Return Of Travelin' Rob?

By Al Kamen
(c) 2009, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — We were elated by an Aviation Daily report last week that "former National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Robert Francis is being considered by the Obama Administration to come back and lead the safety board as chairman." We hope he gets the nod, but caution counsels that we keep the champagne corked. (Both Democratic NTSB members Kitty Higgins and Deborah Hersman are said to under consideration.) Francis, now working in this area as a consultant with Farragut International, keeps up with NTSB activities, monitoring board meetings.

The vice chairmanship he held is a largely ceremonial post, but we had occasion to note that Francis, a career FAA official, was able to circumnavigate the globe at least three times — one stop was Nepal — to carry out his duties. And in November 1999, just before the end of his five-year term on the board, he worked in a jaunt to Paris, Brussels and Toulouse on his way to Morocco for a speech.

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