FAA Research, Engineering and Development Issues

T-RCED-89-21: Published: Apr 12, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 12, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Research, Engineering, and Development (RE&D) Program, focusing on FAA: (1) compliance with the Aviation Safety Research Act of 1988; and (2) management controls over the RE&D program. GAO found that, as required by the legislation, FAA: (1) issued a revised RE&D plan, but failed to provide required project cost and staffing information; (2) allocated at least 15 percent of its fiscal year 1990 budget to long-term research, but did not identify specific research projects; (3) allocated funding for research on aircraft structures, fire safety, human factors, aeromedical research, and computer simulation models; and (4) established a research advisory committee. GAO also found that FAA did not: (1) maintain adequate project staffing and scheduling data; or (2) have consistent or systematic means of setting priorities among projects or transferring funds among subprograms. In addition, GAO found that FAA has: (1) reorganized to establish central control; (2) appointed interservice working groups to develop RE&D requirements and formulate RE&D budgets; and (3) initiated periodic program reviews.