Thursday, February 12, 2009

By the way, while the government is in the business of bitching about corporate aircraft...

... maybe we should check to see if the GAO criticisms of the Federal aircraft fleet in 2003 were ever actually addressed.

Like maybe the Federal government (a) actually ever determined how many aircraft it owns, or (b) ever fessed up to how much they cost?

From the GAO:

GAO could not accurately determine the number of government-owned aircraft and total costs of federal aircraft program operations, because it found that GSA's database was unreliable. Although the database showed federal agencies owned nearly 1,400 aircraft and that agencies reported spending over $700 million to operate and maintain federally-owned and contracted aircraft in fiscal year 2002, GAO found it understated the cost of federal aircraft operations by at least $568 million over the past 3 years. This is because some agencies did not report all the required information.

GAO also found there was no requirement for the agencies to report other aircraft costs such as depreciation. The systems and controls GAO reviewed provide limited assurance that agencies are cost effectively acquiring and managing their aircraft fleets. All seven aircraft programs GAO examined failed to implement some key principles of fleet management planning, as outlined in GSA, OMB, and other federal guidance. GAO found that programs did not consistently prepare long-term fleet management plans to identify fleet requirements and aircraft that best meet those requirements.

GAO also found that these programs rarely prepared OMB Circular A-76 studies to assess whether the private sector could provide aviation services at a lower cost, and often did not perform cost benefit analyses before acquiring aircraft. Finally, GAO found that programs did not use a full range of aviation metrics to measure and assess the effectiveness of their aircraft operations and rarely prepared OMB Circular A-126 studies to periodically assess the continuing need for their aircraft operations. GAO also found that OMB provides limited oversight over compliance with Circulars A-76 and A-126, leaving it up to each program to determine whether to complete the reviews.

Although exempt from many federal safety requirements, federal aircraft programs GAO reviewed developed their own operations, maintenance, and safety standards to help ensure safe operations. However, the use of oversight to evaluate the safety of the programs and help identify potential issues before they become safety problems varied greatly. Two programs that GAO visited subjected themselves to reviews by Federal Aviation Administration inspectors and two others utilized GSA-sponsored safety teams to review their operations.

Historically, these GSA-sponsored reviews have found that similar safety issues existed at several programs. These issues included having an insufficient number of instructors to conduct aviation training, lack of a formal general maintenance manual, lack of trained personnel to accomplish assigned missions, and flight crews not thoroughly planning flights. The remaining three programs relied on internal reviews of their operations. GAO also identified 183 accidents and incidents occurring in federally owned or contracted aircraft over the past 9 years that resulted in 91 fatalities. GAO found that most of these were caused by human factors such as pilot error and occurred in contracted aircraft.

Your Federal government: really the people who should be (a) telling other people how and when to operate aircraft; and (b) proving once again that the government even lies to itself on a regular basis.

And we want this crowd of clowns to nationalize (sorry, jason, pre-privatize) the banking system.

Yep. Makes a lot of sense to me.

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