FAA Chief In Hot Water

Issue 51

12.28.20 - A recent Labor Department ruling determined that Steve Dickson participated in efforts by Delta Air Lines to use a psychiatric evaluation to intimidate and silence a pilot who raised safety concerns over Delta’s practices before becoming head of the Federal Aviation Administration.

The ruling supported the pilots claims that she was targeted to try to keep her quiet about her concerns over safety issues. The judge who presided over the ruling determined that Delta discriminated and targeted an employee, intentionally putting into question whether her “performance as a pilot was deficient in any way.” The decision states that, “not a single witness questioned her flying acumen.”

The ruling concluded that Dickson, who was Delta’s senior vice president of flight operations at the time, approved the targeted efforts against the pilot, Karlene Petitt - who Delta declared unfit to fly in December of 2016 after the company’s psychiatric evaluations determined she suffered with bipolar disorder.

Ms. Petitt has four decades of flying experience under her belt, as well as a doctorate in aviation safety. Many inside others within the company saw her safety concerns as valid, but many officials within Delta, including Steve Dickinson, targeted her through psychiatric evaluation to intimidate and silence her. The diagnosis eventually was reversed, and she resumed flying.

Source: Wall Street Journal