FAA Announces Safety Panel


The FAA has formed a blue chip panel of aviation industry experts to recommend safety enhancements industry-wide. The members of the new FAA National Airspace System Safety Review Team include: former NASA Administrator and astronaut Charles Bolden Jr.; former Air Line Pilots Association, International President Captain Tim Canoll; former National Air Traffic Controllers Association Executive Vice President Patricia Gilbert; former FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle; former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta; and former NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt.

“We are committed to maintaining the safest period in U.S. aviation history,” Acting Administrator Billy Nolen said. “This team will strengthen our ongoing safety efforts and identify specific investments we can make to bolster the National Airspace System.” The group will start work in May and deliver recommendations in October. The formation of the committee came out of a safety summit held in March by the FAA in March in response to seven potentially serious aviation incidents in the previous three months.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

Other AVwebflash Articles


  1. Just make sure there are certified pilots on the “blue chip panel” and not just politicians.

  2. And who are they going to report their recommendations to exactly with Nolen leaving soon and no apparent heir in the wings? This braintrust doesn’t need all summer to “identify specific investments” to “bolster the NAS” when there’s already so much low hanging fruit; the long pole in the tent (as always) is funding. You can’t keep putting 10 pounds into a 5 pound bag and expect a consistent (or lower) risk level.

    And please find an aviator to replace Huerta–a political appointee and yes man who did nothing to enhance aviation safety.

    • Agreed. Why is it going to take six months to come up with a wish list when the average group of pilots or ATC employees could probably give you a pretty good list by the end of next week! In the meantime, the summer peak travel season is about to arrive.

  3. It’s good to see something concrete coming out of the March safety summit with panel members who have actual operational credentials and experience beyond being “just politicians”. Any panel on which Robert Sumwalt has agreed to serve along with others who have operational credentials has great chances for success.

  4. Can’t figure out why Mr. Huerta is on this committee. He is just another bureaucrat who fought at every turn any changes to the medical certification requirements. So much for getting anything accomplished with this.

  5. I’m concerned that the individuals invited are the ones who had a hand in creating the system we have now. Would it not be more effective to bring in ‘outsiders’ to review their work & make suggestions?

  6. 💡Ah, the FAA Administrator nominee selection mess. It’s enough to make even the most seasoned aviator feel like they’re flying through a hailstorm. But never fear, my fellow aviation enthusiasts, for I have a proposal that just might soar above the rest.

    First, we’ll have the Safety Board recommend a few top-notch candidates for the job. Then, we’ll bring them all together at EAA Airventure for a good old-fashioned debate. Think podiums, microphones, and maybe even some aviation-themed costumes – the sky’s the limit!

    The candidates will have to answer tough questions on their qualifications, experience, and leadership skills – all while trying to impress the discerning aviation audience at Oshkosh. And then, to ensure a fair and honest outcome, we’ll hold an election right there on the spot. The ballot boxes will be guarded tighter than a cockpit door during takeoff, and the votes will be hand-counted to make sure there’s no funny business.

    Can you imagine it? The future of the FAA Administrator decided at the greatest aviation event on Earth! Who needs Congress when you’ve got Airventure?

    • You’re a genius, Raf! 🙂
      GREAT idea.
      Every time I think of the years I endured listing to Huerta at the Meet the Boss meeting — flanked by bodyguards! — spewing his bravo sierra, my BP goes up. He once responded to me by telling me to see him “after” … when I approached, I darn near got tackled.
      While we’re at it, why don’t we dump the DOT boss in favor of someone who doesn’t think roads are racists, too. THERE”s the root of our problem.

  7. As if GA is not already expensive enough………this “Panel of Experts” will make recommendations and the costs will drive the rest of us completely out of aviation……..there is ALREADY to much BS oversight as it is.