oversight

National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Acquisition and Utilization of T-38 Jet Aircraft

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-05-28.

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

3
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      0



          Q
                                                 CQMPTROLLER GENERAL'S REPORTON NATIONAL
                                                 AERONAUTICSAND SPACE ADMINISTRATION'S
                                                 ACQUISITION AND UTILIZATION OF T-38 JET
                                                 AIRCRAFT
                                                 Manned Spacecraft Center B-172171
I
I    DIGEST
     ------
i
l
I
I    WHYTHEREVIEWWAS'
                   MADE
I
I
I           The General Accounting Office (GAO) noted that the National Aeronautics
 I
 I          and Space Administration's    (NASA) Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston,
 I          Texas9 planned to purchase eight T-38 jet aircraft,     costing about
 I          $6.7 million,  to replace 10 T-33 aircraft.    The last of the eight air-
 I
 I          craft was delivered    in March 1971. NASA now has a fleet of 31 T-38 air-
 I          craft.
 I
 I
 I          The aircraft    are used to provide astronauts with space flight     readiness
 I
 I          training    and to allow staff pilots to mainta-in their flying   proficiency.
I           Tliis?%view    was undertaken because it appeared to GAO that some of the
I
I           eight aIrcraft    might not be needed in view of NASA's announcedmission
I           cutbacks and excess astronauts,      which could result in reduced astronaut
I           flying   requirements.
I

     FINDINGSANDCONCLUSIONS
            GAO's review of NASA's computation of aircraft   requirements indicated
            that NASA might have purchased more aircraft   than needed to meet its
            flying requirements.  (See p. 9.)

            Aircraft    requirements are computed by dividing             the flying   requirements
            by the aircraft        utilization     rate.     Flyinq requirements are the hours of
            flying   time which will satisfy           NASA training   and proficiency     goals.   The
            aircraft    utilization        rate is the average number of hours each aircraft
            is flown during a month. NASA computed a requirement for 31 T-38 air-
            craft on the basis of a flying              requirement of 976 hours and a utilization
            rate of 31.5 hours.             (See pg 9.)
            FZy$ng requirements
            NASA estimated that its future flying            requirements   would average 976
            hours a month, computed as follows:

                                               Minimum flying            Monthly flying
                  Number of pilots               standards                requirements
I
I                  49 astronauts              16 hours a month              784 hours
I                  24 staff pilots             8 hours a month              192 hours
I
I
I                                                                           976 hours
I
1    Tear
     ---_ Sheet
I                                                                            F;c4Y28,197l
I                                                        1
    NASA stated that the astronauts'     minimum flying time of 16 hours a
    month was based upon conclusions contained in a joint U.S. Air Force-
    NASA report dated February 1968 on astronaut flying time and that
    these standards were considered to be valid.        GAO examined this report
    and found that the flight   proficiency    requirement was 18 hours a month
    and not 16. NASA officials    subsequently stated that, although they                  I
    had considered the report, the 16-hour requirement was based largely on                ;
    military  experience and judgment as to what a reasonable flight      profi-           I
    ciency requirement should be. (See p. 10.)                                             t
    The staff pilots'    minimum flying time of 8 hours a month was based upon             I
                                                                                           I
    the proficiency    requirement contained in the Center's Standard Operation            I
    Procedures manual of 100 hours of first-pilot      time a year,or an average
    8.3 hours a month--slightl\      more than the 8 hours used by NASA in its
    computations.     (See p. 10. 3'

    Based upon the minimum flying requirements     of 10 hours for astronauts,
    as shown in the joint study report, and of     8.3 hours for staff pilots,
    the average monthly flying requirement for     1971 would be 690 hours--
    490 hours for astronauts and 200 hours for     staff pilots.

    In addition to the above flying  requirement, GAO was informed that for
    6 to 8 months prior to a space mission both the prime spacecraft crew
    and the backup crew members should achieve an absolute minimum of 20               I
    hours of flying a month as first  pilot.   This would increase the monthly         I
                                                                                       I
    flying  requirements by a maximum of 80 hours monthly, resulting  in a             I
    total flying requirement of 770 hours a month.    (See p.11.)

    The flying   logs for the astronauts and staff pilots for fiscal year 1970         I
                                                                                       I
    revealed that they had flown an average 861 hours a month. The astro-              I
    nauts' average flying hours fell below the 16-hour requirement used by
    NASA. The staff pilots'      average flying hours exceeded the 8.3 hour
    requirement.     (See p. 12.)
                                                                                       I
    GAO found indications   that the number of astronauts was likely  to de-           I
    crease.   This should result in a corresponding decrease in NASA's flying          I
                                                                                       I
    requirements.    NASA has reported, on a number of occasions, that the             I
    number of astronauts is excess by about one third,     (See pp. 13 and 14.)

    Aircraft -- utilization   --rpates
    NASA computed its aircraft requirements by using an aircraft     utilization   I
.   rate of 31.5 hours a month. If this rate were too lows it would result         I
                                                                                   I
    in NASA's purchasing more aircraft  than needed. If the rate were too
    high, it would result in NASA's purchasing fewer aircraft    than needed.
    (See p. 15.)
    GAO found that the utilization rate was affected by the number of air-
    craft idle at the Center and at cross-country   temporary duty stations.



                                                                                   I
                                         2                                         I
I         There was an average 3.7 operationally       ready aircraft idle at the
          Center on each workday during fiscal year 1970. In addition,           an
          average five operationally    ready aircraft    were idle at locations
          other than at the Center--a total of 8.7 idle aircraft.         An opera-
          tionally  ready aircraft   is one that is in commission and can be flown
          and is not undergoing or awaiting either maintenance or inspection
          procedures.    (See pp. 15 and 16.)

          During fiscal year 1970 the 33 aircraft   were flown an average 861 hours
          a month, which resulted in an average aircraft    utilization     rate of 26
          hours a month. Since the equivalent of 8.7 aircraft         were not used for
          any of the 861 hours flown, including   them in computing the utilization
          rate resulted in too low a rate.

         Eliminating     the 3.7 aircraft   idle at the Center would increase the uti-
I        lization    rate to 29.4 hours, and eliminating      the five aircraft    idle at
I        cross-country     destinations   would further  increase the rate to 35.4 hours.
I        It appears that, in some cases, it may be practicable         to retrieve     the
I
I        aircraft    idle at cross-country     locations for use at the Center if they
I        were needed. (See pp- 17 and 18.)
I
I
I        GAO believes that its computations of idle aircraft   are very conserva-
I        tive, since an aircraft was counted as being utilized    if it was flown
I
I        an part of a 24-hour workday and many of the aircraft      were actually
I        -+
         f own for only a small portion of the day.   (See p. 18.)
I
         Computation of aircraft      requirements
I
 I       Aircraft   requirements are computed by dividing        flying  requirements by
I
 I
         the aircraft    utilization      rate. GAO identified   several values for each
I        of these factors.         (See p. 19.)
I
                                                                   Average hours
                                                                    each month

                  Flying requirements for pilots:
                        NASA's estimate based on established
                           flying  standards                            976
                        Hours flown during fiscal year 1970             861
                        Hours based on minimum NASA requirements        770
                  Utilization     rates for aircraft:
                        Actual during fiscal    year 1970              26.0
                        Adjusted for aircraft     idle at MSC          29.4
                        Adjusted for all idle aircraft                 35.4
                        As computed by NASA                            31.5
         NASA computed the requirement by dividing         31.5 hours into    976 hours,
         which resulted in a need for 31 aircraft.


