Thursday, January 16, 1930:Frank Whittle, a British Royal Air Force officer and engineer, received a patent for his design of a turbojet aircraft engine. Manufacture of an experimental version of the engine began in 1936. On May 15, 1941, the Gloster E28/39, a British turbojet powered by a Whittle W/X jet engine, made its first official flight, at Cranwell, England. However, this first Allied jet flight came nearly two years after Germany had accomplished the feat. On August 27, 1939, the first air-breathing jet flight of an aircraft had occurred, accomplished by a German Heinkel He 178 aircraft with a jet engine by designed by Hans von Ohain.
Saturday, January 25, 1930:An amendment to the Air Commerce Regulations set 500 feet as the minimum altitude at which aircraft might fly, except when landing and taking off.
Saturday, January 25, 1930:American Airways was formed out of a group of carriers that had operated separately under the Aviation Corporation (AVCO), a holding company chartered on March 3, 1929. American Airways changed its name to American Airlines on April 11, 1934.
Saturday, February 1, 1930:The Daniel Guggenheim Fund for the Promotion of Aeronautics terminated its activities. Established in January 1926 to support the development of American aviation in its formative years, the fund had promoted aeronautical education, subsidized research projects, and assisted efforts to develop commercial aircraft. Daniel Guggenheim intended that the fund be closed when private enterprise would find it “practicable and profitable to carry on.”
Saturday, February 15, 1930:The Aeronautics Branch announced that it had issued the first rating under the Airport Rating Regulations to the municipal airport at Pontiac, Mich. The airport received the highest possible rating, A-1-A. The designation system enabled pilots to know at a glance what facilities to expect at any of the rated airports, which the Branch inspected in response to voluntary applications by airport operators. The program was part of the Aeronautics Branch’s efforts to encourage airport development through promotional activities, disseminating technical and statistical information, and giving expert advice to municipalities.
Wednesday, March 26, 1930:The Aeronautics Branch issued the first two approved repair station certificates to Boeing Air Transport of Oakland, CA, and National Air Transport of Chicago, IL. The certificate entitled a station to repair only aircraft of types for which it was adequately equipped. Previously, anyone making repairs on licensed aircraft had been obliged to submit to the Branch detailed drawings of the repairs made and, in some cases, a stress analysis. By mid-1931, the Aeronautics Branch had certificated forty-eight repair stations.
Tuesday, April 29, 1930:The Watres Act further amended the Air Mail Act of 1925 (see May 17, 1928), replacing the weight basis for computing compensation to air carriers with a space-mile formula. The new act gave the Postmaster General very broad regulatory control over route locations, route consolidations and extensions, contract bidding conditions, service conditions, equipment and personnel accounts, and compensation. (See May 19, 1930.)
Monday, May 5, 1930:The Post Office Department, hoping to stimulate air passenger traffic, issued an order calling for the installation of at least two passenger seats in each mail plane operated by day.
Thursday, May 15, 1930:Boeing Air Transport inaugurated the first airline stewardess service. The first stewardess was a registered nurse, Ellen E. Church, who has been described as the first female crew member aboard a commercial airliner.
Thursday, May 15, 1930: In regulations effective on this date, the Department of Commerce required airlines to obtain a certificate of authority to operate if they engaged in interstate passenger service. To qualify, an airline was required to demonstrate that it possessed aircraft that were properly equipped and maintained, a sufficient number of qualified airmen, and an adequate ground organization for the services provided. The routes served were required to possess such air navigation facilities as the Department deemed necessary for safe and reliable operations. Airlines were required to apply for the certificate by July 15, a deadline later extended to August 15, 1930.
Monday, May 19, 1930:Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown held the first of a series of meetings with representatives of the large commercial airlines to discuss air mail routes to be awarded under the Watres Act (see April 29, 1930). All but two of the twenty-two air mail contracts awarded under the act went to airlines in attendance at the meetings, which were subsequently attacked as “spoils conferences.” (See February 9, 1934.)
Friday, June 20, 1930:Aeronautics Branch certificated its first glider, the Detroit Gull, Model G-1.
