Audit: MDOT’s Office of Aeronautics must inspect hospital heliports

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(The Center Square) – An auditor general report found four “material conditions” – the most severe ranking for the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Office of Aeronautics.

The OA runs the statewide air transportation system that licenses, inspects and registers airports, flight schools, aircrafts and aircraft dealers. In fiscal year 2022-2023, OA spent $199 million and $244 million and had 43 employees as of 2023.

The audit found:

Discrepancies between the inspection summaries and inspection checklist in five of 11, or 45% of public-use facility inspections reviewed resulting in issuing four full operating licenses instead of provisional licenses.Six of nine, or 67% of flight schools reviewed and 13 public-use facilities operated without submitting a license application during calendar year 2023. Also, eight of 40, or 20% of public-use facility license applications reviewed weren’t obtained or retained for calendar years 2022 and 2023.Licensing standards weren’t met for eight of 20 or 40% of hospital heliports and helistops reviewed and 37 of 98, or 38% of hospital heliports or helistops had not been inspected within the past three years.Triennial inspections weren’t conducted for 10 of 212, or 5%, and were overdue for 34 of the remaining 202, or 17% of the public use facilities. Also, triennial inspections weren’t conducted for eight of 66, or 12%, and were overdue for 11 of the 58 remaining flight schools, or 19%.

The audit found Michigan has the third highest number of aircraft registrations and third lowest in fees collected among seven Midwestern States.

Michigan law requires an audited agency to develop a plan to comply with the recommendations and to submit it to the State Budget Office upon completion.

Within 30 days of receipt, the Office of Internal Audit Services’s State Budget Office must review the plan and either accept it or take additional steps to finalize it.

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