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Randy Babbitt's Indiscretion

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Russ Niles phoned me a while ago and said, "You oughta blog on the Babbitt thing." To which I replied: I am uncharacteristically speechless. Why people do these things escapes my pea-brained ability to understand.

I like Babbitt. He's been a good administrator. I hope he survives. Since I am unequal to the task of saying anything useful, consider this an opportunity for you to try. Just fill the blank spaces below.

Comments (76)

Stuff happens...he's human. I'd hate to see the guy lose his job over it.

Posted by: John Ewald | December 5, 2011 2:39 PM    Report this comment

Seems like kind of a double standard here. I seem to remember everyone was ready to bust Patty Wagstaff when she went on a binge, but this guy is ok because he was a good administrator?

Posted by: Stephen Phoenix | December 5, 2011 2:50 PM    Report this comment

Does he have 60 days to report it to the FAA?

Posted by: Mark Fraser | December 5, 2011 2:58 PM    Report this comment

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAA!!!!!!! LEADERSHIP AT IT'S FINEST

Posted by: Jed Crawford | December 5, 2011 4:08 PM    Report this comment

And from the department of interesting questions: Why are people always suprised when public figures prove they have feet of clay too?

Posted by: John Wilson | December 5, 2011 4:44 PM    Report this comment

As long as he still holds any part-61-issued certificate (which I presume he still does), then he needs to be subject himself to the same reporting and evaluation process the rest of us are expected to subject ourselves to (see 61.15(e)). As long as AMC-700 treats his case consistently with other cases like it (e.g. just like the rest of us), then, fine. If the press wants to pass judgement, then this consistent treatment is where it ought to focus.

I'm disappointed in the news, but so long as he plays by the same rules we're all expected to play by, and we know they're enforced fairly, then, I don't feel inclined to comment further.

Posted by: Steve Cornelius | December 5, 2011 5:15 PM    Report this comment

Jeez ... aviators are such a cynical group

Posted by: Phil Derosier | December 5, 2011 5:26 PM    Report this comment

Germans have a name for joy in another's misfortune: "Schadenfreude"

Posted by: Phil Derosier | December 5, 2011 5:32 PM    Report this comment

It goes to show that we are all human and as humans we make mistakes in judgement. I am sure there are many of us, myself included, who have gotten behind the wheel when we should have called a cab. I for one am not proud of that admission and take pains to avoid that situation now. While I hope he doesn't lose his job, I also don't think he deserves a break. He WAS driving on the wrong side of the road and could have hurt or killed someone.

Posted by: Donald Ward | December 5, 2011 5:41 PM    Report this comment

Whether or not he is actually guilty of DUI, as long as he is subject to the same reporting requirements as the rest of us who have medicals are, that is what counts. When his medical (if he has one) is suspended or revoked his credibility as FAA Administrator could come into question. All I will say further is that he should have known better.

Posted by: matthew wagner | December 5, 2011 6:03 PM    Report this comment

"Jeez ... aviators are such a cynical group"

Perhaps we're cynical because these people in DC NEVER cut us any slack (yet they do things like land on closed runways, bypass DHS, slug security people, and get DUI's without consequence).

Posted by: Mark Fraser | December 5, 2011 6:52 PM    Report this comment

Well Phil, Americans have a word for people who support lame government officials......sheep

Posted by: Jed Crawford | December 5, 2011 7:20 PM    Report this comment

He's toast. Things happen, but in his position there is no excuse.

Posted by: Gary Dikkers | December 5, 2011 7:54 PM    Report this comment

He can afford a taxi! He used poor judement. It happens how many times each night, and exponentially more on weekend nights. He made a mistake, regardless of who he is or his station in life. If the FAA policy is to fire anyone who gets a DUI, then let him be fired. If the FAA policy is to have him seek treatment, then let him get treatment. I think hes been a good administrator, and I think he was way better than Marion Blakey with her idea to privatize the FAA, and run it like a business. He deserves no special treatment. We have all had a slip in judgment, lord knows I may have, or have not, I cant remember..

Posted by: rob haschat | December 5, 2011 9:12 PM    Report this comment

I'm intimately familiar with career "crash-and-burn" ... it happened to me way back in August 3rd of 1981, when Drew Lewis and the boys gave me and PATCO Local 201 (NYARTCC) the "bum's rush". I try to avoid cynicism at all costs ... it'll kill 'ya.