I    --__
     Tear Sheet
             The following table shows NASA's aircraft  requirements,                    using every
             possible combination of the above values in the formula                     for computing
             requirements.


                                        Aircraft       Requirements

                 Monthly
                  flying                               Utilization          rates
              requirements      26.0 hrs.          29.4 hrs.               31’.5 hrs.   35.4 hrs.
                                --                            (aircraft)
                                                                                                                       I
                976 hours            37.5              33.2                  31.oa        27.6
                861    ”             33.1              29.3                  27.3         24.3
                770    ”             29.6              26.2                  24.4         21.8

            aNASA's computed aircraft       requirement.


        RECOMMENDATIONS
                    OR SUGGESTIONS
            Because of the possibility     that the purchase of some of the undelivered
            aircraft   could be canceled if NASA concurred with GAO's conclusions,
            GAO, in a letter    to the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center on
            August 26, 1970, requested a reassessment of the reasonableness of the
            procurement action.      In a second letter  dated October 2, 1970, to the
            Acting Administrator    of NASA, GAO pointed out that it continued to have
            a question as to the need for acquiring all eight aircraft      and requested
            that NASA reassess its requirements on the basis of a consideration         of
            past flying experience as an indication     of future flying  requirements.
                                                                                                                   I


        AGENCY
             ACTIONSAND WRESOLVED
                      -.~-.   --- ISSUES
            GAOwas subsequently advised by Center officials      that,                  in their    opinion,
            the procurement of the eight aircraft was justified.

            On December 14, 1970, the Associate Administrator    for Organization and                          i
            Management advised GAO that the Office of Manned Space Flight also had                             ,
            reassessed the procurement action and had concluded that the aircraft                              I
            were needed to meet the requirements of the astronaut training      program.                       1
            GAO's letter  to the acting NASA Administrator   and NASA's comments are                           I
            included as appendixes I and II.

                                                                                                               I
        MATTERS
        --.___ FOR  CONSIDERATION
                ----__l_l      BY THE  APPROPRIATE
                                   - -.-_1_     COMMITTEES                                                     I
            This report is being submitted to the appropriate committees of the Con- i
            gress for their information  and consideration  because of GAO's reserva- I
i
    A
            tions about the data that NASA used to compute aircraft   requirements.   ;


                                                   4                                                           I
                            contents
                                                                  Page

DIGEST                                                              1

CHAPTER

       1    INTRODUCTION                                            5

       2    REVIEW OF T-38 AIRCRAFT REQUIREMENTS                    9
                Flying recpirements                                10
                Aircraft  utilization   rates                      15
                Computation of aircraft     requirements           19

       3    CONCLUSIONS AND AGENCY COMMENTS                       20
               Conclusions                                        20
               Agency comments and our evaluation                 20

       4    SCOPE OF REVIEW                                        24

APPENDIX

        I   Letter dated October 2, 1970, to the Act-
               ing NASA Administrator                              27

   II       Letter  dated December 14, 1970, from NASA's
              Associate  Administrator for Organization
              and Management                                       29

 III        Principal   officials  of the National   Aero-
               nautics and Space Administration    respon-
               sible for the activities   discussed in
               this report                                         33

                             ABBREVIATIONS

GAO         General Accounting Office
MSC         Manned Spacecraft      Center
NASA        National   Aeronautics     and Space Administration
NORS        not operationally      ready--supply
                                         COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S REPORT ON NATIONAL
                                         AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION’S
                                         ACQUTSITION AND UTILIZATION OF T-38 JET
                                         AIRCRAFT
                                         Manned Spacecraft      Center B-172171

DIGEST
------


WHYTHE REVIEW WASMADE

     The General Accounting Office (GAO) noted that the National Aeronautics
     and Space Administration's   (NASA) Manned Spacecraft Center at Houston,
     Texas, planned to purchase eight T-38 jet aircraft,    costing about
     $6.7 million,  to replace 10 T-33 aircraft.   The last of the eight air-
     craft was delivered in March 1971. NASA now has a fleet of 31 T-38 air-
     craft.

     The aircraft    are used to provide astronauts with space flight  readiness
     training   and to allow staff pilots to maintain their flying proficiency.
     This review was undertaken because it appeared to GAO that some of the
     eight aircraft    might not be needed in view of NASA's announced mission
     cutbacks and excess astronauts,     which could result in reduced astronaut
     flying   requirements.


FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
                      -
     GAO's review of NASA's computation of aircraft   requirements indicated'
     that NASA might have purchased more aircraft   than needed to meet its
     flying requirements.  (See p. 9.)

     Aircraft    requirements are computed by dividing             the flying requirements
     by the aircraft        utilization     rate.     Flying requirements are the hours of
     flying   time which will satisfy            NASA training  and prmciency    goals.    The
     aircraft    utilization        rate is the average number of hours each aircraft
     is flown during a month, NASA computed a requirement for 31 T-38 air-
     craft on the basis of a flying              requirement of 976 hours and a utilization
     rate of 31.5 hours.             (See pm 9.)
     Flying   requirements
                  .---
     NASA estimated that its future flying          requirements    would average 976
     hours a month, computed as follows:

                                       Minimum flying           Monthly flying
         Number of pilots
         .--                             standards
                                         ---                     3uirements

          49 astronauts               16 hours a month              784 hours
          24 staff pilots              8 hours a month              192 hours

                                                                    z    hours
NASA stated that the astronauts'     minimum flying time of l6 hours a
month was based upon conclusions contained in a joint U.S. Air Force-
NASA report dated February 1968 on astronaut flying time and that
these standards were considered to be valid.        GAO examined this report
and found that the flight   proficiency    requirement was 10 hours a month
and not 16. NASA officials    subsequently stated that, although they
had considered the report> the 16-hour requirement was based largely on
military  experience and judgment as to what a reasonable flight      profi-
ciency requirement should be. (See p. 10.)

The staff pilots'    minimum flying time of 8 hours a month was based upon
the proficiency    requirement contained in the Center's Standard Operation
Procedures manual of 100 hours of first-pilot     time a year,or an average
8.3 hours a month--slight1      more than the 8 hours used by NASA in its
computations.     (See p. l0.f

Based upon the minimum flying requirements     of 10 hours for astronauts,
as shown in the joint study report3 and of     8.3 hours for staff pilots,
the average monthly flying requirement for     1971 would be 690 hours--
490 hours for astronauts and 280 hours for     staff pilots.

In addition to the above flying   requirement, GAO was informed that for
6 to 8 months prior to a space mission both the prime spacecraft crew
and the backup crew members should achieve an absolute minimum of 20
hours of flying a month as first   pilot.   This would increase the monthly
flying requirements by a maximum of 80 hours monthly, resulting    in a
total flying   requirement of 770 hours a month. (See p. l'l.)

The flying   logs for the astronauts and staff pilots for fiscal year 1970
revealed that they had flown an average 861 hours a month. The astro-
nauts' average flying hours fell below the 16-hour requirement used by
NASA. The staff pilots'      average flying hours exceeded the 8.3 hour
requirement.     (See p. 12.)

GAO found indications   that the number of astronauts was likely to de-
crease.   This should result in a corresponding decrease in NASA's flying
requirements.   NASA has reported, on a number of occasions, that the
number of astronauts is excess by about one third.    (See pp. 13 and 14.)

