Just days after FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt’s resignation, rumors were abounding on the Internet about possible successors. Some people mentioned that Capt. Chelsey “Sulley” Sullenberger, pilot of the Miracle on the Hudson flight, would make a good choice.
When we mentioned this on Facebook, the responses were fast and furious.
“Sully might be a good choice, but it would only be if he can demonstrate managerial, leadership, and political skills over and above being a professional pilot,” wrote Roger Hamilton.
“Being a good stick doesn’t qualify one to effectively and efficiently navigate the lunacy inside the beltway,” added Larry Portouw.
“I think Sully would be a token appointment,” said Steve Nelson. “Phil Boyer would be a great move for aviation today, as well as general aviation in the future. The $64,000 question is: Would you take the left seat Phil?”
More than one reader mentioned the retired AOPA president as a good choice, such as Spencer Atha, who said: “I do not know Capt. Sullenberger’s qualifications when it comes to fighting Capitol Hill for aviation, GA in particular. I think a MUCH better choice would be Phil Boyer if he would take the job! We know Mr. Boyer’s skills as a communicator and his passion to defend GA!”
Boyer responded: “Thanks for the compliment. Navigating the political waters in DC is often more important than being left seat in anything. Some of the best administrators during my time at AOPA were NOT pilots, but knew how to get things done on the Hill. Keep in mind these are political appointments, and a way for the White House to pay back favors for loyal service. I always felt I could be more effective for GA at AOPA than leading the bureaucracy of the FAA. Plus…I have nothing in common with the philosophies of our current president.”
While agreeing with others who say Boyer would be a good choice, Carol Cansdale summed up the thoughts of many: “Let’s hope Obama makes an informed decision and chooses someone with general aviation roots.”
Want to weigh in on who you’d like to see at the FAA’s top spot? Go to Facebook.com/ganews.