... blue skies and tailwinds, boys ...

Posted by: Phil Derosier | December 6, 2011 2:24 AM    Report this comment

I was hired along with J. Randolph Babbitt at Eastern Arlines in the mid 60's...Randy was the son of a former EAL Captain Slim Babbitt. Randy probably got on the list in his early twenties. Which leads me to declare that those in leadership now are children of 30's depression parents who untimately spoiled their offspring for they did not want us to endure what they experienced for I too are of that era. But regardless, years passed and J. Randolph Babbitt became President of ALPA at a time when in March 1989 the Eastern strike occurred. The strike was fornidable with very few crossing for we were constantly advised by the ALPA hierarcy that date of hire intergration would be the guarantee for our efforts. But in October 1989 when it bacame apparent that Eastern would fold it was on that fateful in October that J. Randolph Babbitt declared at the ALPA executive board meeting that the ALPA bylaws protecting the EAL pilots was void and that "we must cut the Eastern life raft free". My son then sisteen at the time recognized our plight and today having seen the headlines declared "Karma got Babbitt".

Posted by: Michael Donovan | December 6, 2011 5:46 AM    Report this comment

I was hired along with J. Randolph Babbitt at Eastern Arlines in the mid 60's...Randy was the son of a former EAL Captain Slim Babbitt. Randy probably got on the list in his early twenties. Which leads me to declare that those in leadership now are children of 30's depression parents who untimately spoiled their offspring for they did not want us to endure what they experienced for I too are of that era. But regardless, years passed and J. Randolph Babbitt became President of ALPA at a time when in March 1989 the Eastern strike occurred. The strike was fornidable with very few crossing for we were constantly advised by the ALPA hierarcy that date of hire intergration would be the guarantee for our efforts. But in October 1989 when it bacame apparent that Eastern would fold it was on that fateful in October that J. Randolph Babbitt declared at the ALPA executive board meeting that the ALPA bylaws protecting the EAL pilots was void and that "we must cut the Eastern life raft free". My son then sisteen at the time recognized our plight and today having seen the headlines declared "Karma got Babbitt".

Posted by: Michael Donovan | December 6, 2011 5:46 AM    Report this comment

Yes, he's the Administrator, yes, he could have afforded a taxi to take him home, but who among us has not driven home when we shouldn't have. With the lower limits for drunkness (.10 vs. .08) I (at 6'4 and 250lbs) can only have 3 drinks before I am "drunk"...

Give him a break, a stern talking to, and let him get back to work.

Posted by: R. Doe | December 6, 2011 7:43 AM    Report this comment

There but for the grace of God...

Posted by: J Collins | December 6, 2011 7:57 AM    Report this comment

Sentence him to 100 hours of community service, or ten hours of being probed by TSA

Posted by: Richard Montague | December 6, 2011 7:59 AM    Report this comment

We are particularly sensitive to this kind of transgression here in New York because we have had a rash of incidents such as this, where drunk drivers were driving against traffic. This was highlighted when a young mother, while under the influence, killed herself, 3 children in her car and 2 people in an on-coming car, on the wrong side of the Taconic Parkway. This kind of behavior, by anyone...whether a well connected government official or an ordinary citizen, can not be tolerated. When deaths caused by DUI are examined, more often than not, the individuals involved are repeat offenders. A clear message must be sent; some kind of meaningful punishment and counseling needs to mandated. Sorry guys, but this is no joke!

Posted by: Steve Tobias | December 6, 2011 8:33 AM    Report this comment

Well, this is no joke, too: Mr. Babbitt will probably secure another 6-figure income in his next career as a drunk-driving prevention counselor.

Posted by: Phil Derosier | December 6, 2011 9:12 AM    Report this comment

"but who among us has not driven home when we shouldn't have."

Not since I was 17, maybe, when drunken drag racing was a rite of passage. It's not OK to drive drunk. It will never be OK to drive drunk. Zero tolerance. That doesn't mean you toss a guy out of a job by any means, but it also doesn't mean a slap on the wrist.