Tuesday, July 1, 1930:Rules governing the use of intermediate landing fields and a parachute supplement to the Air Commerce Regulations went into effect.
Saturday, July 19, 1930:Incorporation action took place as a first step in the merger of Transcontinental Air Transport and Western Air Express to form Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA), which later changed its name to Trans World Airlines on May 17, 1950. Western Air Express, meanwhile, had retained its corporate identity on some routes and evolved into Western Airlines, a name it adopted in 1941.
Wednesday, September 10, 1930:The Taylor E-2 Cub made its first flight. This design evolved into the famous Piper Cub, which was introduced in 1938 and became one of the world’s most popular general aviation airplanes.
Saturday, October 25, 1930:The first all-air transcontinental through passenger service to link coastal cities began. Aircraft of Transcontinental and Western Air took off simultaneously from Newark Airport, serving New York, and from Los Angeles. On October 15, the American Airways system had begun to offer all-air service between Atlanta and Los Angeles.
Tuesday, December 16, 1930:The Aeronautics Branch opened the National Conference on Uniform Aeronautic Regulatory Laws. Representatives from 45 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, and the Philippine Islands attended the two-day meeting to discuss uniformity of air regulations. (See August 1, 1928, and March 23, 1933.)
Wednesday, December 31, 1930:Airworthiness regulations for aircraft components and accessories became effective.
Calendar Year 1930:By this year, Cleveland Municipal Airport had established radio control of airport traffic. In the next five years approximately 20 cities followed Cleveland’s lead.
Thursday, February 12, 1931:An amendment to existing regulations covering interstate airline operations required a copilot on all aircraft flying a schedule of five or more hours with eight or more passengers. (See October 1, 1931.)
Thursday, February 12, 1931:The Department of Commerce placed the radio range beacon at Medicine Bow, WY, into continuous operation, completing the directional radio marking of the entire route from San Francisco to New York.
Friday, February 20, 1931:The Senate ratified the Havana Convention in which 21 Western Hemisphere nations guaranteed the right of innocent passage of aircraft without discrimination. The Convention formulated the rules for international air navigation between the contracting states relating to the marking of aircraft, landing facilities, prohibited transport, competency of airmen, and the right of each country to prescribe the route to be flown over its territory. The Convention had been prepared at the Pan American Convention on Civil Aviation at Havana, Cuba, in February 1928.
Tuesday, March 31, 1931:A Fokker F-10A operated by Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) crashed near Bazaar, KS. The accident killed all eight persons aboard, including Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. After an investigation disclosed defective wing construction, the Aeronautics Branch took the F-10A out of passenger service on May 4. Although most of the grounded planes eventually returned to service, the loss of public confidence and the costly periodic inspection required by the Aeronautics Branch led to the demise of the once popular airplane.
June 23-July 1, 1931: With Harold Gatty as navigator, Wiley Post piloted a Lockheed Vega dubbed Winnie Mae around the world, flying from Roosevelt Field, NY, and back with eight stopovers. Post’s course took him near the Arctic Circle, and his distance of 15,447 miles was too short to qualify as a round-the-world flight as defined by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale. His time of 8 days 15 hours 51 minutes was nevertheless far below the record set by the Graf Zepplin (see August 8-29, 1929), and he received great popular acclaim. During July 15-22, 1933, Post flew Winnie Mae in what is often regarded as the first solo flight around the world. He traveled from Floyd Bennett Field, NY and back in 7 days 18 hours 49 minutes, following a course similar to his 1931 trip. (See July 10-14, 1938.)
Tuesday, June 30, 1931: During the fiscal year that ended on this date, the Aeronautics Branch established an Engineering Section branch office at Los Angeles to expedite the examination and approval of aircraft types. The office was created to allow owners and manufacturers in the West the same opportunity for contact with engineering officials as the main office in Washington provided east of the Rockies.
Wednesday, July 1, 1931:United Air Lines was formally established as a management company coordinating four component air carriers that had already begun operating as a single entity. United was one of domestic aviation’s “Big Four,” which also included Eastern Air Transport, American Airways, and Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA).
