S. airspace, and impacts on local communities.
To that end, I would like to welcome Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to today’s panel. Mayor Garcetti, I know that the City of Los Angeles is a leader in helping get AAM options deployed. I am interested in hearing more about the City’s efforts to prepare for AAM operations in the region, including accounting for community views, ensuring equitable access across the City, and promoting sustainability.
New advancements in aerospace technologies are arriving as U.S. aviation works to address pressing challenges, such greenhouse gas emissions and aircraft noise.
Which is why I am pleased to welcome Mr. Roei Ganzarski, CEO of magniX, an electric propulsion system manufacturer leading the charge on the development of more sustainable and energy-efficient aircraft.
magniX is another in a long line of innovators in aviation that are based in Washington state, in this case in Everett in my district.
Mr. Ganzarski, I look forward to your thoughts on how the federal government can help grow U.S. manufacturing in this increasingly competitive space and help to meet environmental goals.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems
The FAA projects the use of drones will reach up over 2 million units by 2024, combining both private and commercial use.
Drones are used today to perform critical infrastructure inspections, assist in recovery efforts following natural disasters, and deliver critical medical supplies during the pandemic.
Mr. Grimsley, I look forward to learning more about the Choctaw Nation’s ongoing project, under the FAA’s BEYOND program, to test advanced drone operations and analyze the impact of this technology on tribal and rural communities.
Inherent in the growth of new entrants are the potential risks posed to existing airspace users and people and critical assets on the ground.
In December 2020, the FAA issued two long-awaited UAS final rules, which took effect last week: one requiring the remote identification (ID) of UAS and another permitting more routine UAS operations over people under certain conditions.
Mr. Bry, I would like to hear more about the drone industry’s reaction to these new rules.
Traveling faster than the speed of sound, these flights are projected to significantly reduce trans-oceanic travel times and open new gateways to support international commerce.
However, challenges persist to full deployment of supersonic flight. Most notably, the lack of internationally recognized certification, noise, or emission standards for supersonic aircraft.
In response to the 2018 FAA reauthorization law, the FAA recently issued a final rule to help facilitate supersonic flight testing and the safe development of such aircraft.
We are joined today by Mr. Blake Scholl, CEO of Boom Supersonic, a U.S. manufacturer at the forefront of developing supersonic passenger aircraft. Mr. Scholl, I am interested in learning more about Boom’s XB-1 concept, your experience with navigating the current regulatory process for supersonic flight, and what is needed both U.S. and internally to realize your vision.
The Subcommittee is also joined by Mr. Pierre Harter with the National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University, a leader in aerospace research and development. Mr. Harter, I look forward to your thoughts on the importance of federal investment in research on these technologies and ways to support the next generation of aviation innovators, scientists and engineers.
Congress, the new Administration, and the aerospace industry and workforce must work together as we embark on this next generation of U.S. aerospace and ensure that as nascent operations and technologies are integrated into the complex airspace system, the safety of all who fly and those on the ground remain the top priority.
Thank you again to today’s witnesses. I look forward to our discussion.