Top Trump-Appointed Official Resigns Suddenly

( )- On Wednesday, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration made a shocking announcement, revealing that he would be stepping down from his post at the end of March.

Steve Dickson, who is the FAA’s administrator, will step down from the post during the middle of his five-year term, which he was appointed to by former President Donald Trump. The FAA has been embroiled in controversy recently over challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and situations surrounding the launch of 5G cellphone towers near airports around the country.

In announcing his decision, Dickson said it was “time to go home” and spend time with his family after he spent 43 years in the aviation industry, the last two of which have been as head of the FAA.

In a statement, Dickson said:

“Over the past several years, my family has been a source of tremendous encouragement, strength and support. 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.”

The administration said he believed the agency is in a much “better place” than where it was before he took over two years ago. He said they helped invigorate the safety culture and overcame very tough challenges while it “built a stronger, more collaborative, inclusive and open culture.”

In the recent past, Dickson has been the subject of criticism from various lawmakers, especially when he was responding to inquiries about challenges the FAA was facing. That being said, Pete Buttigieg, the Transportation Secretary, praised him on Wednesday night, calling him “the FAA’s steady and skilled captain.”

In a statement, Buttigieg said of Dickson:

“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.”

Before taking over at the FAA, Dickson rose through the ranks to be senior vice president of flight operations at Delta Air Lines. A former pilot and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Dickson took over as administrator of the FAA following two crashes that ended up grounding the 737 Max jet developed by Boeing for nearly two years.

Safety experts and members of Congress alike all condemned the FAA for what they called “lapses in oversight” that were part of the reasons the crashes happened. In those two crashes, 346 people were killed.

Dickson’s time atop the agency began only a few months after the Boeing jets were grounded, and he oversaw revisions the company made to the aircraft that eventually allowed it to resume all commercial flights.

Some of the toughest challenges Dickson faced as head of the FAA came during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially the early stages. Air travel disruptions have been at an all-time-high recently, with plenty of new travel restrictions and safety regulations being passed to stop the spread of the virus.

There have also been many highly-public incidents between unruly passengers and on-board staff that the FAA has had to deal with.

President Joe Biden will now be tasked with selecting a replacement to Dickson, who must then go through the confirmation process in the Senate before being appointed.