Monday, July 27, 1931:A convention of “Key Men” involved in organizing the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) voted for affiliation with the American Federation of Labor. On August 10, the AF of L formally granted affiliation to ALPA, which became the largest union representing airline pilots. ALPA’s presidents and the dates of their election were: David L. Behncke, 1931; Clarence N. Sayen, 1952; Charles H. Ruby, 1962; John J. O’Donnell, 1970; Henry A. Duffy, 1982; and J. Randolph Babbitt, 1990.
Saturday, August 29, 1931:Tests begun this day and continued through April 8, 1932, showed that transmission of weather maps over the teletypewriter circuits of the Federal Airways System was practicable. Using an experimental circuit, the Aeronautics Branch tested equipment and procedures by sending maps three times daily from compilers in Cleveland and Kansas City to facilities in New York, Washington, and Chicago. Map transmission required equipment that printed on pages rather than on the usual tape, but page-type and tape-type machines could operate on the same circuits. On December 1, 1932, the Aeronautics Branch inaugurated regular transmission of U.S. Weather Bureau weather maps via teletypewriter circuits to 78 U.S. air terminals. Six times daily, the service provided a complete weather map of the United States, divided into three sections.
Saturday, September 5, 1931:The first instrument landing by a system incorporating a glide path was made at College Park, MD. The glide path was achieved by aligning an inclined radio beam with the runway, providing a path approximating the gliding angle of an airplane. (See September 24, 1929.)
Thursday, October 1, 1931:The Department of Commerce promulgated a regulation prescribing a cockpit crew complement of two, a pilot and copilot, on all scheduled air transports capable of carrying fifteen or more passengers or having a gross takeoff weight of 15,000 pounds or more. (See February 12, 1931, and November 1, 1937.)
October 3-5, 1931:Clyde E. Pangborn and Hugh Herndon, Jr., made the first nonstop transpacific flight, as well as the first nonstop flight between Japan and the United States, in a Bellanca Pacemaker. The two men took off from Samushiro Beach, 300 miles north of Tokyo, and landed at Wenatchee, WA, covering 4,448 miles in 41 hours 13 minutes.
Sunday, November 1, 1931:The Aeronautics Branch established a branch office of its medical section at Kansas City, MO, to keep medical examiners of the Middle Western states in close touch with Commerce Department policies on medical requirements and examinations.
Friday, January 1, 1932:The first Air Commerce Regulations governing gliders and gliding became effective.
Monday, May 16, 1932:The official Air Commerce Bulletin published a rule providing for a new scheduled air transport pilot rating. Those receiving the rating had to demonstrate their ability to use airway navigation aids and to fly specified maneuvers guided entirely by instruments. Effective January 1, 1933, the Aeronautics Branch required the new rating for all pilots on scheduled interstate passenger service. To meet this deadline, 330 pilots obtained the rating by the end of 1932. Fifty years later, on December 31, 1982, the estimated number of certificated airline transport pilots was 73,741.
May 21-22, 1932:Amelia Earhart became the first woman to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic by airplane, flying from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in a Lockheed Vega.
Thursday, June 30, 1932: During the fiscal year that ended this date, the first two installations of a new type of radio marker beacon were completed and placed in experimental operation — one at Archbold, Ohio, and one at Sidney, Nebraska. Sixteen others were ready for installation. Known as class B radio markers, or as radio landing ranges, these new radio marker beacons had 50-watt transmitters equipped with loop antennas, which permitted operation as short-range radio range beacons. They were also equipped for telephone as well as for automatic code transmission. In contrast to the Class A, 7.5-watt sets, which had a voice range of 5 to 10 miles, the 50-watt sets had a range of 30 to 40 miles. Class B marker beacons serve primarily to mark intermediate landing fields and to furnish, upon request, information on landing and weather conditions.
Saturday, July 2, 1932:Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. presidential candidate to fly when he chartered a Ford Trimotor from Albany to Chicago to address the Democratic National Convention. (See January 14, 1943.)
