Tony Broderick Talks Online

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TRANSCRIPT. This is an edited transcript of an on-line conference held July 9, 1996, with Anthony Broderick, former FAA Associate Administrator for Regulation and Certification. Long the FAA's top-ranking safety official, and having earned both friends and enemies for his consistent opposition to excessive and heavy-handed regulation of the airline industry, Broderick took early retirement from the agency at the end of June in the high-level FAA shakeup that occurred in the wake of the ValuJet crash. The on-line conference took place in the CompuServe Aviation Forum (AVSIG), which is the oldest, largest and most active on-line aviation group. It was moderated by Mike Busch, editor-in-chief of AVweb, who has moderated AVSIG's on-line conferences for many years. Broderick has been an active AVSIG participant since the late '80s, the first high-ranking FAA official to make himself accessible on-line. He has remained active on-line since his departure from the agency.

Thanks to Mike Overly of the Aviation Safety Institute, sponsor of AVSIG, for permission to make this transcript available on AVweb.


Moderator-Mike:
The witching hour is upon us, so I'll gavel this formal conference to order now. Our guest, as you all know, is Tony Broderick. Rick Cremer, you're first...go ahead with your question.

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
Tony, are you a bit surprised or no at Mary Schiavo's sudden departure? Or was it not that sudden and we just didn't know about it?

Tony Broderick:
Surprised.

Mark G. Monse:
Your feelings on her departure then?

Tony Broderick:
I think people need to do what they need to do. She has had a difficult past pregnancy, and I am sure that this was not something that was unnoticed. I also think that she had gotten her message across, much as I disagree with it.

Mark G. Monse:
Now that Mary Schiavo has left DOT, supposedly to write a book, what are your thoughts about her departure, and will we see a book from you?

Tony Broderick:
Mark—Thanks for the compliment! I don't know if anyone would want to read the dry logic that I'd contribute to this debate!!

Jonathan G. Regas:
Why won't the FAA allow tower controllers to make wx observations in real time, or at least allow a conrep similiar to a pirep? I am an airline pilot and the wx is not getting out in real time.

Tony Broderick:
I think it's not the "FAA", but a question of how to mix the work of observation and ATC. There's a bit of negotiation to do.

Jonathan G. Regas:
How hard is it to say: wx deteriorating from last observation?

Mark G. Monse:
Since ASOS deployment began in 9/92, the users have seen an ever increasing number of AO2A sites that rarely get augmented. With the METAR/TAF changeover 7/1, we have Class A/B/C airports that finally have augmentation, but at least 1 ATC facility has a letter out saying they won't augment when the weather gets bad cause they'll be busy. There seems to be a feud between FAA/NWS, with the loser being the end weather and airspace user. What has caused this, and what can/should be done to stop it?

Tony Broderick:
The NWS needs to economize. So does FAA. That's the issue. FAA has formed a group to work this issue, and its budget implications. It will take time, and $$$$.

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
I am going to put Mark's question to our WX person tomorrow and see if we can find out what's going on.

Mark G. Monse:
Lemme ask it this way...Has ASOS, as implemented, increased or decreased the quality of wx info to the end user? Please pick ONE.

Tony Broderick:
Mark—I believe AWOS (note the W) has improved safety by delivering wx where it wasn't. ASOS is a pure cost saving mesure, which should be safety neutral.

Mark G. Monse:
How about ASOS? (Note the S.) Should be safety neutral, but is it? Yes or No.

Tony Broderick:
To the extent it doesn'tdeliver what pilots need, then it isn't even maintaining the safety level. But let's be sure we don't ask for a Caddy when a Chevrolet will do.

Mark G. Monse:
Re: Caddys and Chevys, what did we have -before- ASOS?

Mike Overly:
Can the FAA (or any regulatory agency) run effectively if the top people come and go with presidential administrations? How much influence does an appointed position like Pena's (for instance) wield? Should the DOT be removed from oversight of FAA?

Tony Broderick:
Mike—Holy cow!!! I believe that there is nothing inherently wrong in the political setup. But the truth is that there have been many changes int he past few decades, and people need to decide if they want to put up with constant change.

Robert E. Mann:
Why does it take such a ridiculously long time (3-5 months) to get a registration issued? Even state motor vehicle depts do it in 2 weeks.

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
Robert, the folks in AFS-700 are short staffed just like everyone else. They issue the reg. certs. if you have a problem let me know tomorrow and I'll help you.

Tony Broderick:
I would add that aircraft do not stay on the ground because of lack of registration. Those who need it get to the top of the queue.

