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Therefore, the Department of Commerce does not have an official position to express on this bill at this time. The comments and testimony of others, particularly industry and user groups, will be viewed by us with great interest.
The need for some form of commercial-transport prototype legislation has been apparent for 2 years. That need grows more pressing every day, in terms of the national economy and in terms of the national defense.
The exact form that prototype legislation should take has been given extensive and extended study. The time for study has passed. I feel that you have in S. 3504 a bill which meets the immediate need, a bill on which, with the amendments suggested in the Secretary of Commerce letter of May 4, 1950, all interested groups can agree.
I sincerely hope that after hearing and questioning all witnesses, you will find that the interests of the United States require the early passage of S. 3504.
The CHAIRMAN. I notice that you endorse the amendments that have been recommended by the Secretary of Commerce.
Mr. RENTZEL. Those are in accordance with the Bureau of the Budget's transmission to the Secretary, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. But you say here:
I feel that you have in S. 3504 a bill which meets the immediate need, a bill on which, with the amendments suggested in the Secretary of Commerce letter of May 4, 1950, all interested groups can agree.
It is interesting to note that in section 2 of S. 3504 reference is made to the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics, hereinafter referred to as the Administrator—that is your office? Mr. RENTZEL. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. And in these paragraphs frequent reference is made to the “Administrator." Mr. RENTZEL. Yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. But the amendment, amendment No. 2, was suggested by the Secretary of Commerce, suggesting this:
2. In section 2 (a) of the bill change “Administrator of Civil Aeronautics” to “Secretary of Commerce” and make corresponding changes in other sections of the bill.
So, what you are recommending here is chopping off your own head, so far as this legislation is concerned? Is that correct?
Mr. RENTZEL. That is essentially correct, Mr. Chairman. I would point out that the Bureau of the Budget suggested that change in order to bring it into line with reorganization plan-I forget the number—5 I believe, which would transfer all of the statutory authority of the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics, among others, to the Secretary of Commerce.
The CHAIRMAN. That reorganization plan has not yet been adopted. If it should be rejected by Congress, then I presume this second recommendation of the Secretary of Commerce would go by the board too?
Mr. RENTZEL. That would be my recommendation, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I would like to insert in the record, following your testimony, an article by Mr. Gerald Anglin, entitled “Our All-Out Gamble for Jet Supremacy.” It makes other references to the British program and the Canadian program. This article is reprinted from
McLean's Magazine of December 1, 1949, which is a Canadian magazine. There is one paragraph which makes reference to you. It says:
United States Civil Aeronautics Administrator Delos W. Rentzel has conceded that the British Comet is "a threat to United States superiority," and that “The Avro Jetliner is further advanced than the Comet in terms of United States: requirements. The American market is wide open for it.”
That last statement is in quotation marks, and I presume they are quoting you?
Mr. RENTZEL. I believe that is, in effect, what I have said here, Mr. Chairman, in a little different way.
The CHAIRMAN. What is your view with respect to using this program in testing the British and Canadian jet-prop and jet-turbine planes?
Mr. RENTZEL. I think it could be done. I think the only matter which might prevent it is the Economy Act of 1933, which might place some limitations on the procurement, actual procurement of such aircraft. I think it is entirely possible we may on a lease or other contractual basis attempt to fly those aircraft in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. Do you have any information as to whether or not any American airline company is negotiating for any of these British and Canadian planes?
Mr. RENTZEL. No, sir; I have no information to that effect. I. know that quite a number have flown in both types of aircraft, and have expressed som interest. I do not know whether they are actually negotiating for any. I think it would be premature if they were, because neither of them have been certificated for use in this country. There would be some problems of certification that would have to be met, for which I think the Canadian plan is to submit the Avro 102 for certification, which would eliminate that barrier.
The CHAIRMAN. I am very much interested in their ability to carry cargo, and if you have any information on that point I should like to have it, because I think that is the key to the whole thing.
Mr. RENTZEL. Well, efficiency of operation, I certainly agree with you, Mr. Chairman, the question of how much efficient load and economy of operation is very important.
The CHAIRMAN. How much the pay load amounts to, and what the cost of operating is.
Mr. RENTZEL. Yes. I do not have that information available. I am quite sure I can obtain it, and I will do so and furnish it to you.
The CHAIRMAN. We will appreciate that.
