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Mr Skidmore Similar to Mr McCormick

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Mr Skidmore Similar to Mr McCormick

Old 4th May 2015, 03:03
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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 no individual accountability for anything.

I now believe Mr Skidmore has 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.
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Old 4th May 2015, 03:19
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Gezzzz dick. Look out you may be charge with insubordination him being ex military an all. And don't laugh I had an ex military clown in Casa telling me he was going to do that. I laughed the told him to go "f" himself. Surprisingly I didn't get charged.

Said from the start nothing will change with this clown ether.
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Old 4th May 2015, 03:19
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I am not an executive level employee, however I have an excellent grasp of the English language and it is clear that the punishment may not fit the crime in this instance, however I do understand how they appear to believe that it was a personal attack verus at an organisational level.

The exemption you have given me is no exemption at all
You say, “let us know your plans”.
how dishonest your organisation is and how it is amazing to me that you can sleep at night.
I would say that your use of the word "you" in a number of sentences has pushed his buttons. Directing your venting at CASA and re-phrasing the above may have resulted in a less formal response.
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Old 4th May 2015, 04:01
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I have written and spoken to them nicely for two years on this RIS issue. Got absolutely nowhere. Some in the management probably recognise that errors were made but it looks as if the policy is to never admit to making an error .

Interesting that Mark did not suggest a letter that addressed at least some the points I was concerned about .

The military ethos appears to be that of sticking with the decision. - no matter how unfair it may be !
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Old 4th May 2015, 04:10
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Dick..

The military ethos appears to be that of sticking with the decision
Maybe, maybe not; but what really grips my s***t is that the tone of the reply is so offensive.

These guys have forgotten that they are PUBLIC servants, paid by us to provide a service. The tone of his letter is more like a master talking to a slave.
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Old 4th May 2015, 04:28
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He's not telling you to get lost he's telling you to come directly to where the buck stops, with him. Apparently you were told the same thing by the bloke in the same position previously. Your letter gets very personal with statements such as:

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.
From what I can tell about Mr Skidmore's reply:

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.
he is defending his staff which was one of the attributes we expect from a good leader.

With your public profile I am surprised that you would not have just spoken to Mr Skidmore directly instead of publishing private correspondence between you and CASA.
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Old 4th May 2015, 04:37
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If you get a chance, go back and have a look at his performance at Senate Estimates (on another thread) and the way he addressed Senator David Fawcett in response to questions on the CVD matter. Certainly showed his true colours there I reckon..! Exactly the sort of response I would have expected from his predecessor, but was hoping for better with his replacement (foolishly it seems).
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:00
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You don’t understand your proper place, Dick.

Like every other Australian citizen, you exist to be regulated and taxed.

Think of how many punters would die in 30,000’ death plunges, but for our fearless aviation safety regulator and the thousands of pages of world-class regulations it administers.

A life is, by definition, priceless. Therefore, all safety regulations are justified and all RISs are foregone conclusions.

It must be true, because no government in recent times has done thing one to get the regulatory Frankenstein under control.

I was very disturbed to read this in AIPA’s submission to the ASSR:
From our viewpoint, blaming the delay in implementation of Part 61 on the industry was indicative of an unacceptable regulatory arrogance. The problem was clearly one of inadequate change management by CASA. AIPA often is forced to take CASA to task about poor regulatory consultation due to a persistent absence of supporting GM/AMC documentation, insufficient consultation time and notification periods combined with excessive amount of documents required to be reviewed prior to working group meetings and inadequate allocations of time at meetings to properly review not only the draft legislation but how it will work in practice. We are sympathetic to the CASA staff who appear to be faced with multiple complex tasks and unbending deadlines and even to CASA managers who find themselves in a political corner to roll out the new rules, but in the end the responsibility for effective change management rest with CASA management.

The current prospect of continuously rolling out new rules to overwhelmed industry stakeholders and inspectors alike must be increasing the risk profile of the industry – and what starts out as compliance and financial risk has a habit of morphing into safety risk!
It is from this kind of lunatic fringe that CASA is, fortunately, protecting us.

