The retired RAAF Air Vice-Marshal was named as the new head of CASA on Thursday and expects to take his seat in the chair some time before the end of 2014, once some existing commitments are out of the way.
Skidmore says his experience leading the RAAF”s Aircraft Research and Development Unit and its diverse fight test, engineering and electronic warfare elements will stand him in good stead in his new role.
“Leadership in the military has changed a lot from the old days, it is not just ordering people around it is actually establishing relationships and working with people to set goals and achieve those goals,” Skidmore told Australian Aviation on Thursday.
“I took that from ARDU and followed that through to Air Commander Australia and I still believe that is the way to do things.
“Sometimes you can’t always get consensus but at least if people can understand what you are trying to achieve and why, then hopefully they will come along with you on that journey and you can all go forward.”
One of Skidmore’s immediate tasks was expected to be implementing the federal government’s response to the Australian Safety Regulatory Review, (ASRR) which was expected to come out before the end of the year.
The ASRR report, released in June, described the relationship between CASA and the industry as at times adversarial and said the appointment of a new DAS would be an opportunity for cultural and structural change at the regulator.
Skidmore acknowledged that some in the aviation community had concerns about CASA, but was positive about the general relationship between industry and the regulator.
“My impression is CASA has a good relationship with industry,” Skidmore said.
“There’s obviously mumblings and murmurings around the edges but one of my priorities is to get out, listen to people and find out what some of those concerns are.
“I want to build and enhance the reputation of CASA out there with industry.”
Skidmore, who flies his own Globe Swift classic aircraft, said that as a general aviation private pilot he had “never had concerns about CASA or where it was going”.
“One of the reasons I applied for the position and I am very happy to be taking up the position is because I see an opportunity to lead an organisation that is so critical in regards to the safety of aviation in Australia,” he said.