FAA’s Ballough and Sabatini Heading for Retirement
James Ballough, the FAA’s long-time director of the Flight Standards Service, has announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Deputy director John Allen will take over after Ballough retires. During his tenure at Flight Standards, Ballough has been involved in such issues as Part 135 operational control; continued airworthiness (maintenance); the re-examination of mechanics who were given oral and practical tests under fraudulent conditions; development of the Sport Pilot and Light Sport Aircraft regulations; and ongoing disputes about AD compliance at Southwest Airlines earlier this year that resulted in a still-unresolved $10.2 million civil penalty, the highest in FAA history. In late October, Nick Sabatini, FAA associate administrator for aviation safety, announced his plan to retire in January. Sabatini’s replacement will be Peggy Gilligan, now deputy associate administrator for aviation safety. With responsibility for certification, production approval and continued airworthiness, Sabatini often traveled to meetings with aviation groups and to offer testimony in congressional hearings with Ballough.