The press wants this point clarified: In the Secretary's recommendation No. 1 we find this language: insert the word "commercial” between the words “improved” and “transport” in both the title of the bill and the statement of policy.
Now, the question is, will the insertion of that word “commercial” bar the testing of a D-45 under the program?
Mr. RENTZEL. It will not, in my opinion. I have checked that. Counsel believes that the bill as it is written, with that amendment, will not prevent the use of military types of aircraft; that that word was inserted in order to identify the fact that the bill was to develop commercial transport aircraft rather than the use of any other type of airplane. I would like to emphasize, if I may, Mr. Chairman,
that this bill is much more comprehensive than just the building of an airplane. There are a great many things that we have failed to learn about new aircraft before we place them in operation, from previous history, and this bill, in my opinion, will make it possible for us to learn those things before the airplanes are too far along in construction. Those are some of the things that I am trying to say that the $12,000,000 will pay us back in many different ways.
As I see it, we can produce a much safer plane by the increased service testing and the approach that we would make in a cooperative fashion to getting the bugs out of the airplane before it was certificated. We can learn so much more about our airways, airports, and have them ready for use when such an airplane is available, which we have not been able to do in the past. We can do so much more of a cooperative nature with the military by working out a program on certification, and I think that the know-how that can be imparted to users in the form of advance information on maintenance and pilot technique is going to be invaluable. That is the reason I think the bill is more comprehensive and really provides us with more knowledge than simply the construction of one prototype aircraft can do.
The CHAIRMAN. I agree with that appraisal. You think it is a very fine piece of legislation so far as it goes, but to think of it as a prototype bill is just simply out of the question, because it is not any such thing. I do think there are very plausible advantages to be found in this bill.
May I ask what the total cost to the Government is of your
The CHAIRMAN. $212,000,000 for 1 year?
The CHAIRMAN. And this program would give you an additional 22 million? Mr. RENTZEL. Well, it would for 1 year.
The CHAIRMAN. $12,500,000 for 5 years would be $2,500,000 for 1 year. Mr. RENTZEL. Approximately, yes, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. What I am trying to point out is the relative smallness of the appropriation. I think your interpretation of how the money would be used is all to the good but $2,500,000 against $212,000,000 is not a very exciting amount of money.
Mr. RENTZEL. Mr. Chairman, if I may say, I think we could use more money, of course. We are trying to present a program which would get us a maximum benefit for the minimum amount of money. I think it is a little unfair to compare it to the total cost of administration. When you consider that we are at work on between 701 and 1,000 airports each year, trying to improve that many airports, the capital investment, obviously, is going to be very large. We also are maintaining facilities throughout the world, and we are operating a very extensive Federal airways network, employing some 12,000 people in service in both military and civil aviation. I quite agree with you the amount of money is small.
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The CHAIRMAN. That is the only comparison I am making, the amount of money. I am not finding fault with what you are doing with the $212,000,000, because I think you are making very splendid use of it, but I think you have made a good case for yourself, not here before us this morning but out in the field. I think you have done well with the $212,000,000 for aviation, but the $212,000,000 against $12,500,000 does not impress me very much in meeting a program as large and as important as this program is. I hope that all the good which you have indicated may come from it, because if it does flow from the expenditure of this amount of money, certainly we will be very well repaid. And I would like to call Mr. Paul Hoffman's attention to your testimony here this morning, especially going back to the $300,000,000 that the British are spending of Mr. Paul Hoffman's money, as against the $2,500,000 which you think will do more good than the $300,000,000. Is there anything else that you care to say?
Mr. RENTZEL. No, I believe not, Mr. Chairman. I would again emphasize that we may have underestimated the requirements in regard to getting prototype planes. I don't believe so, however, and I believe that if we have, it is certainly something that will be apparent after a year of operation of this bill. But in my opinion this is a good bill, and it will do the job.
The CHAIRMAN. In connection with the development of jet transport aircraft by the Canadian and British, can you tell us anything about the load that has been carried in these flights that they have made?
Mr. RENTZEL. I do not know the exact load, Senator, except it is my understanding that they were carrying loads simliar to those which would certificate the aircraft. In other words, in both flights, the 5-hour and 10-minute flight is a medium distance flight. The Canadian Avrojet flight was a short distance. That particular airplane is a short-distance airplane. The actual load I do not know. I can furnish it for the record of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Of course, that is extremely important. I have been told this type of plane has to carry so much fuel, because it is a heavy consumer of fuel, that it doesn't leave any capacity for cargo. It is a fine thing to have speed, but you have got to carry something in order to utilize that speed.
