The FAA's Anthony J. Broderick Talks About the Bob Hoover Affair

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Shortly after legendary airshow pilot Bob Hoover got his U.S. medical back, AVIATION CONSUMER sent its legal affairs editor Scott Dyer to interview Anthony J. Broderick, the FAA's chief of regulation and certification, about the FAA's role in the Hoover affair. Broderick was joined by FAA medical expert William Hark, M.D., and FAA attorney Susan Caron, Esq. Here's a transcript of that in-depth interview.

Interview by Aviation Consumer, 27-Oct-95

FAA Participants:

  • Anthony J. Broderick (Associate Administrator for Regulation and Certification)
  • William Hark, M.D.
  • Susan Caron, Esq.
Also Present:
  • Drucella Anderson, FAA OPA HQ


Aviation Consumer:
The first area that I'd like to explore with you is the situation where Bob Hoover has recently been granted a special issuance of his second class medical certificate. Pilots are certainly happy that he has a U.S. medical again that will permit him to fly in air shows. There is certainly the perception that, by granting this special issuance several years after the initial emergency revocation, the FAA has reversed itself under the heat of the criticism and this is an admission that the initial revocation was wrong. Is that accurate?

Broderick:
No, it's not. That's an unfortunate interpretation of what happened. It's the kind of thing that tends to make some people want to defend their position ad infinitum. We recognized before we took the initial action that it was not going to be popular, and we weren't happy to have to do it, but we have a public responsibility. We recognized when we got new information that indicated that a special issuance was possible that some people would interpret this as FAA just trying to change the tide of public opinion but that really frankly didn't factor into our decision-making at all. What we did is evaluate the information we had in both cases and take the action that we believed was in the best medical judgement of the FAA was the right action to take.

Aviation Consumer:
What change resulted in Bob Hoover getting a medical now when exams by half a dozen or more doctors on both sides only two years ago resulted in an emergency revocation order?

Broderick:
Well, one of the difficulties we have in a discussion like this is the fact that we need to protect, by law and for moral reasons, the privacy of individuals. So, we are unable to talk about the detailed medical data that we have recently gotten that is different from the data that is in the public record. But what you can do is look at the data in the public record and recognize that there was a spectrum of both physical measurements and neuropsychological tests that were taken several years ago. When evaluating data that was recently obtained, the same Federal Air Surgeon and the Deputy Federal Air Surgeon concluded that the condition that they were concerned about several years ago was not present today in the same degree and so they were able to issue a certificate on the basis of that new data. Unfortunately, it's just not possible to go into detailed examination and comparison of before and after records. The only thing we can say is that there is ample medical data to support both decisions.

Aviation Consumer:
Without getting into detailed factual information about the tests and the results of those tests two years ago and most recently, is this a situation where the condition that the Federal Air Surgeon was concerned about several years ago has stabilized, or that it has improved?

Broderick:
Let me let Dr. Hark answer that question and then I'll make a comment after that.

Dr. Hark:
Well, "stabilized" was our word. It is a good medical word and we use it. In looking at the situation obviously his overall condition and status has improved or we would not have issued a special issuance. That's as much as I can say about it.

Broderick:
The only thing that I point out is that there's a long period of time that's expired here and I think it's important to recognize when you talk about the kind of neuropsychological tests that we were looking at and that are in the public record that is a long enough period of time to be able to make judgments about the progression of neuropsychological problems, so clearly we got good data and the decision that the doctors made was that he was in fact qualified for a medical albeit a special issuance medical which has some restrictions.

Aviation Consumer:
It seems that the granting of the special issuance medical occurred only after the conclusion of the litigation. There has been commentary since then that there was a delay by the FAA until the court action was over. Some interpret this as a punishment for Bob Hoover pursuing his legal rights for review of the agency and the NTSB decision in the courts. Why wasn't this done a year ago?

Broderick:
The very direct and short answer to that is we had no new data to evaluate a year ago, but let me expand on that. We worked for nearly a year with Mr. Hoover on an informal basis before he and his legal team initiated legal proceedings. When a situation like this arises, we go from a basically cooperative, informal working relationship to an adversarial relationship that is in a different system completely. That's not a decision that we made, but it's a decision that was made by Mr. Hoover and presumably with the advice of counsel. It's not a very appropriate thing in my view to try and pursue or to expect the agency to try and pursue a case like this in two parallel efforts; one in which we have attorneys in an adversarial proceeding that's very formal and the other in which we are trying to work as closely as possible with the applicant and his physician, and that is something that the attorneys clearly understood when they gave him the advice to contest our revocation of his medical. But I also want to point out that at no time did we say, "okay we're not going to consider any more information from you", but the fact is that none was given to us outside of the courtroom. All of the information there is public knowledge as to how we evaluated it and what we said about it. So after all of the different appeals were completed, we began, and I'm actually not sure whether he called us or we called him.

