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BOUGHT BY GOVERNMENT The de Haviland Comet, the world's first pure jet transport to fly, has a similar history. It is a 36-passenger, 4-engined plane developed concurrently with the Brabazon and first flew in July 1949. As of last November authoritative sources estimated that the Ministry of Supply had spent around $1,000,000 on the airframe alone and “expects the project to cost more from Government funds as time goes on.” Eighteen of the Comets are on order by the Government-owned air lines.
Other transport types developed largely with Government funds include: the Ambassador, Viscount, Apollo, Tudor, Hermes, Bristol 175, Saunders-Roe 45 Princess, and Cierva Air Horse, a transport helicopter. These planes range from small 14-passenger feeders up to 50-passenger craft for Atlantic Empire routes.
Britain's biggest bid to date in the small transport market is the Dove, a feeder-type plane developed privately by DeHavilland. It has been sold in several countries and a total of 300 are being built.
The CHAIRMAN. Your enthusiasm is contagious, and I hope that it works out the way you expect it to. Anyway, all of us ought to be very grateful for anyone that comes up here and asks for a moderate amount of money for anything.
Thank you very much, Mr. Rentzel. Our next witness is Mr. Joseph J. O'Connell, Jr., Chairman of the Air Coordinating Committee.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH J. O'CONNELL, JR., CHAIRMAN OF THE AIR COORDINATING COMMITTEE AND THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS
Mr. O'CONNELL. Mr. Chariman, I have a prepared statement, and if it is agreeable to you I would like to read it. It will take about 5 minutes.
The CHAIRMAN. Very well. Mr. O'CONNELL. The Board welcomes this opportunity to present to your committee its views on proposed legislation to promote the development of improved designs of commercial transport aircraft. A number of bills having this aim are under consideration by your committee at this time, representing almost as many different approaches to the problem as there are bills. These include S. 237, S. 426, S. 2301, S. 2984, S. 3504, and S. 3507.
The Board has wholeheartedly favored the enactment of this kind of legislation because it considered that Government financial assistance in reducing the risks of loss from development costs is vitally necessary to keep the United States aviation industry in the vanguard of commercial aviation equipment development. Now, as a result of the cooperative efforts of the Congress and the agencies of the Government having an interest in aviation matters, working together in the Air Coordinating Committee and consulting with members of the aviation industry, a new bill, S. 3504, has recently been introduced. As has already been pointed out by others, this bill, with minor amendments indicated by the Secretary of Commerce, is in accord with the program of the President. It has the approval of the members of the Air Coordinating Committee and appears to be acceptable to most of the aviation industry. The Board wishes to go on record in these hearings as favoring its early enactment.
In our opinion, there are a number of considerations which should commend this bill to your favorable consideration. It has the advantage of offering sufficient stimulation to aircraft development to give promise of beneficial results, without saddling the Government
with too great a part of the financial risk involved. Under its provisions, Government financial participation would be limited to expenditures for testing the aircraft developed, for making certain minor experimental modifications of such aircraft in the testing period, and for conducting simulated scheduled air transport operations with available turbine-powered aircraft.
Thus, this bill would cost the Government far less than other bills under consideration by your committee and would preserve the maximum degree of private initiative and competition among aircraft manufacturers, without directly involving the Government in the actual development of new commercial transport aircraft designs.
This bill appears particularly desirable as a measure designed to contribute to air safety. Although the Board has long had requirements for a service-testing period for new designs of aircraft prior to their introduction into passenger-carrying service, the high cost of service-testing, both in terms of marketing delays for the manufacturers and under utilization of the new equipment by the airlines, has tended to cause reluctance to impose as long a service-testing period as would insure maximum safety.
The bill also meets another serious safety problem currently faced by the Board, namely the problem of obtaining practical operating data with respect to turbine-powered aircraft to determine how best to adapt aviation facilities and the civil air regulations to insure their safe introduction into use on the airways and at airports. The importance of moving ahead rapidly on the development of this type of aircraft is, of course, fully appreciated by members of this committee.
