Aviation Safety:

Targeting and Training of FAA's Safety Inspector Workforce

T-RCED-96-26: Published: Apr 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) safety inspection program. GAO noted that: (1) in 1991, FAA created its Safety Performance Analysis System (SPAS) to focus its inspection resources on the pilots, aircraft, and facilities that pose the greatest risk; (2) poor data quality jeopardizes the success of SPAS; (3) FAA officials have not fully responded to prior recommendations of adopting a strategy to improve data quality by the end of 1995; (4) FAA inspectors have performed inspections without the appropriate or up-to-date credentials; (5) FAA has had trouble training its inspectors because it does not offer the necessary courses and has limited aircraft-specific training and decreased the frequency of inspector flight training; (6) between fiscal year (FY) 1993 and FY 1996, funding for technical training decreased 42 percent; and (7) FAA expects a $20-million shortfall for technical training it identified as essential for FY 1996.

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