Aircraft   utiZization   rates

NASA computed its aircraft requirements by using an aircraft     utilization
rate of 31.5 hours a month. If this rate were too lowa it would result
in NASA's purchasing more aircraft  than needed. If the rate were too
high, it would result in NASA's purchasing fewer aircraft    than needed.
(See p. 15.)
GAO found that the utilization rate was affected by the number of air-
craft idle at the Center and at cross-country   temporary duty stations.



                                  2
There was an average 3.7 operationally       ready aircraft idle at the
Center on each workday during fiscal year 1970. In addition,           an
average five operationally    ready aircraft    were idle at locations
other than at the Center--a total of 8.7 idle aircraft.         An opera-
tionally  ready aircraft   is one that is in commission and can be flown
and is not undergoing or awaiting either maintenance or inspection
procedures.    (See pp. 15 and 16.)

During fiscal year 1970 the 33 aircraft   were flown an average 861 hours
a month, which resulted in an average aircraft    utilization    rate of 26
hours a month. Since the equivalent of 8.7 aircraft        were not used for
any of the 861 hours flown, including   them in computing the utilization
rate resulted in too low a rate.

Eliminating     the 3.7 aircraft   idle at the Center would increase the uti-
lization    rate to 29.4 hours, and eliminating     the five aircraft     idle at
cross-country     destinations   would further increase the rate to 35.4 hours.
It appears that, in some cases, it may be practicable         to retrieve     the
aircraft    idle at cross-country     locations for use at the Center if they
were needed. (See pp. 17 and 18.)

GAO believes that its computations of idle aircraft     are very conserva-
tive, since an aircraft  was counted as being utilized     if it was flown
an-y part of a 24-hour workday and many of the aircraft      were actually
flown for only a small portion of the day. (See p. 18.)

Computat<on of aircraft     requirements

Aircraft   requirements are computed by dividing        flying  requirements by
the aircraft    utilization      rate. GAO identified   several values for each
of these factors.         (See p. 19.)

                                                        Average hours
                                                         each month

      Flying requirements for pilots:
            NASA's estimate based on established
               flying standards                               976
            Hours flown during fiscal year 1970               861
            Hours based on minimum NASA requirements          770
      Utilization     rates for aircraft:
            Actual during fiscal year 1970                   26.0
            Adjusted for aircraft     idle at MSC            29.4
            Adjusted for all idle aircraft                   35.4
            As computed by NASA                              31.5

NASA computed the requirement by dividing         31.5 hours into   976 hours,
which resulted in a need for 31 aircraft.




                                       3
     The following table shows NASA's aircraft                  requirements,    using every
     possible combination of the above values                 in the formula     for computing
     requirements.


                                 Aircraft       Requirements

         Monthly
         flying                               Utilization            rates
      requirements       26.0 hrs.          29.4 hrs.               31.5 hrs.   35.4 hrs.

                                                       (aircraft)

        976 hours          37.5                 33.2                  31 .oa      27.6
        861   ”            33.1                 29.3                  27.3        24.3
        770   ”            29.6                 26.2                  24.4        21.8

     aNASA's computed aircraft       requirement.


RECOMMENDATIONS
              OR SUGGESTIONS

    Because of the possibility     that the purchase of some of the undelivered
    aircraft   could be canceled if NASA concurred with GAO's conclusionsp
    GAO, in a letter    to the Director of the Manned Spacecraft Center on
    August 26, 1970, requested a reassessment of the reasonableness of the
    procurement action.      In a second letter dated October 2, 1970, to the
    Acting Administrator    of NASA, GAO pointed out that it continued to have
    a question as to the need for acquiring all eight aircraft     and requested
    that NASA reassess its requirements on the basis of a consideration        of
    past flying experience as an indication     of future flying requirements.


AGENCYACTIONS AND UNRESOLVEDISSUES

    GAOwas subsequently advised by Center officials      that,                  in their    opinion,
    the procurement of the eight aircraft was justified.

    On December 14, 1970, the Associate Administrator   for Organization and
    Management advised GAO that the Office of Manned Space Flight also had
    reassessed the procurement action and had concluded that the aircraft
    were needed to meet the requirements of the astronaut training     program.
    GAO's letter  to the acting NASA Administrator  and NASA's comments are
    included as appendixes I and II.


MATTERSFOR CONSIDERATIONBY THE APPROPRIATECOkWTTEES

    This report is being submitted to the appropriate committees of the Con-
    gress for their information  and consideration  because of GAO's reserva-
    tions about the data that NASA used to compute aircraft   requirements.


                                            4
                               CHAPTER1

                             INTRODUCTION

        The National    Aeronautics    and Space Administration's
Manned Spacecraft       Center (MSC) at Houston, Texas, has the
responsibility       of providing   aircraft  for astronaut     space
flight    readiness training.       To support this program in re-
cent years, MSC has used 23 T-38 and 10 T-33 fixed-wing               jet
aircraft     and several helicopters.

        The T-33 is a single-engine,     two-place,   subsonic air-
craft which was manufactured       between 1949 and 1959, At one
time it was the basic jet trainer        ,used by the U.S. Air
Force.     The T-38 is a twin-engine,      two-place,  supersonic
aircraft    which still   is being produced and used as a sec-
ondary jet aircraft     trainer   for the Air Force.

       Astronaut    flying    is accomplished         during the normal duty
day and also after duty hours2 on weekends, and while trav-
eling to various training          facilities       in the United States.
The astronaut     training      schedule, however, makes no provision
for local flying        during the normal duty day, and a majority
of the astronauts'         annual flying      requirements     are met while
flying   cross-country,

       In January 1968 a joint       Air Force-NASA study group was
formed to review9 evaluate,         and provide recommendations     on
the flight   activities     associated   with the space flight
readiness training      provided to astronauts,        In a report
dated February 6, 1968, the study group recommended that
NASA phase out the 10 T-33 aircraft           and replace them with
PO T-38 aircraft,       Because of budgetary reasons NASA did
not immediately      comply with the recommendation.

      In December 1969 NASA authorized    MSC to purchase eight
T-38's with an option for two more remaining in effect
through February 28, 1970.     Qn January 8, 1970, MSC placed
an order with the Air Force for eight T-38's at an estimated
cost of $6,256,000 plus $420,000 for aerospace ground-
s,upport equipment and technical   data..  The aircraft    were to
be supplied by the Air Force under its contract        with the
Northrop Corporation,  MSC did not exercise the option.
Apollo research and development funds were used to purchase
the eight T-38"s.

       The aircraft      were scheduled for delivery    from the manu-
facturer   during the period from November 1971 through            Jan-
'uary 1972,     The   Air  Force agreed,   however,  to divert  eight
T-38's from its production        program during the period from
August 1970 through March 1971 and to accept instead the
eight aircraft      from production    during the period from Novem-
ber 1971 through January 1972.

     The last of the eight aircraft  was delivered  to NASA
in March 1971.  NASA now has a fleet  of 31 T-38 aircraft,
..


                                     h,




     PHOTOGRRPH   FURNISHED   BY   NASA
x
                                CHAPTER 2

              REVIEW OF T-38 AIRCRAFT REQUIREMENTS

        Our review of NASADs computation       of T-38 aircraft     re-
quirements      indicated   that NASA might be purchasing more
aircraft     than it needed to meet astronaut       and staff pilot
flying    requirements.       We therefore requested MSC and NASA
Headquarters       to reassess the propriety    of the aircraft    ac-
quisition      program which was in process.

