Former Delta executive Steve Dickson expected to be tapped to be Trump's newest head of Federal Aviation Administration; Department of Transportation asks for audit of 737 MAX certification
WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been without a permanent administrator after Michael Huerta's five year term ended in January, 2018. With a pair of deadly crashes that left the FAA answering difficult questions, former Delta executive and pilot Steve Dickson is expected to be named as President Donald Trump's nominee to head the agency. If approved, Dickson will replace acting administrator Daniel Elwell.
Dickson, who most recently served as Delta's senior vice president of flight operations, is an Air Force Academy graduate and USAF officer where he served as an F-15 fighter pilot. At Delta, here he worked for 27 years, Dickson was charged with overseeing flight operations, as well as pilot training, standards, staffing, and scheduling as well as technical support. He retired from the company October 1, 2018.
Boeing's 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9 passenger jets are currently grounded around the globe awaiting a software fix to address an issue believed associated with air disasters in Indonesia and Ethiopia where the jets crashed to the ground shortly after takeoff, killing all on board. Investigators of the Ethiopian Airlines crash this month said that they had noted "clear similarities" between that event and the crash of the Lion Air flight in October, 2018.
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation has asked the agency's inspector general Calvin Covel to formally request an audit of the FAA's certification of the Boeing 737 MAX 8. Both the FAA and Boeing certified the aircraft approximately two years ago.
"We will fully cooperate in the Department of Transportation's audit announced by Secretary Chao," Boeing said in a statement.
"Safety is the top priority of the Department, and all of us are saddened by the fatalities resulting from the recent accidents involving two Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft in Indonesia and Ethiopia. As you know, Boeing requested an amended type certification for this aircraft in January 2012, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued the certification in March 2017," Sec. Chao wrote in a memo yesterday.
She continued, "To help inform the Department's decision making and the public's understanding, and to assist the FAA in ensuring that its safety procedures are implemented effectively, this is to confirm my request that the Office of Inspector General proceed with an audit to compile an objective and detailed factual history of the activities that resulted in the certification of the Boeing 737-MAX 8 aircraft. Please keep me apprised of the status of your work as it progresses."
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