Calendar Year 1932:The Aeronautics Branch created the first formal system for the flight inspection of U.S. airway navigation aids by assigning six pilots to regular airway patrol duty. Operating from Airway Patrol Headquarters offices in six widely dispersed cities, the pilots were each responsible for 3,000-3,500 miles of airway. The early flight inspection fleet is believed to have included five Bellanca Pacemakers, a Curtiss-Wright Sedan-15, several Stearman C-3Bs, and three Stinson SM-8As. Beginning in 1937, the remaining five aircraft of this original fleet were replaced by Stinson SR-8B Reliants and some SR-9E Reliants. (See Calendar Year 1940.)
Wednesday, February 8, 1933:The Boeing 247 first flew. Often considered the first modern airliner, this single-wing airplane of all-metal construction was powered by two Pratt & Whitney Wasp air-cooled radial engines. It had a gross takeoff weight of 12,650 pounds and accommodated 10 passengers. The Aeronautics Branch type-certificated the plane on March 16, 1933, and it entered scheduled airline service on March 30, 1933.
Wednesday, March 1, 1933:At the Newark Municipal Airport, NJ, the Aeronautics Branch demonstrated a radio system that it had developed for the blind landing of aircraft. The Branch made the system available for service testing by aircraft equipped with the necessary radio receivers. Later that month, Aeronautics Branch pilot James L. Kinney completed the first cross-country test of an all instrument flight and landing when he arrived at Newark from College Park, MD Kinney was accompanied by Harry Diamond, a Bureau of Standards scientist who helped develop the instrument landing system, and William LaViolette, a radio technician. (See September 13, 1934.)
Thursday, March 2, 1933:A regulatory amendment announced on this date increased the solo flying time required for a private pilot’s license from 10 to 50 hours. Holders of private pilot licenses had until June 1, 1933, to meet the new requirement. The amendment also abolished grade of industrial pilot and created the new grade of solo pilot. Students with 10 hours of flying time who passed specified tests could qualify for this grade. (See August 15, 1933).
Saturday, March 4, 1933:Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, succeeding Herbert C. Hoover.
Thursday, March 23, 1933:Enactment of legislation by the State of Georgia meant that all of the 48 States had laws dealing with aeronautics (see August 1, 1928, and March 1946). Georgia’s new law included a requirement that all airmen and aircraft operating within the state have Federal licenses. This provision was included in most, but not all, of the other state aeronautical laws (see December 1, 1941).
Tuesday, March 28, 1933:The Aeronautics Branch gave permission to aircraft engine manufacturers to conduct endurance tests on their own equipment. Before this date, manufacturers seeking a type certificate for new engines had to ship them to the Bureau of Standards, in Washington, DC, for endurance testing.
Thursday, March 30, 1933:The Sikorsky S-42, a four-engine flying boat designed for Pan American Airways, made its first flight. The S-42, which entered scheduled service on August 16, 1934, weighed over 20 tons, and could carry 32 passengers and a full load for a distance of 750 miles. (See April 28, 1937.)
Tuesday, May 23, 1933:Clarence M. Young resigned as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics, effective June 15. (See June 10, 1933.)
Saturday, June 10, 1933:President Roosevelt issued an order changing the designation and broadening the duties of the Commerce Department’s Assistant Secretary for Aeronautics, effective 61 days from this date. The position was given the simpler title of Assistant Secretary of Commerce and made responsible for bureaus dealing with surface transportation as well as air transportation. A second Assistant Secretary had charge of bureaus dealing with trade and industry.
On June 15, the position of Director of Aeronautics became head of the Aeronautics Branch. (For earlier use of this same title, see entries for July 1, 1927, and November 1929.) The Director was to be assisted by three new Assistant Directors in charge of the divisions of Air Regulation, Airways, and Aeronautic Development.
On June 16, the President announced the appointment of Ewing Y. Mitchell to be the Assistant Secretary of Commerce responsible for transportation, and also named the three Assistant Directors of Aeronautics. The Director of Aeronautics position remained vacant until September 19, 1933 (see that date).
