Posted on February 17 2022
WASHINGTON—FAA Administrator Steve Dickson will resign from his post effective March 31, citing personal reasons, the agency confirmed on Feb. 16.
In a letter to FAA employees released by the agency, Dickson said that he has “made the very difficult decision to step down” less than three years into his five-year appointment.
“Over the past several years, my family has been a source of tremendous encouragement, strength and support,” he wrote. “Nevertheless, after sometimes long and unavoidable periods of separation from my loved ones during the pandemic, it is time to devote my full time and attention to them. As I wrote in my letter to President Biden, it is time to go home.”
Nominated by President Donald Trump to the position, Dickson was sworn in as FAA administrator on Aug. 12, 2019, after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. He oversaw the agency’s response to two fatal crashes of the Boeing 737 MAX in 2018 and 2019, personally piloting the aircraft before the FAA allowed its return to service in November 2020 after nearly a two-year grounding.
More recently, the FAA has faced scrutiny for its apparently late warning of the potential interference to aircraft electronics from new 5G wireless networks being deployed by telecommunications companies. Airworthiness directives the FAA issued in December 2021 restricted pilots from conducting certain flight operations when aircraft operate in the vicinity of 5G C-band wireless transmissions, causing initial disruptions to airline flights until aircraft were vetted by the agency.
Though calls for his resignation arose on social media, Dickson faced a friendly hearing Feb. 3 before the House Aviation Subcommittee.
“The FAA has been involved in a sustained effort since well before the 2020 [C-band] spectrum auction to highlight and now mitigate potential 5G interference with critical flight systems,” he told the committee.
Before coming to the FAA, Dickson spent 27 years as a pilot and executive with Delta Air Lines, retiring as senior vice president of flight operations. He previously served in the U.S. Air Force, flying the T-38 Talon supersonic jet trainer and F-15 Eagle fighter.
“Steve has been the FAA’s steady and skilled captain, and his tenure has been marked by steadfast commitment to the FAA’s safety mission and the 45,000 employees who work tirelessly every day to fulfill it,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We are grateful for his years of service to our country and his lifelong dedication to making sure our aviation system is the best and safest in the world. While all of us at U.S. DOT will miss Steve as a leader and as a colleague, we are very happy for him and his wife, Janice, as they embark upon this next chapter together.”