I'm a hard case on this because I have had the 3 a.m. call and tended to someone in a coma put there by a drunk driver.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 6, 2011 10:02 AM    Report this comment

lindsay lohan didn't do any jail time. babbitt will be fine.

Posted by: Amy Zucco | December 6, 2011 10:27 AM    Report this comment

C'mon Paul, are you serious? The guy that runs the agency that regulates the controllers who have to make perfect judgement calls....always, should not lose his job for making an inexcusable DECISION? He is totally unqualified!

Posted by: Jed Crawford | December 6, 2011 10:37 AM    Report this comment

Punishment under the law is one thing...I say mandated punishments; at least a couple of days in the joint after the drunk tank that most drunks won't even remember. As far as the job...Any federal employee or employee of most large companies, must take a drug test before he can even sweep the floor. If it turns out that he or she smoked a little weed, they are out of a job. It's true that we are talking illegal substance with the weed, but isn't it ironic that one can get roaring drunk every night, and as long as you wait a day for your blood-alchohol level to go down, you can pilot an airplane, perform brain surgury, or be an air traffic controller?

Posted by: Steve Tobias | December 6, 2011 11:15 AM    Report this comment

Google Virginia drunk driving laws to get a sense of what penalties the state imposes. It depends on BAC level. In general, states are getting harsher in their penalties.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 6, 2011 11:43 AM    Report this comment

"It's not OK to drive drunk. It will never be OK to drive drunk. Zero tolerance." Paul, you have said what is applicable here,and I am afraid that it is not appropriate for someone with that kind of judgement to be in charge of the FAA. What will the flying public think about those folks at the front of the plane if this guy is in charge?

Posted by: Guy Parker | December 6, 2011 11:43 AM    Report this comment

It will be interesting to find out if he declined to take any field sobriety tests or refused to blow. The FAA takes a dim view of cases in which the breathalyzer or field tests are declined by the accused. The seem to assume the worst in those cases.

Posted by: Wendel Thuss | December 6, 2011 12:13 PM    Report this comment

This appears to be a classic case of calling it "sin" depending on who commits it and not the nature of the "sin". Mr Babbitt is not a teenager, but is a seasoned aviation professional sitting at the top of the aviation pyramid and is responsible for all the rest of us adhering to the rules enforced by the FAA. Yes, this too shall pass but probably not without many more persons viewing the aviation industry through tainted glasses as being less and less safe. Many will be left to wonder how many of us take chances flying under the influence. DUI/FUI, as Mr Bertorelli pointed out, should be 0 tolerance as its victims are usually innocent in nature. If it were my own brother, I would expect him to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law as a prime example of what not to do when intoxicated.

Posted by: David Christmas | December 6, 2011 2:04 PM    Report this comment

"I am afraid that it is not appropriate for someone with that kind of judgement to be in charge of the FAA. What will the flying public think about those folks at the front of the plane if this guy is in charge?"

I can't really argue with that point of view, even if I don't necessarily share it. At the Administrator's level, it becomes as much political and ethical. Odds are, he won't survive it for the very reasons you state.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 6, 2011 3:30 PM    Report this comment

Just as I predicted: Resignation. That was the only choice he had, and the right one - make it quick and painless as possible. That way he can land on his feet faster.

Posted by: John Smith | December 6, 2011 4:35 PM    Report this comment

What Mr. Babbitt did is wrong - legally and morally (drunk drivers don't just endanger themselves). It appears that he has since offered his resignation (and from what I can glean from the news feeds I follow, Secretary LaHood accepted it), both of which I feel are appropriate steps. Mr. Babbitt must also follow the procedures laid out in the FARs, as any other pilot who makes such a grave error in judgment would be required to.

As a visible member of the aviation community and an active pilot Babbitt's actions are a disappointment to me personally. I feel he has been an overall positive presence at the FAA, and to lose an ally because of such an error in judgment is vexing. At the same time if he were to remain in office I worry that the aviation community at large would be dragged through the mud quite a bit by the fallout.

At this point I think the best any of us can hope for is that a new administrator with an equally positive impact will be appointed - preferably quickly.

Posted by: Michael Graziano | December 6, 2011 4:41 PM    Report this comment

"...but who among us has not driven home when we shouldn't have?"

