If you’ve followed my show regularly over the past few months, you know that I’ve done a couple of monologues on the aviation industry.
The frequency of near-disasters in the sky has increased dramatically in recent years, and as I’ve noted, the increase began around the time that the Obama administration began a concerted effort to “diversify” the FAA, including air traffic control. According to a NASA database, which tracks self-reported data from pilots, we now average roughly five near-misses per week — more than double the number from a decade ago. And that’s not even getting into the obvious maintenance issues that have been popping up — including doors and wheels that have been flying off planes lately.
Given how terrible all of this looks from the outside, I wanted to get a better idea of what’s happening internally at the FAA and major airlines in this country. We hear a lot about DEI in the abstract sense, but we rarely get a glimpse of what it looks like in practice. We don’t often hear firsthand testimonials from people affected by DEI because they’re worried about protecting their careers. They know if they speak out, they’ll face termination, and they’ll probably be blackballed from the industry forever. But with social media, some level of anonymity is possible. So to take a closer look at how far this DEI rot has spread, I tweeted: “If you’re an airline pilot and have firsthand knowledge about the DEI agenda being forced into your profession, send me a DM and tell me about your experiences. Curious yet terrified to see how bad it is at this point.”
To say my inbox was completely flooded would be an understatement. I received too many DM’s to count from pilots and other professionals in the aviation industry. Virtually every single message told me the same thing: that the ideology of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” is the top priority in their workplaces. It goes without saying, but this is an industry where one mistake can kill hundreds or even thousands of people. This is not comparable to DEI departments in universities or corporate America, as destructive and as wasteful as those departments are. DEI in the aviation industry could lead to a catastrophic disaster. That’s why — even though it was a risk — several of these sources provided me identifying information to validate their identities, along with permission to post some of the internal documents and footage they’ve obtained. These people knew they might lose their jobs, but they decided that getting the word out was more important.
Yesterday, I posted some of these materials on my Twitter feed. They reveal that, at the very highest levels of the FAA, there’s an effort underway to reduce the number of white men who work in the aviation industry. In April of 2022, the FAA’s acting deputy chief operating officer — a woman named Angela McCullough — led a meeting with the FAA’s Flight Operations division. This division is responsible for all aspects of aviation operations, including overseeing airline maintenance.
But McCullough did not spend the call talking about ways to make sure that airplane doors don’t fly off mid-flight. She didn’t say a word about the importance of keeping the wheels attached to jetliners as they’re taking off. Instead, McCullough talked extensively about DEI. As you’ll see, she was prompted to do so by a man named Wil Riggins, who’s the FAA’s Vice President of Flight Program Operations.
If that name sounds familiar at all, it’s probably because Riggins is the same guy who conspired to find ways to hide Pete Buttigieg’s spending on government aircraft. So this is a completely corrupt group of bureaucrats who have assembled here. Watch:
2/ The footage begins with FAA acting deputy chief operating officer Angela McCullough saying more workers need to go from "ramp to cockpit," meaning she wants to see more baggage handlers become airline pilots. pic.twitter.com/2KAeHNcJA2
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 7, 2024
“We’re looking at a need across the agency to recruit and retain a diverse population of folks,” says Wil Riggins. In response, McCullough talks about the arms race of DEI that’s occurring in the industry. She mentions “partnerships with universities.” And then she says the FAA wants to look at something called “ramp to cockpit.”
Let’s think about this. When she’s talking about “partnerships with universities” in the name of diversifying aviation, McCullough is referring to relationships that airlines have established with historically black colleges and universities. For example, United Airlines has allied with Elizabeth City State University. The airline describes this as, “a partnership that seeks to not only train future pilots, but also bring more women and people of color into the ranks of commercial aviation.”
In case it’s not obvious, Elizabeth City State University is not a hotbed of engineering or aviation talent. In fact it’s not a hotbed of any kind of skill whatsoever. The average SAT score at the school is 960 out of 1600, which is one of the lowest scores that you’ll find anywhere in the country. The only reason for partnerships like this is because of the racial makeup of Elizabeth City State University, which is overwhelmingly black. This is the kind of partnership that, based on this video, senior FAA officials want to see more of.
