Aviation Safety:

Additional Actions Needed for Three Safety Programs

T-RCED-92-90: Published: Aug 4, 1992. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1992.

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GAO discussed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) progress in three programs to improve aviation safety. GAO noted that: (1) FAA has not established a planned database to monitor older aircraft safety compliance, but intends to issue a report to Congress in September 1992; (2) the report will not help FAA track modifications and repairs performed on older aircraft or capture information on airlines' plans made for economic and financial reasons; (3) FAA safety inspectors place little emphasis on verifying compliance with requirements for aging aircraft; (4) the new Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE-3) radar system has fallen behind schedule, and its cost has increased by $28 million; (5) FAA plans to install ASDE-3 without correcting a radar display phenomenon, know as split target, that has been a concern to some air traffic controllers in the past; (6) FAA might not remedy the split target phenomenon until after 1994, at a cost of $8 million; (7) during the initial implementation of the Traffic Alert Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), the system produced unnecessary alerts of potential collisions that resulted in excessive altitude deviations and missed landing approaches; and (8) FAA believes it is on the verge of solving the TCAS problem and plans to complete a quality check in January 1993.