FAA History: 1940’s

Monday, January 1, 1940:The Civil Aeronautics Authority assumed operation of communication stations at Anchorage and Fairbanks, AK.
Monday, January 15, 1940:The first issue of the official Civil Aeronautics Journal appeared, superseding Air Commerce Bulletin (see July 1, 1929). The publication was retitled CAA Journal on August 15, 1944. (See July 20, 1952.)
Friday, February 9, 1940:A CAA order established a system under which qualified private persons were designated as flight examiners and empowered to conduct flight tests and written examinations for private pilot certificates. This permitted CAA inspectors to “spot check” trainees rather than examine each applicant. Such delegation of authority to private individuals was new (with the exception of the medical examiner program: see February 28, 1927), and it began a trend. Another step in CAA’s growing use of designees was an order on December 17, 1940, authorizing the appointment of representatives to perform certain regulatory functions regarding the manufacture of military aircraft for export. On August 1, 1941, CAA announced the appointment of its first 50 aircraft inspection representatives to facilitate clearance of civil airplanes for flight after they had been repaired. As the United States entered World War II, a CAA order of December 8, 1941, gave broad authority to the Director, Safety Regulation, to designate persons outside of the agency to make examinations, tests, inspections, or reports. (See January 15, 1946.)
Friday, February 16, 1940:Radio station WSY, the Civil Aeronautics Authority’s first overseas and foreign airways communications station (OFACS) began regular operations. Capable of two-way radio communications with aircraft flying the Atlantic Ocean, the powerful facility could also communicate with various points in Europe, Bermuda, and Newfoundland. The station’s high-frequency transmitting equipment, located at Bayville, Long Island, initially included four 4-kilowatt transmitters and two 400-watt transmitters. The receiving equipment was spread over 600 acres at Barnegat Light, NJ. A CAA office at La Guardia Field operated both receivers and transmitters by remote control. During World War II, the station proved extremely valuable to U.S. ferrying operations over the North Atlantic. WSY set the pattern for the establishment during the war years of similar overseas communications stations at San Franciso, Seattle, Miami, New Orleans, Anchorage, Honolulu, San Juan, and Balboa, Canal Zone.
Sunday, April 14, 1940:The first Air Corps detachment assigned to Alaska arrived at Fairbanks.
Thursday, May 2, 1940:President Roosevelt gave final approval for development of a version of the instrument landing system (ILS) favored by CAA. Deployment of the system was delayed, however, by continued disagreements with the military and by World War II defense priorites. ILS did not become available for civil airliners until after the war.
Monday, May 13, 1940:The VS-300, precursor of today’s fully mature helicopter, made its first free flight, at Stratford, CT. As designer Igor I. Sikorsky continued to improve the aircraft, which employed a single main rotor, it set records that included a world flight endurance record of over 1 hour, 32 minutes on May 6, 1941. The VS-300’s first flight in its final configuration took place on December 8, 1941.
Thursday, May 16, 1940:President Roosevelt called for the production of 50,000 airplanes a year. Since there were only about 30,000 pilots in the country, CAA subsequently announced that it would expand the Civilian Pilot Training Program to provide pilots for the increased number of planes. In 1940, the CPTP graduated 9,885 pilots, and in the 18 months before the United States entered the war, the number of pilots in the country rose from 31,000 to over 100,000, primarily through the CPTP. (See June 27, 1939, and December 12, 1941.)
Thursday, June 20, 1940:Pan American inaugurated regular air mail service between Seattle and Juneau, AK, with a Sikorsky S-42 flight via Ketchikan. Passenger service began on June 24.
Sunday, June 30, 1940:The reorganization of the Civil Aeronautics Authority, under President Roosevelt’s Reorganization Plans III and IV, went into effect. The President’s announced purpose was to clarify the relations of the Civil Aeronautics Authority’s Administrator and its five-member board (which was designated the Civil Aeronautics Authority, the same term used to describe the agency as a whole). The new legislation divided the responsibility of regulating civil aviation between two new organizations.
The five-man board was transferred to the Department of Commerce and renamed the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). The Air Safety Board was abolished and its accident-investigating functions assigned to the new CAB. Though the CAB was to report to Congress and the President through the Secretary of Commerce, it was to exercise its functions of safety rulemaking, adjudication, investigation, and airline economic regulation, independently of the Secretary.