Caron:
His counsel called me after the court decision [by the federal appeals court]. Well, actually, right before the court decision he agreed to talk to me. We didn't actually start talking until after the . . . appellate court decision.

Broderick:
So actually, technically we were talking with him before the thing was over, but at any rate, we then progressed on a reasonably aggressive schedule that involved a number of evaluations of the new data that the doctors required to provide them the background that they needed to fairly evaluate the entire case. But quite honestly, I don't think ten days elapsed between the time that the doctors in our organization reached their conclusion and discussed it with me and we actually issued the certificate. In fact it was probably less than that.

Aviation Consumer:
During the time following the emergency revocation, Bob Hoover, of course, got a medical certificate issued in Australia that allows him to perform there. Did the FAA supply any medical information to the Australian authorities as they considered whether or not to grant him a medical?

Broderick:
No, the FAA was not asked for any data about Mr. Hoover, nor did we provide any to the designee who issued the medical on behalf of Australia, but, as you know, it was someone in the United States and the situation that the FAA was in was quite widely known. We're quite confident of that, so apparently they made the decision that they didn't need the information that we had.

Aviation Consumer:
There was a considerable amount of debate in the litigation process as to whether to compare Hoover's performance on these tests against all adults, or against all pilots, or to compare his results only with persons of comparable age and schooling. In evaluating Bob Hoover's condition today, what group was he compared against? What ultimately was the position of the agency in terms of which norms are the most appropriate in deciding the neuropsychological condition of a pilot who is applying for a medical?

Broderick:
Again let me let Dr. Hark give you a few words on that.

Dr. Hark:
Oh, I think I would have to say that we compared him against all of these. We considered him against the population, we considered him against pilots and we had a lot of discussion with our consultants as to what was appropriate. I think ultimately, it was just basically a subjective assessment of the degree of risk that was present and we concluded that it was acceptable, in the context of the special issuance with restrictions. I would hesitate to say that there is one comparison or another comparison that must be used. You have to look at the whole situation.

Aviation Consumer:
Was a check ride or other practical test of aviation capability part of the process in deciding whether or not to make a special issuance?

Broderick:
No.

Dr. Hark:
It was not in the specifics [of what FAA requested of Hoover], however, we have been provided probably recently with a detailed account of a checkride that was done with an inspector in Australia. We had that and it was acceptable to us.

Broderick:
But I think it is fair to say that had we not had that we would not have insisted upon a check ride. I mean that's one of the things that we are frustrated about, I mean in a technical sense is that it makes very good common sense to do check rides for situations like this and many other situations that are not easily quantifiable from a medical viewpoint. The difficulty is that we don't have the technology in terms of measuring the performance of the pilot during a check ride and then correlating that performance with future accident-propensity to be able to say that here is the way you ought to do that, and no one has ever proposed for us a protocol that would do that. We do run into that kind of thing, for example, when you debate the age 60 rule. So if there were such a scheme that was (doctors call it a protocol) that were available, we would eagerly use it, and as a matter of fact, while money isn't all we'd like to have, we do have research that we continue to pursue at the Civil Aeromedical Institute ("CAMI") to explore these kinds of things; and not only that, but to explore the relationship between performance and simulators and other kinds of test batteries, like the COGSCREEN [a set of neuropsychological tests developed by FAA for pilot evaluation and given to Hoover], for example.

Aviation Consumer:
There are a number of consent decrees between the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and some private companies that have significant flight operations under Part 91 such as Boeing, for instance, which require some reporting of simulator performance results as well as neuropsychological and other physical evaluations. Is CAMI pursuing that data to develop protocols that might provide for an integrated analysis of pilot ability between testing and practical skills?

Broderick:
I honestly don't know. Do you Bill?

