Public Service

Tennessee Valley Authority Watchdog Suggests Helicopter Flights Wasted Funding

By Frank Wolfe | November 2, 2018
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A Bell 407

The Tennessee Valley Authority has wasted funds on some flights of its fleet of seven helicopters, a new TVA Office of Inspector General report suggests.

"We found TVA did not comply with the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR) and TVA policies and procedures regarding use of TVA helicopters for passenger transportation flights," the report said. "Specifically, cost comparison analyses prior to use of the helicopters were not documented. Business justifications prior to use of the helicopters were not documented. Authorizations prior to use of the helicopters were not documented."


TVA has a Bell 206, a Bell 407, two MD 530Fs, two Airbus Helicopters EC120Bs and one Airbus EC145MB. In addition, the TVA is set to receive a nearly $3.9 million 2018 Bell 407GXP next month.

"The FTR states generally passengers may travel on government aircraft for official travel only when a government aircraft is the most cost-effective mode of travel," the OIG report said. "The TVA Helicopter Policy states approved users of TVA helicopter services are responsible for determining whether business considerations (such as time efficiencies, ability to conduct more business; etc.) outweigh the cost differential when commercial travel costs or ground transportation are lower than use of the TVA helicopters."

An OIG analysis of 161 TVA transportation flights, including those from Knoxville to Chattanooga, noted 19 that "did not appear to be cost beneficial because of the short distance of the flights," the OIG report said.

TVA recommended a number of steps to improve the documentation and justification procedures for TVA helicopter flights.

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