Trump Wants To Appoint His Personal Pilot As Head Of The FAA

The US Federal Aviation Administration is looking for a new administrator, and it looks like quite an interesting person has made it onto Trump’s short list for the position — specifically, President Trump wants to appoint his personal pilot, John Dunkin, as head of the FAA. Dunkin was the personal pilot of Trump’s 757 for years, and also flew him around during his campaign, when he was flying “Trump Force One.”

The FAA oversees many aspects of aviation in the US (though President Trump likes be tough on aviation himself, to ensure that no planes crash anywhere in the world), and has a budget in the billions of dollars. Axios notes that a source said that “he’s on the list because he’s the president’s pilot, but if he gets the job it won’t be because he’s the president’s pilot.”

Another source told Axios the following, noting that no decision has been made, though that Dunkin has the necessary experience:

“John Dunkin isn’t just a pilot,” the administration official told me. “He’s managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign’s air fleet, which included managing all aviation transportation for travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months.”

As a point of comparison, the previous administrator of the FAA, Michael Huerta, was commissioner of New York City’s Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, he worked in senior positions at the DOT, acted as Managing Director of the Salt Lake City Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and then was President of the Transportation Solutions Group at Affiliated Computer Services, before serving as the head of the FAA.

I’ll be curious to see if Trump’s pilot ends up getting appointed as head of the FAA.

As I learned in Somon Air’s inflight magazine, the CEO of the airline is a lifelong Delta pilot who decided one day he wanted to be CEO of an airline in Tajikistan (I guess), and that seems to be working well for them, so…

(Featured image courtesy of Tomás Del Coro)

Comments

  1. How was Lucky snarky in ANY way? You guys are always saying he needs to leave opinions and bias out of his posts and when he finally does, yall say that it “will give whiny liberals more to cry about.”

  2. Fun article! Kudos for your willingness to maybe lose some Trump supporters’ business to voice ur opinion. Make this blog even more personal and fun to read.

  3. Great. He can be added to the bottom of the list of totally unqualified cronies the President has added to his team, right after Dr Ben Carson.

  4. Dear Trump supporting bigoted rednecks above. Try gaining a tiny modicum (look it up) of integrity, worldliness, compassion or even a soul. You ridiculous Alt-right “people” make me sick to my soul. Yes, I have one. Go shoot some guns in the air to make yourselves purrdy tough.

  5. It’s just interesting to me because all presidents appoint friends and political supporters to positions of power. Look at a lot of our ambassadors to other countries. I would totally support changing these somehow to the most qualified candidates but that won’t happen. Our partisan system is broken.

  6. “It’s just interesting to me because all presidents appoint friends and political supporters to positions of power. Look at a lot of our ambassadors to other countries…”

    It would be nice if he at least would appoint some ambassadors to countries who are neighbors to countries we may go to war with.

  7. And Hillary was crooked, please. Appointing friends and incompetents. I say have it. It’ll last all of 3 months until something comes crashing down.

  8. Lucky’s vast experience might make him a good candidate for certain airline jobs so I would not discount Captain Dunkin.

    In many countries, the Prime Minister appoints only legislators to be department heads, like Department of Defense. What does a member of Congress know about running the Department of Agriculture. Actually, President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture was so bored going to work everyday and doing nothing except read the newspaper that he threatened to quit. Obama talked him out of it and gave him a homework assignment unrelated to agriculture. It was to study the opioid problem and write a report. So he researched it, make some trips, and wrote a long report….and didn’t quit. Therefore, I could be a member of the cabinet!

  9. To be fair, while I did not support him, and could never support a Republican given the current (or historical) trend of the party, this is not an overly or misplaced political post just because it has to do with the President of the United States. Like it or not, Trump is the President. Like it or not, the FAA is part of the federal government, and, the President has some say over these offices. This position is incredibly important for air travel, writ large, and this blog is, well, all about that. So, Lucky is totally right to write about this. It’s significant. It’s inherently political. And it affects air travel, which again this blog is all about. We cannot live lives devoid of politics; we are surrounded by politics and, like it or not, they shape our very existence at nearly every level.

    And yet, and yes, I’m still with Her.

  10. I’m sure that if Obama had appointed his personal pilot as head of the FAA, you conservatives would say, “Oh, no problem.”

    Got it.

    As DF says, “Kudos for your willingness to maybe lose some Trump supporters’ business to voice ur opinion. Make this blog even more personal and fun to read.”

    SERIOUSLY? Where is Lucky’s opinion expressed ANYWHERE in this news item? Or are you just used to the knee-jerk reactionary faux outrage — or are you simply mad about being embarrassed?

    Pathetic.

  11. The guy would at least have some experience in the field he’d be controlling, which is more than some other choices. Just as one example, the Secretary of Education had never set foot in a public school before being appointed. Comparatively speaking, an experienced pilot knows volumes about the FAA.

  12. “Kudos for your willingness to maybe lose some Trump supporters’ business to voice ur opinion. Make this blog even more personal and fun to read.”

    Nah. Trump apologists and trolls (American and Russian) will still keep posting on here. Most of them threatened/promised to leave, and yet, as are seeing here, more than a few are still here. And will keep coming back, even if it’s under a different name.

  13. Are they ever going to lower the age requirement for ATC? I would make a damn good air traffic controller but FAA requires you to be 32 years old or younger to enter the field.

  14. Lucky’s article comes off as neutral to me, and this is appropriate news as well — it was reported on major general news sites as well.

    I assume that any appointee would need to be confirmed by Congress, so that’s the system of vetting political appointees.

  15. I find some of these replies absolutely hilarious.

    As far as I can tell, the only opinion expressed in the post was:
    “I’ll be curious to see if Trump’s pilot ends up getting appointed as head of the FAA.”