Jamail Larkins:
I am 12 years old now.I would like to be a airline pilot when I grow up. I was wondering could you tell me anything I could do that would help me become what I would I like to become. Also does anyone know anyway I could contact Delta Airlines? Do you know anything I could do at a local airprt also?

Tony Broderick
Jamail—My advice is to study hard, and take lots of science and engineering course if you can!!

Greggory C. Dunha:
Contact me at <105004.1602@compuserve.com&rt; and I'll give you the honest scoop on airline hiring. I'm in the training dept.

Jonathan G. Regas:
I have worked for many places, where if you questioned safety practices you got disciplined. Where I work now I have union protection and can walk off a plane when I please for a decent reason. When will the FAA protect whistle blowers?

Tony Broderick:
Jonathan—Funny you should ask. Today I saw a note in which the Secretary has finally supported whistleblower protection, something I have wanted to do for years. The issue is that it STILL takes courage to work within the system!!

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
A comment to Jon Regas. Whistle blower protection will probably take an act of Congress. Have you considered contacting your representatives with that idea? If Pena likes it, it would be worth a 32 cent stamp or two.

Mike Overly:
Could the public's perception of the FAA in the absence of the PROMOTIONAL responsibility be akin to the KGB (i.e.: no civil or federal reprisal for actions)? Do you think we will REALLY see promotion disappear from FAA mandates?

Tony Broderick:
Great question. I do not see much promotion at all in FAA day to day activity. I would challenge all who see it to name the specific promotional activities they would have us give up. Uh oh, I STILL said "us." <grin>

Freida G. Johnson:
How likely are we to see you on TV, as one of the aviation experts the networks trot out?

Tony Broderick:
Frieda—One of my favorite people! I'm not gonna be a talking head!!!!

Tom Bell:
Tony, I went back & read the "zero speech". What info do you have that you didn't include in the presentation that supports your view that the "public" demands zero accidents by air carriers? At what price do your or FAA calculations determine that a ticket price from Fargo to Bismark will cost in order to implement the training, maintenance, cost of new aircraft, etc., and to let my own particular point-of-view show, how much $$$ does the small 135 operator have to spend to meet the zero tolerance test?

Tony Broderick:
I think it is self evident that the public demands—without understanding the implications—zero accidents. Who wants more?? The price is cheap—an extra few $$ per ticket rasies over 1 Billion!!!

Leo Angevine:
Is there anything that would bring you out of retirement? Many have indicated considerable distress at your leaving the FAA.

Tony Broderick:
Leo...my local commuting friend...thanks for the kind comments. I am afraid this move was a permanent one.

Ben Moyle:
If you had it to do over, would you? What different?

Tony Broderick:
Ben, of course I would. This is the best job, in the best organization, that anyone could ever ask for. A great team to be a small part of.

PAMA John:
What odds do you give that we will have a "FAA, Inc." in our lifetime?

Tony Broderick:
John, my friend, I give it more than a trivial shot. But the question isn't FAA Inc., but FAA Ind. <very big grin> The latter is worth shooting for!!!

Jamail Larkins:
Do you know anything new about the Delta engine fire? Like what cause it and things like that?

Tony Broderick:
Jamail, what causes tragedies like that is human error...somewhere...in design or maintenance. Get your education and help us get rid of it!!

Howard Richman:
A followup to Mike's question from before... If the FAA's charge were only to regulate and not to promote and regulate air travel, do you think that more of the NTSB's general recommendations e.g. car seats for children under two would have been mandated?

Tony Broderick:
Howard, one has to ask why we would require other people to spend their money. Surely it must be to buy something that is worth at least as much as it costs. In many cases like those you cite, that isn't the result. Therefore, the Government won't mandate that the public spend the money to buy that "safety," because it isn't worth the price!! So, the answer is: NO, being rid of "promotion doesn't alter those outcomes in a rational world.

Howard Richman:
I understand your response but I always ask myself how many children would have been saved in the UA Sioux City crash if they had been in car seats.

Tony Broderick:
One, Howard. And at what cost in the past few decades???

Ben Moyle
With respect to Tony's $1 ticket increment buys a billion (for safety), and Richman's about car seats saving kids at SUX, the point I think is that if the seats were required, or Tech problems.

Tony Broderick:
Ben, if seats were required, economics would say that more people would have died because of the costs they would NOT have paid. That's the real issue, IMHO!!

Ben Moyle:
...or the seats $1 higher, they (kids, etc) wouldn't have been there. False economy.

