60 seconds with the FAA administrator: what would you say?

Michael Huerta
You’ve got 60 seconds – what would you tell him?

One of the most popular rituals at Oshkosh is “Meet the Administrator,” where pilots get to ask the current FAA boss any question they want. This is always a revealing session, as it quickly becomes clear what issues are important to the average pilot. It is also interesting because what people say when hidden behind an email address and what they say in person often varies.

Now it’s your turn. We’re going to pretend you have a one-on-one meeting with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in his office. You have one minute to tell him anything you want, and he’s promised to listen carefully.

The FAA certainly takes a lot of abuse from pilots (some justified and some not), whether it’s the third class medical or certification requirements. What would you focus on? Why? Add a comment below.

16 Comments

  • Why are you defying the law by failing to issue the Part 23 aircraft certification rewrite/deregulation rule by December 2015?

    Your spokesperson testified at a Congressional hearing last week that “cultural change is difficult” at the agency. I have a suggestion for you regarding “cultural change”:

    Fire every single FAA certification branch employee this week who is dragging their feet. Hire people in their place who actually want to promote safe aviation. In fact, you could probably cut your certification branch staffing in half or more by hiring the right employees.

    If you won’t do that, then please resign.

    In the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy – “git’er done.” And, in addition, obey the law.

  • Give everyone a tax credit for installing ADSB equipment on their airplanes. We need some help with the money, since the cost is nowhere near as low as it needs to be, nor does it appear to be trending in that direction.

    As an unfunded mandate, we should get a tax credit for this.

  • I have been flying for over forty years, mostly with a second class medical.
    Discussions with my fellow pilots have led me to the conclusion that a third class medical is counter-productive and actually dangerous.
    Many private pilots are reluctant to consult physicians due to the fear that a diagnosis would put their medical at risk.
    This leaves many pilots flying with possibly life-threatening conditions that would be addressed without fear if the driver’s license requirement replaced the medical. It would also lead to a healthier pilot population.
    Years of safe Sport Pilot & Glider operations only confirm the conclusion.
    Please do what you can to correct this problem as soon as practicable.

  • Set standards and let the manufacturers build and produce to those standards. From light bulbs to avionics to hardware all could be simplified and costs would dramatically be reduced if parts were made to standards.
    Why can an experimental fly with a radio that is 1/3 the cost of the same thing in a certified aircraft. They both do exactly the same thing and the FCC regulates frequencies.

  • I would ask him about the “1500 hour rule” he claims he is so proud of, and how that hour requirement for first officers of airliners would have prevented the Colgan Air crash in any way, since the Captain had about 3400 hours and the First Officer had about 2400 hours. I would ask why is the QUALITY of hours (say 1500 hours in the pattern in 172’s) a better requirement for first officers than the QUALITY of hours (say 700 hours flying 172’s, tailwheel aerobatic planes, and twins, with aerobatic training and upset recovery training experience)? Now Boeing has announced a training program designed to bring good candidates from no flying experience to full airline pilot preparedness in a matter of months…only to announce that it is for every other country EXCEPT FOR THE U.S., because of the “1500 hr rule”. How sad! Our government is handing our industry over to other countries on a silver platter. Doesn’t anyone at the FAA listen to pilots, manufacturers, and business aviation leaders for advice? Or do they just make these stupid decisions on their own? The FAA is killing the American aviation industry.

    • The FAA is a just like any other bloated, useless and self serving US government agency. It is obsolete. The idiotic Sport Pilot rules being an example. I can train in a 172 for Sport Pilot, but must check out in a smaller, slower plane. WTF kind of logic is this? What is wrong with the FAA?

      They make rules to protect their jobs, just like most government agencies. The FAA killed Private Aviation with pointless rules and regulations. This is why a new 172 costs $500,000.
      Thank the FAA for pricing Cessna out of the market. Piper gave up a couple years ago. Who can blame them?

