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Mon, Dec 05, 2011

Update: FAA Administrator, Randy Babbitt, Busted For DWI

Babbitt Placed On Leave Of Absence, Future Unclear

ANN Real-Time Update, 120511, 17481, ET:  EAA President, Rod Hightower, has weighed in as well with the following statement, “This is a most unfortunate development, particularly in light of the many positive contributions made by Administrator Babbitt as head of the FAA. There will be no rush to judgment by EAA as we await the facts and further information.”

ANN Real-Time Update, 120511, 1551, ET: AOPA President, Craig Fuller has just furnished a statement to ANN, "At moments like this there tends to be a rush to judgment in Washington, DC. FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt brings considerable passion, experience and skills to a position that is vital to the aviation community. I would hope that a decision to go on administrative leave will afford he and others in the administration the time to carefully weigh important personal and professional factors before the fate of one so dedicated is decided."

ANN Real-Time Update, 120511, 1433, ET: The DOT has issued a statement regarding FAA Administrator Babbitt's arrest for DWI, stating that, "DOT officials learned of FAA Administrator Babbitt’s arrest on Saturday night within the last hour. Administrator Babbitt has requested, effective immediately, to take a leave of absence from the FAA. That request has been granted and Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta will serve as acting administrator. DOT officials are in discussions with legal counsel about Administrator Babbitt’s employment status."

Original Report, 120511, 1213, ET: Ouch... ANN has learned that FAA Administrator, Jerome 'Randy' Babbitt, has been arrested over the weekend for DWI. The arrest occurred Saturday, December 3rd at 2230, in the 3900 block of Old Lee Highway, in Fairfax City, VA.

Babbitt got the attention of the Fairfax City police when he was observed driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. Babbitt, 65, was sworn in as the FAA’s 16th administrator on June 1, 2009.

No accident took place and Babbitt was alone at the time of his arrest. Babbitt, one of the most positively received FAA Admins in recent memory, was released on his personal recognizance after being taken to the local jail and ANN has learned (via the AP) that he has been placed on leave from the FAA.

Personnel with the FAA have had little to say so far but stated that a prepared statement was in the works and would be issued shortly.

The effect that this may have on Babbitt's future with the FAA is hard to discern at the moment but industry insiders suggest that such a matter, if corroborated by solid evidence, may be cause for the Administration to ask for his resignation. ANN will be monitoring this story and reporting further as details become available.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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