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In dealing with the liability for personal injury or death to passengers, title II provides that the operator of the aircraft is liable for the injury or death to passengers unless he proves affirmatively that the injury or death did not proximately result from willful misconduct or failure to use the highest degree of care on the part of himself or any of his servants acting within the scope of their employment. The operator can escape liability if he proves that the negligence or willful misconduct of the passenger caused or contributed to his injury or death. In case of bodily injury, the recovery is limited to the extent of the actual damage but may not exceed $10,000. In case of death recovery is limited to fair and just compensation but may not exceed $10,000. However, the act states that a passenger and an operator may contract for a higher maximum liability for bodily injury or death than that imposed by this provision.
Operators of aircraft engaged in interstate, overseas, or foreign air commerce are required to comply with reasonable rules and regulations issued by the Civil Aeronautics Board governing the filing and approval of insurance policies, surety bonds, or qualifications as a self-insurer. Thus the Board, in its regulations, could require the maintenance of insurance by commercial operators adequate to meet liabilities they might incur.
Liability for the loss or damage to baggage or goods or loss resulting from unreasonable delay in its delivery is imposed unless the operator proves affirmatively that the loss or damage or delay did not proximately result from willful misconduct or failure to use the highest degree of care on the part of himself or any of his servants acting within the scope of their employment. The rule with respect to the personal effects of passengers is the same. He may also escape liability by proving that the loss, damage, or delay was caused by an error in piloting, in the handling of aircraft, or in navigation. The liability in this case is imposed upon the operator of the aircraft in whose custody the goods are when the loss, damage, or unreasonable delay occurs. If baggage or goods are shipped through an air express agency, the agency is liable for the loss.
The operator of the aircraft or the air express agency may also defend against liability by showing that the negligence or willful misconduct of the person suffering the loss, or his serbants, caused or contributed to the loss, damage, or unreasonable delay. Liability with respect to baggage, personal effects, or goods is limited to the amount of the actual loss but may not exceed $50, or, in the case of a shipment of property, 50 cents per pound if the shipment is over 100 pounds. However, passengers and shippers may declare a higher value on baggage, personal effects, and goods, and in that event the liability is limited to the amount of the actual loss but may not exceed the value specified by the passenger or shipper.
Any agreement between a carrier and a passenger or shipper exempting them from liability or limiting the liability specified in the act is declared to be null and void except in the case of baggage, personal effects, and goods carried gratuitously.
The initial carrier and delivering carrier are subject to the specified liability as well as the carirer in whose custody the baggage or goods were at the time of the loss, damage, or delay. However, they have a right to reimbursement for damages paid from the carrier in whose custody the baggage was when the loss, damage, or unreasonable delay occurred.
Liabilities with respect to baggage, goods, and personal effects imposed upon carriers are stated to be exclusive.
RAILWAY LABOR ACT
Section 59 of the bill amends section 201 of the Railway Labor Act which probides for the adjustment of disputes between the railroads and their employees. Title II of that act makes the act applicable to relationships between air carriers and their employees. Experience has indicated that section 201 should be amended in order to bring it into line with the provisions of the Civil Aeronautics Act and the proposed amendment is designed to do this.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will stand adjourned until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning.
(Thereupon, at 11:40 a. m., the committee adjourned until 10 a. m. the following morning, Thursday, February 11, 1943.)
AMENDMENTS TO THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 1943
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., Hon. Clarence F. Lea (chairman) presiding.
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will please come to order.
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS W. REICHELDERFER, CHIEF, UNITED
STATES WEATHER BUREAU, COMMERCE DEPARTMENT
Mr. REICHELDERFER. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Reichelderfer, we are glad to have you and recognize the long and outstanding skill that you have given to air problems in connectioin with aviation, including lighter-than-air carriers, I understand, from the standpoint of weather information.
Mr. REICHELDERFER. Thank you.
Mr. REICHFLDERFER. The Weather Bureau has given a good bit of study to the kind of weather service that will be needed in post-war expansion of air transportation, particularly with reference to the extension of international transportation in the air:
It is a rather long and involved subject, and I think in most of its phases the committee is already familiar with the fundamental principles. I do not want to repeat information that the committee already knows. So, if the chairman has no objection, I will touch just the high spots, and if there are any questions, we are prepared to go into them at any length that the committee desires.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be satisfactory, and, of course, you understand that you will be privileged to extend in the record any further suggestions that you want to make.
Mr. REICHELDERFER. Thank you, sir. We need to go at our organization of meteorology for international air commerce in a logical and feet-on-the-ground manner.