Dr. Hark:
Yes, you mention CAMI specifically and CAMI of course is involved in developing and carrying out some of the research efforts that we have on going. We are aware of the .....I don't want to call it a study, but the interaction between the EEOC and Boeing and some other companies and this began around 1990 with testing with relatively few pilots. At the time EEOC announced that they were collecting this data for use as appropriate in determining the future course of [whether corporate flight departments could retire pilots on reaching a certain age] and they estimated five years. As recently as last week I was attempting to get any such information or reports that have the figures that have been produced or collected without success so far, but are still in the process. So we'll have to see. No major announcements have been made as to any salient findings or useful trends.

Aviation Consumer:
Does the Hoover special issuance relate solely to the Class 2 medical or is it a special issuance of both his Class 2 and Class 3 medical certificates?

Broderick:
Technically, it's both because the Class 3 is limited in duration for one year, so that's the limit on the Class 3. The Class 2 has a passenger carrying restriction as well.

Aviation Consumer:
Why is there a prohibition on carrying passengers if it is not an unacceptable safety risk to have Hoover performing at airshows attended by tens of thousands of people?

Broderick:
There actually isn't a prohibition against carrying passengers. The prohibition is against carriage of persons or property for compensation or hire. The technical term means that he can't use that license to fly people for hire or cargo for hire. The reason for that is that we don't look when we are granting a special issuance at what someone says they are going to do with it or what in fact they have done in the past with their license. We look at that license as a document, the medical certificate as a document which permits certain activities in accordance with the Federal Aviation Regulations. If the medical judgement is such that certain activities which would be permitted by an unrestricted certificate should not be because of the medical facts of the case, we restrict the license appropriately. So it isn't really directed at the individual, but it is directed at the potential use of the license and that the restriction is structured or the restrictions are structured such that we are comfortable in defending any permitted use of the license and would not be from a medical viewpoint or some other reason comfortable with the uses that we have restricted. And that's the reason for putting the restriction.

Aviation Consumer:
The FARs governing second and third class medical requirements have exactly the same language on mental and psychological standards. Since Hoover has different restrictions on his second class medical than on his third class medical, is there a different standard applied in issuing a second class medical than for the third class, notwithstanding the identity of language in the regulations?

Dr. Hark:
If he doesn't meet the standard then, by definition, he is given a special issuance. The standard is the same for [Class 3 and Class 2 medicals]. We have a longstanding policy in the agency and, to be explicit, in Part 67 of the FARs, that we are willing to consider the right of private pilots to take risks by themselves that might not be permitted in the operations by commercial pilots or an airline transport pilot and we have always been willing to permit more for a...I should say be willing for more acceptance for a medical condition or a degree of a medical condition in the case of certifying the private pilot, where if a person was applying for a second class or first class medical certificate. So it is not at all unusual for the agency were an individual to apply for a first class certificate to agree only to grant a special issuance for a third or a second, and a person who applies for a second may get only a third. So this again is a very common thing for us and I think we provided for it in the regulations.

Broderick:
Many people are surprised to read that paragraph of the regulation because it is very explicit about the recognition of the FAA that people, as private individuals, may elect to assume a personal risk that isn't appropriate when they are carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.

Aviation Consumer:
In connection with the special issuance, is there a deal where Bob Hoover will retire in a year and surrender his medical?

Broderick:
No. First I've heard of that, but, no, there isn't.

Caron:
Maybe we should ask you about this?

Aviation Consumer:
I've heard rumors that . . . .

Broderick:
Is that the Australian medical you are talking about?

Aviation Consumer:
No, we are talking about the U.S. medical.

Broderick:
No, no.

Aviation Consumer:
Pilots and commentators have been concerned, very concerned, by the process through which Mr. Hoover's medical certificate was revoked. Much of the trial before NTSB Administrative Law Judge Mullins involved arguments by Hoover's lawyers that the FAA did not call as witnesses the two inspectors who observed his performance in Oklahoma City in the summer of 1992 and who wrote the reports that started the revocation process. The sense is that the FAA had something to hide by not subjecting these individuals to cross examination to determine what they saw and when they reported it. It also appears that they were, at least initially, listed as potential witnesses at the trial. Why weren't they called as witnesses?

Caron:
I'd like to preface this by pointing out that Mr. Hoover's counsel subpoenaed them to the hearing. In fact, one of them was present, the other was never actually served with a subpoena. One of them was present [at the trial] and [Hoover's counsel] elected not to call him.

Broderick:
So they put these people on the list not us.

Caron:
Well, we also initially put them on the list, too.

Aviation Consumer:
Which inspector was there?

