Monday Insight – June 12, 2023

OPENING POINT:  We are talking here candidly and bluntly regarding a critical issue, one that directly involves safety and which demands active industry input.

If you agree with this Monday Insight, copy the link and forward it to colleagues.  And if you disagree, please hit the contact button and let us know. This is not a time for silence, any longer.


The Administration’s FAA Fiasco.
Solution: The Aviation Industry Needs To Control The Narrative.

It is time the aviation industry goes public with what is needed for FAA leadership. The DOT is wallowing in a safety-threatening political quagmire.

Let’s look at where our air traffic control system stands:

Airlines are being “encouraged” to cut frequencies to the Northeast due to the inability of the ATC system to safely and efficiently handle demand.

Near misses continue. Most recently, FAA-mandated ground stops have been imposed even at places like Nashville, because the FAA is an operational mess.

The agency is completely lost. It’s not due just to a lack of a qualified administrator. It’s because of politicians making it a political playground at the expense of safety.

It’s on gradual-descend automatic.

Fill The Chair With Somebody Who Knows Nothing, But Tell Us They Do. First, there was the short-term airport director tossed into the fray as a candidate. In the confirmation hearings he could not address virtually any of the issues facing the FAA. In the full view of the CSpan cameras, he got hammered. Justifiably.

It was embarrassing to him and to the integrity of the system. Think about it: with all the huge issues and technical challenges facing aviation, the administration contends a person without solid experience would be, well, just perfect.

Now, the administration has appointed another long-time, zero-aviation experience bureaucrat to be “interim” administrator. Do a search on the stories. It seems the vast majority all started with this very same headline, word for word:

“Biden picks longtime transportation official as acting head of the Federal Aviation Administration.”

Same wording in lots of media channels, with the intentional misleading implication: this person is qualified to be interim FAA administrator.

The first message is that a lot of the national media is now more of a complimentary press release service for the administration than they are legitimate journalists. Just repeat what you’re handed, guys. The great unwashed out in the provinces won’t know the difference. Besides, it’s important they get only the “official” viewpoints.

Then comes the body of the articles, almost all in lockstep with the official line about how this person has oh, so deep experience in transportation and we all must accept and laud the leadership of the regime.

The New York Daily News gushed,

“Unlike the DOT vacancies at highway safety and hazardous materials, the FAA is not being left on autopilot.”

Lining the bird cage with this rag newspaper would probably offend the parrot.

No, guys, the FAA’s just being left with a person who couldn’t identify an autopilot, let alone have any idea about what to do with one. Being a bureaucrat and having some background in transit systems brings nothing to aviation safety.

In fact, it is not compliant with the FAA’s own requirements.

Rather than get into the disgusting Third World-esque babbling from the usual-suspect network media toadies who toss this stuff out like fish to hungry seals, let’s repeat verbatim one of the legal qualifications for FAA Administrator:

‘‘(ii) have experience in management
and a field directly related to aviation.

The DOT attempts to mask this with a take-it-or-leave it declaration: “…Trottenberg brings to the FAA more than 30 years of public service experience, including as US Transportation deputy secretary and leading the New York City Transportation Department from 2014 to 2020.”

But not a shred of aviation-related experience. Yup, she once had oversight of the Staten Island Ferry, but attempting to tell us that a transit system is a field “directly related to aviation” is not just stretching the truth.

It is a baldfaced lie.

Gee, can’t understand why 60 Minutes isn’t all over this one. Not. The guys holding the strings to this martinet show know they are pretty safe from any material media questions. That last Kabuki theater show on airline service a couple weeks ago orchestrated by Buttigieg and Biden prove this conclusively.

To An Unqualified Appointee, “FAR” Is Just The Opposite of “Near.” For all those who make trendy excuses that this latest appointment is a great thing, I’d suggest you take a gander at the nine-page table of contents in the current FAA Reauthorization bill. Read it.

Then with a straight face just try to tell the world that this latest appointee is going to be qualified to deal with all of these areas by having no aviation experience. The woman will be a bureaucratic detriment. Completely qualified to get in the way – not lead, make determinations and decisions on key technical issues. The bogus stuff about “transportation experience” is a side-show and one that spits safety in the face.

Aviation Industry: Take Control. Get Proactive. The Future of The Industry Is At Stake. Whichever way it can be structured, it’s time for the industry to get pro-active outside of the backroom discussions with high level politicos, and let it be openly known to the public what is needed at the top of the FAA. It is your responsibility, not an option.

Openly define for the public the specific background needed. Specific areas of expertise. Specific levels of industry contribution and achievement. Posture it as being helpful to the DOT in its tough job finding the right appointee. Privately, they won’t like this type of “interference,” but if the industry does this in the name of safety, the hacks on Capitol Hill will be reticent to again promulgate one of its own to run the FAA.

To reemphasize, it doesn’t need to be “opposition” but instead, “helpful” advice regarding what is needed at the FAA, without any need to illuminate that the current DOT secretary is in direct competition with what’s on the rack at Men’s Wearhouse.

It is either stand up literally for safety or tolerate having the FAA Administrator job being yet another patronage position. It’s really not just an option. It is their responsibility.

Quit the political nonsense and speak out.