The Administrator, with the new title Administrator of Civil Aeronautics, was also transferred to the Department of Commerce, and placed under the supervision of the Secretary. The Administrator’s functions now included those initially assigned to him by the Civil Aeronautics Act (see June 23, 1938), plus certain safety-regulating duties the Authority had delegated to him after appointing him Supervisor of the Bureau of Safety Regulation in the Authority. These safety regulating duties did not involve rulemaking or the power to suspend or revoke certificates. To deal with his changed responsibilities, the Administrator informally placed an interim organizational scheme in effect on August 24. Eighteen units reported directly to him: the Management Planning Section; the Personnel Section; Washington National Airport; the Federal Airways Service; the Certificate and Inspection Division; the Civilian Pilot Training Division; the Legal (Compliance) Division; the Aviation Medical Division; the Information and Statistics Division; the Administrative Division; a Coordinator of Field Activities; and the seven regional managers. Subsequent modifications of this structure included the creation on November 1 of an Executive Officer position to handle internal managerial activities (see December 4, 1939 and May 15, 1945).
On August 29, Department of Commerce Order 52 designated the functions of the Administrator as the Civil Aeronautics Administration. The Civil Aeronautics Authority continued to exist on paper as an entity embracing the CAB and the Civil Aeronautics Administration, but it performed no functions as the Authority.
Monday, July 8, 1940:TWA employed the first flight engineer in U.S. scheduled domestic passenger service, on the Boeing 307B Stratoliner. The flight engineer took over system support functions, including the operation of the pressurization system, from the pilots. (See November 1, 1937 and July 10, 1945.)
Thursday, July 11, 1940:The Senate confirmed Col. Donald H. Connolly, U.S. Army, as the first Administrator of Civil Aeronautics, following President Roosevelt’s reorganization of the Civil Aeronautics Authority. Clinton M. Hester, who had served as the Administrator in the Authority (see July 7, 1938), had resigned to enter private law practice. Educated at the University of California and at West Point, from which he graduated in 1910, Connolly had served in the Corps of Engineers since leaving the Military Academy. He had had previous executive experience in civilian government as Director of the Civil Works Administration in Los Angeles in 1934 and as Administrator of the Works Progress Administration for Southern California from 1935 to 1939. During the year and a half immediately preceding his assignment to CAA, he had commanded the Second Engineers, U.S. Army. (See July 20, 1942.)
Friday, July 12, 1940:A Pan American Boeing 314 left San Francisco for Auckland, beginning service between the United States and New Zealand for air mail. Passenger service began September 13, 1940.
Monday, August 19, 1940:CAA presented Orville Wright honorary Pilot Certificate No. 1 during a National Aviation Day ceremony dedicating the Wright Memorial at Dayton, OH. (See April 6, 1927.)
Saturday, August 31, 1940:A Pennsylvania-Central Airlines DC-3 crashed into a ridge near Lovettsville, VA, killing all 25 persons aboard, including Sen. Ernest Lundeen (Farmer-Laborite, MN). The Civil Aeronautics Board cited the probable cause as disabling of the crew by a severe lightning discharge near the aircraft. The crash ended an unprecedented 17 fatality-free months for U.S. domestic scheduled air carriers, who flew 1.4 billion passenger-miles during the period. (See December 31, 1970.)
Tuesday, October 1, 1940:CAA commissioned the Seattle air route traffic control center on this date, followed by the Cincinnati center on November 11.
Friday, October 4, 1940:The Commerce Department’s new Aeronautical Advisory Council concluded its first meeting on this date. A permanent body to consult with Commerce officials on aviation policy, the Council included members from all sections of the country and all phases of civil aviation.
Wednesday, October 9, 1940: In the first appropriation made directly to CAA for airport development, Congress appropriated $40 million for the construction, improvement, and repair of up to 250 public airports determined to be necessary for national defense. Under this Development of Landing Areas for National Defense (DLAND) program, the Administrator of Civil Aeronautics had responsibility for qualifying airports with the approval of a board composed of the Secretaries of War, Navy, and Commerce.
