Tony Broderick, Former Top Safety Regulator, Dies at 75

 - January 4, 2019, 9:31 AM

Anthony "Tony" Broderick, 75, once the top safety regulator in the U.S whose policies helped advance aviation safety globally, died December 30 in Bealeton, Virginia. Broderick spent two decades with the FAA, culminating in his position as the associate administrator for regulation and certification (AVR).

He managed a staff of 4,600 employees and a budget of $400 million at the agency. During his time, he made a mark for his straight-forward, no-nonsense approach to regulation, willing to stand up to even the sharpest of scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Calling him a “highly respected aviation expert known for his honesty,” former senior FAA officials Joe Del Balzo and Sandy Murdock, wrote in their JDA Journal blog, “There are few individuals whose career in aviation substantially improved safety. Tony is one, if not a unique, contributor to the health of our industry.”

NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen, commenting on the JDA blog, cited Broderick’s “total commitment to mission—thorough, thoughtful, and tough.”

Broderick helped spearhead numerous initiatives such as the development of international audit standards for civil aviation agencies and standards for safe operation of twin-engine airliners over oceans and the polar regions. He also is credited as the first in the FAA to recognize the potential of GPS to support Cat III operations and steered the implementation of numerous voluntary compliance programs and safety initiatives such as FOQA, ASAP, and AQP, according to the JDA executives.

Born in New York in 1943, Broderick graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 1964 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. Following graduation, he spent seven years developing optical systems for the private sector. He joined the public sector in 1971, taking a position with the Department of Transportation's Volpe Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

There, Broderick developed expertise in numerous areas, including ozone reduction, which led to his move to the FAA’s Office of Environment and Energy High Altitude Pollution Program in 1976. Two years later, Broderick joined the AVR organization, ultimately leading it until he retired from the agency in 1996. 

He subsequently became an advisor to several key aviation companies, including Airbus, Atlas Air, and FedEx, and retired altogether in 2014.

He is survived by wife Sylvia, children Sean and Pia, grandchildren Isabelle and Magdalena. His son Sean followed Broderick into the aviation business, holding association positions and as a long-time aviation writer with Aviation Week, as well as a former contributor to AIN.