Need to Reevaluate Helistat Program Objectives and Progress.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC MISSION ANALYSIS AND ACQUISITION DIV
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The purpose of the Helistat program is to demonstrate that aerial logging operations are economical in steep mountainous terrain. To do this, the Forest Service is developing a lighter-than-air vehicle consisting of a 343-foot long blimp envelope with a frame which has four SH34J helicopters attached to it. In managing the program, the Forest Service has unnecessarily tied program milestones to land management planning time frames and moved too hastily, thereby overlooking essential considerations in planning a development strategy. For example, potential users were not contacted before beginning the program to get their participation and advice for determining the need for, uses of, and operational requirements for a Helistat concept vehicle. Information which we have developed from contacting potential users shows that it is questionable whether the Helistat concept under development will have practical application as a timber harvesting method. We believe more fundamental acquisition management principles should be used in planning and managing the Helistat program. This will require user participation and advice to assure industry interest in the program and development of a vehicle that meets user needs.
- Lighter-than-air Aircraft
- Administration and Management