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104th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
2d Session 104-683
CHILD PILOT SAFETY ACT
July 17, 1996.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the
State of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. Shuster, from the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H.R. 3267]
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
The Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to whom
was referred the bill (H.R. 3267) to amend title 49, United
States Code, to prohibit individuals who do not hold a valid
private pilots certificate from manipulating the controls of
aircraft in an attempt to set a record or engage in an
aeronautical competition or aeronautical feat, and for other
purposes, having considered the same, report favorably thereon
without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.
On April 11, 1996, 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, her father,
Lloyd, and flight instructor, Joe Reid were killed in a plane
crash in Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the time, Jessica was attempting
to become the youngest person to fly an airplane across the
The excitement of aviation has historically been enhanced
by the aviators who were brave enough to push the limits and
establish new records. Charles Lindbergh was the first pilot to
fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, and Dick Rutan and Jeana
Yeager were the first pilots to fly around the world without
refueling. Most of the obvious aviation records have been set.
Recently, however, some people have tried dangerous, publicity-
driven stunts using children for so-called record breaking
flights across the country. These types of flights are unsafe
as was tragically demonstrated by Jessica's death. The reported
bill (H.R. 3267) would prevent these sorts of tragedies from
From 1964-1981, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported 151
aviation-related accidents and incidents involving children 16
years of age and younger who were injured or killed while
flying an aircraft.
In order to receive a pilot certificate, one must be at
least 17 years old and have demonstrated the prescribed
aeronautical knowledge and skills as required by the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA). Under current FAA regulations
(14 CFR Part 61, Subpart D), the minimum number of hours
required for a private pilot certificate is 40 hours (20 dual,
20 solo); however, the average private pilot flies 72 hours
before being certified. One can receive a student pilot
certificate at 16 years of age (14 CFR 61.83).
While there is a minimum age to obtain a pilot's license,
there is no such minimum age governing who can manipulate the
controls of a plane as long as the person is accompanied by a
licensed pilot. Since Jessica was only 7 years old and did not
hold a pilot certificate, she could not pilot the aircraft.
However, she could manipulate the controls under the
supervision of a pilot. This is presumably what she was doing
during her short tragic flight. The actual pilot in command was
the person sitting next to Jessica who held a pilot
certificate. This arrangement is possible since aircraft have a
complete set of dual controls so that the plane can be flown
from either of the front seats.
Need for Legislation
The reported bill (H.R. 3267) is narrowly drawn to prevent
children from participating in dangerous record setting
publicity stunts. However, it accomplishes this without over-
regulating the aviation industry.
The bill would require the FAA Administrator to revoke an
airman's certificate if the Administrator finds that while
acting as a pilot in command of an aircraft, the airman
permitted an individual without a pilot certificate to
manipulate the controls of the aircraft while attempting to set
a record. In this way, pilots will be discouraged from using
children to generate publicity by setting so-called aviation
records but will not be prevented from allowing children to
experience the joys of flight by manipulating the controls of
an aircraft in a safe manner. The Committee is confident that
no pilots would risk their license to fly by participating in
record setting attempts covered by this legislation.
In addition, the bill requires the FAA Administrator to
conduct a study of the issues associated with children flying
aircraft. The report, which is due 6 months after the bill is
enacted, should contain the Administrator's recommendations on
whether the restrictions in this bill should be modified and
whether certain individuals or groups should be exempt from any
age, altitude, or other restrictions that the Administrator may
choose to impose by regulation.
This bill is supported by most aviation groups because it
would still allow children to be included in responsible
aviation activities. There are many youth groups that
responsibly encourage the interest of children in aviation.
Some of these programs include FAA Young Eagles, Aviation
Explorer Scouts, Soaring Society (glider) activities and the
Civil Air Patrol. These groups encourage young aviators, but
discourage irresponsible aviation record-setting attempts.
section 1.--short title
This section provides that the Act may be cited as the
``Child Pilot Safety Act.''
section 2.--manipulation of flight controls
This section states that a pilot in command of an aircraft
may not allow an individual who does not hold a valid private
pilots certificate and the appropriate medical certificate to
manipulate the controls of an aircraft if the pilot knows or
should have known that the individual is attempting to set a
record or engage in an aeronautical competition or feat. The
Administrator is given the power to revoke an airman's
certificate if the Administrator finds that a pilot has allowed
a non-pilot to manipulate the controls while attempting to set
a record or engage in an aeronautical competition or feat.
Section 3--Children Flying Aircraft
This Section requires the FAA Administrator to conduct a
study of the impacts of children flying aircraft. The
Administrator must consider the effects of imposing any
restrictions on children flying aircraft on safety and on the
future of general aviation. The report is due 6 months after
enactment, and should include recommendations on: (1) whether
the restrictions established by the bill should be amended or
repealed; and (2) whether certain individuals or groups should
be exempt from any age, altitude, or other restrictions that
the Administrator may impose by regulation. Finally, the bill
allows the Administrator to issue regulations imposing age,
altitude, or other restrictions on children flying aircraft as
a result of the findings of the study.
