Former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) boss Marion Blakey became the ninth chairperson of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), taking over from Jim Hall in late September. Hall resigned last January after seven years with the independent safety agency, six of them as chairman.
President Bush nominated former National Highway Traffic Safety Administration administrator Marion Blakey to the NTSB. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Bush plans to nominate her as chair of the Board.
While promising to be “balanced and reasonable,” FAA Administrator Marion Blakey told those attending the recent AOPA Expo that the nation and her agency are caught between two imperatives–national security and preventing terrorists from using aviation for mass murder.
The unions representing nearly 20,000 employees of the FAA have joined in a coalition “to hold the FAA accountable” for meeting its modernization goals and to improve working conditions at the agency. The coalition represents the largest group of organized employees at the FAA.
At press time, bidders for the FAA’s Cat I local-area augmentation system (LAAS) ground station contract were awaiting a statement from the agency as to whether the program would proceed with a contract award, valued at around $800 million. After several delays during the summer, FAA officials advised the two bidders–one team being Raytheon and the French navaid company Thales (which earlier had acquired U.S.
An RAA fall meeting understandably marked by apprehension and uncertainty also assumed a palpable air of cynicism this year, as an industry whose fate appeared so dubious after 9/11 continues to grapple with the consequences of the U.S.
Addressing some 1,000 delegates at the 11th annual Airports Council International conference last month, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey emphasized safety, security and efficiency as the nation’s airlines recover from September 11. While recognizing that the airline industry is “not as robust as we would like,” she made it clear that the agency and industry should not delay implementing measures to ensure safety, security and efficiency.
In light of the comity that almost turned a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on national parks overflights into a “lovefest” early last month, it is difficult to fathom why it has taken more than 15 years to reach agreement on rules for air tours over such noise-sensitive recreational areas.
In her first official visit outside Washington since she took office, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey traveled to Wichita last month, where she toured Raytheon Aircraft and Cessna and spoke with others at General Aviation Manufacturers Association member companies.
In one of her first speeches as FAA Administrator, Marion Blakey promised that her five-year term will be driven by data and hard numbers, be consistent across all FAA regions and offices and emphasize the agency’s role in international aviation.