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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) oversight of general aviation safety, focusing on the: (1) extent to which mountainous areas present higher risks than nonmountainous areas for general aviation; and (2) FAA actions to reduce the risks associated with mountain flying and the impact of those actions on general aviation. GAO also examined the legal and safety issues involved with the prohibition imposed on general aviation night operations at Aspen Airport.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Transportation To better prepare general aviation pilots for the hazards of flying in mountainous areas, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to provide incentives for pilots to obtain training prior to flying in designated mountainous areas by: (1) approving courses and instructors that meet FAA standards for mountain flying; and (2) issuing to pilots who obtain such training a "mountain endorsement" that can be used in lieu of the biennial flight review requirement.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

FAA revised its pilot proficiency award program in May 1994 to meet this recommendation.
Department of Transportation To better prepare general aviation pilots for the hazards of flying in mountainous areas, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to require the Accident Prevention Program's managers in mountainous states who have sufficient experience in mountain flying to conduct mountain flying seminars in nearby nonmountainous regions prior to the summer and winter seasons each year.
Closed - Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Implemented.

FAA's distribution of the film is a positive step but does not address the intent of the recommendation.
Department of Transportation To better prepare general aviation pilots for the hazards of flying in mountainous areas, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator, FAA, to modify the written private pilot certification test to include specific questions on the risks of mountain flying and develop a system that targets these questions to tests administered in states located in or near FAA designated mountainous areas.
Closed - Not Implemented

Recommendation status is Closed - Not Implemented.

Congress required FAA to initiate a rulemaking to promote mountain flying safety.

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