In fiscal year 1941, Congress allocated funds for developments at 193 sites in the United States and its possessions. To expedite results, CAA made cooperative arrangements with the Work Projects Administration (WPA) and the War and Navy Departments, since these agencies performed the actual construction in many cases. The total expenditure for the DLAND program was ultimately $383 million for 535 airports. After WPA aid to other agencies was suspended on February 1, 1943, the continuation of some of the DLAND projects came into question. In January 1944, however, an amendment to a war appropriations bill provided money to complete about 30 airports left unfinished by the WPA. Under that program, the Development of Civil Landing Areas (DCLA), CAA spent $9.5 million on 29 airports.
Tuesday, December 17, 1940:The first annual observance of Pan American Aviation Day took place in accordance with legislation enacted on October 10 (see December 17, 1963).
Monday, December 23, 1940:United Air Lines began what was probably the first all-freight service by a U.S. airline, supplementing its regular service with a daily all-cargo flight westbound from New York to Chicago. This experiment in freight service ended May 31, 1941. (See August 12, 1949.)
Calendar Year 1940:CAA obtained the first of 15 Cessna T-50 Bobcats, which became the agency’s primary flight inspection aircraft during World War II. The T-50s were retired after the war, when CAA began receiving surplus Beech 18s and DC-3s. (See Calendar Year 1932 and October 6, 1956.)
Wednesday, January 1, 1941:CAA established a Standardization Center at Houston, TX, to promote uniformity in the agency’s inspection and instruction methods and in examinations for all types of pilot certificates. The Center provided mandatory refresher courses for all flight and inspecting personnel, as well as required classes for new employees before they went to their regular post of duty. With the outbreak of war, the center expanded its regular program to instruct multi-engine pilots for ferrying duty with the Army Air Forces. It later also trained flight officers and Link Trainer instructors.
Monday, April 7, 1941:The War Department-sponsored Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board began operations on this date. The IATCB included representatives of the Army, Navy, CAA, and CAB, and became an important coordinating agency for the location of military air installations. Forerunner to the later Air Coordinating Committee (see March 27, 1945), IATCB helped evolve many of the procedures for the control and regulation of air traffic used during the war. The Board was abolished on May 31, 1946.
Thursday, May 1, 1941:CAA announced that six new airports in Alaska currently under construction or scheduled to begin would each have at least one usable runway by the following winter. The new airports (at Juneau, Cordova, Boundary, Big Delta, West Ruby, and Nome) were part of the Development of Landing Areas for National Defense program (see October 9, 1940). They would double Alaska’s available airport facilities and radio aids to flying.
Thursday, May 1, 1941: After successful tests during the previous year, CAA’s first ultra-high-frequency radio range system opened for scheduled airline use on the New York-Chicago airway. The airway was the first link in the eventual conversion of the entire 35,000 miles of Federal airways from intermediate to ultra-high frequencies. U.S. involvement in World War II, however, delayed immediate expansion of the system because the Army took over all available equipment for these frequencies. In 1944, incorporating wartime radio advances, CAA began testing an improved, static-free, very high frequency omnidirectional radio range (VOR) at its Experimental Station in Indianapolis. Using the new system, a pilot could remain on course by watching a dial on his instrument panel instead of listening to the signal from the four-course aural range. The new range also sent signals in all directions from the station, instead of merely four courses as with the low frequency range. (See Calendar Year 1947.)
Monday, June 16, 1941:CAA officially opened Washington National Airport for full-time operations. By the end of the year, almost 300,000 passengers had enplaned or deplaned at the airport, and scheduled air carrier operations reached a high of 192 daily in the month of September. Spectator interest was very high, and by the first of December over 2,225,000 persons had visited the airport.
Tuesday, July 1, 1941: Lt. H. A. Boushey, Army Air Forces, made the first successful jet-assisted takeoff (jato) in the United States, at March Field, CA, in an Ercoupe with pressed-powder-propellant jato rockets developed by the California Institute of Technology.
Friday, August 1, 1941:CAA added a new region, the Eighth to its organizational structure. The region covered the territory of Alaska, with headquarters at Anchorage. Prior to this time, direction for aeronautical activities in Alaska had been provided partly by the Seventh Regional Office in Seattle, and partly by CAA’s Bureau of Federal Airways in Washington, DC (See June 1, 1938.)
