The Senate has confirmed Robert Sumwalt as a member and chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and David Pekoske as assistant secretary of homeland security at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Under the Senate action August 3, Sumwalt’s appointment as a board member was extended through Dec. 31, 2021. He also was approved for a two-year term as chairman, formalizing a role he has filled in an acting capacity since the end of March.
Sumwalt, who becomes the 14th chairman of the NTSB, brings a substantial aviation background—including business aviation experience—to his new role. A pilot for 32 years who has amassed more than 14,000 flight hours, Sumwalt has served on the Board since August 2006 and previously was vice chairman. He formerly managed a small flight department for a utility company in South Carolina and has served as a member of NBAA’s Safety Committee.
His appointment has been strongly endorsed by business and general aviation groups. “Safety in all modes of the nation's transportation system will reap great benefits from his expertise and experience,” said General Aviation Manufacturers Association president and CEO Pete Bunce.
Pekoske, who was also confirmed on August 3, fills the role vacated by Peter Neffenger earlier this year. Similar to Neffenger, Pekoske is a former senior U.S. Coast Guard official, retiring in 2010 as the second-in-command and COO of the service. During his 33-year career with the Coast Guard, he held numerous leadership roles including commander of the Coast Guard Pacific Area and Coast Defense Forces West.
“His extensive experience in risk assessment and leadership will be assets to the agency and to our industry as we work together to mitigate security risks through measured, reasonable and workable policies,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.