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Huerta faces tough questions in confirmation hearing


The Federal Aviation Administration’s acting administrator, Michael Huerta, endured a grilling from senators on a variety of issues during his confirmation hearing to become the agency’s head for the next four years. Huerta, if confirmed, would replace Randy Babbitt, who resigned last year after being arrested on suspicion of DUI, charges that were later dismissed. Huerta said the FAA was working as quickly as it could to update rules related to training for airline pilots. The more stringent rules were supposed to go into effect last year, but may not be ready until next year, he said; the changes come after the crash of a Dash-8 turboprop in Buffalo in 2009. He attributed the delay to having to review a large number of comments on the rule changes, which would require more flight time before airlines could hire pilots. Huerta also said that, in response to a high number of whistleblower complaints from its employees, the FAA has created its own office to investigate and respond to those complaints.