      I am not saying that we need less rules for flying. Just smarter rules. The stupid Sport Pilot rating is not much different than the Private VFR rating other than the medical and aforementioned weight and speed limits. Yet the FAA toots it’s own horn about how great this is for Private Sport Pilots.

      I will close with saying that although the weight limits and sunny day limits of Sport Pilot don’t make any sense in the Digital Age, we are getting some really nice planes from overseas. Thank you FAA for killing American Aviation.

  • In addition to giving the advice above to focus on QUALITY of hours and make no requirement for QUANTITY of hours, I could sum it up this way: When making rules and regs, always always LISTEN TO THOSE IN THE FIELD, DOING THOSE JOBS, AND TAKE THEIR ADVICE! 90% of the inefficient and stifling regulations the FAA makes are IN SPITE OF industry suggestions, never because of them. But, lets not forget, the FAA is a government entity. One needs only to look at how Washington gets things done (read: doesn’t get anything done) to see where the FAA gets their example from. If the FAA and the NTSB were businesses, they would have gone bankrupt long ago, OR everyone would have been fired and replaced with competent, effective leaders.

    I must add, the FAA’s incompetence I mention is due to those at the top of the FAA – most of the examiners and other lower-level staff of the FAA are great people, they just can’t help it that their leaders are killing the U.S. aviation industry.

  • I have been flying for 61 years since I was 17. Half of that time I flew with a First Class physical. When I started flying, you would take a simple form to your personal physician who would certify you to fly. That was back before the FAA, whose mission is supposed to be to promote aviation. Yeh, right!!!!! Now because my BMI is 41 and I’m sure your agency will find a way in the future to force me to take a sleep apnea test if I want to keep flying, even though at the present time its not required. I don’t trust your agency to not do that in the future and probably make it retroactive to pilots who are flying under Sport Pilot rules. I have not taken a physical in two years holding out hope that your agency would act on the EAA/AOPA request to do away with the 3rtd class physical. All of a sudden, when Congress is contemplating voting on doing completely away with it, your agency is slowly getting off of its bureaucratic butt and making like you are going to do something about it. I doubt that you will do anything worthwhile, so I have sold the airplane I loved so much, my Cessna 180, because I am now going to have to go back to flying what I learned to fly in, Cubs & Champs. To show how stupid your Sport Pilot rule is, I’ll use an Ercoupe as an example. A sport pilot can fly a model 415C or CD with an 85 Continental, yet if it is a “D” model you can’t because although it is the same airplane and engine, it has a gross weight slightly over 1320 lbs. The Aeronca 7DC is another example. Gross weight is 1300 lbs, but if the no bounce gear is installed, it is 1350 lbs. Once that bgear is installed, even if you take it off and install the old gear, the airplane can no longer be flown by a light sport pilot. All of these inflexible rules are killing aviation. Before all of this Part 23 crap, Part 3 and Part 4 were the standards for light planes. Now, as with any other federal bureaucracy, the FAA has made it so hard to certify anything related to aviation. Crap like requiring an STC for a pair of sun visors(Rosen) for example. Its time for congress to eliminate the FAA and create an agency that has some flexibility and common sense.

  • I would say: Thank you FAA for maintaining one of the safest (if not the safest) airspace in the world. Thank you for Flight Following and Flight Watch even though I am only a private pilot and I flying only VFR.
    Thanks for the weather briefing system. Thanks for the air spaces A,B,C, and D that keeps us and other aircraft safer in flight around those busy airports. Thanks for the magnificent system of VOR coverage throughout the country (even though it is now on its way out due to GPS).
    Thank you for ATC and the fantastic job they do and for making us feel backed up and safe when flying. Those of us that have flown in other parts of the world have plenty to thank you for FAA.
    Some of us are grateful for the work you do and realize that there are some shortcomings to any large burocracy. The good you do far…FAR…outweights the problem issues brought up by some cry babies that fail to see and understand the whole picture.

