Reallocation of T-43 Aircraft Within the Air Force

PLRD-82-17: Published: Nov 3, 1981. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 1981.

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GAO reviewed the need for the Air Force to transfer T-43 aircraft from the Air National Guard to the Air Training Command to meet increased navigator training requirements. GAO was asked to assess the accuracy of the Air Force's data supporting the transfer and to evaluate the Air Force's request for more navigators, the use of the T-43 aircraft by the Air Force Academy, and the possibility of obtaining better aircraft utilization from both the Air Training Command and the Air National Guard.

The GAO study showed that the data provided by the Air Force were reasonably accurate, assuming that all the factors used in compiling the data were valid. GAO found that the Air Force needs to train more navigators to eliminate a shortfall of rated navigators. To provide the projected training, the Air Command needs two additional T-43 aircraft in fiscal year (FY) 1982. However, by slightly increasing flying hours during a 3-month period, the Air Force will need only one additional aircraft in FY 1983. The projected training load does not support a need for a fourth aircraft. The Air Force Academy uses the two T-43 aircraft for its airmanship program. However, it appears that these aircraft are not flown under optimal operating conditions. To achieve better utilization, the Guard and the Academy are considering the feasibility of increasing flying time, increasing aircraft seating capacity, and eliminating deadhead flights. The T-43 aircraft used by the Air Training Command were underutilized because the Department of Defense directed a temporary reduction in the number of students to be trained as navigators. However, to meet increased navigator training requirements projected through 1986, the Air Force plans to fly an aircraft a greater number of hours a year. The T-43's assigned to the Guard at Andrews Air Force Base have been operated in the performance of authorized missions but have generally flown with about half their seating capacity unused.

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