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Washington, D.C.

The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., in room 5110, New Senate Office Building, Hon. A.S. Mike Monroney (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.

Senator MONRONEY. The Aviation Subcommittee of the Committee on Commerce will be in order.

The Aviation Subcommittee will commence hearings this morning and will continue through Wednesday on the subject of whether the Government should continue, expand, or limit the federally supported helicopter air service program. Such a determination can only be made after a through review of the present and prospective role of vertical-type aircraft in the air transportation system and the benefits derived therefrom. Within this framework the committee is hopeful that the present confusion and misunderstanding concerning the reasons underlying this program and its immediate, and more importantly, its ultimate objectives can be clarified.

Germane to the committee's consideration of this subject are a broad range of questions, a few of which I mention for purpose of example. They are certainly by no means all-inclusive. To what extent can the disparity between costs of vertical as opposed to fixed-wing aircraft be narrowed in percentage terms? How far are we, technologically, from achieving such a result?

Do vertical aircraft offer potential in assisting the growth of modern internal transportation systems in developing countries? Aside from the commercial transportation possibilities, what social and political advantages might accrue?

Are the costs of providing support facilities and ground personnel such as airports, runways, lighting, control towers, radar, air traffic controllers, substantially the same as or less than those incurred in connection with fixed-wing aircraft? If less, to what extent can they be translated into savings to Federal and local governments?

Is there a future in vertical aircraft in the field of short-haul intercity transportation?

How much of a premium in fares will a passenger pay for downtown-to-downtown air transportation?

What is the foreign market potential of vertical aircraft and what impact would such a market have on this Nation's balance of payments?

To what extent have past and present uncertainties with respect to continuing the helicopter program adversely affected its success?