Friday, June 30, 1933: During the fiscal year that ended this date, substitution began of a new T-L antenna for the old loop antenna used to transmit radio range beacon signals to guide airmen flying through conditions of poor visibility. The new antenna satisfactorily disposed of the problem of night errors associated with the loop antenna. By the fiscal year’s end, six of the T-L antennas were in operation, 38 were about to be placed in service, and equipment was available for installation at six additional sites.
Remote control of radio aids to air navigation also began during the fiscal year. Heretofore, operators of such aids were located on the premises of each radio facility. Since the facilities were far removed from the air terminals, owing to the hazard radio towers posed to aircraft, the operators seldom came into personal contact with the people they served. Installation of remote control enabled them to be located in the teletypewriter station, operating airways radio broadcasting stations and the radio beacon transmitters by means of a dial switch and leased telephone lines. This centralization of control and close contact with the flying public promoted efficiency and reduced operating and maintenance costs. By the end of June 1933, three remote control installations had been completed. The equipment for 63 additional stations had been purchased and delivered for installation.
Saturday, July 1, 1933:The Commerce Department’s Aeronautics Branch assumed sole responsibility for constructing and maintaining airways, ending the arrangement under which the Airways Division was structurally part of the Bureau of Lighthouses. Under the Aeronautics Branch, the number of districts in which this function was organized was reduced from eight to six.
Saturday, July 1, 1933:The Douglas DC-1, a forerunner of the famed DC-3, made its first flight. Transcontinental and Western Air (TWA) purchased the only one of these monoplanes built by Douglas. The DC-2, an improved version of the DC-1, made its maiden flight on May 11, 1934, and promptly went into service with TWA. CAA type-certificated the plane on June 29, 1934.
Tuesday, August 15, 1933:The Aeronautics Branch announced the abolition of solo pilot licenses and gave the solo flying privileges of that license to student pilots. The change was part of the Branch’s response to curtailed appropriations. (See September 15, 1933.) The Aeronautics Branch also announced that it now required airlines to make detailed reports of all forced landings experienced on interstate scheduled passenger flights. Previously airlines had been requested only to report the number of forced landings.
Tuesday, August 1, 1933:The first practical variable-pitch propeller, developed by Frank W. Caldwell of Hamilton Standard Propeller Company in 1930, was introduced into airline service, on a Curtiss Condor biplane. The new propeller improved the propulsive efficiency of modern aircraft with highly supercharged engines, giving them more thrust than a fixed-pitch propeller when taking off and permitting adjustment to a more efficient setting for flight at different altitudes and speeds.
Friday, September 15, 1933:The Aeronautics Branch announced in the Air Commerce Bulletin a streamlining plan for the Air Regulation Service aimed at saving $500,000 in the current fiscal year. The plan: reduced the number of inspection districts from nine to eight; cut personnel in the Service by fifteen percent; generally required applicants to travel to inspection locations as opposed to inspectors traveling from airport to airport; placed fourteen Department of Commerce aircraft in storage; closed an aircraft maintenance base; and completely segregated airline inspection, licensing, and regulation services. The Aeronautics Branch also announced that the wattage of rotating beacon lights would be cut in half for an annual savings of about $75,000.
Tuesday, September 19, 1933:President Roosevelt appointed Eugene L. Vidal head of the Aeronautics Branch with the title of Director of Aeronautics (see June 10, 1933). Vidal was educated at the University of South Dakota and at West Point. Graduating from the latter institution in 1918, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers for two years before transferring to the Air Service and becoming a pilot. In 1926 he resigned his commission to take a position with a commercial aviation company. He continued in commercial aviation until he joined the Aeronautics Branch as Assistant Director of Aeronautics for Air Regulation in June 1933 (see February 28, 1937). With Vidal’s appointment as Director, the post of Assistant Director for Aeronautic Development was abolished and the number of Assistant Directors was reduced to two: the Assistant Director for Air Navigation and the Assistant Director for Air Regulation. All the principal functions of the Branch were divided between these two officials. Only the Administrative Section and the Aeronautic Information Section reported directly to the Director.