There has been first and last a good bit of misinformation about how meteorological service works. The problem can be attacked in the same way that ariy engineering problem of that nature can be attacked. We must have representative samples—observations of conditions over the area that we intend to operate in. That means a widespread network of meteorological observations,
Meteorology is peculiarly an international matter. The storms that affect the airways, particularly in trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific air
ways, do not originate over the airways themselves. They originate over foreign lands or distant oceans, and move across the airways. By having a widespread network of observations it is possible to anticipate developments and advise pilots and dispatchers of the proper level at which they should fly to avoid unfavorable conditions and advise them of alternate landing places when it is impossible to get into their original planned destination. Weather service for overseas air commerce will require a great deal of international cooperation.
To cover those points adequately, we think there are certain matters that should receive attention by the Congress as well as by the executive departments concerned, and I would like to touch those point by point very briefly.
In the first place we believe that additional authority will be necessary to enable the Weather Bureau to establish and coordinate the international exchanges of meteorological information required in the interest of interstate, overseas, and foreign air commerce.
Second, authority will be needed to assist in the development of basic meteorological reporting networks and cooperate with overseas and foreign air carriers and foreign meteorological services in the maintenance of supplementary stations in foreign countries which do not have adequate services, when such is necessary in the interests of American air commerce. This applies also to the extension of the weather observing network over vital ocean areas from which reports are needed both in transocean air commerce and in domestic operation.
Third, we believe that plans should provide for full utilization and collaboration of all meteorological talent and facilities. This will mean coordination of the meteorological work of the air carriers and of other private interests with the national and international meteorological services.
Fourth, the development of model airport meteorological facilities and operations to make efficient use of weather maps and of the meteorological staffs and to keep to a minimum the unnecessary duplication in facilities and staffing.
Fifth, coordination and pooling of resources are essential to meteorological efficiency. The Weather Bureau as the National meteorological agency should continue to coordinate meteorological operations in this country in order to obtain standard observations and avoid wasteful duplication. The facilities of the Bureau should be utilized to the utmost by other agencies interested in meteorological projects. These principals should be the guide to plans for expanding facilities and developing special meteorological projects.
Sixth, it should be the recognized policy of the Government to develop meterological science and weather service in order to promote the safety and efficiency of aircraft. Additional research facilities should be provided and the Weather Bureau should act as a clearing house for research projects in aeronautical meteorology for the purpose of speeding the development of the science and its application to weather map analysis and forecasting.
Seventh, recognizing the difficult problems confronting meteorology and the importance of specialization, provision should be made for an adequate training program for meteorologists in order that the airways weather service of the Weather Bureau may maintain a highly competent staff.
There are certain provisions in the present Civil Aeronautics Act, minor provisions in general that are no longer applicable. I have listed those, and with your permission I will include them in the record, without going into them in detail.
The CHAIRMAN. We will be glad to have you do so. (The matter referred to is as follows:) It is suggested that section 803 of the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 be amended by striking out the words “not to exceed 10 members” and in lieu thereof inserting the words "within the limits of available appropriations made by the Congress, members
Suggest amending section 803 under (3) to read as follows: "Cooperate with air carriers or any person employed by air carriers in meteorological service, and act as a clearing house for the exchange of in-flight weather reports."
(8) Correct the provisions of the Civil Aeronautics Act no longer applicable since Reorganization Plan IV transferred the Weather Bureau to the Department of Commerce, namely section 304, change “Secretary of Agriculture" to “Chief of the Weather Bureau" and in section 803 change "Secretary of Agriculture” to “Secretary of Commerce.”
Mr. REICHELDERFER. That, Mr. Chairman, covers the principal features that we believe should receive attention in connection with the present subject.
The CHAIRMAN. We thank you for your appearance here, also for the matter that you may see fit to place in the record in further explanation of your work, and we can also express our appreciation of that work, because we think it has been fine.
Mr. REICHELDERFER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have covered just the outline of these points. They are emphasized in the notes I will put in the record, with your permission.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF H. S. MARX, VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUN
SEL, RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY, NEW YORK, N. Y.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marx, we will hear you.
(After informal conference between Mr. Marx and the Chairman, the following proceedings were had :)
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Marx will be given the privilege of extending a statement in the record a little later when he is more fully prepared to discuss the question,
(The statement of Mr. H. S. Marx is as follows:) Railway Express Agency, Inc., is an express company engaged in conducting and transacting the air express business over the air lines of the United States under individual contracts with such air lines and it deals with shippers as a common carrier for the transportation of air espress shipments from shipper to consignee. It does business throughout the United States at more than 20,000 offices and operates about 14,000 motortrucks.
It picks up shipments at the door of the shipper or receives them at its offices and transports them by motor vehicle to the airport of the air line. There it turns the shipments over to the air line which transports them under the contract between the air line and the Express Co., and flies the express shipments to point of destination, where the Express Co. receives them at the airport and delivers them to the consignee, generally by motor vehicle. Under its contracts with the air lines the Express Co. conducts the express business, including not only the necessary vehicle services but also affords many other services and facilities for the transaction of the air-express business, such as sales and supervision effort, use of space occupied in its numerous offices by air-express activities, providing from its 14,000 vehicles as many as are needed for air traffic