Washington Withdraws From FAA Nomination


Phil Washington has withdrawn from the nomination to become the FAA Administrator, blaming an “onslaught of unfounded Republican attacks” concerning his qualifications, his military connections and his link to a corruption investigation in Los Angeles where he led the city’s transit system. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg confirmed the move, first reported by Reuters, late Saturday.

“The FAA needs a confirmed Administrator, and Phil Washington’s transportation & military experience made him an excellent nominee,” Buttigieg said in a tweet. “The partisan attacks and procedural obstruction he has faced are undeserved, but I respect his decision to withdraw and am grateful for his service.” During a Senate confirmation hearing, Washington was grilled by GOP senators on his aviation knowledge and relative lack of experience in the industry. His status as a retired Army officer was also raised, as the position must be filled by a civilian.

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.

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  1. Demanding that the holder of this very important job know a modicum of knowledge about it must no longer be necessary? First smart thing the guy’s done!

  2. “unfounded” attacks….Oh please. I’ve seen the testimony….He’s completely clueless and has zero qualifications to lead the FAA.

    • Surely there must have been some unfounded attacks in there somewhere, but seriously, it’s a big job and his résumé does not come up to the level of responsibility.

      We really need to start a bipartisan push to eliminate total BS. People with even lower intelligence, judgment, and skill see this stuff and try to play the same games.

  3. Well stated ‘.’

    I was actually pleasantly surprised by this. I would not have thought that he would’ve had the intelligence to withdraw. Finally, the system works, but I suspect it was only by accident.

  4. hi all, raf,
    Lets get on and done with this!
    38yrs retired atc here . They already have a great choice!
    Mr Billy Nolen!
    Mr Washington? whew! please.


  5. I wouldn’t dismiss someone out of hand for not being familiar with the questions he was asked. Honestly, how many of us knew all the answers to the questions asked? If some one is Gen Av oriented, there could be some concern over installing someone is intimately knowledgeable but may have a strong commercial airline preference. While a good knowledge of flying is always good, it’s not sufficient to serve as an administrator where someone has to address and balance all of the competing interests which make use of our Federal airspace. Washington seemed like someone who could learn as he goes no differently that anyone else. Better than a candidate who would never check out a library book because that person’s mind is already made up.

    In any event, Biden now will have to line up someone new.

  6. He is not a retired officer, he’s a retired non-commissioned officer. The difference is important — at least to us retired military.

  7. This DEI BS will eventually complete the destruction of our once-great country. Hire the best qualified for the job. Period. Why would we expect differently from a DOT boss who is not now, nor ever will be, qualified for his job?

  8. Imagine how quickly this unnecessary diversion would have been resolved if those attacks had been Founded. Oh wait…

  9. If I showed up for an aural pilot or mechanic check as unprepared as Mr. Washington was in his committee appearance, I would be out of a job real quick.

  10. I’m disgusted by some of my fellow pilots.

    YES he was not qualified. NO this has nothing to do with his melatonin level.

    But why are you crowing about his race while saying at the same time… race doesn’t matter.

    OH yeah.. right.. The racists are out early this AM.

    • Melanin level? Melatonin might be right – he looked kinda sleepy.

      Racists hire/promote based on race. There is a good chance this is the case here. However, I cannot read minds, so I leave this as a suspected case for now…

  11. I could care less about the color of the mans skin, we need someone qualified to lead the FAA in the right direction. Many out here depend on the decisions of this leader and he or she must have qualifications to fill the position.

  12. It’s unfortunate that many cabinets have and continue to have poorly qualified people filling them

  13. The video was cringe-worthy. The guy was clueless. I think he got the idea and decided to withdraw. It’s pretty clear what the agenda of the administration is. They’re going to fill every spot with political tools, not leaders.

    I say we put Paul Bertorelli up for it.

    • Se nominato mi candiderò e, se eletto, servirò – Bertorelli per l’amministratore della FAA.