    • Most of those positives you mention were brought to aviation many decades ago by leaders who were genuinely interested in advancing not only aviation safety, but aviation as an industry, as opposed to current FAA/NTSB leaders now being driven by politics and cost-cutting. And don’t be fooled, were it not for advocates like APOA, EAA, and NBAA, among many others, the FAA/NTSB would have taken many of those VFR freedoms you enjoy. Just research Bob Hoover’s experience with them to see but one example. You are lucky to be fortunate enough not to have had one of your freedoms attacked by the FAA/NTSB, or have your career/business affected by their “safety” regulations. Unfortunately, today’s aviation industry leaders are most challenged not by competition or market forces, but by our country’s own arbitrary and inefficient regulations. Numerous regulations are unnecessary and wasteful, the top brass does not listen to the comments and suggestions they receive regarding proposed regulations (they just do what they want anyway), and it takes them FOREVER to tackle an issue that needs resolving. All the while, the aviation industries in other countries grow stronger and healthier every year. Just imagine if our own government stood by aviation, and worked to strengthen it, instead of just choking it off and raiding it like a piggy-bank?

      True, not all of what the FAA has done is bad (again, ATC staff and FAA front-line workers are usually great people), but so much of what the FAA leaders do IS bad, that it makes the good that they do not live up to its full potential. It’s very sad.

  • I agree with your comments, Max Sampson. Of course there are front-line guys in the FAA that are great. Talk to some of the old timer FAA Maintenance Inspectors who have much maintenance and repair experience before coming with the FAA. Like one of them told me. There is so much bureaucratic B.S. that comes out of Washington from people who couldn’t tell the difference between a 172 and a Cub. it makes it very hard for us to try & help maintenance people get repairs approved. Its all driven by politics and a bunch of FAA lawyers.
    To Paca, We’ll see whose a cry baby when the FAA lowers the boom on you for some insignificant violation either with the plane you are flying or something you yourself did. So far, I have never had one, Thank God.

  • Why can’t you push through the 3rd class medical reform. What is wrong with your people? I could do it in a few minutes. Obviously, your crew are not pilots because they seem to be lacking any sort of common sense. If you want a decision made gimme’ a call, I’ll show you how it’s done.

  • FAR 117 is questionable for advancing safety in Domestic airline operations, and completely laughable for International operations. Two distinctly different animals, and should have different rules. The old ‘120/30’ international limit was completely safe with augmented crews. Why not revisit this ?

  • Instead of the faa wasting time on 3th class md.Leave it alone,the exam
    is pretty basic.I compare it to your car’s inspection(minimal as far safety’s concern).I would prefer to aloud older aircrafts (18 yrs.and
    older do to liability concern)would be able to equipt their aircrafts
    w/experimental avionics.Think about it!excellent reliable avionics,
    half the price,faster updates.I have steam gauges in my 1948 navion
    nothing wrong with them, I think it would make me a safer pilot + help
    our industries.We have a huge pool of older a/c out there that would benefit from it.thanks

  • 1. Review your mission. It is ALL of aviation, not any subset of it. Socialize it with everyone on your team, frequently.
    2. Act lawfully at all times. Actively look for unlawful acts by the agency, they could be unintentional but they need to stop.
    3. Regulation is no one’s friend. It stifles innovation, costs money, and should be the last resort to improve safety; this despite the fact that you still measure your people by adding more regulation! It’s the wrong measure: a better aviation community is the right measure. We’ll still need to talk about how to measure that in detail …
    4. Collaborate with everyone in the community, every day. We are your customers. Seek out better ways to enable/facilitate the richest possible collaboration conduit and use it every day.
    5. Empower your employees to do the right thing for aviation.
    6. Get your own airplane. (Does he have his own airplane? I don’t think so.) Fly it. Often. I recommend the smallest, slowest airplane in which you feel comfortable flying in the system once in awhile, and which will take you frequently to aviation gatherings near you. If it burns kerosene you got the wrong airplane.

    is that less than 60 seconds?

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