In the days before his confirmation, there were two incidents in the aviation industry that gained attention. First, an off-duty pilot was charged with attempted murder after allegedly trying to shut down the engines of a flight, causing it to divert. Second, the FAA launched an investigation into two planes that came too close to each other at an airport in Portland. These incidents raised concerns about safety.
Earlier this year, there were several close calls in aviation that led to a safety summit and recommendations from the FAA. These recommendations included reducing distractions for pilots and crew during take-off, landing, and taxiing.
Aviation safety consultant Jeff Guzzetti said that while these incidents merited investigations, the aviation system caught them before they became catastrophic. However, he also acknowledged issues such as a diminished air traffic control workforce and pilots relying too heavily on automated cockpit equipment.
Aviation consultant Alan Diehl mentioned the need to rebuild public confidence in air travel, address staffing issues, and navigate ongoing disputes in Congress over the FAA reauthorization bill.
Despite recent challenges and criticisms of the FAA, Guzzetti expressed confidence that things are improving. Scott Maurer, an aviation safety advocate, called the confirmation of the new administrator “good news” and expressed hope for increased safety efforts, such as hiring more air traffic controllers and integrating drones and air taxis safely into airspace.
Maurer emphasized that the administrator should prioritize the flying public over airlines or unions and always prioritize safety. He also mentioned the importance of having a full-time administrator to address big issues and represent the public effectively.
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