Joining the Crew
By David Boulter, FAA Flight Standards Service Executive Director
When I joined the FAA nearly a quarter century ago as an Aviation Safety Inspector in the Scottsdale, Ariz. Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), I was excited to start a new phase of my aviation career (more on that shortly). I never imagined having the opportunity to lead the FAA’s Flight Standards Service (FS). But when that opportunity came my way, there was no question about my answer. As much as I enjoyed my previous position as the FAA’s Flight Program Executive, I was proud to step forward and lead the 5,000-plus dedicated professionals in Flight Standards Service.
My leadership philosophy starts with people and the team we form from our collective talents. Since starting my new job in mid-March, I have been working to meet as many employees as time and travel allow and to learn about the many issues and challenges facing this organization. Given my lifelong love of aviation, it has been a pleasure to find that my new position also includes the opportunity to meet GA pilots and mechanics like you through this regular department in FAA Safety Briefing magazine.
I’ve been there! My civilian aviation background includes serving as a pilot, flight instructor, and check airman. My FAA career also includes serving as the part 119 Director of Operations in the legacy Flight Inspection Flight Program, the Flight Standards Flight Program, and the Washington Flight Program, as well as Senior FAA Representative in Afghanistan.
For my first FAA Safety Briefing issue, though, I am happy to tee up the topic of technology and weather. Like you, perhaps, I have watched over the years GA aviators acquire weather tools and technology that would have been the envy of every airline pilot not so very long ago. That is just one of the many reasons that it’s such a great time to be in aviation. As the magazine team reminds us, though, even the best weather technology isn’t very helpful without clear thinking and correct action by the crew. It all comes back to people and to a commitment to staying current in every way — and we’re all glad that you have included this publication in your aviation education toolkit. Enjoy this issue, and I’ll look forward to meeting you again in the next one.