Broad Area Review

of the

Enhanced Flight Screening Program

17 Mar 98

BS00877A.gif (1713 bytes)Complete Report in PDF Format



Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General inspections, audits, reviews, and investigations are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act per Title 5, United States Code, Section 553(b)(5) and various case law. However, the Secretary of the Air Force may authorize discretionary release. The Secretary has authorized discretionary release of this report.









This review fulfills a Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) tasking to conduct a Broad Area Review (BAR) of the Enhanced Flight Screening (EFS) program to reduce risk.


After receiving the tasking from the SECAF on 15 Dec 97, the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General (SAF/IG) appointed a team of functional experts from the Air Staff, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC), and the AF Inspection Agency to conduct the review. The team conducted the BAR from 15 Dec 97 to 30 Jan 98.

On 16 Dec 97, the team began reviewing data and identifying hazards. The data review included the draft Air Education and Training Command BAR on the EFS program, other program documentation, operations and maintenance manuals and procedures, and applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. Initial hazard identification was performed through functional expert brainstorming, review of the draft AETC BAR, and use of the Air Force Safety Center’s 5-M (Mission, Man, Machine, Media, and Management) Risk Identification Model.

From 4-21 Jan 98, the team conducted interviews, reviewed data, and inspected facilities and equipment at locations involved with the EFS program:

  • HQ AETC, Randolph AFB TX
  • HQ 19 AF, Randolph AFB TX
  • 12 FTW, Randolph AFB TX
  • 3 FTS, Hondo Municipal Airport TX
  • 557 FTS, United States Air Force Academy CO
  • OC-ALC, Tinker AFB OK (T-3A Program Office)
  • Lackland AFB TX (to evaluate 3 FTS student billeting)
  • 47 FTW, Laughlin AFB (to interview previous EFS and non-EFS students and their instructors)
  • Waco TX (to visit a contractor designing and testing major modifications to the T-3A aircraft)

The team also conducted telephone interviews with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (in both Washington DC and at the Small Aircraft Directorate, Kansas City MO), and with personnel involved with the original T-3A acquisition and testing.

Next, the team assessed the current EFS program against established goals and standard Air Force practices. This assessment completed the hazard identification process and provided data necessary to determine risks to the EFS program’s safety and screening effectiveness. This risk was determined by evaluating a hazard’s probability of occurrence and severity. Once these risks were identified, the team evaluated methods to mitigate to levels considered acceptable.

Selected material from the briefing to CSAF and SECAF is included as appendices to this report.




History and Evolution of the EFS

Flight Screening dates from 1952 when the Air Force instituted centralized pre-flight training to reduce elimination during later phases of pilot training. The flying portion employed PA-18/L-21s and later the T-34. The program increased in importance in Jul 65, when the Air Force needed to offset the loss of 42 flight training hours in the T-37 syllabus. To facilitate the new program, the Air Force selected and procured the T-41 (Cessna 172F) to train pilot-qualified ROTC cadets.

Fiscal constraints caused by the Southeast Asia conflict delayed implementing the program at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) until Jan 68. At that time, USAFA implemented the T-41 Pilot Indoctrination Program (PIP) with the stated objective "to motivate…toward a rated career, to identify…those cadets who lack the basic aptitude to be an Air Force pilot, and to minimize attrition of Academy cadets who continue in Air Force pilot training." The program at USAFA remained virtually unchanged until 1990.

In Mar 72, the Chief of Staff of the United Stated Air Force approved T-41 training for flight-qualified Officer Training School (OTS) candidates at Hondo Municipal Airport TX. The program became a reality in May 73, when 80 students entered the contractor operated program.

ROTC flight screening underwent a drastic change from 1985 to 1988, when it reduced from 42 training sites to being consolidated with OTS training at Hondo.

The original concept of the EFS program was to enable "track selection" of pilot candidates prior to the primary phase of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT). This concept was a result of CSAF (General Welch) direction in late 1987. Several inputs were to be used to determine which SUPT track a candidate would enter.

In 1989, Lieutenant General Oaks, Air Training Command (ATC) Commander, commissioned a Flying Training Broad Area Review (BAR). As part of their effort, the participants deliberated the merits of an enhanced flight screening program. The BAR concluded that such a program was needed, but that the T-41 was not suitable due its high-wing design and inherent limitations. To address, they voiced the need for an aerobatic aircraft able to expose pilot candidates to the rigors of follow-on pilot training environments. Their support of a more rigorous flight screening program and limitations of the T-41 to accomplish the mission led to the decision to purchase an aerobatic aircraft.

Acquisition of the T-3A Firefly

In Mar 90, ATC published a Statement of Need (SON) stipulating that the aircraft employed in the enhanced flight screening program must be aerobatic, capable of overhead traffic patterns, and able to accommodate low-to-moderate "g-loading." The aircraft would provide a means of evaluating a candidate’s ability to react quickly and accurately while flying more complex maneuvers representative of follow-on trainers and operational USAF aircraft.

