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Former CASA Board chair, Dick Smith speaks on unsubstantiated aviation costs

 Skidmore and Dick Smith communications:

The following was posted on pprune today, which leads to questions as to “…respect for industry …” that Mark Skidmore claimed would be the hallmark of his term.

Instead, the reply, as Dick Smith eloquently points out is “……more of the same from CASA……”

The industry cannot move on when the basic requirement for the Regulation Impact Statement  and ultimately it’s effect and cost being improperly applied to CASA proposed changes.

Dick raises what is one of the most expensive changes yet to aircraft systems proposed for 20-years, without the attendant RIS being properly applied.

That Mr. Skidmore would be seen to just back the staff member is to be deplored.

I am of the opinion that, as happened to me in another life, when I worked in the NSW Public Service, that a letter of complaint, which was a nonsense anyway [unlike Dick’s letter], the Commissioner at the time asked me if I would like to pen the reply.

Maybe Mr. Skidmore just signed off on a letter written by Gerard Campbell.

Dick Smith states:

“………I cannot see that with the present management and with the Department that things will change too soon……”


4th May 2015, 13:03   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 2,373
Mr Skidmore Similar to Mr McCormick

Just after I was appointed Chairman of CASA I received a letter from an angry respected leader in the aviation community.
I can’t remember what the issue was about, however I do remember clearly that the bureaucracy in Canberra prepared an answer for me. Basically the answer told the industry leader to “get lost” and did not address any of the points he was making.
Naturally, I refused to sign the letter and I realised then that this was some type of “test” to see if I would comply with the system that existed in the days of “two years in the Aviation Hall of Doom”.
This was a system of “group think” and noindividual accountability for anything.I now believe Mr Skidmorehas been tested in a similar way.Not long ago I received a circular letter from Mr Gerard Campbell (Executive Manager, Operations Division, CASA) asking when I was going to fit ADS-B in my CJ3.

I wrote back to Mr Campbell in what I considered was quite a reasonable, but tough, letter explaining that the original Regulation Impact Statement was a flawed document and had not been ethically completed. I expected a letter back at least addressing the issues.

However, Mr Campbell did not reply but instead I received the following from Mark Skidmore:

Dear Mr Smith,

I refer to your letter of 30 March 2015 to Gerard Campbell. I have advised Gerard to not reply to your letter, but that I would do so here.

I found the language and tone of your letter unacceptable. Gerard Campbell is a highly qualified, highly experienced and highly principled member of my senior executive team.

Neither he, nor any other CASA manager or staff member, should be written to in this manner.

I would like to remind you of the letter sent to you by the former Director of Aviation Safety, John McCormick on 31 August 2010 after a similar occurrence.

I also request that any complaints you may wish to make about CASA staff members are addressed directly to me.

Yours sincerely
Mark Skidmore AM
Director of Aviation Safety

Note how none of the issues I had written about have been addressed.

Mr Skidmore has decided to follow the “group think” that protects the system at all costs.

That is, a system of no individual accountability at all for any practices which have not been honesty and ethically undertaken.

By the way, here is the text of the letter I sent Mr Campbell.

It does not claim that Mr Campbell was responsible for any of the decisions in relation to the Regulation Impact Station (RIS).

Dear Gerard,

Re Your Letter – ADS-B Mandates and Expiry of Exemption – March 2015

I am sure you are aware that the Regulation Impact Statement which was undertaken by CASA for this ADS-B requirement is a completely fabricated, dishonest document. Fabricated and dishonest because it shows alleged “savings” to airline aircraft and then implies that these savings would accrue to all aircraft.

As well as this, I have spoken to various airline companies who have had ADS-B equipment fitted since the December mandate and they have not seen any measurable reduction in costs because of the fitment of ADS-B.

The exemption you have given me is no exemption at all – that is because it is an exemption for radar airspace and because I already have a Mode-S transponder the separation standard that is provided is already the same that is provided between aircraft that are not ADS-B fitted.

At the present time I haven’t gone ahead with the fitment because the cost is more than $140,000 for absolutely no benefit at all.

I, fortunately, can afford this but I have spoken to a number of small aviation companies who have actually had the equipment fitted at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and it is quite clear that this money must have come from other areas where safety could be improved.

You say, “let us know your plans”.

Well, my plans are to sell my aircraft back to the United States where there is not an ADS-B requirement for another five years and, no doubt, when the requirement comes in there the cost of fitment will be quite low.

Then I plan to spend the time I have available in communicating to everyone how dishonest your organisation is and how it is amazing to me that you can sleep at night.

Yours faithfully
Dick Smith

It is amazing to me that CASA expects the industry to operate honesty and within the law but considers that it does not have to – or at least CASA considers that it does not have to address any issues that it may not agree with.

So there you have it.

I believe Mr Skidmore has accepted the letter he has been given and signed it so he is part of the existing system – not a “change agent”.

I cannot see that with the present management and with the Department that things will change too soon.

My suggestion for those who have invested in the general aviation industry is to get out as quickly as you can – there are going to be huge losses in the next four or five years.

It’s all very sad.

Dick Smith is online now Report Post Reply

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