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Trump Pushes Personal Pilot for FAA Leader

President Donald Trump said a pilot should lead the Federal Aviation Administration. He’s now one step closer to that wish: The White House has confirmed Trump’s presidential campaign pilot, John Dunkin, is on the short list of candidates for the FAA’s top position – alongside a Congressman and the current acting FAA administrator.

President Donald Trump’s civilian pilot, who flew the then-candidate from rally to rally during the 2016 election, could become the new leader of America’s commercial aviation infrastructure. Axios reports that the president has pushed pilot John Dunkin as one of three candidates to take the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) open administrator position.

Dunkin was the lead pilot for Trump’s personal Boeing 757 aircraft during the 2016 presidential campaign. In December 2017, Dunkin wrote for Professional Pilot that during his campaign experience, “we had visited 45 states, flown 370,725 miles, landed in 203 cities, operated 722 legs, burned over a million gallons of fuel and met some of the most incredible people along the way.”

According to sources inside the White House speaking to Axios, Trump endorsed Dunkin to replace Michael Huerta, who stepped down after fulfilling his five-year assignment. In previous conversations, the president has expressed personal confidence in Dunkin, going so far to claim a pilot should lead the FAA.

“I have a pilot who’s a real expert, and he said, sir, the equipment they’re putting on is just the wrong stuff,” Trump told airline executives during a February 2017 meeting over the FAA NextGen project, as reported by Reuters. “My pilot, he’s a smart guy, and knows what’s going on. He said the government is using the wrong equipment and instituting a massive, multibillion-dollar project, but they’re using the wrong type of equipment.”

With Dunkin’s candidacy, the FAA has three candidates to lead them under this administration. The other two candidates include Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and acting FAA administrator Dan Elwell. Under federal law, the administrator is appointed by the President, but must be confirmed by the Senate. Those on Capitol Hill are expressing mixed feelings about Dunkin as a potential candidate.

“They say he’s got good qualifications and all that,” Sen. John Thune (R-SD) told Politico. “But there are other people that I’m aware of that they’ve been vetting [who] would be very good in that position.”

This isn’t the first time Trump moved to set aviation policy in America. In 2017, the administration announced a plan to privatize America’s air traffic control functions while denouncing NextGen as “Totally failed.”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

Comments are Closed.
k5xs March 3, 2018

I agree a certificated pilot at the helm of the FAA is a good idea. But I would find it remarkable that THIS certificated pilot is the most suited for the job. This is just another example of the croniism that this administration represents.

jonsg March 3, 2018

In other news, he's appointing his penthouse's cleaner as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.

KRSW March 2, 2018

No matter which political party you support, getting a pilot with an ATP license to run the FAA is a great idea. I'm don't like the idea of privatizing ATC, but NextGen's been a big money pit.

southpac March 1, 2018

good move Donald. The bureaucrats at the FAA are hopeless & need a good kick in the head.