A qualified NTSB Member nomination, 4th since August, but No FAA Administrator named yet

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President Trump has sent the nomination of Michael Graham to become the newest member of the National Transportation Safety Board. If confirmed, Graham would fill out the remainder of a five-year term that expires Dec. 31, 2020, succeeding Dr. Earl Weener who is retiring early.

Graham has an impressive resume in aviation and will, in particular, bring first-hand, real world experience to the Board. Here is his resume:

Graham has been a tireless advocate for aviation safety during his career. At Textron Aviation, based in Wichita, KS, Graham oversees the flight operation’s safety management system, global security and air safety investigations. Graham also heads NBAA’s Safety Committee Single-Pilot Safety Working Group and is a member of the General Aviation Information Analysis Team of the Aviation Safety Information Analysis & Sharing (ASIAS) program. He also is chair of the Air Charter Safety Foundation.

Graham started his aviation career as a naval aviator for the U.S. Navy, flying A-7s and F/A-18s. He later worked for Boeing/McDonnell Douglas as an F/A-18 aircrew instructor and avionics integration engineer, and Cessna as a demonstration and production flight test pilot. He is a certified airline transport pilot with 10,000 flight hours and is type rated in six different Citation models. Graham earned a B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Weener’s expertise will be missed, especially his knowledge of commercial aircraft during his years at Boeing. Graham will add to the NTSB’s GA talent in that both Chairman Sumwalt[1] and Vice Chairman Landsberg are pilots and have worked extensively in this sector. This emphasis makes sense since the NTSB Most Wanted List[2] has targeted the risks in GA flying.

What is most notable is the degree to which the White House has been active on NTSB appointments. Both the Chairman and the Vice Chairman were nominated last summer (August 2018). Dr Weener’s term does not expire until 2020 and his replacement was quickly proposed.

Member Jennifer Homendy, an expert on rail, pipeline and hazardous materials, was sworn in on August 20, 2018.

The term of Member T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH, an expert on rail safety, expired on December 30,2018. The President can name a replacement for her Democratic seat now.

Four NTSB nominations since last August and no word of an FAA Administrator nominee since January 20, 2017.

That is not to say that there is any reason to replace the Acting Administrator.


[1] The Chairman also flew for Piedmont and US Airways.

[2] The 2019 MWL announcement has been delayed due to the Government Shutdown.

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1 Comment on "A qualified NTSB Member nomination, 4th since August, but No FAA Administrator named yet"

  1. While Member Dinh-Zarr is quite knowledgeable about rail safety, her professional background is primarily in highway safety.

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