United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Release

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

News Release


Release No: 660-96
December 03, 1996


The Department of Defense review of Air Force and Marine Corps executive air support has found that the Department operates its executive support air fleet safely and reliably.

The study was conducted at White House request following two aircraft accidents involving Presidential support helicopters on Sept. 6, 1996 in Orlando, Fla. Neither aircrew or passengers were injured.

Secretary William J. Perry appointed retired Navy Vice Adm. Donald D. Engen to conduct the review. Engen is a former naval aviator who served as head of the Federal Aviation Administration following his military retirement.

The Engen team examined Presidential airlift and VIP executive support airlift. They found that Presidential airlift has been virtually flawless. It was in the area of support airlift where several recommendations were provided to enhance the safe and efficient operation of executive support aircraft, most notably those aircraft which are not dedicated to transporting high government officials. The recommendations are:

-- Each service should emphasize and maintain an executive airlift plan to address modernization requirements, authorized versus on-board assets, and funding.

-- Each service should review executive airlift general support crew-mission match requirements and definitions such that tactical organizations place more emphasis on the importance of the VIP support airlift mission.

-- The Department should discuss with the Congress the continuing need to support Congressional delegation travel in light of the 1990s military executive airlift assets.

The White House should critically review the use of non- dedicated executive airlift aircraft for the President's travel.

-- The Air Force should realign the Presidential Pilot Office within the 89th Airlift Wing to more clearly delineate the process for standardization and evaluation.

-- Additional service specific recommendations were made within the Air Force and the Marine Corps review.

Dr. Perry has directed the Secretaries of the Navy (Marine Corps) and Air Force to begin action on these recommendations and report back within 60 days their respective plans for completion of all tasks.

A copy of the report, forwarding letter to the White House, and Dr. Perry's memorandums to the Secretaries of the Navy and Air Force with service-specific recommendations are attached.

Additional Links

Stay Connected