Caron:
I don't remember their names.

Aviation Consumer:
There was a Mr. Kelln and a Mr. Boehler.

Caron:
Mr. Kelln was there. The other thing I'd like to point out is that from the legal standpoint, Mr. Hoover had provided explanations for what happened at that airshow and an explanation for what the inspectors had seen: he had disclosed that to several of the doctors and, in fact, that explanation is contained in the medical records that were put into evidence at the hearing. He also testified to that explanation at the hearing and without exception the doctors heard that explanation, accepted the explanation as being reasonable, so notwithstanding the inspectors' reports, Mr. Hoover had provided an explanation for what the inspectors had seen. The doctors said that appears to be a reasonable explanation, so it never was a consideration really once Mr. Hoover had the medical testing.

Broderick:
But even.....I mean that's all true....but when you now ask the question again, that you ask, the answer is that the issue of why the inspectors wrote a report which resulted in getting data which resulted in a certificate being revoked....why the data came in is irrelevant. The whole question in that hearing was not why people provided data to the FAA, but why the FAA decided that the data indicated that the person, Mr. Hoover, was not qualified to hold a medical certificate. So the inspector testimony and all of this stuff about whether or not they conspired to write a report... all of that kind of stuff is not only untrue, but completely irrelevant to the issues at hand. And it's really unfortunate that people have made comments about this, because, in fact, the fact of the matter is that the inspectors very promptly reported their concerns to the people at the Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City. It happened to be all in the same area, and the only delay that was involved was in their actual documentation of that. I mean that's, in retrospect, unfortunate in large part because it gives rise to all of this unfounded rumor and innuendo, but the fact is that they were very prompt and, as Susan said, there was no question on the part of Mr. Hoover and his team as to whether or not his performance was not quite what you would expect on the day in question. He'd in fact was, as he explained it, due to malfunction of the airplane. So what we have is a situation where the inspectors saw something which gave them some concerns. Those concerns were, in fact, supported by the testimony of the pilot himself as being legitimate. He gave a different explanation for why it had happened than one might imply or infer from the medical data, but the inspectors' conduct and the way the process that was followed is one that is widely criticized because it is not fully explained and not understood.

Caron:
The other thing that really should come out to light is that Mr. Hoover's counsel really had free access to the FAA before the hearing had been initiated. It permitted them to go into the air traffic control tower in Oklahoma City and talk to controllers who may have observed or participated in that airshow. We allowed them free access to these people. Not once did they ever ask to [question before trial] those inspectors other than taking the step, and that step was not taken until the hearing, to get those subpoenas. They never followed through on it. It really was a red herring that they raised to detract from the medical issue that was being trial at the hearing.

Aviation Consumer:
Putting aside for a moment the issues of legal relevance to the case that was being tried before Judge Mullins, many pilots are, nonetheless, interested in what the inspectors saw and heard from the standpoint that they are putting themselves in Bob Hoover's shoes: pilots who deal with FSDO inspectors are concerned about inspectors observing things, not writing reports until two months after the fact and then not making known what the true bases were in public for their observations. Although there were explanations given by Mr. Hoover for some problems in his routine on the day that he was observed involving oil pump cavitation and a cowl flap problem, there were also some observations by the inspectors of Mr. Hoover's personal well-being, physical well-being, on the flightline. There is no record that they sought to speak with Mr. Hoover at the airshow. Did they, and if not, why not?

Broderick:
I don't know. Susan may know.

Caron:
No, as far as I know, they don't. I don't know for sure. Why not, I don't think that something ordinarily that an inspector asks, who is observing an airshow in an official capacity would do, but Tony can address that.

Broderick:
Yeah, I mean, it depends on what the issue is and I don't know what the specific circumstances were. Certainly if an inspector saw something that looked to them like a performance problem regarding flying capabilities, perhaps violations of the rules, maybe something airworthiness with the airplane, that would be a completely appropriate and expected thing to do. I would only speculate that they were genuinely concerned about what they perceived to be as laymen his basic medical condition and therefore I wouldn't think it necessarily appropriate for them as not being physicians to go and question him and try to understand if he's got a medical problem. They did what they should have done, and that is go to the FAA medical department and asked them to do whatever investigation is appropriate. Indeed, the only thing that I could fault anybody for in this whole thing is the fact that they had a lot of work to do and it took them a number of weeks to get around to completing their documentation on this. Obviously, it would have been better for all concerned had they done that more promptly, but when you have the kind of workload that some FSDO inspectors do on busy periods, it is understandable why something like this might be put to a lower priority.