Me -- at least because of alcohol. Perhaps when too tired or fatigued, but never because of alcohol.

Posted by: Gary Dikkers | December 6, 2011 7:19 PM    Report this comment

I do tip my hat to Administrator Babbitt for taking his punishment like a man. He screwed up, he admitted it -- something more in Washington should do. No press-conference with a teary-eyed wife and then checking into "re-hab" for 60 days.

I also think it would have been generous of Obama and LaHood to stand behind Babbitt and reject his resignation.

Posted by: Gary Dikkers | December 6, 2011 7:31 PM    Report this comment

The report states he was driving on the wrong side of the road. His actions put others at risk.

Posted by: Brian Bailey | December 7, 2011 7:03 AM    Report this comment

This is the FAA that has a zero tolerance policy regarding operational errors for pilots. AND controllers, medical issues, ramp checks, logbooks and TFRs. He should be held to the same standard as the pilots the FAA administrates. Because of his very high profile position arguably he should be held to a higher standard.

Posted by: james seifert | December 7, 2011 7:10 AM    Report this comment

Sorry Paul, Babbitt was a waste of carbon as ALPA President and is still a waste of carbon.

Posted by: John Hyle | December 7, 2011 7:48 AM    Report this comment

his position raises his responsibiliy to the highest level. nowhere in his statement did i see any humility or appology. lets see if it will politics as usual.

Posted by: jim hendricks | December 7, 2011 7:49 AM    Report this comment

A very sad situation, I hope he can get help and turn his life around in a positive way.

Posted by: Herb Harney | December 7, 2011 8:29 AM    Report this comment

I would be surprised if it was the first time Babbitt drove drunk but just the first time he was caught. He is out of the FAA. Now if we could just get rid of that third class medical!

Posted by: Ray Wyant | December 7, 2011 8:30 AM    Report this comment

As an ex-ALPA member I remember Eastern Airlines. I'm with Michael Donovan on the Dec 6th post. He resigned. End of issue.

Posted by: Manny Puerta | December 7, 2011 8:37 AM    Report this comment

Look beyond the drink driving arrest. This man has no place expounding on safety issues which affect the lives of the travelling public and Air crew. . He has shown himself to be a willing pawn in the hands of the major airlines .Not prepared to take them to task on cost cutting issues or individual whistle blower complaints . Having seen pilots persecuted by their airlines where they dared to raise a safety issue and contacted him only to see him look the other waay--let him feel the isolation of being out in the cold. Do we really want a "yes man" in the metaphoric pocket of the Airlines to oversee safety?? --no thank you. Good riddence to a rotten apple.

Posted by: richard roller | December 7, 2011 8:40 AM    Report this comment

What you do on your own time shouldnít affect you on your job. Sorry but I think the whole DUI thing is a bit much. What did Casey Anthony get for killing her daughter? I donít think people should drive a motor vehicle under the influence but I think the punishment is a bit much. Youíre treated like a mass murder for having a few beers with the guys. I spent eleven years on the Police Department and Iíve seen it all from Police to Priest to school teachers. Second and third offense I have a problem with but anyone can make a mistake. Sorry but I donít think a DUI on your own time should cost you your job!

Posted by: Michael Turner | December 7, 2011 8:57 AM    Report this comment

It was nice having an Administrator who was a former airline pilot and still an active GA pilot, but as far as leading the FAA in the direction we GA pilots would like, he was a bit lacking there. I think we just didn't want to admit that he could be doing better, because we wanted a pilot to lead the FAA.

As soon as I saw the news, I knew he would inevitably resign. Now we just have to hope we don't get a new Administrator bent on pushing the destructive user fee issue.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | December 7, 2011 9:02 AM    Report this comment

I like the guy, too; however, drinking more than one drink and then driving is both foolish and dangerous.

Posted by: Shirley Roberts | December 7, 2011 9:03 AM    Report this comment

Okay, Babbit's gone. There is absolutely no assurance the next political apointee will be any better as an administrator or as a person.

Posted by: Richard Montague | December 7, 2011 9:11 AM    Report this comment

Maybe he'd been dating my ex!

People are people. If he wasn't wearing his FAA hat, he's just a guy, and guys co this occasionally.