They aren’t interested in seeing the best pilots in the cockpit. They’re interested in seeing more black pilots in the cockpit.
That also could explain why McCullough is promoting something called “ramp to cockpit” in that footage. When she says “ramp,” she’s referring to ramp agents, who are responsible for loading and unloading baggage on airplanes. Evidently, the FAA believes that these employees deserve some sort of specialized program to encourage them to become pilots. But nowhere in this footage does McCullough explain why this makes any sense whatsoever. It doesn’t follow in any way. The job of a baggage handler is completely different from the job of an airline pilot. There are precisely zero transferable skills or even interests. Just because you have a job working around a plane doesn’t mean you should be flying them. This is like having a “janitor to surgeon” pipeline at a hospital, or setting up a program so that the window washer cleaning the outside of the skyscraper can one day become an architect designing skyscrapers. These two lines of work have almost nothing to do with each other. So what’s the point of this?
A few seconds later, McCullough provides something of an answer. She tells the FAA’s senior leadership in Flight Operations that their whole division is “white-male dominated.” Then she says that should change. And Wil Riggins, rather than reacting with surprise to this suggestion, agrees with her. Watch:
There’s no pushback from anyone in that clip, as they listen to this. No one says, “wait a minute — why should baggage handlers become pilots? And what’s wrong with having a lot of white men in Flight Operations, exactly?” Instead, this woman gets complimented for her insights.
But of course, not everyone on the call was in agreement. They didn’t want to speak up because they’d be fired. But they knew this was going to happen. So one individual recorded the meeting. This source had seen several white men get passed over for jobs because of their skin color, and he or she heard these kinds of remarks all the time at the FAA. That’s why the source saved it, and it’s why we have it now.
As of this morning, neither the FAA nor the secretary of transportation, Mayor Pete, has responded to this footage. That’s because it reflects exactly what they believe. This is what they talk about behind closed doors. They want fewer white people flying planes and working in Flight Operations, including maintenance. They want more baggage handlers to become pilots. And they are not remotely concerned about professional standards or competence. That topic just doesn’t come up in their discussions.
This what DEI is all about, and it’s not limited to Pete Buttigieg’s agency. In response to my post, I received several other tips from sources outside of the FAA who say they’re seeing similar policies all across the aviation industry. Airlines are promoting DEI as well, even when it clearly endangers passengers. One source — a pilot at Delta Airlines — told me this: “We recently had a transgender pilot repeatedly receive negative reviews during his first-year probationary period from Captains he flew with regarding attitude, CRM, and judgment, yet the Chief Pilot’s Office (CPO) was unwilling to address the issue. Had this not been a transgender pilot, the individual would likely not have successfully completed their probationary period. Coincidentally, that CPO has a management pilot on staff who recently transitioned who is able to weigh in on these matters.”
This is what the airlines and the FAA will never admit publicly. They’ll never admit that they’re lowering standards, and endangering the public, in order to get more “diverse” pilots flying planes. But that’s exactly what’s happening. The source also sent along this internal Delta Airlines manual that’s designed to help Delta pilots “transition” into another gender. Here’s what that looks like:
7/ The source also notes that Delta routinely makes exceptions for trans-identifying pilots concerning grooming and behavioral standards. Internally, Delta has even published a lengthy guide for pilots who believe they were born in the wrong body. pic.twitter.com/8aQszhqVJw
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 7, 2024
It reads, “Helpful Steps for Transitioning at Delta.” And of course there’s the pilot with the trans pride flag draped over his body.
