United FO Eyed As Next FAA Chief


There are a few familiar names being bandied about for President Joe Biden’s nomination to replace FAA Administrator Steve Dickson, who is leaving the post this week. But according to the travel website Skift the leading contender may be a dark horse. Apparently former NTSB Chair Debra Hersman, current U.S. Ambassador to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Sully Sullenberger and the FAA’s current deputy administrator Bradley Mims are in the running but there’s a relative unknown, John Boccieri, who’s being promoted in Washington back rooms to be Biden’s pick.

Boccieri is a United Airlines FO but he’s also a former congressman from Ohio and the current vice commander of the Pittsburgh Air Reserve base. Among those lobbying for Boccieri’s nomination is Todd Insler, chairman of the United Chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association. He argues Boccieri’s well-rounded background makes him a better choice than the other more famous contenders. “His resume shows he is qualified and competent,” Insler said. “We need someone who knows the ins and outs of government and the ins and outs of safety,” Insler said. 

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    • I don’t care so much about the “general aviation credentials” of whoever runs the FAA, as much as I do about their views about GA. (And “military” technically is GA, but I assume we’re all referring to typical Part 91 operations here). And pilots don’t necessarily make the best business/political candidates, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pilot either; just someone with close ties to the pilot community.

      • With respect, in light of what we have had with past administrators, I think having some GA credentials means a lot. Otherwise with the candidates mentioned in this article would be nothing but a redo with either a career bureaucrat, former military, or another former airline person.

  1. Richard – too funny! Wouldn’t it be nice if the people selected for these roles were chosen solely based on qualifications and ability, you know, regardless of skin color, genitals, personal preferences, etc.

    The idea of overlooking other, more qualified individuals for the transgender baby seal is ironic since it actually goes against the cause of these groups. They want acclimation and acceptance, yet make a huge deal out of being acclimated or accepted. That draws attention instead of diverting it.

    If someone is qualified, great! I don’t care about much else, and most other people probably don’t either if there are results. We’ve lost the virtue of demonstrating ability via action and replaced it with coddling to other’s insecurities. This will create many more problems than it will solve. When those problems arise, who gets the blame?

  2. Sully might be a good choice because of his long-standing safety advocacy. But he would also be a media magnet, drawing increased scrutiny to a government agency with more than a few bullet holes in it. If he can lead the media, alphabet groups, lawyers and lobbyists, to topics they need to discuss/cover, he stands a chance of not being overwhelmed by these groups. But he would need to lead them, not allow them to lead him, and thus possibly become an inspiration, not only to the aviation community, but also to the FAA workforce.

    • As long as we keep appointing people who pledge fealty to the mantra that “climate change is our most important issue,” we will continue to get the government that we deserve.

      Apparently, we are the most un-deserving people on the planet.

      • The conversation is over once you remember that this administration is the party that argues that it is hateful to tell a man who dresses as a woman that he can’t give birth. Why bother arguing anything else? The mental illness is too severe to overcome.

  3. Instead of leading with “FO”, why not “former congressman and current military pilot”. “FO” implies he’d be a better choice if her was captain-qualified, which ignores the fact that left seat dwellers simply have longevity on their side and not any qualifications other than being patient enough to slog through their years in the right seat. There are many clowns/marginal performers in the cockpit who I wouldn’t trust to lead a group of cub scouts to their campsite.