Posted by: Jim Cavanagh | December 7, 2011 9:24 AM    Report this comment

To allow Adminsirator Babbit to circumvent the consequences of his drinking habit would be a dis-service to him. Resignation and mandatory FAA reporting are called for here. It's the only way for him to learn that he has a problem. If learning and change within occurs for him, then he will be better off in the long run.

Posted by: Thomas Autrey | December 7, 2011 9:28 AM    Report this comment

I just read all the comments that were previously posted and didnít see any that made mention of another possible scenario. Youíre the FAA Administrator and youíre saddled with some very big challenge, but you canít get the necessary support you need from current administration to even make a dent in what you have in front of you. Behind closed doors youíve fought the battle over and over but they wonít let you quit and you canít see anyway out. What if you were to have just enough to drink to blow above the legal limit then wait until there is no, or very light traffic then pick your moment and drive the wrong way down a one way street in front of a cop - you know youíd be pulled over and you know what will happen. Question is, does his pay grade stay the same with the way the guidelines are written and all he has to do is get counseling? Itís not always as it appears.

Posted by: Gary Harpster | December 7, 2011 9:29 AM    Report this comment

I'm not big into conspiracy theories, so I'm just taking it for what it is. While it'd be nice to think he was on GA's side, I was a little less-than-impressed with his responses during this year's AOPA Summit. I just hope it doesn't turn into a "devil you know is better than one you don't" situation with his replacement.

Posted by: Gary Baluha | December 7, 2011 9:37 AM    Report this comment

Gary, its time to take the tinfoil off your head. No one is monitoring your brainwaves man! Wait....I think I just saw a black helicopter circling above my house......see ya, gotta run!

Posted by: John Smith | December 7, 2011 9:41 AM    Report this comment

randy Babbitt went with a bang! (Cannot resist the word play :-) On his mugshot in the news he looks mysteriously happy. I suspect he simply fulfilled a dream that many have had one time or another - to send it all to ...(insert your favorite juicy language here). Resignation letter was classy enough, no one was hurt in making this news. So long, FAA admin, blue skies! Long live new FAA admin!

Posted by: Andrei Volkov | December 7, 2011 10:01 AM    Report this comment

Does this mean that FAA will now concentrate on the "Next Gen" of ATC and perhaps define it sufficiently for everyone to grasp it? Babbitt certainly was nothing short of so so and I never got the feeling he really understood FAA, or cared about it.

Posted by: Kenneth Nolde | December 7, 2011 10:17 AM    Report this comment

This is the FAA that has a zero tolerance policy regarding operational errors for pilots. AND controllers, medical issues, ramp checks, logbooks and TFRs. He should be held to the same standard as the pilots the FAA administrates. Because of his very high profile position arguably he should be held to a higher standard.

Posted by: james seifert | December 7, 2011 11:25 AM    Report this comment

Some good quality thoughts in this string!

Drunk driving/flying has a couple of insidious aspects that havenít been covered here. We have to separate the serious alcoholics who go out with the intent or at least the expectation that they are going to get inebriated. For all practical purposes you could call this ďintentional pre-meditationĒ - and such a person will do it repeatedly.

On the other hand there are the rest of us - absolutely no intention of getting drunk, and even less intent to drive or fly while drunk. As a single event, we go out and take ONE drink - and lose just a little of our rational self-control. So we then take a SECOND drink, based on slightly reduced rational thought - and we lose a little more self-control and reason. After that, it is all down hill. The challenge, of course, is to stay off that slippery slope altogether, or just have one innocuous drink. 99.9% of the time, most of us can manage the situation.

Using Babbitt to make a wider point, the question is what is the background to his event? If he is a serial /habitual excessive drinker/driver, then there is no place for him anywhere in the FAA, and certainly not as leader. If it was a ďone in a thousandĒ unintentional event where he slipped a little too far down that slope, then he has a personal tragedy based on a single indiscretion. Depending on the scenario, the repercussions should be very different.

Posted by: James Herd | December 7, 2011 12:01 PM    Report this comment

Who among us...? I have never had a drink in my life and have never even considered driving or flying under the influence of anything except maybe coffee. Like most politicians I'm sure this guy will have no consequences for his actions. I lost a child to a drunk and believe me, they don't do anything to them.