Tuesday, October 24, 1933:In an unprecedented feat for air transports, a Douglas DC-2 and a Boeing 247D finished second and third in a field of twenty in the MacRobertson International Air Race. The 18,500 pound DC-2 negotiated the course from Mildenhall, England, to Melbourne, Australia, in 90 hours 13 minutes. It finished 19 hours 41 minutes behind the first place finisher, a de Havilland DH-88 Comet, a long-range twin-engine racer designed expressly for the competition. Even more remarkable, the Douglas carried three revenue passengers and 900 pounds of mail and made 18 stops along a doglegged course approximately 1,000 miles longer than that flown by the Comet. The superiority of American transports over those of British or European manufacture was demonstrated by advanced design features such as NACA cowls, all-metal stressed-skin construction, light-alloy fuselage, a single low wing, retractable landing gear, and variable pitch propellers.
Wednesday, November 8, 1933:Director of Aeronautics Vidal announced a plan to make low-priced aircraft available for widespread private ownership. Vidal followed his announcement with a survey that indicated strong consumer interest in a plane priced at about $700. On December 28, the Public Works Administration (PWA) announced that $500,000 had been set aside for the development of such an airplane. U.S. aircraft manufacturers denounced the plan as unrealistic, however, and the PWA funds never materialized. The “Poor Man’s Airplane” project collapsed, but the Department of Commerce continued to promote development of affordable aircraft. (See July 19, 1934.)
Friday, November 24, 1933:The Aeronautics Branch announced an airport development program to be undertaken in cooperation with the Civil Works Administration. Since one purpose of the program was to provide work immediately to the unemployed, the Branch urged municipalities wishing to acquire landing fields to apply within the next two weeks. (See April 15, 1934.)
Thursday, December 7, 1933:Regulatory amendments effective this date included a provision that persons under 21 years of age were required to obtain the consent of parents or guardians before receiving any type of pilot license (see May 1, 1967). The amendments also created a new amateur pilot license requiring only 25 hours of solo flying time, compared to 50 hours then needed for a private license. The new grade, which was subsequently discontinued, was intended for personal and pleasure flying.
Wednesday, December 20, 1933:The Martin M-130 made its first flight. CAA type-certificated this four-engine, transoceanic flying boat designed for Pan American Airways, on October 9, 1935. The aircraft began service with Pan American on November 22, 1935.
Tuesday, February 6, 1934:A new Inter-Departmental Advisory Committee on Aviation met to study the establishment of a uniform Federal aviation policy. The Committee consisted of representatives of the Departments of Commerce, War, Navy, and the Post Office, plus the Interstate Commerce Commission.
Friday, February 9, 1934:Postmaster General James A. Farley, carrying out the wishes of President Roosevelt, announced the cancellation of all existing air mail contracts, effective midnight, February 19, 1934. His action followed disclosures made by a special Senate investigating committee chaired by Senator Hugo L. Black (D-AL) and investigations made by Farley himself. The general basis for cancellation of the airmail contracts was the charge that competitive bidding had been bypassed and contract awards had been made as a result of collusion in a series of conferences of operators with Postmaster General Walter Folger Brown (see May 19, 1930). The following day, noting that the air mail contracts had been canceled and that the continuing need for air mail service had created an emergency, President Roosevelt issued an Executive order directing the Secretary of War to make available the planes and pilots necessary to carry the air mail during the emergency. In response to the President’s Executive Order, the Army Air Corps began carrying the airmail when the contracts expired. (See March 10, 1934.)
Friday, February 23, 1934:The Lockheed Electra L-10 first flew. On August 10, the Bureau of Air Commerce type-certificated the aircraft, which featured twin fins and rudders. Scheduled airline service with the L-10 began on August 11, 1934.
Saturday, March 10, 1934:President Roosevelt ordered temporary curtailment of air mail service by the Army Air Corps (see February 9, 1934) after accidents had taken the lives of ten Army fliers, four on the mail routes and six in related flying (training exercises and ferrying personnel). On March 19, the Air Corps resumed carrying the mail on reduced schedules. On May 8, mail service by commercial air companies began again on certain routes. Pending new air mail legislation, the companies operated under temporary, three-month contracts, renewable for three months (see June 12, 1934). The Air Corps’s participation was phased out, and its last scheduled mail flight was June 1, 1934.
Monday, March 26, 1934:Senator Pat McCarran (D-NV), a member of the Black Committee (see February 9, 1934), introduced a Senate bill (S. 3187) as a substitute for the bill that was to become the Air Mail Act of 1934 (see June 12, 1934). McCarran’s bill, defeated in the Senate, provided for the creation of a “Federal Aviation Commission” to carry out the economic regulation of scheduled air carrier operations. The bill had no provision to repeal any existing laws and none relating to air safety. (See January 21, 1935.) This was the first of a series of bills Senator McCarran was to introduce to create an independent aviation regulatory agency. His efforts, along with those of Representative Clarence Lea (D-CA) in the House (see January 31, 1935) and others, finally bore fruit in the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938.
Sunday, April 15, 1934:Airport development with Federal aid was transferred to the Federal Emergency Relief Administration for completion of projects started under the Civil Works Administration. (See November 24, 1933.)
Tuesday, April 17, 1934: As a result of recent developments connected with flying the air mail (see March 10, 1934), the Secretary of War appointed the Baker Committee to report on “the operation of the Army Air Corps and the adequacy and efficiency of its technical flying equipment and training for the performance of its mission in peace and in war.” Named for its chairman, former Secretary of War Newton D. Baker, the committee was composed of six civilian and five military members. It was directed to include in its report a study of the proper relationship between the Army and civil aviation. (See July 18, 1934.)
Tuesday, June 12, 1934:The President signed the Air Mail Act of 1934 into law (see February 9, 1934). The principal provisions were:
- Contracts were to be awarded for an initial period of one year; if the contractor performed satisfactorily during that time, the contract could be extended indefinitely. Existing three-month contracts could be extended by the Postmaster General for a period or periods not exceeding a total extension of nine months (see March 10, 1934, and August 14, 1935).
- The Interstate Commerce Commission was brought into the administration of air law for the first time. The Commission was required to fix fair and reasonable rates of compensation for each route, within the upper limit prescribed in the act, which linked rates to airplane miles, with a sliding scale of increases based on load. Rates were to be reviewed at least annually. The commission had authority upon 60 days notice and hearing to terminate any contract that had been extended beyond the initial period.
- The Postmaster General and the Interstate Commerce Commission were authorized to regulate the accounting practices of the carriers.
- Air mail contractors were prohibited, after December 31, 1934, from holding an interest in any other aviation enterprise except landing fields and appurtenances thereto. Conversely, other aviation enterprises were prohibited from holding any interest in air mail contracts.
- Contractors were prohibited from employing any person in a managerial capacity who had entered into any unlawful combination to prevent air mail bidding. Each bidder for a contract was required to furnish the Postmaster General a list of all stockholders owning more that 5 percent of the bidder’s capital stock, a financial statement, and, in the case of a corporation, the original amount paid to the corporation for its stock.
- The Secretary of Commerce was to specify the speed, load capacity, and safety features of equipment to be used on each air mail route, and to regulate the hours and benefits of pilots and mechanics.
- The President was authorized to appoint a commission of five members “for the purpose of making an immediate study and survey and to report to Congress not later than February 1, 1935, its recommendations of a broad policy covering all phases of aviation and the relation of the United States thereto.” (See July 11, 1934.)
- The National Labor Board’s Decision 83, which, among other things, set a maximum flying time of 85 hours per month for airline pilots, was imposed on air mail carriers. The Board had handed down Decision 83 on May 10, 1934, but its provisions had not possessed the force of law. Later, the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 applied Decision 83 to all interstate air carriers. (See April 29, 1942).