Monday, August 18, 1941:President Roosevelt announced that Pan American Airways would operate an air ferry service to fly aircraft, cargo, and passengers to the African continent in support of the Allied war effort. At the President’s direction, CAA on September 10 granted temporary authority to Pan American to operate the ferry service, flying from Miami, FL, via Puerto Rico and Brazil, to Liberia and Nigeria. The rights would expire in 5 years, or 6 months after the Secretary of War notified CAA that the service was no longer required.
Monday, August 25, 1941:President Roosevelt signed the First Supplemental National Defense Appropriation Act carrying a budget item of $12,186,000 for CAA to construct, operate, and maintain airport traffic control towers. A procedure, worked out earlier in the year and incorporated into the Appropriation Bill, required the Secretaries of War and Navy to certify a list of airports as essential to national defense before CAA could assume control of the towers. According to a CAA-Army-Navy agreement, the CAA airport traffic controller had full charge of tower operations, except in event of military emergency. The initial appropriation provided funds for the control of 39 control towers, while additional congressional funding was required to cover any additional towers recommended by the Army and Navy for CAA control. The following day, CAA released the list of 39 locations where CAA would assume jurisdiction over traffic activities. CAA anticipated that the transfer of operations would become effective January 1, 1942. (See November 1, 1941.)
Monday, September 1, 1941:Following evaluation of British jet engine development, the U.S. Army Air Forces decided to produce a Whittle-type jet engine. (See January 15, 1930, and October 1, 1942.)
Saturday, November 1, 1941:CAA began operating airport traffic control towers. (Prior to this time, towers were operated by local airport authorities, except at CAA-managed National Airport.) By November 15, the Agency controlled towers at Albuquerque, NM; Atlanta, GA; Charlotte, NC; Floyd Bennett Field, NY; Orlando, FL; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; and Savannah, GA. CAA was to take over control of towers at 19 additional airports in January 1942, and at 12 other fields in April 1942. The total of wartime CAA-operated towers reached a peak of 115 during fiscal year 1944. As the military need for use of civil airports began to gradually decline in 1945, the War and Navy Department funds underwriting CAA’s airport activities decreased. The Agency returned some towers to local jurisdiction, and in a few cases accepted municipal reimbursement for the service. In fiscal year 1947, Congress replaced the military support with the first of many direct appropriations for CAA airport traffic tower control. (See August 25, 1941).
Monday, December 1, 1941:President Roosevelt ordered the creation of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) as a division of the Office of Civilian Defense. In 1943 the President transferred the CAP to the War Department as an auxiliary of the Army Air Forces.
Monday, December 1, 1941:Beginning on this date, all U.S. pilots and aircraft using the nation’s airspace were required to be Federally certificated. (Up to this time, lack of pertinent legislation in certain states had allowed uncertificated U.S. pilots and aircraft to operate so long as they stayed within state borders and did not enter a Federal civil airway.) Alien pilots could operate a foreign aircraft in U.S. airspace if they possessed a valid certificate issued by the country in which the aircraft was registered, if there was a reciprocity arrangement between the United States and that country, and if CAB had issued a permit for such operation.
Sunday, December 7, 1941:The Japanese attacked Hawaii and the Philippines. The following day the U.S. Congress declared a state of war with Japan. On December 11, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States.
Sunday, December 7, 1941:CAA commissioned the Boston air route traffic control center on this date, followed by the Jacksonville center on December 15. (See December 18, 1941.)
Friday, December 12, 1941:President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8974, transforming the Civilian Pilot Training Program into a wartime program. Henceforth, the CPTP would be “exclusively devoted to the procurement and training of men for ultimate service as military pilots, or for correlated non-military activities.” (See May 16, 1940, and December 7, 1942.)
Saturday, December 13, 1941:The President directed the Secretary of Commerce “to exercise his control and jurisdiction over civil aviation in accordance with requirements for the successful prosecution of the war, as may be requested by the Secretary of War.” The Executive order also authorized the latter “to take possession and assume control of any civil aviation system, or systems, or any part thereof, to the extent necessary for the successful prosecution of the war.”
Thursday, December 18, 1941:The Secretary of War requested that long-range CAA projects for commissioning air route traffic control centers and completing the interphone and teletype network “be expedited to the fullest extent possible in the interest of National Defense.” By mid March 1942, CAA had established seven new centers: Memphis, January 15; Kansas City, February 1; San Antonio, February 15; Denver and Albuquerque, March 1; and Great Falls and Minneapolis, March 15. (See Appendix V for listing of all ARTCC commissionings.)