Aviation Consumer:
I'm not suggesting that an inspector is competent or required to speak with an individual to determine, medically, his physical condition. However, the reports that were submitted include some statements that Mr. Hoover appeared to be in rather frail physical condition, had difficulty entering and exiting the aircraft and, in another report, a statement that his behavior on the ground seemed tentative and he does not appear physically well. Why wouldn't it have been appropriate for the inspectors to inquire about how he was feeling, since that certainly might have an effect on the safety of the show that day, if he weren't up to flying?

Broderick:
I don't know. I certainly can't speculate as to what the situation was and why they made the judgments that they do. But these folks do this kind of thing for a living. They look at a lot of airshows. They obviously made a judgment that they didn't have the kind of immediate problem that conceivably they could have and I just assume that because of the actions they took. You're right. It might have been appropriate. On the other hand, it might have been a situation where there were a lot of people around and this is not necessarily the best time to ask questions like that and they perhaps didn't want to do that with a large crowd around and circumstances were such that they couldn't get private time with Mr. Hoover. I don't know. There are all kinds of good reasons why it might have and you have to ask them directly.

Dr. Hark:
I did discuss it with one of the inspectors. You know, people who are laypeople are reluctant to go up to someone of some note and say "you look bad", or "you don't look well", or something of that sort. Out of politeness or whatever the people are reluctant to do this kind of thing. The two inspectors viewed the show from different vantage points: the weren't together. It was after the show that they were discussing it and realized that they had independently come to the conclusion that the performance just didn't appear to be up to par as expected. This was then discussed with a safety official in the local FSDO, a co-worker there, as well as with their supervisors. In the context of "what should we do about this" it was the recommendation of the safety person who said, "Well if you ask me, I'll talk to the medical people" and that was the person who went to the medical certification division and first reported this: it wasn't one of the inspectors. I'm convinced that this was done out of concern for both Mr. Hoover's well-being as well as the well- being of the people that attend these shows.

Caron:
I also spoke to both inspectors and believe the same thing.

Aviation Consumer:
The report written by one inspector, Mr. Boehler, contains a paragraph which is somewhat intriguing in light of trial testimony by airshow performers on Bob Hoover's behalf that they saw nothing wrong with his performance. It reads: "Comments and remarks from other airshow performers indicated a concern for Mr. Hoover's lack of continuity in performances. Many feel he is not in good physical condition and should not be performing such arduous tasks. Other airshow performers seem to avoid him and he is not included in the group. This is not uncommon when the peers are worried about someone over whom they have no influence." Who talked to Mr. Boehler to tell him that other airshow performers thought that Mr. Hoover was not up to snuff?

Broderick:
I don't know.

Caron:
I spoke to Mr. Boehler who mentioned that he had spoken to other people. I recall that I called several individuals and inquired whether they had been at the airshow and whether they could give me their impressions of what they had seen. There were individuals who had reservations about his performance that day and whether or not it was because of the cavitation problem, you know, I really don't know that. But they did corroborate what the inspector said, as far as the actual performance.

Aviation Consumer:
Who were these people?

Caron:
I don't remember his name, but one of the people who even testified at the hearing was his announcer who also talked a little bit about it. And that was in the records. As to the other individuals, I don't recall.

Aviation Consumer:
Would it be possible for someone to supply me with the names of those other people?

Caron:
To be honest, I don't think I would have the names of them. I can try to contact those two people. All I know is I did make several phone calls.

Aviation Consumer:
If some effort could be made, I would appreciate. Do you know if they were members of the ACE program?

Caron:
I don't recall.

Aviation Consumer:
Both you, Tony, and Dr. Hark have made reference to the fact that the inspectors who observed the airshow made, at least, oral reports to people within the FSDO and otherwise prior to their writing their formal report about approximately two months after the airshow in question. How much time passed between the airshow and when the first oral reports were made?

Dr. Hark:
Two days.

Aviation Consumer:
Two days?

Broderick:
Saturday to Monday?

Dr. Hark:
Yes. It was the first work day after the show is when they discussed this. I think the following day they went over CAMI.

Aviation Consumer:
Given the seriousness of the concern why then did it take two months, not just for the written report to the issues, but for the initial letter to Mr. Hoover indicating that his medical status was in need of reevaluation and he would have to submit the results of additional psychiatric and other tests?

