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FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson's Swearing In Ceremony

Monday, August 12, 2019

Thank you for that introduction, Dan.

Welcome to the Department of Transportation.

We are delighted to haveDeputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen here today. 

And let me give a shout out to Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, David Pekoske;

And, Acting Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, Patricia Cogswell.

We are here today to swear in the 18th Federal Aviation Administration administrator, Steve Dickson.

First, let me introduce Steve’s guests:

His mother, Joy Dickson

His wife - Janice Dickson

Sons -Andrew and Ben Londrillo

Daughters -Elizabeth and Brianna as well as Brianna’s family.

Also attending are his father-in-law, Hank Borger, his brother and sister-in law, Dr. Jeff Bell and Dr. Anita Bell, and finally, his niece, Sarah Nural and her husband Engin.

In addition to family, Steve has many other friends and former co-workers here with us today. 

Steve is taking the helm during a historic period of change and has the right experience for the job.  A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy,Steve served in the Air Force and flew the F-15 fighter.  Later, he joined Delta Airlines, where he flew five different aircraft, including the Boeing 737.  As Delta’s Senior Vice President of Flight Operations, he oversaw operations, pilot training, and regulatory compliance.  He earned his law degree from Georgia State University and has served as chairman of several industry stakeholder groups and served on several Federal advisory committees. 

So, Steve is well-equipped to implement our number one priority: safety.

The second priority is rebuilding and refurbishing infrastructure to enable the growth of a vibrant economy, keep our country productive and competitive, and improve quality of life for everyone. The FAA makes significant investments in aviation infrastructure that are critical to this Administration’s commitment to improving infrastructure.

And the third Department priority is preparing for the future, by engaging with new, emerging technologies to address legitimate public concerns about safety, security, and privacy without hampering innovation. This is especially important at this time of historic aviation innovation.

For the first time in decades, civilian supersonic flight is back in the news as development continues on aircraft that produce quieter sonic booms. The bipartisan Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 directed the FAA to demonstrate global leadership in “safe and efficient operation of civil supersonic aircraft.”

Unmanned aircraft systems, or drones are another major development. There are over 1.4 million registered drones in the U.S. – of which more than 390,000 are registered for commercial use. And, the number of FAA-registered drone operators – a new job category – has nearly tripled since 2017.  New uses are being found for drones: including surveying, search and rescue, package delivery, and carrying passengers.  The Department is helping to chart a course for the safe integration of these innovations into our national airspace.  The three most recent initiatives are allowing the testing of drones in a variety of environments under restricted conditions; helping advance drone airspace management, and developing and implementing a framework for the remote drone ID, which has security implications.

The FAA also has a lead role to play in commercial space.  Thanks to reusable rockets and other innovations, America has regained first place in commercial space launches for the first time in 14 years.  To keep pace, the Department is overhauling outdated and cumbersome commercial space licensing procedures, and re-organizing the Office of Commercial Space Transportation.  It has also created our nation’s first Office of Spaceports.

In all these endeavors, the number one task of the FAA is safety.  The FAA has long been regarded as the gold standard in aviation safety worldwide. This is a tremendous accomplishment. But the loss of two Boeing 737 Max aircraft overseas is a reminder that the FAA cannot take its global safety leadership position for granted. Safety requires constant effort and unflagging dedication to this core mission.  No matter the tremendous gains in aviation safety, there is always room for improvement. We owe this to the loved ones of those who perished in these tragedies.

The installation of a new Administrator is an important opportunity to take stock of how well the FAA is doing in carrying out its critical safety functions.  I have asked Steve to assess the performance of the agency and the results of the ongoing investigations and to make recommendations about any needed reforms.  I know that he is ready for the challenge.

Now, before I proceed with the swearing-in, I would like to take a moment to commend Dan Elwell, who has been serving as acting Administrator of the FAA since January 7, 2018.  Dan is a true patriot and professional whose knowledge, experience, expertise, and dedication to aviation has guided us through this Administration. Dan has demonstrated calm, steady and determined leadership during a very challenging time for the FAA.  He has been the public face of the FAA in recent months.  He needs to be thanked for his dedication and commitment to America’s preeminence in Aviationandto increasing the standards of aviation safety.  Dan will be a great partner to Steve.  They will be known as the dynamic duo.

It is now my pleasure to administer the oath of office to Steve Dickson. 

Steve, please raise your right hand and repeat the oath of office after me.