Obama moves to fill agency positions

 - July 1, 2009, 7:25 AM

Deborah Hersman, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board since June 2004, was nominated by President Obama last month to become the 12th chairman of the board. If confirmed, she will take over the position from vice chair Mark Rosenker, who has been serving as acting chairman since last August, when his two-year term as chairman expired.

Hersman has been the member on scene at 15 major transportation accidents, seven involving aircraft, including the February 2005 crash of a Challenger
600 at Teterboro, N.J., and the September 2008 crash of a Learjet 60 in Columbia, S.C. After the nomination was announced, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen noted that Hersman has a good understanding of business aviation. “Debbie has always
had an open door to NBAA and its members, and we have effectively partnered with her on a number of initiatives to enhance safety,” he said. Her nomination as NTSB chair is subject to approval by the Senate.

In late May, President Obama nominated former astronaut and retired Marine Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden as administer of NASA and Lori Garver as deputy administrator. Both are awaiting Senate confirmation hearings.

A veteran of four space flights with more than 680 hours in orbit, Bolden would be the first African-American to lead the space agency. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and became one of the nation’s outstanding fighter and test pilots, as well as an astronaut.

There is scuttlebutt in Washington that Christopher Hart, a former member of
the NTSB from 1990 to 1993, may be interested in a return tour of duty with the safety agency. The board has one vacancy which was created when Steven Chealander resigned in March to join Airbus Americas.