      NASA advised us on December 14, 1970, that the Office
of finned Space Flight had concluded that all the aircraft
being purchased were needed to meet the flying          requirements
of the astronaut   training     program,  Because of the reserva-
tions we continue to have on this matter,       we are reporting
the results   of our review to the appropriate       committees of
the Congress for their      information  and consideration.

       The term "aircraft       requirement,"      as used in this report,
refers to the number of aircraft             needed to accomplish NASA's
astronaut    and staff    pilot    flying    program.   Two factors   are
involved in computing aircraft            requirements.    These factors
are (1) flying    requirements         and (2) aircraft   utilization
rates, which are explained below.

      --Flying    requirements    are the nwnber of hours that NASA
         astronauts     and staff pilots    should fly each month to
         meet NASA's training      or proficiency    goals.

      --Aircraft   utilization   rates are the average number of
         hours that each aircraft     is flown during a month,

        Aircraft   requirements     are computed by dividing         the fly-
ing requirements        by the aircraft       utilization     rates,   For ex-
ample, if the combined total           flying       time that should be ac-
complished each month is 600 hours and if each aircraft                   can
be expected to fly an average 30 hours each month, then 20
aircraft      would be needed (600 ; 30 = 20) to accomplish the
flying     requirements,

      NASAss flying requirements          and aircraft     utilization
rates are discussed in the next           two sections.


                                      9
    NASA's estimate




                                   Min,imm flying            Monthly flying
    Number-- of pilots               standards
                                     ___--                    reg-girements
                                                              _--   ----
     49 astronauts                16 hours    a month            784 hours
     24 staff   pilots             8 hours    a month           --192 hours
                                                                  996 hours
                                                                 .__
         Using the formula for computing aircraft       requirements,
    NASA estimated that,  to accomplish the flying      requirement
    of 976 hours on the basis of an aircraft   utilization      rate
    of 31.5 hours a month, 31 aircraft   would be needed
    (976 4 31.5 = 31).

           NASA advised us that the astronauts'    minimum flying
I
    time of 16 hours a month was based upon conclusions        contained
!
    in a joint     Air Force-NASA report dated February 1968 OR as-
    tronaut   flying   time and that these standards still   were
    considered to be valid.

             Our review of this report revealed that the monthly
     astronaut     first-pilot   flying   requirement   was a minimum of
     PO hours and not 16 hours,         In additional     disc,ussions,     NASA
     officials    agreed that the report cited a IO-hour flying              re-
    quirement.         They emphasized, however, that the EO-hol:r re-
    quirement was to be considered a minima3 time.                 They said
    that, although they had considered the report,               the 16-hour
    requirement       was based largely    on military    experience     and
    judgment as to what a reasonable flight            proficiency      require-
    ment should be.

           The staff pilots"   minimum flying     time of 8 hours a
    month was based on the proficiency        requirement,  contained
    in WC's Standard Operation Procedures manual., of 100 hours
    of first-pilot    time a year, an average 8.3 hours a month,
    or slightly    more than the 8 hours used by NASA in its com-
    putations.
     Based upon the         minimum    flying    requirements    of 10 hours
for astronauts,  as        shown in    the joint     study report,    and of
8.3 hours for staff         pilots,    the monthly flying      requirement
wcwld be 690 hours,         comprLed     as follows:

                                 Minimum flying       Monthly flying
      Number of pilots               standards         requirements

       49 astronauts                    10 hours          490 hours
       24 staff   pilots               8.3 hours          200 hours

                                                          690 hours

       In addition    to the above documented flying        requirements,
we were advised of other factors      that were considered by
various offices     to have an effect   on flying     requirements.
For example, the Chief of the Astronaut         Office at MSC ad-
vised 'us that for 6 to 8 months prior to a space mission
both the grime spacecraft      crew and the backup crew members
should achieve an absolute minimum of 20 hours of flying               a
month as first     pilot.

       This increase in monthly flying     requirements    during the
8 months preceding a mission is equivalent         to a maximum of
960 additional    hours annually,   or 80 hours monthly (12 as-
tronauts    x 10 hours of extra flying    a month x 8 months = 960
hours annually,     or 80 hours monthly).     The actual hours
would vary depending on the time between Apollo missions.
If the flying    requirement   of 970 hours--690     hours plus 80
hours--were    used to compute aircraft    requirements,    only
24.4 aircraft    would be needed.

       We reviewed the flying   hours logged by the prime crews
 and backup crews for the Apollo 12 and 13 missions to see
-whether the 20-hour flying   requirement   had been met. We
 found that none of the 12 prime and backup crew members had
 met this requirement   in more than 4 of the 8 months preeed-
 ing the missions and that four of the prime crew members
 had not met this requirement    in any of the 8 months.  The
 average first-pilot  flying  time of the 12 crew members dur-
 ing the 8 months preceding the mission was 14,8 hours, or
 only about 74 ereent of the 20-hour requirement.



                                        11
      The average hours flown each month by the Apollo 12
and I.3 crew members during the 8 months preceding their
missions are shown below,

                                                           Average flying
            Missions            Crew members               hours a month

                12                Prime                            PI.4
                                  Backup                           14.4
                13                Prime                            13.9
                                  Backup                           19.7

Flying   performed     during    fiscal        year   1970

       The flying    logs for the astronauts     and staff    pilots  for
fiscal   year 1970 showed that they had flown an average 861
hours a month as first        pilot.   The astronautsV    average fly-
ing hours exceeded the lo-hour requirement           in the joint    Air
Force-NASA report but fell below the 16-hour requirement.
The staff    pilots'    average flying   hours exceeded the 8.3-
hour requirement.

      During the year the astronauts     flew a total  of                   8,154
hours of first-pilot   flying  time, or an average 14.1                      hours
a month.    The average flying   time for each astronaut                     ranged
from a low of 4 hours to a high of 46 hours a month,                         as
sho-wn below,

              Number of                            Average hours
              astronauts                        flown each month

                     10                           4   to     9
                     25                          10   to     15
                     12                          16   to     19
                      2                          20   to     23
                     -1                               46

                     _50
                     __                               14,l        average

      The staff pilots     flew      a total  of 2,458 hours of first-
pilot  time during the year,          or an average 9.9 hours a month.
The average flying     time for       each staff  pilot ranged from a
low of 4 hours to a high of           26 hours, as shown below.

                                          12
                    Numberof                     Average hours
                   staff    pilots             flown each month

                            7                   4to   7
                           13                   8 to 13
                            2                  16 to 17
                           -1                      26

                           -23                     9.9 average

         The recorded first-pilot           flying   time for astronauts
and staff      pilots     in fiscal     year 1970 totaled       10,612 hours9
or an average 884 hours a month.                  MSC's 33 aircraft,   how-
ever, were flown a total             of only 10,332 hours, or an aver-
age 861 hours a month.              The difference      of 280 hours is pri-
marily due to the fact that a pilot                 on an instrument    train-
ing flight       is accompanied by a second pilot            for reasons of
safety and that both pilots              record first-pilot      time for
such flights.           A secondary reason is that about 65 hours of
first-pilot        flying   time was on other than the 33 MSC air-
craft.

