WASHINGTON -- Robert A. Sturgell, of Owings, Calvert County, was nominated yesterday by President Bush to head the Federal Aviation Administration.
Sturgell, 48, has been acting administrator since last month, when Marion C. Blakey completed a five-year term. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and the University of Virginia law school and worked as a pilot for United Airlines. He was senior counsel to the agency's administrator before becoming deputy administrator in 2003.
Sturgell "has worked tirelessly to modernize our nation's air-traffic control system," White House press secretary Dana Perino said in announcing the appointment, noting his "three decades of real-world experience."
If confirmed by the Senate, Sturgell will assume full responsibility of an agency embroiled in a labor dispute with air-traffic controllers, who have been working without a contract since 2006.
The National Air Traffic Controllers Association said this week that the number of experienced controllers is at a 15-year low. Association president Patrick Forrey said in a statement that the group does not support the nomination.