The Federal Aviation Administration Can Improve the Operation of Its General Aviation District Offices

CED-81-114: Published: Jun 29, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1981.

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Ways in which the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can improve the operation of its general aviation district offices (GADO) were examined.

General aviation has continued to grow over the last decade while GADO staff levels have remained unchanged. FAA increased GADO staff and plans to increase productivity by using automation equipment. GAO could not determine if these measures will solve the staffing problem because FAA has not defined the extent of the problem. GAO reviewed the operation of nine GADO offices and found that FAA needed to: (1) better plan for and manage its workforce devoted to general aviation district offices; (2) better monitor private pilot training, licensing, and continued pilot proficiency; and (3) exercise stronger controls over the aircraft rental program. Finally, GAO concluded that the Accident Prevention Program, although effective, could be made even more effective through certain improvements and closer adherence to program directives.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to require specific justifications for selecting aircraft rentals other than single-engine aircraft and provide examples of justifications that would (and/or would not) be acceptable.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that GADO's prepare accident prevention plans that identify specific safety problems that need attention and how the problems will be resolved.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to establish additional specific criteria as to what actions constitute inadequate pilot examiner performance and can result in removal of examiner designations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to provide GADO managers with job-related training in budgeting, staff management, and other principles contained in the "Managing a GADO" guide.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to require GADO's to use the data on flight instructor evaluation forms as a tool in monitoring flight instructor performance.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to seek the necessary approvals to extend the retention period for the Aircraft Request and Use Record (form 4040.6).

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  7. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to develop a GADO work force planning process that includes setting objectives, identifying needed work tasks, and using up-to-date staffing standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  8. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that locations needing accident prevention counselors are identified and that counselors are appointed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  9. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to direct GADO's to spot check pilot examiner flight tests on a periodic basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  10. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to give higher priority to conducting periodic regional evaluations of GADO performance, as required by FAA directives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  11. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to demonstrate that actual savings from using leased district office modernization equipment will justify the cost of the equipment. This should be done before purchasing the equipment for nationwide use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  12. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to require pilot examiners to submit to FAA a flight instructor evaluation form on each flight test administered and to provide a copy of this evaluation to the appropriate instructor.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  13. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to identify the specific information necessary to perform thorough postaudits of rental form justification and revise the appropriate directives to require such information.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  14. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to provide GADO personnel with clear and specific guidelines (using examples if necessary) that define and differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable rental aircraft uses.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  15. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to explore the possibility of aircraft rentals through competitive bidding and use this method when it would result in cost savings to the Government.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  16. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that GADO's and regions gather qualification and experience data on safety meeting attendees to be used in planning the content for safety meetings and measuring success in reaching target groups.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  17. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to evaluate, on a continuing basis, all potential work saving measures (such as increased work delegation), including those submitted by field organizations, and ensure that timely and full advantage is taken of those having merit.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  18. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to direct regions and GADO's to use the deferred suspension option in cases where remedial training is preferred and provide better guidance on how to use this option.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  19. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that private organization accident prevention programs are assessed so that improvements, when needed, can be encouraged.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  20. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that flight assists are quickly followed up using accident prevention counselors for this purpose whenever possible.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  21. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to amend Federal Aviation Regulations to specify minimal subject matter to be required in each biennial flight review, appropriate to the type of pilot license and ratings to be used.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  22. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to assure that Safety Impovement Reports are better used by (1) continually publicizing the existence and use of the form; (2) aggressively following up on submitted reports until corrective action is taken; and (3) informing submitters of action taken.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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