      An estimate    of fiscal year 1971 aircraft     requirements,
based on the average monthly 861 hours of flying          time by
astronaut   and staff   pilots in fiscal     year 1970 rather than
on the monthly established     flying    requirements   of 976 hours
(see p* lo>, would have shown that 27 aircraft,          rather than
31, would be needed.

       Regardless   of which method is             used to compute aircraft
requirements,     however, we believe            that some consideration
should be given to the possibility                 that the number of as-
tronauts    in the manned space flight               program may decrease
during 1971 and subsequent years.                  This possibility   is dis-
cussed in the following      section.

Other    factors       which may affect
future    flying       requirements

      NASA has reported,    on a number of occasions,   that about
one third  of the number of astronauts     in the program are
excess to its needs.     Although NASA has indicated    that it
will not force any astronauts     to leave the program, it has



                                          13
announced that it will not discourage              astronauts    from leav-
ing voluntarily.        This fact,    together     with the number of
Apollo astronauts       who have recently      left the program after
completing    their missions,      indicates     that the number of as-
tronauts   will    continue to decrease in the near future.              We
noted, for example, that two of the backup crewmen for
Apollo 10 and all of the Apollo 11 prime crewmen and one of
the batikup crewmen had left the astronaut              program.     All
Apollo 12 and 13 crewmen are still            active astronauts,

        NASA's aircraft   requirements    would     be reduced by one
aircraft    for every two astronauts       that   leave the program
(16 hours ; 31.5 utilization         rate = 0.5     aircraft).   If all
astronauts     excess to NASA's needs left        the program (one
third    of the 491, aircraft     requirements      would be reduced by
eight aircraft.

      In view of NASA's announced surplus of astronauts         and
the recent number of astronauts'    resignations,     we believe
that the potential  decrease in flying    requirements    should
have been considered prior to initiating       the procurement of
the eight aircraft.




                                   14
AIRCRA.FT UTILIZATION    RATES

        The aircraft  utilization rate is the second of the two
factors    involved in computing aircraft   requirements    and
represents     the average number of  hours each   aircraft  is flown
during a month.

        NASA computed its aircraft      requirements    by using an
aircraft    utilization     rate of 31.5 hours a month.       If this
rate were too low, it would result          in NASA@spurchasing
more aircraft        than needed,  If it were too high, it would
result    in NASA@spurchasing      fewer aircraft    than needed.
Therefore    we examined into the reasonableness         of the
31,5-hour    rate used by NASA.

       The utilization      rate is affected   by the number of air-
craft    idle at MSC and at cross-country        temporary duty
stations.      Each of these factors,      and its effect  on aircraft
requirements,       is discussed below.

Idle   aircraft

       We analyzed the status of each of the 33 planes during
fiscal     year 1970 to determine the number of operationally
ready idle aircraft.          If a plane was flown at any time dur-
ing a 24-hour period,         we counted that plane as being uti-
lized.      Accordingly,     an idle aircraft,     as used in this re-
port,    is  one  that   was  operationally    ready  but not flown
during any part of a 24-hour period of a workday.               An opera-
tionally     ready aircraft      is one that is in commission and
can be flown and is not undergoing or awaiting             either main-
tenance or inspection         procedures.

      We added the number of aircraft      that were idle for
each workday of the month and divided the total       by the num-
ber of workdays in that month to obtain the equivalent           num-
ber of aircraft     idle for the entire month.    The following
graph shows the average equivalent       number of operationally
ready aircraft     which were idle each month at MSC and at the
astronauts'     temporary duty stations.




                                   15
                                EQUIVALENT          NUMBER    OF OPERABLE            AIRCRAFT   IDLE       AT
                                CROSS-COUNTRY          LOCATIONS
                                EQUIVALENT          NUMBER       OF   OPERABLE       AIRCRAFT   IDLE       AT    MSC




 a




                                                                                                                MONTHLY
      J    A     S     0    N       D           J            F          M        A          M          J        AVERAGE


        An average 3.7 aircraft       were idle at MSC throughout
fiscal     year 1970.    In addition,     an average five aircraft
were idle at locations       other than MSC--a total      of 8.7 idle
aircraft.      Furthermore,   on the weekend we noted that the
total     number of idle aircraft      was even higher.

      Astronauts    usually   achieve their proficiency     flying  as
an adjunct    to their other training      and often fly the air-
craft  to temporary duty stations       for training    and park them
for considerable      periods of time.     Although these aircraft
are usually    operationally    ready, they are often not used be-
cause the astronauts       are fully  occupied with other duties.

        It appears to us that,       in some cases, it may be prac-
ticable      to retrieve    these aircraft     for use at MSC if they
are needed.        Since the T-38 is a two-place         aircraft,  a
staff     pilot   could accompany an astronaut         to his temporary
duty station       and return    the aircraft     to MSC, accomplishing
a portion       of his own required     flying    time in the process.
The reverse procedure could be followed               when the astronaut
was ready to return         to MSC.
     The following   is an illustration       of the typical use of
one aircraft   which experienced     considerable   idle time while
away from its MSC location.

         T-38 aircraft    number 908 was flown on August I, 1969,
         after which it sat idle at MSC through August 5 and
         was flown on August 6 and 7. It was idle on August 8
         and 9 and was dispatched    on a cross-country     flight   on
         Sunday, August 10. The aircraft      was idle on August 11
         through 14 and was flown back to MSC on August 3.5,
         after working hours.     It was idle over the weekend of
         August 16 and 17 and was flown cross-country         on Monday,
         August 18. The aircraft     was idle at the cross-country
         location   until  after duty hours on Friday,     August 22,
         when it was flown to MSC. The aircraft         was inoperable
         on August 23 through 26 and was flown on August 27,
         28, and 29, It was idle over the weekend of August 30
         and 31. En summary, during the month the aircraft          was
         flown on 10 days, was inoperable     on 4 days, and was
         idle on 17 days-- 10 of which were at MSC and 7 at cross-
         country locations.

Effect     of idle   aircraft   on utilization      rates

        During fiscal        year 1970 the 33 aircraft        were flown an
average 861 hours a month, which resulted                 in an average
aircraft     utilization        rate of 26 hours a month.          We believe,
however, that this rate may not be appropriate                   for computing
future    aircraft       requirements      for the following     reason,      Of
the 33 aircraft,           an average 8.7 aircraft,       although operation-
ally ready, were idle each wor'kday of the year.                    Since the
equivalent       of 8,7 aircraft         were not used for any of the 861
hours flown,        including      them in computing the utilization
rate will      result      in too low a rate.      We therefore      believe
that it may be appropriate               to compute the utilization        rate
on the basis of only the number of aircraft                  that were used
to accomplish the flying              program.

     Based on the use of 29.3 aircraft--33   less 3.7 aircraft
idle at MSC--the utilization   rate would be 29,4 hours--
861 hours divided by 29.3 aircraft    used.

         In addition     to the 3.7 aircraft    idle at MSC, an average
five     aircraft    were idle at cross-country      destinations,  As
 stated on page 16, it appears to us that it may have been
practicable     ts return    some of these aircraft     to MSC for use,
Based on the use of 24.3 aircraft         --33 less 8.7 idle aireraft--
the utilization     rate would be 35.4 hours--861        hours divided
by 24.3 aircraft.        As shown on page 10, NASA computed an
average utilization       rate of 31.5 hours, based on the estab-
lished monthly flying        requirements    of 976 hours and the use
of 31 aircraft--976       hours divided by 31 aircraft.