Be thankful, Dick. Think how much safer you and everyone else will be, once your CJ3 is fitted with ADS-B.
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:05
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Look left well not hard to see which side of the fence you sit on.
The major trouble is that Casa and the staff have no accountability to anyone. They make there own rules up and then enforce them onto the aviation community. The simple fix is make the staff accountable for their actions and then let's see where that takes us. Until then we have mindless fools driving the ship into the rocks.
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:06
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This was a system of “group think” and no individual accountability for anything.
I think all new recruits to CASA are greeted at the door with a large jug of Kool-aid. Most take a long drink, and the effects are immediate. Others drink slowly, so are placed on an intravenous drip.

Either way, the effect is the same. Some of the ex-military recruits are the biggest and most willing drinkers...........
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:09
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Oh creamie bit of the pot calling the kettle black don't you think !
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:25
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You should have fixed CASA up while you were on the board, Dick, then you wouldn't have to worry about complying with the regulations they make now.

I didn't like it when the department of main roads reduced the speed limit on a stretch of road not far from my house when there was no particular safety hazard I could see, but the cops will still book me if I ignore the new sign!

This isn't about Skidmore at all, it's just more propagandist CASA bashing.
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Old 4th May 2015, 05:41
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Some more “propagandist CASA bashing” from the lunatic fringe:
AIPA suggests that the behaviour most often complained of by industry, that of inconsistent and non-standardised decision-making, is a product of a structure that inadequately or incompetently mirrors (if at all) the structure (i.e., the processes, procedures, organisational arrangements, systems and resources) demanded of industry. CASA cannot operate as a collection of free-styling decision-makers free of regulatory constraints – the industry reasonably expects consistent and standardised decision-making and we believe that it has the right to be free of unnecessary and indefensible cost burdens imposed by decision-makers who are exercising personal whims in the absence of any organisational supervision or constraint.
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Old 4th May 2015, 06:43
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Atten...shun.! Salute please!

Lookee leftie..." defending his(sic) staff is one of the attributes we expect from a good leader"

And with CAsA this defence, also in the case of indefencibles is legion.

The late Loud Screamer made a pitch in a Senate hearing, 2011?, on how he would protect "his staff" at all costs from "unwarranted demagoguery" and he rattled off a litany of other things maybe alleged, and ended up choking on his own wordy vomitus and failed to complete the sentence.!
Had he passed the English licence test, ya reckon?.

So he even took that defence ..at very great expense to the taxpayer, for three staff persons who had committed gross illegalities, in the "process" of dealing with an aviation client, all aided and abetted by "The System".
Which immediately proved to me his "ceo" credentials had absolutely NO value whatsoever, except to corruption and cronyism.

Its a game still being played out in the halls of Fort Fumble, as I can attest. having recently received a three page "thesis" from Dr Hoodoo Voodoo on how lies are not lies or untruths, but "just discrepancies in wording".
Dontja luv 'em! Wonderful think there Doctor !
Its CYA 101 in full swing...protection is all.
We, the CAsA people do no wrong

Response letter from bureaurats are not supposed to deal with the issues, they either attack you or hit you with a fluffy response that actually says nothing....hopefully then you will tire of corresponding and just go away.
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:18
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Well at least you got a response Dick.

So far we have found Skidmore to be a black hole on fairly serious issues raised directly with him.

At least McCormick would reply.
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:19
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Well done, Dick.

Just a couple of thoughts ---- the biggest problem with a RIS is that it comes at the end of a process, when all the decisions have been made. It is an estimate of how much the shaftees will be shafted, not whether they will be shafted at all.

What we need, (and it is in the CASA's own manuals, as well as being a mandatory Government requirement) is justification of any rules in advance, including proper cost/benefit analysis -- and ADS-B is no exception.

Cast your minds back to the original ADS-B propositions, where a CASA cost/benefit analysis postulated all sorts of benefits for airlines, but naught of any significance for GA.

When we went through the first CASA cost/benefit analysis, we found the old "shift the decimal point" trick, when this was corrected, the airline benefits evaporated.

