Top Letters And Comments, March 10, 2023


New Study Looks At Why Pilots Withhold Health Information

I’ve been a physician for 36 years, a pilot 25 years, and an AME 22 years so I have something to bring to the conversation.

I took the survey and I do not think it will bring valuable information, but perhaps a follow up will.

I think more pilots have died or suffered medical catastrophes due to reluctance to jeopardize their medicals than have been ‘helped’ by an adversarial government bureaucratic system of certification.


There are many potentially disqualifying conditions that trap pilots, some of whom know some of them and others who find out the hard way. There are also misunderstandings about those conditions within the pilot community. But, the alphabet organizations could help if they just would. Publish a list of conditions and options, so we can make proper decisions.

Sleep apnea = disqualification?

Diabetes = disqualification?

Anti-depressants = disqualification?

Hypertension = disqualification?

What should be widely available is a site where each common specifically potentially disqualifying issue is explained, and what options are available and potential consequences. Some feared conditions that if left untreated can lead to serious conditions, especially with age. Uncontrolled high blood pressure = kidney disease. But one can take certain BP meds without disqualification. If we know the facts, we could make safer decisions and maybe avoid FAA interference.


Poll: Should An FAA Administrator Be Required To Be A Pilot

  • The FAA administrator should be a certificated airman with significant experience as an aviation industry manager. Ideally, this person would have actual experience exercising the privileges of their certificate(s) before progressing to management roles. Someone with training and experience in an aviation technical role who then adds training, education and experience in managerial roles may be the most qualified to lead an organization composed largely of technically qualified professionals with significant experience in the aviation industry. Without actual experience at making aviation safety related decisions, management experience alone insufficiently prepares someone to lead what is first and foremost, an aviation safety regulator. Mechanic, avionics techs and yes, pilots are most likely to have the personal attributes necessary to lead a professional aviation safety workforce and advocate for the right things. Just my opinion. And worth every cent you paid for it!
  • Yes, I do think they need to have a technical background in either being a pilot or some other aspect of the National Airspace System, to understand the culture. One of the pillars of the FAA is global leadership. This person needs to be able to articulate how they will position the agency to be the global leader. They need to understand how to connect the dots of global leadership from an aspect of a technical position (pilot, controller, mechanic) to that of a global leader at the top of the organization. Having the technical background also gives credibility to this person with those they are leading at the bottom/front line of the organization.
  • Absolutely yes. Only someone that has familiarity with aviation should be tasked with such a position.
  • Definitely not. The FAA is already too much of an apologist for the airline industry.
  • Pilot/Dispatcher/ATC. Not necessarily a pilot, but someone well versed in all matters aviation.
  • Being a pilot means domain expertise (only) in Parts 91/121/135. The other parts all exist to make aviation safe so experts across those other domains are equally valuable.
  • They need familiarity with aviation systems and infrastructure, dealing with things in DC, and need to be a good leader. Being a pilot has nothing to do with the ability to do this job.
  • Why do we have to settle for ‘Almost Good Enough?” Experienced pilot. Top Notch Administrator with people skills!
  • An IA with 25 years experience.
  • Or perhaps an A&P, air traffic controller, or maybe even a dispatcher or former operations executive … takes lots more than just pilots to make the system work.
  • Doesn’t need to be a pilot but does need to have a robust understanding of aviation.
  • Airman. Mechanics are important and we should be included.
  • The FAA administrator should have come from the field with operational and maintenance certifications. He/she should have at least 10 years in the private sector.
  • FAA is not just about flying. There is maintaining, certifying, controlling, among other duties so it does not have to be a pilot.
  • Proven track record as someone who can get things done and be an excellent team leader. Being a pilot that has flown professionally is an added plus.
  • I expect that the administrator have leadership skills and a well-rounded aviation background. They don’t need to be a pilot, but they do need to have a strong background in aviation.
  • Education, knowledge and experience in aviation processes and systems are more important.
  • Broad detail knowledge and experience in civil aviation should be required.
  • It couldn’t hurt. Regulation by nonparticipants must end in all facets of governance.
  • The Administrator should have good leadership skills AND a good working knowledge of aviation that preferably includes some cockpit experience.
  • Not necessarily a pilot, but certainly should have some air transport-related experience & knowledge.
  • ATC experience would probably work as well.
  • No, not necessarily, but he needs to know a lot about the process of flying and what the flying community needs. His job is the administrate, not fly.
  • Sure, the admin could at least visit their local FSB and request a ten hour ground and flight course that will enrich their knowledge and understanding of general aviation then consider an equal amount of time with commercial flight instructors.
  • Either 121 pilot or 121 flight attendant.
  • Pilot and A&P technician.
  • Should be connected to aviation, not necessarily a pilot.
  • Not just a pilot (with a commercial/instrument rating), but a deep involvement in many other aspects of aviation should also be required. Being an experienced, outstanding leader with an excellent track record in leading very large corporations/government operations should also be required.
  • Good leader AND pilot – the two aren’t mutually exclusive!
  • I’d say some balanced experience with piloting, maintenance, airport/airline operations.
  • They don’t need to be a pilot, but they should have a reasonable amount of knowledge to be able to make rational decisions about aviation.
  • From the aviation industry. ATC, pilot, etc.
  • Should hold an Airman Certificate.
  • Pilot, AMT, controller, or Part 121/139 management.
  • Knowledge of the industry.
  • Aviation background.
  • Be a GA pilot.
  • Should be of some aviation occupation…ATC, NTSB, Pilot, etc.
  • The individual should know something about what he will be administrating and at least a knowledge of aeronautics should be required.
  • If not a pilot, then have aviation knowledge.
  • Should have a broad aviation background, including pilot and air traffic control experience.
  • FAA admin should be required to be pilot or ATC personnel.
  • Why Pilot? Why not A&P?
  • Aviator/Natural Leader (no political hacks).
  • No but they should bother to do some homework or know something!

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  1. One reason we issue individuals a certificate or license is to assure that the individual has met a minimum required knowledge and base of understanding where in a critical area of exercising the privileges of such, undesirable outcomes can occur, if not otherwise prepared. A second reason is to penalize or remove an individual from the exercise of those privileges if found at fault for an undesirable outcome. To put an individual at the top that has no experience in any aspect of the aviation industry and the vast intricacies of regulations governing the industry is nothing less than a exercise in bureaucratic incompetence of the first order the likes of which brought down the former soviet union. That is very close to where we are today in selecting our leaders in the United States.