Hearings and Legislative History
The Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing on H.R. 3267 on
May 1, 1996.
H.R. 3267 was introduced on April 18, 1996. On May 30, 1996
the Subcommittee reported the bill to the full Committee on
Transportation and Infrastructure. On June 6, 1996, the
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure ordered the bill
reported, with amendments by voice vote.
Committee Oversight Findings and Recommendations
With respect to the requirements of clause 2(l)(3)(A) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are
reflected in this report.
Inflationary Impact Statement
Pursuant to clause 2(l)(4) of the rule XI of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, the Committee estimates that the
enactment of H.R. 3267 will have no significant inflationary
impact on prices and costs in the operation of the national
Costs of the Legislation
Clause 7 of rule XIII of the rules of the House of
Representatives does not apply where a cost estimate and
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget
Office under sections 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of
1974 has been timely submitted prior to the filing of the
report and is included in the report. Such a cost estimate is
included in this report.
Compliance With House Rule XI
1. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(B) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, and
section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the
Committee references the report of the Congressional Budget
Office included below.
2. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and
recommendations from the Committee on Government Reform and
Oversight on the subject of H.R. 3267.
3. With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(C) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives and
section 403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the
Committee has received the following cost estimate for H.R.
3267 from the Director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Congressional Budget Office,
Washington, DC, June 19, 1996.
Hon. Bud Shuster,
Chairman, Committee on Transportation, and Infrastructure,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has
reviewed H.R. 3267, a bill to prohibit individuals who do not
hold a valid private pilot's certificate from manipulating the
controls of aircraft in an attempt to set a record or engage in
an aeronautical competition or aeronautical feat, as ordered
reported by the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure on June 6, 1996.
H.R. 3267 would prohibit a pilot from allowing an
individual without a private pilot's certificate and medical
certificate to manipulate the controls of an aircraft if the
pilot knows or should have known that such an individual is
attempting to set a record or engage in an aeronautical
competition or feat. The Administrator of the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) would have the authority to revoke the
airman certificate from the pilot who allows an individual
without the required certificates to manipulate the controls of
an aircraft. This bill also would direct the FAA to conduct a
study and issue a report on the effects of children flying
aircraft. Based on the findings of the study, the Administrator
could issue regulations imposing restrictions on children.
Federal Budgetary Impact.--Based on information from the
FAA, CBO estimates that the cost of conducting the study and
issuing the report on the impacts of children flying aircraft
would be less than $50,000. If the Administrator of the FAA
decides to issue new regulations as a result of that study, the
cost of issuing the regulations would be between $100,000 and
$200,000. CBO cannot predict whether regulations would be
issued under H.R. 3267 or what the costs of enforcing any such
regulations would be, but such costs are unlikely to be
substantial. Spending for the required study, any regulations
that might be promulgated as a result of that study, and any
enforcement actions would be subject to the appropriation of
the necessary funds. Thus, enacting H.R. 3267 would not affect
direct spending or receipts, and pay-as-you-go procedures would
not apply to the bill.
Mandates Statement.--H.R. 3267 contains no
intergovernmental mandates as defined in Public Law 104-4, and
would have no impact on the budgets of state, local, or tribal
governments. Because it would restrict who can operate the
controls of an aircraft, the bill contains a private-sector
mandate. This mandate would impose no direct cost on the
If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Clare
Doherty (for federal costs), and Dan Lieberman (for the impact
on the private sector).
June E. O'Neill, Director.
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported
In compliance with clause 3 of rule XIII of the Rules of
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is
printed in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed
is shown in roman):
CHAPTER 447 OF TITLE 49, UNITED STATES CODE
CHAPTER 447--SAFETY REGULATION
44701. General requirements.
* * * * * * *
44724. Manipulation of flight controls.
* * * * * * *
Sec. 44724. Manipulation of flight controls
(a) Prohibition.--No pilot in command of an aircraft may
allow an individual who does not hold--
(1) a valid private pilots certificate issued by the
Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration
under part 61 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations;
(2) the appropriate medical certificate issued by the
Administrator under part 67 of such title,
to manipulate the controls of an aircraft if the pilot knows
or should have known that the individual is attempting to set a
record or engage in an aeronautical competition or aeronautical
feat, as defined by the Administrator.
(b) Revocation of Airmen Certificates.--The Administrator
shall issue an order revoking a certificate issued to an airman
under section 44703 of this title if the Administrator finds
that while acting as a pilot in command of an aircraft, the
airman has permitted another individual to manipulate the
controls of the aircraft in violation of subsection (a).
(c) Pilot in Command Defined.--In this section, the term
``pilot in command'' has the meaning given such term by section
1.1 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations.