IASCO Fiasco – Letter to the Editor


I sent a request for information to CWU for a copy of the Request for Proposal, (RFP) 13-015 for flight training and a copy of the awarded contract to IASCO/IFT. The awarded contract states on page 2: (WHEREAS, CONTRACTOR shall have a minimum of three(3) years 14 CFR, Part 141 experience in CFI, CFII, ME, AND ,MEL.) and have FAA 141 approval for flight training for commercial and instrument training for 5 years prior to the bid. A quick search of IASCO/IFT’s web site found that they are only FAA 141 approved for Commercial and Instrument training. I called IASCO/IFT to verify the fact they DID NOT have the FAA 141 Flight instructor certificate at the time of the contract award. CWU awarded the contract to IFT without any verification of their FAA 141 approval status and evidently no follow up in the months following.

A requirement of the RFP, half of the aircraft fleet will be manufactured after January 1, 2005 or newer. The awarded CWU contract dated April 9, 2014 stated that half the fleet would be manufactured after January 1, 2004 or newer. When I noticed the discrepancy, I sent a copy of the awarded contract paragraph with the 2004 date and the January 1, 2005 stipulation to CWU and requested clarification on June, 7 2014. An amendment dated June 9, 2014 changed the contract back to half the fleet January 1, 2005 or newer as per the original contract proposal. As of the bid that CWU awarded in April, IASCO/IFT aircraft listed consisted of the newest being a 2004 and the rest were 1999 or older. Keep in mind, CWU required these aircraft in the contract proposal and awarded contract based on the promise of this aircraft fleet.
So how is it that I found these gross errors and CWU did not?

A non-qualified bidder was selected and then the contract adjusted, manipulated, and manufactured just for that vendor? That discredits the reason behind the bidding process. If CWU was going to lower the requirements of the contract, how many more vendors would have bid on the contract and why was that not done in the original proposal to get as many bids as possible and the best qualified vendor?

As a taxpayer I have concerns of what appears to be gross negligence in the management of the flight program. A contract was awarded to a non-compliant vendor and evidently the due diligence that a State agency owes its constituents was not done at all. I believe the fiduciary duty owed to the Students, the College and the community was not met. How did this go on for 5 months with the Chair of the flight department, the Contract department, and the President of the College who is ultimately responsible, completely incapable of verifying that the contract could be met?
CWU students have been flying at Bowers Field in Ellensburg for more than 50 years. Looking at the contract violations being allowed to date to meet the contract CWU desired, the awarded vendor apparently cannot meet those stipulations either and has had to have the requirements lowered. Training our future pilots is not an area anyone should be comfortable glossing over and especially lowering requirements.

In the end who has to shoulder the burden CWU’s inability to manage and their negligence? It is every flight student that put their trust in CWU and the Department of Aviation and every tax payer in our state and the residents of Kittitas County. This has been handled by CWU in a shameless way and is going to leave a “black mark” on flight program and the entire department.

I have serious doubts in CWU’s ability to be good stewards of the money they receive and the money they are spending. CWU is lowering it expectations, requirements, and standards to meet the use of the lowest bidder on this contract. I am a commercial airline pilot and aviation mechanic with over 30 years of experience in the aviation industry and expectations, requirements, and standards are something that we continually try to raise, not lower!

Lyle Pfeifer
3740 Brondt Road
Ellensburg, WA 98926
1979 Flight Tech Graduate