Miraculously a second CASA cost/benefit analysis appeared, suddenly discovering all sorts of benefits for GA, that hadn't been "noticed" before. In my opinion the "benefits" were bogus. The CASA employee responsible (no fan of Dick) left CASA not long after.

'Tis all in the PPRuNe archives.

I am not surprised at the practical experience of the airlines in Australia with ADS-B, it was all quite predictable, and was predicted by those who could do simple arithmetic, as opposed to being gullible enough to uncritically swallow the propaganda. The major reason ADS-B had to be mandatory (and this also applies to US) is very few would fit it voluntarily, given the lack of real, as opposed to claimed, benefits.

ADS-B will not, and never will, produce the alleged cost savings claimed by the promoters of ADS-B. The major beneficiary is the Government, not the aviation sector.

Tootle pip!!
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Old 4th May 2015, 07:42
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The question raised by Dick Smith was whether Skidmore is the same as McCormick. The answer Dick got was, if you have a problem speak to the man in charge. For Dick to proclaim"Now we see the violence inherent in the system!" is disingenuous as he would know that wealth gets you access to decision makers and that he would not need to resort to finger pointing letters.

As far as ADS-B is concerned from what I can tell the horse has bolted on that one and its time to move on to the next issue.
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Old 4th May 2015, 08:43
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Dick et el, The largest problem CASA have is the way they are set up and how they interact with industry, not to mentiion their legal department! The different departments within don't talk to each other any more (they used to) and there is no realisation of how CASA worked a decade or more ago. It would be fair to say it seems to have got much worse. There is very little consultation, even with the forums set up for that purpose such as the SCC etc.

Most of the time they consist of presentations at which the industry get very little warning or time to research and then CASA says there was "Consultation" - sorry but that is not what it is about! Even the attendee's at most of the forums are controlled. So what about those that have someting to say and are not let in?

I have an associate that presented a detailed response to a change made by CASA that had significant safety issues, including pointing out that there was no safety case etc. The response from the corporate letter writer basically said we are not going to discuss this any more..... Oh! Is that the way a trusted regulator should work? I don't think so!

To be fair to the new DAS, I believe it may take him a bit of time to sort the wheat from the charf, however I would like to believe he can fix it, and certainly there are few within that should be asked to walk, for the sake of the industry if nothing else. Certainly making officers responsible for their decisions and having their name on the bottom of the letter would assist.

We live in hope..... Otherwise we wont have an industry at all.
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Old 4th May 2015, 08:45
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Problem is the bureaucrat who got the communication first. My bet the bloke is next in line for a job with macwhichbank like many Sir Humphrey's before him. This bloke runs business in Australia from the head honcho to the factory floor delegate. Read Senate Estimates, look at the movies or read from Hansard. Both Albo and Truss are weak and useless in any matters aviation. CAsA only exists because of their inability to do anything about it.


Dick, I know you are a proud Australian, but surely to God you can see you must register the jet in New Zealand. As un tasteful as this seems, you would be sending a better message to the Australian public who support you because everyone will see just how desperate things are for you to take such drastic measures.


I'm guessing Skidmore is in line for an OA and Australian of the year Award.


I note the 'horse has bolted' so we should move on. (Sarcasm Lefty).

Last edited by Frank Arouet; 4th May 2015 at 08:46. Reason: Still waiting for the implementation of the Truss review, but move on.
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Old 4th May 2015, 09:06
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Dick, I know you are a proud Australian, but surely to God you can see you must register the jet in New Zealand
Unfortunately the state of registry has nothing to do with whether or not you are required to fit ADS-B.

It is required for all aircraft flying above FL280 in Australian airspace, effective December 13th. You can register your aircraft (or spaceship) on Mars if you wish, but if you penetrate Australian atmosphere you must have ADS-B. Of course you could continue to operate at or below FL280, but just to make sure you comply ADS-B is required if you want to fly in or out of YSSY, YMML, YPPH or YBBN (and presumably surrounding airspace), effective next February.
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