      To summarize, aircraft    requirements might be computed
using monthly utilization    rates of 26 hours, 29.4 hours,
31.5 hours, or 35.4 hours.

       We believe that our computations       of idle aircraft     are
conservative     since we counted an aircraft      as being utilized
if it was flown during 9        part of a 24-hour workday,
Many of the aircraft     which we counted as utilized       were ac-
tually   flown for only a small portion      of the day.




                                   18
       Aircraft     requirements   are computed by dividing       flying
requirements       by the aircraft   utilization      rate.  In the pre-
ceding sections we have identified             several values for each
of  these    factors.

                                                            Average hours
                                                              each month

Flying requirements         for pilots:
      NASA's estimate       based on established
          flying   standards                                       976
      Hours flown during fiscal         year 1970                  861
      Hours based on minimum NASA require-
          ments                                                    770
Utilization      rates for aircraft:
      Actual during fiscal       year 1970                        26.0
      Adjusted for aircraft         idle at MSC                   29,4
      Adjusted for all idle aircraft                              35.4
      As computed by NASA                                         31.5

      The following    table shows the aircraft     requirements,
using every possible      combination    of the above values in the
formula for computing the requirements.
                                        Flying re irement
         Aircraft   requirements      = Utilizati.  rate

                        Aircraft     Requirements

    Monthly
    flying                            Utilization       rates
requirements         26,O hrs,       29,4 hrs.        31.5 hrs,   35,4 hrs,

                                             (aircraft)

  976 hours              37,5              33,2           31*oa          2706
  861 hours              33,l              29.3           2703           2403
  770 hours              2906              26.2           2404           2108

%AsA~ s computed aircraft          requirement,




                                      19
                                CHAPTER 3

                  CONCLUSIONS AND AGENCY COMMENTS

CONCLUSIONS

        On the basis of information       developed during the early
phases of our review of MSC's plans to purchase eight T-38
aircraft     for use in the astronaut      training     program, it ap-
peared that the purchase of some of the aircraft                might not
be needed,       We found that the flying       requirements     used by
MSC in computing aircraft        requirements      were higher than the
hours actually      flown during fiscal      year 1970.      In addition,
NASAss announcement that it had an excess of astronauts                  in-
dicated that future       flying  requirements      were likely    to de-
crease.

     Because of the possibility         that the purchase of some of
the undelivered    aircraft     could be canceled if NASA concurred
with our tentative      conclusions,    we informed MSC officials     of
our preliminary    findings     on August 26, 1970, and requested
them to reassess the need for purchasing          the eight aircraft,
Subsequently M!X officials        advised us that,   in their opin-
ion, the procurement       of the eight aircraft    was justified.

        In a letter   dated October 2, 1970, to the Acting Admin-
istrator    of NASA, we pointed out that we continued to be-
lieve that there was a question as to whether NASA should
acquire all eight of the aircraft        and requested that NASA
reassess its requirements       on the basis of a consideration       of
its past flying      experience   as an indication   of future flying
requirements.       (See app. I.>

AGENCY COMMENTSAND OUR EVALUATION
                          ---l__
       On December 14, 1970, the Associate Administrator    for
Organization   and Management advised us that the Office of
Manned Space Flight   had reassessed the procurement action
and had concluded that 31 aircraft      were needed to meet the
requirements   of the astronaut  training   program,




                                    20
Flying   requirements

         NASA stated that the monthly flying      requirement   of 976
hours provided for in MSC's flight       training     program was
based on the minimum standards established           in the 1967 joint
Air Force-NASA Report on Astronaut       Flying Time--16 hours
first-pilot      time for each astronaut   and 8 hours first-pilot
time for each staff pilot.

       NASA subsequently      advised us that the study report re-
ferred to was actually        dated February 1968.           Cur review of
this report revealed that the monthly astronaut                 first-pilot
flying   requirement     was a minimum of 10 hours and not 16
hours,     In additional     discussions,       NASA officials      agreed that
the report cited a lo-hour          flying    requirement,      They empha-
sized, however, that the lo-hour requirement                 was to be con-
sidered a minimum time.           They said that,      although they had
considered     the report,     the 16-hour requirement         was based
largely    on military     experience and judgment as to what a
reasonable flight      proficiency       requirement     should be.

        We noted also that the report did not establish          a fly-
ing requirement      for staff pilots.     NASA, however, had estab-
lished a minimum monthly requirement         of 8.3 hours.      On the
basis of the 10 hours and the 8.3 hours, NASA's total             flying
requirements     are overstated    by 286 hours which, based on a
utilization     rate of 31.5 hours an aircraft,      represents     an
overstatement      of aircraft  requirements   by nine aircraft.

      Although the average monthly flying     time during fiscal
year 1970 was 861 hours due to the fact that the astronauts
were not meeting the 16-hour requirement,       NASA stated that
this showed a need for more careful     management attention     to
ensure that the minimum flying   requirements     were met,

        In response to our suggestions   that future aircraft
needs might be lower due to canceled Apollo flights         and an
excess number of astronauts,      NASA advised us that the can-
cellations     would not cause a decrease in astronaut    flying
for the remaining missions.       NASA made no comment on the ef-
fect that the excess of astronauts      might have on future air-
craft requirements,      NASA stated,  however, that, as it pro-
ceeded with the remaining Apollo flights,       it would examine



                                      21
its continuing requirements to make certain that mission
success was in no way compromised and to ensure that all
elements of the program were in balance at an effective  cost
level D

Aircraft    utilization      rate

      NASA stated that, to achieve the 976 flying        hours each
month, a monthly aircraft    utilization    rate of 31.5 hours
must be obtained by the fleet       of 31 T-38 aircraft,   which was
higher than the average 29 hours a month during fiscal          year
1970 for the 23 T-38 aircraft.

         In response to our observations     in our letters    to MSC
and to NASA Headquarters        that idle aircraft   time on cross-
country flights       might be reduced, that aircraft     availability
could be further       improved by improving operationally       ready
aircraft     rates and decreasing awaiting      dock time, and that
utilization      rates could be increased to compare with Air
Force achievements,        NASA stated that the suggested solutions
were not available       to NASA.

        NASA cited the dissimilarities       between the Air Force
and NASA flying      operations,   including     insufficient      NASA per-
sonnel to retrieve      idle aircraft     on cross-country       flights,
the difference     in mission of NASA and the Air Force, the
more widespread resources of the Air Force, and the lower
priority   allowed NASA for obtaining        aircraft      repair parts.
NASA also pointed out that its T-38 requirement                computation
did not provide for attrition,         even though in the past NASA
had lost several aircraft        in accidents.

       We did not identify         specific      times at which MSC staff
pilots    could have retrieved         aircraft       idle at cross-country
locations,       We believe,     however, that the existing              staff
pilots    could have done some of this type of work if it had
been necessary.         We believe further          that the alternative        of
hiring    additional     $20,000-a-year        staff     pilots   for a limited
time period,      if necessary,       might    have     been   more  prudent than
purchasing      additional    aircraft      at a cost of $780,000 each.

       We confirmed that NASA's aircraft   maintenance resources
were different     from the Air Force's and that the Air Force
flying   program was different   from NASA's+ We could not


                                       22
confirm,   however, that these differences     were of such magni-
tude that NASA could not achieve a monthly utilization        rate
for T-38's that would more closely      approach the 45- to 50-
hour monthly T-38 utilization   rate normally      achieved by the
Air Force.

