President May Want His Pilot In The Top Spot

by Dave Weiman
Published in Midwest Flyer – April/May 2018 issue

In the February/March 2018 issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine, it was announced that former airline pilot, military pilot, and airline lobbyist, Daniel Elwell, was appointed the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Elwell replaced FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who was appointed by former President Obama in 2013 to lead the agency for five years, and his time was up.

The media is now reporting that the President would like to see his longtime personal corporate pilot, John Dunkin, lead the agency, and hopefully because Dunkin is a general aviation pilot, he believes in the importance of fair access for all, and will communicate this to President Trump, whether he is appointed or not.

Dunkin isn’t just another Boeing 757 pilot. He apparently has managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign’s air fleet, which included managing all air travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months. Also, if Dunkin is appointed, we will once again have an administrator who is a pilot and understands firsthand how the air transportation system works. Dunkin would know that we need all airports – general aviation and commercial – and the cooperation of all pilots and aircraft owners to meet the modernization requirements of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control System (NextGen).

Understanding the need for fair access to the air traffic control system is only one consideration, however. We need an administrator who will work with general aviation groups, businesses and flight schools to promote and attract more people to our industry.

Be sure to read the article in this issue on the Super Bowl that was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4. That event alone required more than 3,000 general aviation pilots to fly some 1,600 corporate aircraft to the Twin Cities and surrounding area – mostly to general aviation airports.

But things are definitely looking up for general aviation with the defeat of House Bill 2997, which would have privatized the air traffic control system. See article immediately following this editorial.

This issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine is dedicated to the state airport conferences being held throughout the Midwest this spring, and to seaplane pilots everywhere!

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