Anne Umphrey:
As an R22 helicopter owner and pilot I am sensitive to the issues of over controlling and over regulating. How can a balance between safety and protection and regulation to the point of strangulation be achieved?

Tony Broderick:
Anne, one whose postings I have greatly admired. I wish I had the answer. Rational discourse and continuous questioning of the Government is the only answer. It's tough, no matter which side of the fence you're on!! How's the R-22?? <g>

Anne Umphrey:
Great little machine!!

Tony Broderick:
I'd love to take a ride in BOS some day with you, Anne.

Anne Umphrey:
Tony, a ride any time you are in BOS.

Kenneth A Snyder:
Tony, do you feel the lack of oversight could be attributed to congress, i.e. lack of funding for

additional inspectors?

Tony Broderick:
Kenneth... Absolutely a problem!!! We need to recognize the demands we place upon agencies like FAA, and be willing to step up to them!!!

Michael Daniel:
Tony, two questions: (1) will there be continued personnel changes below your [former] level in the FAA and (2) with your departure I anticipate a slowdown in the Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement initiatives, would you agree? (Also best of luck to you!)

Tony Broderick:
The Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreements will go forth and prosper, I hope. I don't forsee a slowdown. But you have to help us by sticking with it, there in FRA!! Best of luck to you!!

Jonathan G. Regas:
I am relatively certain that the VJ crew did not put on the oxygen masks, and if so perhaps did not toggle to emergency on the oxygen regulator, what information do you have on this, also were you all aware that the TDWR has been out at DCA?

Tony Broderick:
Jon, I don't have any info on the masks, nor do I know if we ever will. I didn't know that TDWR was out at DCA. I'm thankful we mandated it in the 121 operators and that it works very well in the airplane!!

Jonathan G. Regas:
The terminal doppler wx radar is not in our planes, I fly the DC9, what are you talking about. Also the Honeywell windshear detecting system is awful.

Tony Broderick:
Jon—I'm sorry you don't like the airborne windshear detectors. They work quite well. Have you been let down by them not working? <g>

Jonathan G. Regas:
Someone was at CLT. Again TDWR is not in the plane, it is on the ground.

Tony Broderick:
Jon, I know TDWR is on the ground. The threat is in the air!! That's where the equipment is that you can rely upon!!!!

Jonathan G. Regas:
Nevil Shute said airplanes do not crash in and of themselves, perhaps one crash in a thousand is an act of god, airplanes crash because men are irresolute, reckless or careless. There are improvements to be made, but only if congress listens.

PAMA John:
Are user fees dead, dying or slithering around and waiting?

Tony Broderick:
John, I don't think user fees are dead. There is a critical need—the MOST important problem we have to address—for finding a stable source of predictable funding for FAA. Where else but user fees???? If the users won't pay, why should those who don't use the system???

Mike Overly:
Do you see need for improvement in U.S. air transportation on a larger level (somewhat beyond FAA's immediate charter)? Example: moves to mitigate airport hubbing inconveniences to travelers (increased one-stop flights for some markets)? Resultant artificial (but real) ATC congestion at hubs?

Tony Broderick:
Mike, I don't see that as a problem. I believe that FAA will require high standards, and that the economics of the system will allow people to develop alternative non-crowded airports. If safety isn't the issue, then the economics will work well!

Mike Busch:
Tony, do you expect your successor at FAA (lord help him) to receive "kick butt" marching orders? Is this the end of the "kindler, gentler FAA?"

Tony Broderick:
Mike, I hope he or she does not see a need to do that. But let me tell you it is not popular to be a good person vis a vis the "violater". Things in the popular press are tough...it's easier to be a hard person than a nice one!!

Ben Moyle:
Why is how tough things are in the press so all-fired important?

Tony Broderick:
Ben, The press reflects the people—or is reflected by the people. Take your pick. Besides, Clinton reads it!! <g> No kidding.

Ben Moyle:
He can read?

Tony Broderick:
Ben—Of course he can read. My gosh, he's the First Lady's husband!!! <g>

Anne Umphrey:
I have a hard time believing that the press reflects the people. I think we are driven by what the press thinks we want.

Tony Broderick:
You may be right, Anne. But how can one tell??

Geo. W. Braly [ADH]:
So, Tony, what is the title of the book? <g>

Tony Broderick:
The title is "You Won't Believe This!"

Sue A. Critz:
How is the FAA defining "violator", tho? It seems the resentment from the user side of the house on enforcement comes when blatant and willful violators are equated with those who've just made an honest error.