Mr. RENTZEL. I think that is quite right, Senator. However, I have no doubt but what it will carry a satisfactory load, and that jet aircraft can carry satisfactory loads in this type of aircraft. I am not saying that these two particular airplanes have a satisfactory load performance. I know that the DeHavilland Comet is short of the original intention of carrying 35 to 40 passengers for the nonstop distance across the North Atlantic. It will not do that. It will do it, however, with one stop, in my opinion, and will carry that many people.
(Mr. Rentzel subsequently submitted the following information for the record):
While the Civil Aeronautics Administration has not had the opportunity to obtain information directly, the British magazine Flight (December 22, 1949) indicated that the de Haviland Comet, with a gross weight of 105,000 pounds, will be capable of carrying a 12,000-pound pay load a distance of 2,140 miles against a 50 miles-per-hour head wind with allowance for diversion to alternate airport 200 miles away. The same magazine, in its July 27 issue, stated that a 48passenger version was being planned for use over shorter distances and would
accommodate a 14,000-pound pay load for 1,750 miles under conditions similar to those mentioned above.
The A. V. Roe C-102, according to a paper given by E. H. Atkin before the Royal Aeronautical Society, will have a maximum pay load of 12,500 pounds at operational ranges up to 500 miles, assuming a maximum take-off gross weight of 60,000 pounds.
The CHAIRMAN. In connection with the British Government's jet transport program, I have an article before me in the April 1950 issue of Planes, which is the official publication of the Aircraft Industry Association of America, in which it states that the British Government jet transport program is costly in time and money. The article goes on to say that the British have spent at least $300,000,000 in Government money over the last 8 years to design and build their postwar civil transport planes, including their jet and turbo-prop prototypes. They don't say whose government money they are spending, but from the large amount of money that this Government is pouring into the British Government, I would make a guess that the $300,000,000 is some of our own money. But that is another point. But there is a tremendous cost in this whole enterprise; is there not? Mr. RENTZEL. Yes, sir. The CHAIRMAN. I will put this article in the record at this point.
(The articles from Planes, vol. 6, No. 2, April 1950, and Our All-Out Gamble for Jet Supremacy, by Gerald Anglin, follow:)
[From MacLean's Magazine, December 1, 1949)
(By Gerald Anglin) Canada is bidding $30,000,000 for a lead role in a new air age. For the first time we are out to crack the world market with aircraft and engines not only built but conceived and designed in Canada.
We are making this gamble just as aviation is hurtling into a revolutionary new era in which anything mounting a propeller is as old as the Wright brothers and in which you must be jet propelled to win, place or show.
The great Canadian dare has been undertaken by Avro Canada Ltd., at Malton, Ontario, a firm backed about 50-50 by the Canadian Government and Canadian bank loans, the latter underwritten by famous British planemakers who have supplied a few key technical men and invaluable experience. To date Avro Canada has:
Successfully test-flown a new kind of airliner—the Jetliner-a propellerless plane which blasts its way through space on four jets of superheated air, whisking its 40 to 50 passengers along with noiseless ease at 427 miles an hour, 30,000 feet up;
Designed and built a secret long-range fighter for the RCAF, which may be in the air by the time this appears;
Designed, built, and successfully ground-tested a new jet engine—the Orendawhich is as powerful as, and perhaps more powerful than, any gas turbine yet built anywhere. The Orenda was expressly tailored for the new Canadian fighter and will also be tried in the United States-designed F86 Sabre fighters which the RCAF also has on order.
Jet-propelled fighter planes of both British and American make have already flown faster than the speed of sound and the Yanks have a jet-engined bomber. Several British planemakers have experimented with jet power for civil use, and De Haviland put its long-range Comet into the air about a month before the Canadian Jetliner. But United States firms, profitably busy filling the immediate postwar demand for propeller-equipped skyliners, have dismissed commercial jet planes as 5 or 10 years away. Now they are just awakening to the horrible realization that they've been left behind. So far as is known, no American planebuilder has a jet transport past the design stage, or is even actively working on such a project.
United States Civil Aeronautics Administrator Delos W. Rentzel has conceded that the British Comet is "a threat to United States superiority," and that "the