         In regard to NASA"s observations         that its supply-support
priority      for the T-38's was lower than that of the Air Force,
we were advised by an official           of the Air Material     Area
which provided spare parts for NASA's T-38's that the dif-
ference in priorities          between NASA and the major Air Force
user of T-38 aircraft         was negligible.       The small effect   of
the difference       in priorities    was confirmed largely      by the
nearly identical       '@not operationally     ready--supply"    (NORS)
rate 1 achieved by NASA and the Air Training             Command. For
example, both the Air Force Air Training              Command and NASA-
MSC experienced       about a 1.2 average NORS rate for the EZ-
month period ended March 1969.



        NASA concluded in its response to our inquiry       that his-
torical    performance was not a proper basis for changing its
astronaut     training  requirements  which were based upon the
reasoned conclusion       of the Air Force-NASA report cited
above,     It resolved,    therefore, to devote greater management
attention     to ensuring that the required    minimum flying    time
would be met in the future.

       We could not determine the importance of astronauts'
achieving    a particular  level of flying    time.    We found, how-
ever, that the minimum flying     time suggested by NASA was not
supported by the authoritative      report as NASA indicated,      and
we therefore    continue to have reservations       regarding  the
factors   used to compute the aircraft     requirements.


1
 NORS rate is the percentage  of time        aircraft cannot be
  flown because of delays in obtaining        an item of supply.




                                   23
                                 CHARTER4

                             SCOPE OF REVIEW

        We have reviewed NASA's computation           of requirements       for
the T-38 aircraft     which are located at the Manned Spacecraft
Center at Houston, Texas, to determine whether NASA Head-
quarters     and MSC considered all pertinent          information     relat-
ing to aircraft     requirements       before deciding to acquire
eight T-38 aircraft       to replace 10 T-33 aircraft          for use by
the astronauts     and staff    pilots     to maintain    their flying
proficiency,

        We analyzed records maintained           by MSC officials     for fis-
cal year 1970 pertaining        to (1) astronaut       and staff pilot
flying    time and (2) aircraft      utilization      and operational
status.      We also discussed with NASA officials             those matters
pertinent     to our review which might affect          the need for
training     aircraft  and with Air Force Air Training Command
logistics     systems officials    those matters relating           to supply
support for the NASA aircraft.,




                                      24
APPENDIXES




    25
                                                                          APPENDIXI




                                   WASHINGTON,   DE.   20548


ClVlL   DIVISION                                  OCT 2 1970




        Dear Dr, Low:

              The General Accounting Office is currently making a survey of the
        Manned Spacecraft Center's plans to purchase eight T-38 airplanes to
        replace ten T-33 airplanes for the astronaut training  program. When the
        replacement program is completed in March 1971, MSC will have a fleet of
        31 T-38 airplanes.

              Based on our surveys it appears that the purchase of at leas% four
        of the new T-38 airplanes could possibly be cancelled.      During the
        14-month period through August 1970, MSC has operated its astronaut flying
        program with the equivalent of about 27 airplanes.     During the survey we
        attempted to determine whether there were any foreseeable future circum-
        stances which would tend to make MSC's previous experience with such
        airplanes invalid    as a basis for predicting future needs. We found that
        predicted future circumstances tended to indicate a reduced rather than
        an increased training    requirement.  These matters are discussed more
        fully   in the enclosed copies of correspondence and other documents
        between our office and MSC officials.
               Because of the urgency of the matter we addressed our preliminary
        findings to MSC officials,   requesting them to reassess the reasonableness
        of the T-38 airplane procurement action,    We were advised by MSC officials
        that in their opinion the procurement of the eight airplanes is justified.

             We continue to believe that there is a serious question as to the
        need to purchase all eight airplanes and are therefore requesting that
        NASA reassess the procurement action, considering past flying experience
        as an indication of future program needs.




                                                  27
APPENDIX I


      Since MSC is       currently  taking delivery of the T-38 replacement air-
planes, we request        that you give this matter your attention   as soon as
possible.     We will     be pleased to discuss this matter with you or your
representatives     in    greater detail at your convenience.
                                          Sincerely   yours,



                                    /s/   Klein Spencer
                                          Klein Spencer
                                          Assistant Director


Enclosures     - 2

Dr. George M. Low
Acting Administrator
National Aeronautics and
   Space Administration

cc:   Walter    C. Shupe




                                          28
                                                                                                         APPENDIX II



                                        NATIONAL      AERONAUTICS              AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
                                                                 WASHINGTON,       D.C.   20546




REPLY TO                                                                                          DEC 14 1970
ATTN OF




           Mr, Klein        Spencer
           Assistant        Director
           Civil     Division
           U,S. General          Accounting        Office
           Washington,         D.C.     20548

           Dear    Mr.       Spencer:

           This is in response    to your letter  of October      2, 1970, to the                               Adminis-
           trator  concerning  NASA's plans to purchase     eight     T-38 airplanes                              to
           replace  ten T-33 airplanes    for the astronaut    training    program.

           As suggested       in your letter,              we have reassessed       the procurement      action
           concerning     these aircraft.                 The Office   of Manned Space Flight         has
           concluded    that     the aircraft             are needed to meet the requirements            of the
           astronaut    training      program,            as indicated     by the enclosed      comments which
           were developed        in response            to the information       furnished    in your
           October    2 letter.

           Thank       you    for   your   interest         in   this    matter.

           Sincerely          yoursp




           Associate      Administrator    for
              Organization       and Management

           Enclosure




                                                                        29
    $&SA COMMENTS ON GENERAL ACCOUNTING
                                 -u_I-..--_ Or‘FICE
                                               -._ "-_-__LETTER TO THE       ADMINISTRATOR
                                                                       -----
    CDNCEF~ING THEIR SURVEY OF TXE -----11-P-
                                    ACQUISITICN          AND UTI~???IION       OF T-38 AIR-
                    CRAFT BY THE MANNED SPACECRAFT
                                            --               CENTER
                                                                  -
    GAO
    -   FINDING

    Based on GAO's analysis         of aircraft        utilization         for the pericd     July 1,
    1969, through      July 31, 1970, GAO believes                 that  the Manned Spacecraft
    Center    (MSC) can and has accomplished                its flying       training  program     with
    an equivalent      of 27 aircraft.        GAO has asked NASA to reconsider                 its
    proposed    purchase    of eight    T-38 aircraft            which would bring       the total
    needed to support       the astronaut       training         program     to 31 T-38 aircraft.

    NASACOMMXC

    We disagree      with the GAO position       that past performance                         is    a valid
    criterion     for computing   current    aircraft    requirements                    for       the astronaut
    training    program   and that P!SC can accomplish          its flight                     training      program
    with an equivalent       of 27 aircraft,

    Flying      time in MSC's flight            training       program       is programmed     on the basis        of
    16 hours       first      pilot   time per astronaut            and eight      hours first     pilot      time
    per NSC staff           pilot.      These minimum flying            times are based upon conclu-
    sions     contained         in the 1967 joint          USAF-NASA Report          on Astronaut     Flying
    Time.      These standards           are still       considered        to be valid.       This report
i   indicated        that    astronauts      are valuable         national      resources,     and therefore
    NASA should          take steps to insure            the availability          of an optimum       flying
    program.

