MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
May 10, 2012
By Jim Moore
Former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt told reporters he bears no ill will against the police officer who arrested him for driving while intoxicated in December, after a Fairfax, Va., judge ruled May 10 that the traffic stop was made on a “mere hunch,” and without just cause.
The case that led to Babbitt’s abrupt resignation as the FAA’s leader was dismissed, according to The Washington Post and other news sources.
“I am very pleased to learn that former FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt may now move to the next chapter of his distinguished career, where I am certain he has much to contribute to the aviation community,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. “We at AOPA certainly look forward to finding ways to collaborate with this fine individual and outstanding aviator.”
Fairfax City General District Court Judge Ian O’Flaherty made his ruling after video of the traffic stop was played in court, footage that contradicted the arresting officer’s assertion that Babbitt was driving on the wrong side of the road after leaving a dinner party.
According to The Washington Post, the video showed Babbitt, 65, making a routine left-hand turn from a southbound lane, crossing double yellow lines and the northbound lane in the process, but not driving on the wrong side of the road as had been alleged.
Babbitt, 65, had a distinguished career in Washington, following a quarter-century of service as an Eastern Airlines pilot. He was appointed FAA administrator by President Barack Obama in 2009.
“I’m happy to have it behind me,” Babbitt told The Washington Post following the May 10 hearing. “Candidly, it’s been a tough time.”
Babbitt’s attorney said an initial breathalyzer test showed his client’s blood alcohol level was below the legal limit. A prosecutor maintained that subsequent tests yielded different results, but the case was dismissed before evidence could be presented.
Babbitt told The Washington Post he plans to work in aviation consulting.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
A Minnesota teen will spend 60 days behind bars for stealing a Cessna 150 and flying it for months without training or certification.
Rob Moore was looking at a criminal charge for keeping a golf cart in his rented hangar at Hawaii’s Honolulu International Airport, a golf cart he had received permission to use for moving his aircraft.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.