    But thats too much for some too handle. Hilarious!

  16. It would be nice if for once we got an actual pilot in charge of aviation. The last administrator was a political hack that manage SEA PORTS before managing the air. The only question is his ability to handle an administrative side of the job but as far as his ability and experience in aviation I don’t think that is much of a question. Given the past performance of the FAA, I doubt he could screw it up too badly in comparison to his predecessors.

  17. On the one hand, I think having an actual pilot isn’t the worst thing in the world. On the other, it’s a guy who has the power in his hand to put the world out of its misery with Donald Trump and -doesn’t- do it- so I question his judgement.

  18. This would likely have stayed under the radar if Trump had not already appointed to exalted and sensitive positions, his totally inexperienced and unqualified daughter and his equally inexperienced and unqualified son-in-law, who has access to top secret material and briefings while holding only temporary security clearance because the FBI is still investigating troubling ‘irregularities’ in his background, like meeting with a Kremlin-associated lawyer who promised to provide dirt on Hillary Clinton; seeking to establish a secret back channel of communication with the Kremlin; and apparently being increasingly in financial trouble for having borrowed, unwisely, billions to purchase the now-infamous building at 666 Park Ave and it’s almost time to pay the piper (Russian oligarchs’ laundered capital to the rescue?)

  19. A wicked, wicked man. It’s terrible that our American friends have 3 more years of this . Maybe by then some of the high level cronies /family will be in jail.
    In 2020 it is to be hoped that voters come to their senses and choose well…Hillary, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders or even Nancy Pelosi; or on the other side Mitt Romney or even Marcus Rubio. Personally I’d choose Nancy, who’d be great.

  20. @Milko This article isn’t politicising OMAAT at all. This appointment affects everyone who flies, that’s why it’s here.

  21. Interesting article. At least the man is qualified, which is often not the case with political appointees. Trump’s ex-wife, Ivana, wants to be ambassador to her country of birth, Czechoslovakia, I don’t think the position has been filled yet. I wonder if she’ll get it?

  22. @Sam
    Well Czechoslovakia is 2 countries now (and has been since 1993). So technically you would need 2 ambasssdors…

  23. Great Article and good journalism Lucky! Personally, as I read it , I felt you gave us the objective facts of the story and didn’t pepper it with any bias’. :). This was probably the least politicized article I’ve read concerning anything to do with Donald Trump in a long time.

  24. Hey, Lucky you mention FAA head, Michael Huerta, acted as Managing Director of the Salt Lake City Committee for the 2002 Olympic Game when apparently stressing the Obama holdover’s better qualifications over Trump’s proposed replacement candidates.

    Wasn’t that the Olympic Games tainted with scandal and corruption which saw the leaders of the Olympic bid indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud and racketeering related to the vote-buying scandal, caused the resignation of a mayor, and etc.?

  25. @AlohaDaveKennedy

    Huerta was never indicted on any charges related to the scandal. Hell his name wasn’t even associated with the scandal.

  26. Any other President this would be impeachable, but republicans have descended too far into absolute idiocy and corruption. The Republican Party doesn’t even deserve to exist anymore.

  27. @Ray you are full of it. All presidents appoint friends and political allies. Obama did the same thing. Both parties are corrupt when it comes to this.

  28. Gee, an actual pilot with years of aviation experience and accomplishments being considered to head the FAA? What a novel idea!

  29. This was the snarky, unnecessary and biased part:

    “..though President Trump likes be tough on aviation himself, to ensure that no planes crash anywhere in the world..”

    This is why you get trolls, Lucky. You aren’t neutral and just reproduce the premium fares page of flyertalk….and chug credit card sign ups.

  30. So all Lucky does is point out (with pretty neutral language) what Trump has offered in terms of a nominee. And like clockwork, the Trump supporters whine about somebody being mean.

    Talk about snowflakes…

  31. I think the readers would rather Lucky focused on copying and pasting the premium fares board of Flyertalk tbh.

  32. This is awesome. I saw a documentary on Trump’s plane and this pilot seems very professional. He’s experienced and would do a great job!

  33. Another Yes Man for Trump to Hire. Oh, and don’t forget to sign your non-disclosure agreement on the way out, as it is requirement for all positions hired by the Trump organization .

  34. Another Yes Man for Trump to Hire. Oh, and don’t forget to sign your non-disclosure agreement on the way out, as it is requirement for all positions hired by the Trump organization .

  35. I enjoy reading the gut-wrenching because of a personal dislike for Mr. Trump. I do not like him but an objective look at the “person” and the “agency” reveals that the idea is not farfetched or inappropriate. FAA is supposed to promote aviation. The head of the FAA has always been a political appointment of someone who the President wanted and hopefully someone who knows something about the “flying biz”. So, it looks like this is a fairly standard choice. Luckily, it is not for the NTSB.

  36. Come on look at U.S code 49, §106 section b:
    “The head of the Administration is the Administrator, who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. [..]”

    and

    d,1:

    “The Administration has a Deputy Administrator, who shall be appointed by the President. [..]”

    And Obama did also appoint nepotism or just law – maybe ignorance from some of the readers.

  37. He wants to appoint the guy running Trump’s flight department, which included the pilot of Pence’s plane who had hard landings & ran off the runway at LGA by landing way too far down – great supervision!!

  38. The Obama elected Administrator, Huerta, had no experience in aviation, none! Bringing a well qualified Pilot with experience in the certification of a 121 Air Carrier, dealing with the FAA is great news. If Dunkin has a mechanics certificate, even better knowing the maintenance side of aviation safety.

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