    To meet   the minimum standards                 established        in this    authoritative           report,
    976 hours must be flown              each month.             To achieve    the 976 flight           hours
    each month,       a monthly      aircraft        utilization         rate  of 31.5 hours must be
    obtained    from the proposed             fleet      of 31 T-38 aircraft.             As indicated           in
    the GAO statistics,           during      Fiscal       Year (FY) 1970 lvlsCgs T-38 aircraft
    were flown      on an average         of 29.0 hours per month.                 The monthly          rate of
    29,O hours      for T-38's       in FY-70 multiplied               by the planned         inventory       of
    31 T-38's     results      in a total         of 899 hours per month - 77 hours                     less than
    the programmed        requirement         of 976 hours.

    A breakdown        of T-38 aircraft         utilization         at MSC reveals        that the proposed
    number of 31 aircraft            for this       program      is extremely       austere.      Using the
    Air Force operational            readiness        rate of 75 percent          in determining        air-
    craft    requirements,        and assuming          that   our maintenance         capability     were
    equal to that         of the Air Force,           we would expect        to have 23 of the 31
    T-38's     available     at any time,           Eight    aircraft     have been reserved          for
    the 18 astronauts          assigned     to Apollo        14 and 15 (three          prime crew, three
    backup crew, and three             support      astronauts        per mission),         The 15 remaining
    aircraft      are required       to meet the minimum flight                time recommended         in the
    1967 USAF-NASA Report            cited     above.
                                                                        APPENDIXII


GAO FINDING

GAO believes that there is existing       potential    for increasing aircraft
availability    through (1) a decrease in aircraft        idle time while on cross-
country flights,     (2) improved operationally     ready rates to compare with
rates being achieved by the United States Air Force on the same aircraft
type, (3) decrease in awaiting dock time through more systematic main-
tenance scheduling,     and (4) increase in per-aircraft       flying hours to
more nearly compare with Air Force achievements.

NASA COMMENT

The solutions     offered by GAO regarding increasing aircraft            availability
are not available       to NASA, as they are to the Air Force,          We do not have
sufficient    personnel to transport      pilots   to cross-country      locations     in
order to fly aircraft       which otherwise would be temporarily           idle.    NASA
does not have facilities        comparable to those available       to the Air Force
for use in achieving higher operationally           ready rates.      It is important
to realize also that the mission of the Air Force differs               significantly
from that of NASA. The Air Force has essentially             local flights       by pilots.
whose primary job is flying aircraft;           NASA's flying is typically         cross-
country by astronauts who primary job is to train for space flights
as well as providing flight        crew inputs into the development and testing
of spacecraft hardware and space missions.             The astronauts accomplish the
dynamic training      in high performance aircraft       at the same time they are
moving TDY from one geographical point to another.              The only Air Force
operation comparable to NASA's was the Manned Orbital Laboratory (MOL);
the numbers were similar,        but cancellation     of the M.OLProgram has
eliminated    this comparison.

The resources for maintenance which are available               to the Air Force are
not available       to MSC. The Air Force has over 1,000 T-38's, ten bases,
unlimited    facilities     and thousands of personnel, aircraft          available
exclusively    to fly critical        spares from base to base as required,         a
completely defined flying hour program (based solely on student flying
output),    and no aircraft      modifications       except Time Compliance Technical
Orders (TCTO). The flexibility             available    to the Air Force is not possible
at MSC. MSC has 31 T-38's, limited              personnel, maintenance capacity is
not structured        for quick turn-around,       low priority   in obtaining parts,
an unscheduled flying program due to changing mission requirements,                   and
extensive aircraft        modifications     which are independent of TCTO's.

In addition, we have not allowed for             attrition     in our planning, even
though we have lost several aircraft             through accidents in the past and
realize that attrition must be given             some weight in determining require-
ments. Although we expect to achieve              efficiencies     in maintenance through




                                            31
AlwmDIX           II


the use of all T-3SBs,     rather    than a combination     of T-33’s                         and T-38's,
we consider    our T-38 requirements     marginal    to support   our                        activities,
not excessive.

GAO FTNDTNG

GAO found that (1) two Apollo                space flights          have been cancelled              which
will     tend to decrease         the additional         flying     prior      to a space flight,          and
(2) documentation          is available        indicating        that     the current        astronaut
strength      is excess by about          one-third.          These factors            caused @A0 to
conclude      that,     if anything,      future     flying      requirements           are likely      to
decrease,       further    reducing     the need for training                aircraft,

N&A     COMMENT

Cancellation        of two Apollo         Space Flights,        with   the attendant         adjustment
in the Apollo         schedule,      will    in no way decrease          the additional         flying
prior     to the remaining         Apollo      launches,      However,      as we proceed         with
the remaining         flights    we plan to examine           the requirements          for T-38 air-
craft    along with other          critical       elements    of the Apollo       program       to mske
certain      that:       (1) mission      success     is in no way compromised,              and (2) all
elements       of the program        are in balance        at an effective        cost     level.

NASA CONCLUSION

Historical        performance      is not a proper             basis    for changing         the astronaut
aircraft      flight      training     requirements,           which are based upon the reasoned
conclusion        of the aforementioned             NASA-USAF Study Report.                  If the
astronauts        have failed      to meet these requirements,                    it shows a need for
more careful         management      attention       to insuring           that minimum flying            time
is met, not that            the basic      judgment     was in error.             MSC will       continue      to
place emphasis          on having      all    staff    pilots      and astronauts          meet their
flying     hour requirements,            recognizing         that aircraft          flight     training
schedules       must be in consonance with their                     other     program     requirements,




                                                 /
                                           -5’     Dale D? Myers
                                           ‘Associate   Administrator
                                            for Manned Space Flight




                                                        32
                                                                     APPENDIX III


                               PRINCIPAL OFFICIALS OF THE

                  NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

                             RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIVITIES

                                DISCUSSED IN THIS REPORT

                                                           Tenure of office
                                                           From            -To
ADMINISTRATOR:
    James C. Fletcher                               Apr.      1971     Present
    George M. Low (acting)                          Sept.     1970     Apr.    1971
    Thomas 0. Paine                                 Oct.      1968     Sept. 1970
DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR:
    George M. Low                                   Dec.      1969     Present
    Thomas 0. Paine                                 Mar.      1968     Oct.    1968
ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR
  MANNED SPACE FLIGHT:
    Dale D. Myers                                   Jan.      1970     Present
    Charles W. Mathews (acting)                     Dec.      1969     Jan.    1970
ASSOCIATE ADMINISTRATOR FOR ORGA-
  NIZATION AND MANAGEMENT:
    Richard C. McCurdy                              Oct.      1970     Present
    Bernard Moritz (acting)                         May       1969     Oct.    1970
ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR FOR IN-
  DUSTRY AFFAIRS AND TECHNOLOGY
  UTILIZATION (note a):
    Daniel J. Harnett                               Oct.      1969     Present
    George J. Vecchietti (acting)                   MY        1969     Sept. 1969
DIRECTOR, MANNED SPACECRAFT
  CENTER:
    Robert R. Gilruth                               Nov.      1961     Present

aIn October 1970 the title                of this position       changed from
 Assistant  Administrator,               Office of Industry       Affairs,  to
 Assistant  Administrator,               Office of Industry       Affairs  and
 Technology Utilization.



U.S.   GAO   Wash.,   D.C.

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