FAA's Program To Automate Flight Service Stations:

Status and Needs

PSAD-80-1: Published: Oct 31, 1979. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1979.

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To meet a large anticipated demand for services by 1990, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) plans to automate flight service stations, enabling pilots to brief themselves. GAO reviewed this plan as a part of an ongoing review of major acquisitions of executive agencies.

The plan will be instituted in three segments called models. The objective of the first model, establishment of a limited-capability automated system at the busiest stations, is already being achieved by other programs and could be eliminated. FAA plans to begin production of the second model after a competitive design verification phase that does not include a software function. GAO felt that the plan could be improved by requiring some functional software development during the initial competitive development phase to insure obtaining a better system. Improvements and additions in the third model will enable pilot self-briefing. As specialists will continue to be available to all pilots, some controls will be necessary to achieve maximum use of the automated system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of FAA to: delete Model One from the automation program because of improvements already being made to flight service stations, and its deployment has not yet been demonstrated to be cost beneficial; include more software development in the design verification phase to take advantage of the competition and adhere to the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-109 acquisition approach; and without compromising flight safety, develop a mechanism to control pilots' demands for preflight services provided by specialists, discourage excessive recourse to specialists, and assure effective implementation of the pilot self-briefing concept.

    Agency Affected:

 

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