How did David R. Hinson, a Republican who backed George Bush, come to be Bill Clinton's choice to head the Federal Aviation Administration? He made friends in high places while running now-defunct Midway Airlines Inc. Hinson got to know Transportation Secretary Federico F. Pe a during the then-Denver mayor's campaign to build a new airport. He got close to Illinois pol William Daley, brother of Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, an early Clinton supporter. Hinson, 60, is likely to win confirmation. But it's dubious whether the former Navy pilot can get the FAA's troubled air-traffic control modernization program on track. Outsiders say he bungled Midway's big attempt to start a hub in Philadelphia, among other decisions.

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