Trump taps new leadership for FAA
by Harvest Prude
Posted 3/20/19, 12:08 pm
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump will nominate former pilot Steve Dickson to head the Federal Aviation Administration, the White House announced Tuesday. Dickson, who has experience as a military and Delta Air Lines pilot and served as the senior vice president of flight operations at Delta, would replace acting Administrator Dan Elwell.
Dickson would inherit an agency currently facing both criticism and investigations for its role in approving Boeing’s 737 Max jets involved in two fatal crashes, in Indonesia and Ethiopia. On Sunday, The Seattle Times released results of an investigation into the FAA’s approval process showing that the agency allowed Boeing to oversee some parts of the safety certification inspection, instead of performing the review itself. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the aircraft manufacturer is taking action to ensure the safety of its 737 Max jets.
On Sunday, officials with the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport said the black box was recovered from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, the crash that killed all 157 people on board last week. Their analysis showed “clear similarities” between that flight and the crash of Indonesian Lion Air Flight 610, also a Boeing 737 Max, that killed all 189 people on board last October.
In an open letter addressed to airlines, passengers, and the aviation community, Muilenburg said Boeing will soon release a software update for 737 Max 8 jets and offer related pilot training. Aviation experts suspect the planes’ new flight-control software played a large role in the crashes, something Boeing’s safety analysis may have missed.
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Harvest is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute and a reporter for WORLD.