Serious Shortcomings in FAA's Training Program Must Be Remedied

T-RCED-90-86: Published: Jun 6, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 1990.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) training of its safety-related work forces, focusing on FAA progress in implementing its Flight Plan for Training. GAO noted that: (1) in 1989, 28,000 FAA employees attended training; (2) an increase in staff, the modernization of the air traffic system, and new safety inspection requirements resulted in a greater need for FAA to conduct training and improve its training methods; (3) so far, the FAA Flight Plan for Training, which cost $406 million, has made little progress, primarily due to limited funding and the need for plan revisions; (4) internal appraisals and audits indicated that FAA did not evaluate training contracts promptly, which resulted in inadequate contractor performance and wasted money; and (5) FAA was not fully using its training capability, since it had not established accountability for class attendance.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Flight Plan for Training has been superseded by new training approaches. The recommendation should be closed.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop criteria for determining priorities for its training modernization program, Flight Plan for Training.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA issued training contract modifications that require an approved implementation plan with milestones should the contracts expand to other facilities. FAA also developed a certification process for contract instructors which outlines procedures for training and certifying new instructors, to include time limits for training new instructors.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to develop performance standards for controller field training contracts with measurable tasks and milestones, and implement them before expanding contracted instruction.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: FAA is updating its National Training Directive to address management accountability for ensuring the use of training slots.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to clearly designate management accountability for ensuring the use of training slots.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation

 

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