Broderick:
Well, I think the point is that it wasn't viewed as something that was of high enough priority to bump the other work that the inspectors were doing, and that's what the initial delay was. I'm not aware of any particular delays from the time that the [FAA's] medical division got the information that they needed until the time proceeded to begin discussions with Mr. Hoover and, of course, those discussions went on for a long time.

Aviation Consumer:
Some critics of the administration's action towards Mr. Hoover have complained that the evaluation of whether or not he was fit to hold a second class medical was not made by Dr. Audie Davis at the Aeromedical Branch in Oklahoma City, that branch that reviews the lion's share of medical applications in the country, but instead was made here in headquarters in Washington, D.C. How did this case get pulled from the normal channels?

Broderick:
We had an inquiry that came to the Administrator that asked that the Administrator review the actions that were in process regarding Mr. Hoover. We frequently get requests from people to review actions because they are concerned that they may not be properly taken and it is a common practice with the FAA to ask that the file be sent from Oklahoma City here to headquarters so that the most senior medical staff gets the opportunity to review that and get appropriate consultant input if they need it. That's exactly what happened in the case of Mr. Hoover. It wasn't anything that was out of the ordinary given the request that we got. We do that for a lot of people.

Dr. Hark:
Let me note that the FARs specifically provide for review on request by the Federal Air Surgeon if someone is unhappy with a decision and they always have the right to ask for review. And thy do this very frequently.

Aviation Consumer:
This is an inhouse appeal right?

Dr. Hark:
Yes, yes, but its explicit in the FARs that anyone denied a medical by someone other than the Federal Air Surgeon can appeal that decision to the Federal Air Surgeon. Many people take advantage of that, to the extent that some of the aviation organizations routinely advise their members to insist on review by the Federal Air Surgeon if they get an adverse decision from [the Aeromedical Division in] Oklahoma City. In this particular case it was brought to the attention of the Administrator, the Administrator expressed specific interest in the case and noted that he wanted to be kept informed of the progress of the case (this was verbally to me directly). It's always the case that once an Administrator has a specific interest in a case, almost routinely, they will bring the case here for final action. The Administrator was assured that the only final action on that case would be taken here and we followed up.

Broderick:
Which is not unusual.

Dr. Hark:
No, not at all.

Aviation Consumer:
My recollection is that Administrator Richards was the FAA's Administrator at that point. Is that right? Was it the letter from T. Allen McArtor [a former FAA Administrator under the Bush Administration] from August of 1992 that caused this to be brought to Washington?

Dr. Hark:
Yes, that was the whole thing that I was aware of. Whether General Richards had phone calls or any other input I don't know.

Aviation Consumer:
There was some testimony at the hearing by Bob Hoover that at some point Dr. Davis told one of Hoover's physicians that he should fight the revocation because it was unwarranted. Did Dr. Davis ever express that view internally within the agency?

Broderick:
Not to me. I don't know of any comment like that.

Dr. Hark:
Did he express the view that revocation was unwarranted?

Aviation Consumer:
Yes.

Dr. Hark:
No.

Aviation Consumer:
Tony were you involved in the decision to issue the emergency revocation order?

Broderick:
I think I would put the words differently. Obviously, the decision to do that is a medical decision in coordination with legal and the Administrator. In fact, it is important that folks recognize that I don't impose my judgment over the doctors when you are talking about medical issues. But in fact there was quite a group of folks that came down to me to this office to talk about this case and consult on what looked like the course of action before the decision was made. So to that extent I was involved in the decision making- process and the recommendations that were made to the Administrator to do this and certainly was not to say that it was something I didn't know about. I was fully informed about, not only what the course of action was that was recommended to be taken, but the reasons for it.

Aviation Consumer:
There is a perception that Bob Hoover was the first pilot to be called in for neuropsychological and psychiatric examinations, and reevaluation of his fitness to hold a medical certificate, based upon observations of his day-to-day flying. Is that accurate or have there been others who have been called in for this type of testing?

Dr. Hark:
He certainly was not the first person to be evaluated for neuropsychological testing. We do have authority for any number of reasons often in sort of the same sequence he was asked to have general internal medical, neurological, and psychiatric examination and it was the finding of some abnormalities by the physician that led on to more extensive psychological evaluations. And again, that is not an unusual sequence of events. We do ask for some evaluations on people and we have on the basis of observed behavior . . . . We have a person who goes into an establishment and starts fighting or does something unusual, something a-social or anti-social or bizarre...