Calendar Year 1941:CAA’s first Inter-American Aviation Training Program began as part of the national defense effort. By the end of the fourth program, completed after the close of hostilities, 894 Latin Americans had received training in aeronautical sciences, including 365 pilots, 386 mechanics, and 99 airways technicians. (See July 16, 1947.)
Calendar Year 1941:Oscar Holmes, the first known African American to become a Federal air traffic controller, joined CAA.
Tuesday, January 6, 1942:Pan American Airways Pacific Clipper landed at New York, the first commercial airplane to circle the globe, exclusive of the continental United States. The aircraft had left San Francisco on December 2, 1941, and was operating in the South Pacific when the Pearl Harbor attack forced it to return to home territory by flying west.
Saturday, February 14, 1942:The Douglas DC-4 Skymaster made its initial flight, thereafter becoming prominent in a generation of four-engine U.S. transports that advanced long-haul air travel. The plane was a scaled-down version of a prototype developed in 1939. The DC-4 carried a crew of six and up to forty-two passengers. Unlike the Boeing 307 and 307B, it did not have a pressurized cabin. The DC-4 entered military transport service with the military designation of C-54.
Spring, 1942:CAA Experimental Station in Indianapolis flight tested a stall-warning indicator for general aviation aircraft. The agency believed that some minor modifications in construction were desirable before a marketable device would be available. (See February 25, 1947.)
Wednesday, April 29, 1942:Reflecting wartime requirements, an amendment to the Civil Aeronautics Act increased the maximum permissible monthly number of flying hours of airline pilots to 100. The former monthly limit for had been 85 hours (see June 12, 1934). This lower maximum was later reinstated by congressional action on July 25, 1947.
Saturday, May 16, 1942:Congress enacted legislation aimed at regulating air freight forwarders. The act prohibited such forwarders from establishing, or the Civil Aeronautics Board from approving, joint rates with common carriers subject to the Interstate Commerce Act.
Monday, July 20, 1942:Charles I. Stanton was sworn in as Administrator of Civil Aeronautics. Nominated on May 27, he had been Acting Administrator since the January 15 resignation of Brig. Gen. Donald H. Connolly (see July 11, 1940). Connolly had resigned to serve on the staff of Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the Army Air Forces. As Military Director of Civil Aviation, Connolly coordinated all civil aviation activities with the program of the Army Air Forces. Stanton had received a B.S. degree from Tufts College in 1917, and had served as a World War I aviator with the 122d Aero Squadron, U.S. Army. His civil aviation career began in 1918, when he was employed in the air mail operations of the U.S. Post Office Department. After leaving the U.S. Air Mail Service in 1923, he became executive officer of the National Aeronautic Association, and later worked for the U.S. Corps of Engineers and in private engineering firms. In 1927 he joined the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce as an airplane and engine inspector, transferring soon afterward to the Airways Division. He served continuously with the Branch and its successor organizations until becoming CAA Deputy Administrator, the post he held at the time of his appointment as Administrator. (See September 23, 1944.)
August 18-20, 1942:Letters from the Acting Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy to the Secretary of Commerce formalized the decision that CAA would perform its war support functions in a civilian status.
Monday, September 14, 1942: To meet the increased tempo of military requirements, CAA established a Pacific Islands Office at Honolulu under the general supervision of the Sixth Region, headquartered at Los Angeles.
Fiscal Year 1942:CAA began a test program to develop a means of preventing damage to aircraft windshields from collision with birds in flight.
Thursday, October 1, 1942:Robert Stanley piloted the initial flight of the first U.S. jet-propelled aircraft, the Bell XP-59A Airacomet, at Muroc, CA. The aircraft was powered by two I-A engines developed by General Electric from the Whittle design. (See September 1941.)
Thursday, October 22, 1942:Westinghouse Electric began development of two 19A axial-flow turbojet powerplants, the first practical jet engine wholly American in design.
Tuesday, December 1, 1942:CAA commissioned the airport traffic control tower at Anchorage, AK.