Posted by: Willie Sinsel | December 7, 2011 2:18 PM    Report this comment

Have to agree with John Hyde above. Babbitt was a miserable failure as ALPA president and hasn't done anything in his life to help fellow aviators - except further his own political career - which he has been working on since being replaced as ALPA president. No great loss to the US aviation communinity in his "resignation."

Posted by: Greg Pfeil | December 7, 2011 2:24 PM    Report this comment

Personally I take great pleasure in seeing anyone at FAA get publicly shamed. They make so much needless and counterproductive trouble for the rest of us. See "Stop the FAA" at Amazon.

Posted by: Darryl Philips | December 7, 2011 2:40 PM    Report this comment

He resigned, pau thirty, ended. I neither knew, nor can pass judgement on him. I hope he has a good life.

Posted by: Jesse Derks | December 7, 2011 5:29 PM    Report this comment

Can't of course evaluate without the full story...does he have a chronic problem or was this an isolated thing, maybe something going on in his personal life, etc, etc...but it's a hard thing to see a career go down like this over one incident.

Sort of reminds me of the Japanese ship captain some years back who shot himself out of shame because the load of new cars he was bringing to America broke loose in heavy seas and cost his company a few million. What a waste.

Posted by: John Wilson | December 7, 2011 6:14 PM    Report this comment

I am sorry at what Mr Babbitt did, he resigned today ! I used Eastern , for more years than I can recall, I even walked the picket line at EWR, I knew many pilots & cabin crew, was it cold. I switched to American for several years, but they had a patent on mislaid luggage, domestic & intnl.They have a big folder on me, but I switchet to Continental,never a problem with luggage. Now whom are we getting as head of the FAA ?

Posted by: Leighton Samms | December 7, 2011 7:20 PM    Report this comment

Randy Babbitt is innocent until proven guilty; but the evidence will probably find him guilty. I tip my hat off to the cop who had the courage to do his job and arrest Babbitt instead of calling him a cab. His resignation letter was a bunch of crap. He did not admit anything. Babbitt has no honor, he did not say a word about making a mistake in judgement or that he may have a drinking problem. "Oh it was an honor to be a fellow FAA employee." I got news for you, Babbit has no honor. He was just another political puppet that will move onto the ranks of government contractors. MADD published a statistic that on the average a person will drive 70 times impaired prior to the first arrest. Thank God that Babbitt didn't kill anyone this time.

Posted by: James Kelly | December 7, 2011 8:50 PM    Report this comment

Can we switch gears for a moment? We all "hang around" our peers. What kind of friends or associates did Mr. Babbitt have to allow him to leave a bar or party intoxicated? Whoever was the last one with him must bear some of the burden of this DWI.

Posted by: Phil Derosier | December 7, 2011 9:16 PM    Report this comment

Your are so right--the bar tender should be arrested too! But the guy on the next bar stool did not put the key in the ignition. Don't get me wrong, I like Randy, but you need to go to the scene of a fatal accident where alcohol was involved. You will change your "Poor Randy" tune forthwith.

Posted by: James Kelly | December 7, 2011 9:26 PM    Report this comment

I Googled Stop the FAA and Save General Aviation that Darryl suggested. I read a review of the book by Dave Sclair. http://www.generalaviationnews.com/2010/01/04/%E2%80%98stop-the-faa-and-save-general-aviation/. I'll have to buy it. It sounds like a must read.

Posted by: Ray Wyant | December 7, 2011 10:28 PM    Report this comment

Comments to date don't seem to address what appears to be the principal reason Capt. Babbitt resigned as I see it, i.e. that he failed to share the facts with his boss (immediate political equivalent of notifying FAA Av Security Division of the Motor Vehicle Action as per 61.15). Without pretending to know of Mr. Babbitt's capacity to control his alcohol intake or similar previous transgressions, if this were his first DWI, he didn't blow a number fitting the P&P profile requirements and he hadn't driven unsafely (it appears that he did), I'd suggest his principal sin was in not sharing with Sec. LaHood. In that situation, he ought not be expected to lose his position over the matter IMO. Awful lot of folks assuming facts we don't seem to have.

Posted by: Chris Hudson | December 7, 2011 11:44 PM    Report this comment

As a press person, I've dealt with five administrators. Richards, Hinson, Garvey, Blakey and Babbitt. I don't remember much of Richards, but Hinson was a pilot, knew GA and could address the issues.