The bill specifically contemplates the development of aircraft for feeder-line operation. As you know, the Board feels that feeder service is one of the areas in which the most remains to be done in the development of the national air transportation system.
In the conduct of this experiment, the need for aircraft specially designed for this type of operation which will have superior cost characteristics to existing aircraft is highly important. The availability of such aircraft should also tend to reduce the amount of Government assistance which local service operators require during their period of initial operation.
Rapid development of improved types of cargo transports—the third class of aircraft mentioned in the bill—is also highly important from the standpoint of the commercial air transport system and, of course, also from the standpoint of national defense. Reduced costs of air freight would do much toward building up a sizable fleet of air transports suitable for national defense purposes. And increasingly air freight is speeding up the tempo of commerce.
For these reasons, the Board welcomes legislation in the form of S. 3504 and hopes that it will receive favorable consideration by your committee.
I also wish to thank your committee for affording me this occasion to express the views of the Air Coordinating Committee and the Civil Aeronautics Board on this proposed legislation.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Mr. O'Connell. I am especially pleased with your reference to the development of aircraft for feederline operations. Mr. Rentzel also touched on that. It seems to me that in our commercial aviation that is the vulnerable spot. That is the place that is costing us so much money.
Mr. O'CONNELL. That is certainly true, Senator. In comparison to the benefits affirmatively available at this time, it is costing us probably too much money, and one of the worst blots in that situation is the lack of anything very much being done to develop a suitable type of airport for that type of operation.
The CHAIRMAN. We badly need something to take the place of the DC-3. Mr. O'CONNELL. That is true.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any questions? Thank you, Mr. O'Connell.
Tomorrow we will hear Mr. Robert Ramspeck, executive vice president of the Air Transport Association; Mr. C. R. Smith, president of American Airlines; Admiral DeWitt Ramsay, president of the Air Transport Association; and Mr. J. W. Crowley, associate director of research, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. We will meet tomorrow in this room at 10 a. m.
(Whereupon, at 11:55 a. m. the subcommittee adjourned until 10 a. m., Tuesday, May 9, 1950.)
PROTOTYPE AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT
TUESDAY, MAY 9, 1950
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AVIATION OF THE
Washington, D. C. The subcommittee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in the committee room, United States Capitol Building, Senator Owen Brewster, presiding. .
Present: Senator Brewster (presiding).
Mr. Ramspeck, we are very happy to welcome you here, and will be very glad to hear such statement as you may wish to make.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT RAMSPECK, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT,
AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA Mr. RAMSPECK. Mr. Chairman, my name is Robert Ramspeck. I am executive vice president of the Air Transport Association of America, which includes as its members most of the certificated airlines of the United States. We appreciate the opportunity to testify before the committee upon these important bills dealing with prototype aircraft development.
There are six bills involved in these hearings. As far as the general purpose and intent of the bills are concerned, they naturally fall into two groups. S. 246, S. 2301, S. 3504, and S. 2984 have as their purpose the design and development of new types of aircraft. S. 237 and S. 3507 have as their major purpose the enlargement of the fleet of commercial aircraft being operated under the American flagwhether that fleet consists of new or existing types. I will discuss these groups of bills in the order in which I have referred to them. At the outset, I will exclude from the first group S. 2984, which is a bill designed to promote the development and improvement of industrial and personal aircraft. It will not be necessary for me, as an airline representative, to discuss this legislation, since I understand that there will be witnesses before the committee who are better informed than I am on the problems relating to this type of aircraft. We are deeply interested in the other three bills in this group, for they are designed to solve a problem which has given the airlines of the United States great concern, and for which we have not been able to find any ready answer.
It is unnecessary for us to review the long history of this proposed legislation, for that has been completely outlined by previous witnesses. It is sufficient to say that the fundamental problem with which these bills are designed to deal has not changed since the investigations by the Congressional Air Policy Board and the Presi