Whitaker, who will seem Wednesday earlier than the Senate Commerce Committee to debate his nomination, couldn’t instantly be reached for remark. He described the accident as a studying expertise throughout an Plane Homeowners and Pilots Affiliation occasion in 2015. If confirmed, Whitaker will lead an company grappling with a collection of near-misses and challenges in replenishing its air site visitors management workforce.
In a press release Tuesday in response to Politico’s questions in regards to the incident, a White Home official urged “fast affirmation” of Whitaker.
“Mike Whitaker spoke publicly a number of instances about this occasion and reported the incident as required,” the official mentioned. “Whitaker has greater than 30 years of aviation expertise and has broad help from commerce unions and business stakeholders.”
Tricia Enright, a spokeswoman for Democrats on the Senate Commerce Committee analyzing his nomination, mentioned Wednesday that Whitaker “is aware of firsthand how difficult aviation might be.” She added that the Chairman of the Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) “He believes his willingness to study and share his expertise demonstrates his dedication to security.”
Whitaker’s private expertise contained in the cockpit is only one factor that units him aside from Biden’s earlier FAA nominee, Denver Airport CEO Phil Washington, who has come beneath fireplace from Republicans for his comparatively skinny aviation resume.
In line with the Nationwide Transportation Security Board, the Might 2015 accident occurred when robust winds compelled Whitaker to abort his try to land his Cessna 172. He landed in taxiway two however put his airplane firmly on the runway. The Nationwide Transportation Security Board mentioned in a report on the accident that nobody was injured, however the airplane sustained important injury.
The NTSB, an impartial company that investigates transportation accidents, mentioned eyewitness interviews point out Whitaker landed “excessive and quick.”
The report said, “The airplane landed on the primary touchdown gear after which bounced a number of instances earlier than stopping,” and the report attributed the accident to pilot error.
Whitaker didn’t acquire his personal pilot’s license till 2014.
“On reflection, it was a little bit over my head on that kind of journey at that time,” Whittaker mentioned in 2019. On the Aviation News Talk podcast. After robust winds compelled him to abort his first touchdown try, he mentioned he determined it was time to “put the airplane on the runway.”
“And that is what I did — together with the prop, so I had a little bit ring of porpoises on the runway,” he mentioned.
Whitaker’s nomination to steer the company has to this point been comparatively properly obtained, with help from Democrats on Capitol Hill and broad swaths of the airline business in addition to unions, all wanting to fill the place that has been vacant since 2022.
Nonetheless, Senate Republicans are greater than only a wild card. A number of key GOP senators, together with rating members of the Senate Commerce Committee Ted Cruz (R-Texas), opposed Washington due to his relative lack of aviation expertise.
Cruz additionally tried to stump Washington with technical questions on how business airline pilots deal with in-flight emergencies, and criticized Washington when he was unable to reply. Washington, who will not be a pilot, ultimately withdrew his identify from consideration.
Cruz couldn’t instantly be reached for touch upon Whitaker’s earlier incident.
Whitaker is a former United Airways govt who’s now chief working officer of Supernal, Hyundai’s electrical plane enterprise.