Garvey and Blakey were both seat warmers in my view. Not a clue about GA. I always remember how ridiculous Blakey looked during a photo op for LSAs. Like Michael Dukakis riding the tank.

Babbitt is also a pilot and one with some GA connection. He could at least talk intelligently about GA issues, knew the players and the playing field. He seemed to have an interest.

But as some of the commenters above point out, the drunk driving rap makes him damaged goods. In an agency charged with safety oversight, you need to operate from unassailable moral high ground with no exceptions about "just being human." We should expect the best of our leaders and it's not too much to ask. Being blotto driving the wrong way on a public street doesn't meet the standard, thus as many have said, he had to go.

Personally, I didn't see that until it was pointed out...

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 8, 2011 6:11 AM    Report this comment

As an Eastern pilot with a few less years of service I never considered Randy as much more than an opportunist and a bit of a Benedict Arnold for taking his subsequent jobs and doing little to get the Eastern pilots back to work. He did some good FAA work especially after non-pilot FAA leaders made some terrible blunders. I just hope that his replacements will always be Aviators First and other Washington types last. Maybe ALPA should not have moved to DCA?

It has been interesting to have been one of the first of many to be spit out of a good job as the depression approached and deregulation stopped the airlines from being Wall St. yo-yos. My greatest financial accomplishment has been my UNION PENSION which was partially protected by Capt. Skip Copeland, a truly unique aviator.

Arnie Allison

Posted by: Arnold Allison | December 8, 2011 9:41 AM    Report this comment

After all the undeserved flak from the FAA over 3rd class medicals... Good riddance to Randy and any FAA god in the Aero Medical Division. They have played havoc with peoples lives without justification. At Oshkosh all he could do is cry in his beer about his woes of the FAA with congress.

Posted by: Jon Addison | December 8, 2011 1:41 PM    Report this comment

The answer is simple, how would the FAA respond to you as a licensed pilot if it learns of a DUI? Babbitt must live by the same rules that apply to the rest of us.

Posted by: Barton Robinett | December 8, 2011 3:58 PM    Report this comment

The one question still lurking is whether this was a one-time incident, or if he had a track record of similar past issues that were overlooked or politically pushed aside?

During my military flying career, I saw several occasions where a high-ranking officer's indiscretions with alcohol were overlooked until culmination in a final "there will be no more of that" incident ending otherwise long -- and sometimes distinguished -- career.

I have no clue of Randy Babbitt's past. Does anyone?

Posted by: Gary Dikkers | December 8, 2011 7:52 PM    Report this comment

Additional context here:

snipurl.com/214hhgm

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 9, 2011 5:30 AM    Report this comment

As others have said - There but for the grace of God go I. Just the other night I was out with some friends having dinner and a few adult beverages. After it was time to leave I did something I have never done before - I took the bus home. That's odd because I've never driven a bus before and I have no real memory of just how I got it parked in my driveway.

Posted by: Randolph Palma | December 17, 2011 10:30 AM    Report this comment

I think it was right for Randy Babbitt to resign following his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, and I'll explain why I feel this way.

First, some background: The retail store industry has done a great job over the years, of getting the message across to at least some adolescents that shoplifting is not a prank, nor a trivial matter. It is a felony, it is stealing, every bit as much as if one were to break into another's home to steal things.

Likewise it took years of effort by concerned people to convince at least some of us that driving under the influence of alcohol is not a prank or laughing matter.

Not long ago, there was a tragedy in my area whereby a woman and both her children were killed by a drunk driver, leaving the poor husband and father to somehow put his life back together and move on.

If Randy Babbitt is to be allowed to drive again, let alone be head of the FAA, he should be required to have a car with no air bags, no seat belts, no collapsible steering column, nor any other safety features to protect him from what might otherwise be the natural consequences of drunk driving.

Posted by: Alex Kovnat | December 19, 2011 12:47 PM    Report this comment

So last week the case was thrown out. Turns out he was not on the wrong side of the road, the trooper pulled him over on a hunch and with no basis.

Posted by: Graeme Smith | May 28, 2012 6:07 AM    Report this comment

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