Tony Broderick:
Sue, my favorite microbiologist! You are right, and it is just that confusion which makes it tough for the inspectors in these times.

PAMA John:
Did anybody ask or did you say, where you are going and Tony Broderick: I'm gonna take until at least 1 October to ponder things, evaluate, do a bit of short term consulting and see what develops. No plan as such, in any defined sense.

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
If the rumor mill around here is even halfway right we're going to see butts moved like never before. I understand that the ABQ FSDO manager was moved yesterday. It begins.

Tony Broderick:
Rick—-I think there are good reasons to move folks, and if this provides some needed "cover", then so be it. But it isn't necessary to make things "right" in the overall sense. There are good people in FAA, and they need support!!

Ben Moyle:
Someone's confused. There hasn't been a crash in ABQ this week. (oops)

Tony Broderick:
A few car crashes in ABQ, I'm sure.

Kenneth A Snyder:
Tony, will your book have lots of pictures so pilots can read it, and can I get an autographed copy? <g>

Tony Broderick:
Ken, sure, I'll put my paw print on one!! <g>

Mike Busch:
Tony, you're gonna stay active on-line, right?

Tony Broderick:
'Twas a pleasure to do this. I'm very active online, as I've got more time now!! <g>

Sue A. Critz:
Tony, you said earlier, you didn't see user fees as dead. What form do you see them taking?

Tony Broderick:
Sue, I don't know. There are many possibilities. I wish folks in the community would get together and figure out tolerable ways to pay the bill.

Sue A. Critz:
What ways can you see to reconcile the issue of keeping services affordable for GA?

Tony Broderick:
I know that I will never stand still for GA getting gouged, but that's a whole 'nother story...we gotta stick together!! There are no really easy ways to keep GA affordable, but it needs to be done!!!

Sue A. Critz:
We're on the same wavelength here.

Ed Wachs:
Tony— From my pers[ective, the public perception of the FAA in the absence of the "promotional" responsibility, will be akin to thr KGB ie: no civil or fed reprisal for there actions .

Tony Broderick:
Ed, we have a challenge. We need to figure ot how to overcome that problem!!!

Bob Hare:
Along with one level of safety, is there any talk of one level of interpretation among the FSDOs? The inconsistencies are marked.

Tony Broderick:
Bob, I wish I had an easy answer. It's a question of better training, which we need to get FAA to fund.

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
Bob, we're doing our best to minimize that. Better handbooks, etc.

Tony Broderick:
We also need to have more online chat capability like AVSIG!!!!

Ralph Hood:
I believe in user fees, but only if there is a reponsible entity holding the bag of money. Congrees has not proven itself in that regard. witness the trust fund. What can we do to solve that problem? I'm at

Tony Broderick:
I see you, Ralph. But if the users don't pay, who should??? Somebody has to!! I agree that we need to work on improving the system.

Michael Gibbons:
Tony, what is your perception of AOPA's effectiveness as a voice for GA pilots? Do they get the job done?

Tony Broderick:
They are a good voice, but they can be somewhat cantankerous! <g> I find Boyer a very articulate and accessible person, and Steve Brown (his number one person) equally capable. There will always be a creative tension between FAA and AOPA.

Anne Umphrey:
We have pretty darn good FSDO here in BOS but I am distressed of difficult it is to get someone either here or in Oke City to commit to answering a question.

Tony Broderick:
Anne, ask Rick to help, he's a great resource!!

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
Call me, Anne. Heck, I answer all questions.

Anne Umphrey:
Okay, will do!

Bob Hare:
Tony, I would like to thank you and Rick for being so accessible on the CIS Forums.

Ed Wachs:
Bob, second that!

Tony Broderick:
Bob, not a problem, but a lot of fun and very educational!!

Rick Cremer, FAA HQ:
Tony, a lot of folks at HQ were sorry to see you go. We understand the politics of it all but still it wasn't most of us wanted to see happen. We ALL wish you the best.

Tony Broderick:
Rick—Thanks. I didn't want to go now, or this way, but life is real—not a dress rehearsal! I'll always be in your corner!!

Mike Overly:
Tony: Thanks for spending your time here tonight — great insights.

Moderator-Mike:
Since we've gone from questions to comments, I think it's time to gavel the formal part of this CO to a close. An edited transcript will be posted on AVSIG and AVweb shortly. Many thanks to you all, and especially to Tony Broderick. Or as USA Today recently called you: Andy.

Tony Broderick:
Good night to all, from Andy!! <VBG>