Caron:
Yet sometimes they are related to flying.

Dr. Hark:
Yes, sometimes they are related to flying. We have sometimes one crew member sometimes discussing the actions of another crew member saying this wasn't right or will describe it, so that sounds unusual and we say we need to see if something is going on here. I recall we did it with an individual who was an airline captain who had raised a ruckus when asked to go through the security screening back when we first started screening all crew members, then we had one who was very bizarre in his behavior at this particular time. That triggered ..... so as I say there all kinds of reasons. I don't recall .... well when we have a physician or observer of some kind calls or writes the agency with these and describes to us the unusual circumstances or kinds of circumstances which raises the question we do that. In this case we have a couple of agency inspectors come to us and describe what they think is a change in both actions and appearance which triggered the evaluation. So to say that this is something unusual and never happened before and we singled him out is a mischaracterization.

Broderick:
Although it is unusual. It is unusual. Another interesting thing is that medical denials are relatively unusual a very small number. But when you are talking 600/700,000 pilots in the country.

Dr. Hark:
The denial is considerably less than 1% of the people who apply. We certify many, many people who don't meet the medical standards.

Broderick:
Well, the interesting number is 99.9% of the people that apply for an FAA medical and provide all the data that we need get a medical. They get either a special issuance or obviously that's a tiny fraction or a regular medical.

Aviation Consumer:
At some level?

Broderick:
Right...... but it's one tenth of one percent of the people that apply and provide us with the data that we need are denied. Now there turns out that there are a number of people each year who when asked for additional data won't give it to us, so we can't ever reach the judgment. The point is that it's quite rare to actually get a denial when you go through the process.

Caron:
It's even rarer for a case to go to hearing.

Aviation Consumer:
There are certainly not that many in the reported cases.

Aviation Consumer:
Two subjects that we touched on briefly in some other questions and answers, Tony, are the Age 60 Rule and COGSCREEN. Over the last ten years a fair bit of time and probably an equal dose of money has been spent by the FAA in developing the COGSCREEN battery of neuropsychological tests which have been given to a large number of pilots. My understanding is that there is at least a fair baseline of data that has been developed. What are the FAA's intentions with regard to this test?

Broderick:
Will it be given to all of us as a routine matter? Not in short term. We hold hope for it, but it's still I will say the developmental kind of stage. We use it.

Dr. Hark:
Well, it's a little more than developmental. In fact it is published now, is in use by the general medical community, has been released and is marketed and used. I doubt that in the context of simply routine certification that at any time in the immediate future that it or any similar test would be used. Our original reason for beginning to develop it was to find a better tool for the evaluation of people...well for evaluating cognitive function with an eye mainly towards people with a history of head injury or substance abuse or alcoholism, whatever, and that the existing tools are a little too gross and are affected by testing effects and need to be repeated testing. As a rule for something that is easier to administer and would have fewer of those types of problems and we believe that COGSCREEN has great promise in that respect.

Broderick:
My use of the word "developmental" — I was thinking more about using it as a surrogate for performance testing which we're still trying to figure out if we can do that for subtle changes in performance which..... we hold hope for that but these things take a long time to develop the huge amount of data that needs to be obtained. It's just a long time.

Aviation Consumer:
Is there any consideration being given to requiring a battery of tests such COGSCREEN to go along with a 609 ride in the event of observations of a FAR violation?

Broderick:
No. Nothing. Nothing that is, again, in the foreseeable future...we don't have any plans to make big changes in medical testing for this kind of thing.

Aviation Consumer:
I would like to thank you very much for your time, all of your time. It was very nice of you to make yourselves available to bring your expertise into the meeting. Thank you.

Broderick:
I appreciate your taking the time to read all this stuff that you've read. I mean you are one of the few people.... Well, it's interesting because of the issues that I think someone said and I don't know who...oh, I know who it was, it was O'Leary, the fellow that wrote for Private Pilot... said that so many of the aviation community's impressions on this case have been created by stories that they read which had a particular editorial slant rather than from them reading the material that the stories were written about. And in at least one case, in FLYING magazine..... clearly that was a story written by an advocate, and that is not necessarily a source of unbiased information, though it is a source of information...and I frankly think that what you have written is one of the few pieces that tries to explain all of the facts and let people judge what they will from that, so we appreciate it.