FAA Establishes Independent Aviation Safety Review Team
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration named an independent safety review team to further examine ways to enhance safety and reliability in the nation’s air traffic system. After a thorough assessment, the group will present concrete recommendations on how the agency can advance air traffic safety.
“We are committed to maintaining the safest period in U.S. aviation history,” Acting Administrator Billy Nolen said. “This team will strengthen our ongoing safety efforts and identify specific investments we can make to bolster the National Airspace System.”
The announcement of the new FAA National Airspace System Safety Review Team follows a March safety summit where the FAA convened safety officials from across the aviation industry. During the summit, the group focused on several recent incidents, many of which occurred during takeoffs or landings at busy airports.
The Safety Review Team will begin its work in May and complete its work by October 2023 with recommended actions the FAA can take to enhance safety.
In the weeks since the Safety Summit, the agency has moved forward to enhance safety, including issuing a safety alert to airlines, pilots and others reminding them to remain vigilant during taxi, takeoff and landing. Meanwhile, the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization has taken several actions, including ensure that supervisors devote their full attention to the operation and airfield during peak traffic periods at each facility; and the FAA’s airports division held a seminar on how to implement Safety Management Systems.
The National Airspace System Safety Review Team Members include:
- Former NASA Administrator and astronaut Charles Bolden Jr.
- Former Air Line Pilots Association, International President Captain Tim Canoll
- Former National Air Traffic Controllers Association Executive Vice President Patricia Gilbert
- Former FAA Chief Operating Officer David Grizzle
- Former FAA Administrator Michael Huerta
- Former NTSB Chair Robert Sumwalt
Bios of each member are below.
Read the immediate actions that came out of the summit.
National Airspace System Safety Review Team Member Bios
CHARLES BOLDEN JR.
Charles F. Bolden Jr. is a retired Marine Corps Major General and former NASA Administrator who has dedicated his life in service to the United States, working to secure our Nation’s security, prosperity, and guiding efforts to explore our universe and better understand our fragile planet.
In 2009, President Barack Obama appointed Bolden to be the 12th NASA Administrator, making him only the second astronaut to hold that position. Bolden oversaw the transition from the Space Shuttle system to a new era of exploration, fully focused on the International Space Station and aeronautics technology development.
During his career as a NASA astronaut, Bolden flew on four Shuttle missions, logging more than 680 hours in space.
A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Bolden flew more than 100 combat missions during the Vietnam War. He later served as a test pilot for the Naval Air Test Center’s Systems Engineering and Strike Aircraft Test Directorates. After completing his service as an astronaut in 1994, he served as the Assistant Commandant of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy, and in 1998 as the Commanding General of the Marine Expeditionary Force attached to Operation Desert Thunder in Kuwait.
Bolden holds a Master of Science Degree in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.
Capt. Tim Canoll has an expansive background in aviation as a U.S. Navy pilot for more than 24 years and a Delta Air Lines pilot for more than 30 years. He also served as president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents more than 69,000 professional airline pilots in the United States and Canada and is the largest non-governmental aviation safety organization in the world.
As ALPA’s chief executive and administrative officer, Canoll was responsible for overseeing the daily operations of the Association and as the chief spokesman for the union, advancing pilots’ views in the airline industry before Congress, Parliament, government agencies, airline and other business executives and in media interviews. Canoll was a strong advocate for aviation safety, security and fair labor practices.
Canoll has served on numerous committees and councils including the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee, Next Gen Advisory Committee, the AFL/CIO Executive Council and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Organized Labor Advisory Council.
He has flown numerous military and civilian aircraft and holds Airline Transport Pilot, Commercial Pilot, and Remote Pilot certificates. He is a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a former Navy Reserve F/A-18 Strike Fighter Squadron commanding officer. He retired from the U.S. Navy Reserve as a captain in 2008.
Trish Gilbert serves as the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (IFATCA) Executive Vice President Americas. She previously served 12 years as the National Air Traffic Controllers Association’s (NATCA) Executive Vice President, where she helped lead and oversee NATCA’s comprehensive efforts to build successful working relationships with government and industry.
She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee, the FAA/NATCA Collaborative Steering Committee, the Aero Club of Washington Board of Governors, the National Aeronautic Association Board of Directors, Director of the NATCA Charitable Foundation, the Vice Chair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) Air Traffic Services Committee and IFATCA’s representative to the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems panel (RPASP) at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
In May 2020, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao appointed Gilbert to the new Women in Aviation Advisory Board (WIAAB). In March 2022, the WIAAB transmitted the Report “Breaking Barriers for Women in Aviation: Flight Plan for The Future” to the FAA Administrator and the U.S. Congress.
Gilbert worked 21 years at the FAA’s Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center prior to taking on her roles at NATCA.
David Grizzle is an aerospace industry veteran who has served as an airline executive and several key roles at the FAA, including Chief Operating Officer of the Air Traffic Organization.
Grizzle spent 23 years at Continental Airlines, where he ran the airline’s marketing, strategic planning and international alliances divisions.
In 2004, Grizzle served the State Department for 14 months as part of the U.S. Government’s reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, overseeing aviation, roads, power and communication reconstruction projects. After his time with the State Department, Grizzle returned to Continental where he founded the Customer Experience division.
In 2009, Grizzle was appointed by President Obama to serve as Chief Counsel for the FAA. Until his departure in 2013, Grizzle’s roles within the FAA included Acting Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in government and a law degree from Harvard University.
Michael Huerta is an aviation and aerospace consultant who served as Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from 2013 to 2018. He joined the agency in 2010 as Deputy Administrator.
During his tenure at the FAA, Huerta redefined the FAA’s regulatory relationship with the aviation industry to achieve greater levels of safety through increased collaboration and widespread sharing of data. He led the agency’s efforts to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system while preparing the way for the safe integration of commercial space operations and small unmanned aircraft systems. Prior to joining the FAA, Michael served as Group President of the Transportation Solutions Group of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. (ACS).
Huerta also served in executive positions at the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games of 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Port of San Francisco and the New York City Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce.
He holds a BA from the University of California, Riverside and an MPA from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.
ROBERT L. SUMWALT
Robert L. Sumwalt is Executive Director of the Boeing Center for Aviation and Aerospace Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he also serves as Distinguished Fellow in Aviation Safety. In that role, he oversees research and development of the Center, and sets the overall strategy.
Previously, Sumwalt served as Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), where he served from August 2006 to June 2021.
Sumwalt was a pilot for 32 years, including 24 years with a major U.S.-based international airline.
He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Aeronautical Science (with Distinction) from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, with concentrations in aviation/aerospace safety systems and human factors aviation systems.