The initial preferred strategy was to lease a commercial aircraft; however, restructuring of Title 10, USC, discouraged aircraft service-lease contracts. The final decision was to purchase a flight screening aircraft from a commercial source. By Jul 90, the Air Staff Program Management Directive included direction to acquire an EFS aircraft at an estimated cost of $57 million.

Commercial candidate suitability demonstrations and operational evaluations were conducted for eight aircraft from Jul 90 to Jul 91. Areas evaluated were general aircraft performance, physical layout, adequacy of communication systems, handling characteristics, maintainability, and logistics. At that time, AF test pilots commented that the Firefly "appeared to have levels of redundancy, and normal and emergency procedures compatible with the skill levels of inexperienced student pilots."

Similar operational evaluations were conducted by Air Force Systems Command from 5-7 Aug 91. AF test pilots commented that the Firefly was suitable for the EFS mission, "capable of exposing pilot candidates to ground operations, takeoffs, stalls, slow flight, spins, aerobatics, overhead patterns, landings, and mission planning."

In Sep 91, the System Program Office released a Request for Proposal for the EFS program. Source selection activities completed on 29 Apr 92 when the Source Selection Authority (SSA) selected the Slingsby Firefly to be the EFS T-3A aircraft.

Qualification testing activities resulted in recommendations to provide additional analysis on high altitude operations, and on spin modes and recovery. The test community also recommended that "AFOTEC perform typical student training profiles prior to operational deployment to fine tune instructional techniques and evaluate flight manual procedures at high density altitude airfields."

In Dec 93, the T-3A was certified by the British Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the FAA as a FAR, Part 23, type-certified aerobatic aircraft. FAA certification was accomplished through bilateral agreement with the CAA. The CAA determined the aircraft met FAA requirements based primarily upon contractor supplied data. The first non-prototype aircraft was delivered to Hondo in Feb 94.

In Nov 94 and Jan 97, the final QOT&E and FOT&E reports were distributed by AFOTEC and AETC respectively. Overall, both found the T-3A was operationally effective but not suitable with respect to maintenance requirements. Suitability measures did not meet established mission completion success probabilities or fully mission capable rates.

The final T-3A was delivered to Hondo on 9 Jan 96.


Current Operations and Support Concept

The EFS program is executed at the 3 FTS, Hondo TX, and the 557 FTS, USAFA CO.

3rd Flying Training Squadron, Hondo TX. The 3 FTS has 57 aircraft and is primarily a contractor-manned operation. The squadron consists of 11 active-duty instructor pilots, 8 enlisted, and 2 Air Force civilians. These personnel perform quality assurance evaluator duties for the 40 contractor instructor pilots and 26 maintenance/support personnel. The 3 FTS primarily trains candidates from OTS, ROTC pre-commissioning programs, and those active-duty Air Force or Air Reserve Component personnel selected for pilot training.

557th Flying Training Squadron, USAF Academy CO. The 557 FTS has 53 aircraft and is composed of military pilots with civilian contract maintenance. The squadron is authorized 58 assigned and 55 attached pilots (primarily assigned to other USAFA duties but also function as instructor pilots). The squadron also has 3 enlisted quality assurance personnel to oversee 22 maintenance personnel. The 557 FTS primarily trains USAFA cadets.

Analysis and Recommendations

Chapter II contains detailed analysis of the EFS mission, aircraft, operating locations, instructor pilots, students, training, and support concept. Chapter III uses this analysis to identify and quantify risks (low, medium, or high) to the EFS program’s safety and/or screening effectiveness. In Chapter IV, the team presents mitigating recommendations for those areas identified as having either medium or high risks.

Chapter IV contains 48 specific recommendations to improve the EFS program. From these, the BAR identified several actions that should be accomplished prior requalifying IPs, screening students at Hondo, or screening students at USAFA. These actions are summarized below with their corresponding specific recommendation number(s) from Chapter IV.

Prior to Requalifying IPs

- Complete FOT&E Phase I testing (Recommendation 10)

- Complete fuel system modifications on training aircraft (Recommendation 36)

- Define and establish measurable standards for engine stoppages (Recommendation 37)

- Publish flight manual and maintenance procedures for modified aircraft (Recommendation 4)

- Publish guidance on spins, aircraft departure characteristics, and common student errors (Recommendations 4, 11)

- Publish a standard instructor techniques manual (Recommendation 29)

- Reinstitute realistic Simulated Forced Landing (SFL) training (Recommendations 1, 24)

Prior to Resuming Student Flight Screening at Hondo

- Evaluate Doss Aviation, Inc., IP daily sortie requirements for safety and screening effectiveness (Recommendation 17)

- Implement new student syllabus (reinstating solo, reducing aerobatics, adding spin demonstration) (Recommendations 1, 5, 21)

Prior to Resuming Student Flight Screening at USAFA

- Complete FOT&E Phase III testing at USAFA (Recommendation 10)

- Convert the USAFA EFS program assigned military pilots to contractor pilots (Recommendation 15)

- Improve the Mission Qualification Training to emphasize high-altitude operations (Recommendations 26, 27)