As FAA Administrator Steve Dickson prepares to step down at the end of March, the FAA has named Billy Nolen to serve as the Acting FAA Administrator, effective April 1. A national search is currently being conducted for a nominee to become the permanent FAA Administrator, a position that carries a five-year term and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.Nolen has served in his current role as the FAA's Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety since January and has led more than 7,600 employees during his time.Deputy Administrator Bradley Mims will also take on an expanded role during this interim period, focusing on the FAA's workforce and the nation's airports."Billy Nolen has extensive expertise in aviation and a deep understanding of the vital role the FAA plays in ensuring the safety of the traveling public," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. "We are grateful to Steve for his service and to Billy and Brad for stepping up to lead the FAA during this critical time."Dickson announced he would step down from his position as Administrator in February after only two and a half years in the role. In a memo to staff earlier this year, Dickson noted that 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."RELATED: FAA administrator Steve Dickson to resign at end of March, said 'it is time to go home.'Nolen has over 33 years of experience in operations and corporate safety, regulatory affairs and flight operations. He began his professional career in 1989 as a 767, 757, and MD-80 pilot with American Airlines.He later managed the carrier's Aviation Safety Action Program and rose through the management ranks to become the airline's managing director for corporate safety and regulatory affairs.In 2015, Nolen became senior vice president for safety, security, and operations at Airlines for America, a trade group that represents the airlines. From 2018 to 2019, he served as executive manager for group safety and health at Qantas. He moved to WestJet in 2020.
Nolen also served tours of duty in the U.S. Army as an airplane and helicopter pilot and safety officer. He is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management and has certificates in aviation safety from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, U.S. Army Safety Center, and the University of Southern California.