New FAA Administrator

The United States Senate confirmed President Obama’s nominee, Randy Babbitt, for a five-year term as the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) administrator in late May. Babbitt began flying at age 16, was a career airline pilot and finally President of the Airline Pilot’s Association (ALPA) from 1990-1998. He was a member of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 2008 five-member internal review team, which produced the report “Managing Risks in Civil Aviation: A Review of the FAA’s Approach to Safety”. In that report, the team found something which many have encountered:

PD New Beginning

a remarkable degree of variation in regulatory ideologies among the field office staff, which, in places, creates the likelihood of generating wide variances, and possible errors, in regulatory decision-making. We believe agency leadership should pay particular attention to this issue, and create intervention mechanisms to help guarantee coherence and rationality in regulatory practice, and to elevate a task-focus above toolbased preferences and ideologies.


  • Confirmation hearing video video: Babbitt’s introduction begins at 56:30 and the question and answer session begins at 63:30. Senator Brownback discusses general aviation – and Wichita steak – with Babbitt beginning at 85:00. Brownback briefly brings up the topic of how general aviation will be expected to share the cost of the upcoming NextGen projects.
  • 2008 DOT Report

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