It goes without saying that this is incredibly irresponsible for several reasons. Put aside the fact that Delta is discriminating against qualified pilots on the basis of their skin color and gender, and promoting incompetent pilots instead. This document shows that Delta is also going out of their way to recruit trans-identifying pilots — people with extremely high rates of mental illness, and a propensity for suicide. Remember, these are people who, according to the trans activists themselves, are at risk to kill themselves if they’re misgendered or if they don’t receive all of the “affirmation” they feel they need. And the FAA and Delta want to more of them flying commercial aircraft.
In fact, in private, they’re open about the fact that they’re willing to endanger the public in order to hit diversity goals. Recently on Twitter, someone named Trace Woodgrains has been looking closely at FAA documents that were unearthed in a long-running class action lawsuit filed against the agency back during the Obama years. And he found further proof that the agency does not care if “diversity” costs people their lives. They’ve put it in writing. In 2013, for example, FAA leaders reviewed this slide:
Interesting questions being posed by the FAA in 2013 pic.twitter.com/tnit9ipsRx
— TracingWoodgrains (@tracewoodgrains) January 30, 2024
It reads: “Key questions for leadership: What are the relative values of diversity and the prediction of performance/outcomes? There is a trade-off between diversity (adverse impact) and predicted job performance/outcomes. How much of a change in job performance is acceptable to achieve diversity goals?”
So there it is, as clear as it could possibly be. The answer to that question should be: No trade-off in job performance is acceptable to achieve any diversity goals. The mission of the FAA is to make sure people don’t die on airplanes. But increasingly it’s clear that’s not important to the FAA. I didn’t mention this on Twitter, but one of the sources who DM’d me sent this information over: “I was unaware of this until recently, but the FAA has authorized special issuance medical certificates to individuals on SSRIs … The FAA and the [airline pilots association] are looking to broaden/expand the SSRI and mental health on-ramps back to being able to exercise a first class medical certificate.”
In other words, the agency is doing everything it can to ensure that pilots taking antidepressants can fly. At the same time, the source says: “The FAA just sent a letter requesting Congress NOT to raise the mandatory retirement age from the current age of 65, and the FAA primarily states safety as a justification. Obviously, there’s zero safety data that shows a switch is flipped when you turn 65 and you are somehow instantly less competent; we all know competent 70 year olds and incompetent 50 year olds running around. …The point is that the FAA and [the pilot’s association] are much more willing to go along with the idea that SSRIs and transitioning pilots being at the controls is somehow more safe than someone who just woke up on their 65th birthday.”
These are the kind of incoherent medical standards we’ve come to expect in the FAA. A year ago, for example, the FAA abruptly lowered its medical certification guidelines for pilots with heart block. This is a serious condition; it makes it harder for the heart to pump blood effectively. Before the change, pilots with first-degree block had to provide medical documentation proving they had, “no evidence of structural function or coronary heart disease.” Now, many pilots with first-degree heart block can fly without this documentation. There was a lot of speculation this was due to complications of the COVID shot, or that this might implicate the safety of passengers. The FAA denied that, but of course we have no reason to believe anything they say anymore. This is what we can expect from the federal government at this point. Even on matters of life-or-death, they have absolutely no credibility.
There are some more documents I posted on Twitter along these lines, including some insider information on how the FAA awards contracts to various small businesses. These small businesses handle important engineering and logistics tasks for the agency. But it turns out that these contracts, like everything else these days, often prioritize “socially disadvantaged” businesses, which according to federal regulations, typically means businesses that aren’t owned by white people. In the FAA’s “eFast” contract system, these “disadvantaged” businesses get first dibs at contracts valued under $150,000.
What this means is that the FAA has adopted a gender and race-based spoils system for pretty much everything. At every step — whether you’re a baggage handler, a pilot, or a contractor — you will get priority treatment if you look a certain way. The only way to bring an end to this is for more whistleblowers to do what they did yesterday, and speak out about it. Record the meetings where they tell you they don’t want white people working for them. Save the documents showing they’re promoting incompetent pilots because they’re “trans.” If we expose enough of this, then it might finally collapse under the weight of its absurdity. If we don’t — if we allow it to fester, as everyone on that FAA videoconference did — then before long, people will die as a result.