10:02 PM

As if He's Really
Going to Listen.

AOPA's Phil Boyer and NBAA's Ed Bolen are just two of the nation's aviation leaders who have signed on to a letter (pdf) sent August 20th to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, WDC. The purpose of the letter was cyrstal clear:

It was sent directly to President Bush as a urgent plea for him to actually think through the appointment of a new FAA Administrator to replace Marion Blakey, who will be shown the door on September 13th. The last thing United States aviation needs right now is another of George's buddies who knows squat about flying machines appointed to a position of such importance.
Does the name 'Brownie' mean anything to anyone? Of course it does, that was W's bff that completely botched FEMA's handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Brownie was a bit short on experience at handling major disasters, which mattered little to Bush when he appointed him to lead a life-and-death department like FEMA. And when actual dead bodies began piling up in NOLA, Brownie bailed out, to...spend time with his family.

The letter says it is a critical time in aviation history, and reminds Bush of the need to find someone with actual verifiable aviation experience to sit in FAA's left seat for the next five years. It is no secret in WDC either that the FAA post is not a cush job:
Former Secretary of Transportation, Norman Mineta, put it succinctly on October 7, 1993, during House floor consideration of this legislation, when he said:

"This is an agency that is so highly technical that past administrators have acknowledged that, despite their aviation expertise, the learning curve to become a proficient administrator is over a year. The result of this combination of constant turnover and complex subject matter is that the FAA has had significant periods of time in the past several years in which the agency was being run by an administrator in training. Hopefully, this bill will provide some additional stability to this agency that is so vital to aviation safety.”
The people at the top of these organizations signed the letter:

Cargo Airline Assn.
National Business Aviation
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Assn.
General Aviation Manufacturers Assn.
Regional Airline Assn.
National Air Transport Assn.
Aircraft Electronics Assn.
National Business Travel Assn.
International Council of Air Shows
Aerospace States
Air Traffic Control Assn.
Aeronautical Repair Station Assn.
Professional Aviation Maintenance Assn.
Air Transport Assn.
Experimental Aircraft Assn.
National Assn. of State Aviation Officials
National Air Carriers
National Aircraft Resale Assn.

It is refreshing to see everyone that is anyone signing this letter. While it's true that AOPA, NBAA and all of GA are duking it out right now with ATA and airlines over user fees and tax increases, it good to know we are collectively trying to get the memo to the Feds that we do NOT want another 'Heckuva Job Brownie' running FAA. If we get someone who's only credentials for the job are that he played drinking games with Bushie while at Yale, we're screwed.

Oh my, September is going to be a very interesting month in U.S. aviation history.

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