Suggestion To Remove Fairings From Combat Helicopters and Appeal for Incentive Award

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-11-17.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                                             OLLER      GENERAL     OF
                                                      WASHINGTON.    13.d.
               _--.---.a-.--   -.   e--w.


       c1 Dear Mr. Moss:
                  In reply‘ to: your September 28.j.1971,              ietter       about
- :
_‘          Mr.  Patrick   J.  Schiavo's    suggestion      to   remove       fairings      from
            combat helicopters       and his appeal for an incentive                   award, we
        I are of t~~~~~p~nion that the Army was just$f"%-<a'. in turning
      </ down the suggestion          and in denying payment.               There are two
            basic reasons for this conclusion,            either       of which supports
            the Army's position-      -Mr. Schiavo was not the originator                     of
            the idea of operating        OH-6A helicopters         wi,th fairings         re-
            moved, and the Army repeatedly          disapproved          the idea because
            tests show that removal of fairings            degrades performance                of
            the aircraft.      There is no approved modification                    program on
            record to provide      for the operation        of OH-6A helicopters               with
            all fairings     removed.

                  In a message dated December 20, 1967, the &search                  Ir and
          De,              Division      at the U.S. Army Aviation          Command,                  “. ,_
          St. Louis,      Missouri,      directed    the U.S. Army Aviation         Test Ac-
          tivity,     Edwards Air Force Base, California,               to prepare     a test
          plan to evaluate         "the OH-6A with all fairings           simultaneously
          removed and individually             removed."      This was an attempt by
          the Army to resolve          recurring     technical     and ma..&&enan.ce prob-
          lems with OH-6A fairings.               The test plan was published          in
          April     1968, and test results          wezeported        in July 1969.

                  The 1967 message and the 1968 test plan both predated
          Mr. Schiavo's       suggestion,      but the 1969 test results           did not.
          This fact could have been confusing              to both Mr. Schiavo and
          the Army, particularly          since neither     he nor the administra-
          tive personnel       handling     his suggestion     appeared to have knowl-
          edge of the Army's prior            concern with.OH-GA       fairings.      1 Also
          Mr. Schiavo submitted          both an engineering        proposal      and an in-
          centive    award suggestion         at about the same time through dif-
          ferent    channels.      This probably      led to some confusion,             since
          a reply to one did not necessarily             constitute        a reply     to the
               The test results      showed that it was feasible     to operate
          OH-6A helicopters     with fairings   removed but that they operated
          at decreased     speed and range and at increased     fuel consumption.

                                            50TH      ANNIVERSARY            1921-   1971

The project   manager in St. Louis,      not the test activity      at
Edwards Air Force Base,    was   responsible      for making a  decision,
and he would not,apprpve     a proposal      which wowld adversely     af-
fect performance   #of the aircraft.

       Although     Mr. Schiavo       apparently     believes     strongly      that the
helicopters      could operate       more efficiently         with fairings        re-
moved, we found no basis            to question      the project        manager’s
technical     decision.        Also a combat helicopter           pilot    told us
that he had, on occasion,             flown in combat with fairings               re-
moved and that aircraft            performance     had been reduced.            Accord-
ing to the pilot        fairings     were repaired        and replaced       whenever

      We agree that Mr. Schiavo              should have been informed               at
the outset    that the substance           of his suggestion            was already
under consideration.            The chrono&ogy         of-events,        the number of
Army organizations         involved,      and the difficulty             of processing
a technical     matter     through      administrative         incentive      award chan-
nels,   however,    resulted       in‘some     confusion       on both sides.

        We are returning    your file          as requested.        We shall  be
pleased    to discuss    any of these          matters   with     you in more

                                           Sincerely     yours,

                                    Q~~~~Comptroller   General
                                         of the United   States


The Honorable  John E. Moss
House of Representatives