Monday, December 7, 1942:CAA’s Civilian Pilot Training Program became the CAA War Training Service, a re-designation that recognized changes in progress for some time to gear the program more closely to the needs of the armed services (see December 12, 1941). Beginning July 1, 1942, and lasting until the following December 15, training under the program was given only to members of the inactive reserve of either the Army Air Forces or the Naval Reserve. On December 15, 1942, the Navy placed its trainees under the program on active duty. The Army took this step in the summer of 1943. In all, some 300,000 pilots were trained in the War Training Service phase of the program, which lasted until June 30, 1944, for the Army and until August 4, 1944, for the Navy.
Calendar Year 1942:At the request of the War Department, the Civil Aeronautics Administration assisted the Signal Corps in stepped-up efforts to set up worldwide airways for Air Transport Command operations. High priority was initially assigned to extending the Northeast Airway and establishing the Crimson Airway to guide the mounting flow of military aircraft to the British Isles. Before the African invasion, CAA engineers installed radio communications and air navigation facilities at nine large air bases in South America and Africa on the Southeast Airway. Radio ranges and other facilities also carried military airways services to Pacific battlefields–southwest to Australia and north from Seattle to Attu. In response to Army and Navy requests, CAA had established by the end of 1945 facilities at some 200 locations outside the United States at a total cost of $38 million, exclusive of the DLAND airport program.
Saturday, January 9, 1943:The Lockheed C-69 first flew. After the war, this four-engine, military transport was converted into a successful commercial airliner, the L-049 Constellation. In December 1945, CAA type-certificated the Constellation, which entered commercial passenger service on January 14, 1946, with Pan American. Model L-649, the first version manufactured entirely for civil use, carried 60 passengers and had a range of over 3,000 miles with 8 tons of payload. On November 26, 1968, a Western Air Lines “Connie” completed the type’s last scheduled airline flight in North America.
Monday, January 11, 1943:Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly while holding office when he took off from Miami, FL, aboard Pan American’s Dixie Clipper. On January 14, Roosevelt arrived in French Morocco to attend the Casablanca Conference. (See July 2, 1932.)
Monday, February 1, 1943:CAA inaugurated an expanded flight advisory service at all air route traffic control centers. The centers originated advisories on weather changes and hazardous conditions, and airway communication stations relayed this information to nonscheduled pilots. The service provided these pilots with some of the assistance that airline pilots received from their dispatchers. In July 1943, CAA’s communication stations also began a flight communications service. When contacting pilots by radio, communicators were instructed to volunteer information on important weather changes or inoperative facilities along their route.
Sunday, October 3, 1943:The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory completed the first U.S.-built afterburner for jet engines.
Wednesday, December 1, 1943:National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics researcher John Stack conceived the rocket aircraft research program to investigate the flight characteristics of aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound. A NACA proposal to service representatives the following spring led ultimately to the X-1 research airplane project.
Calendar Year 1943:By the end of the year, CAA had established, as a matter of military necessity, the nucleus of a complete air traffic control system in Alaska. CAA commissioned the airport traffic control tower at Fairbanks on February 1, the air route traffic control center at Ladd Field (Fairbanks) October 14, and a similar center at Anchorage on September 15. The U.S. Weather Bureau began operations at Merrill Field, Anchorage, on February 4.
Saturday, January 15, 1944:CAA commissioned the Honolulu air route traffic control center on this date, followed by the Miami center on August 16.
Monday, May 1, 1944:In United States v. Drumm, a U.S. District Court found that Andrew D. Drumm, Jr., had repeatedly violated Parts 60.30 and 60.31 of the Civil Air Regulations (CARs) by piloting a civil aircraft without a valid pilot certificate and flying an aircraft lacking an airworthiness certificate. Drumm maintained that the CARs did not apply to him since he did not fly on civil airways or over restricted areas. He further contended that the Civil Aeronautics Board had exceeded its statutory authority by promulgating Parts 60.30 and 60.31. The judge found these arguments without merit, upholding Federal authority to certificate every pilot and aircraft using U.S. airspace.
Monday, May 15, 1944:CAA announced that it had trained 1,536 men of the Armed Forces in air traffic control work: 605 Army and 628 Navy enlisted control tower operators and 303 Army flight control officers.
Tuesday, July 11, 1944:CAB issued a report concluding that an experiment in providing short-haul and local scheduled air service should be conducted. The experiment involved the establishment of a new airline category, known as “feeder” or “local service” carriers. On August 1, 1945, Essair (later known as Pioneer Air Lines until merged into Continental on April 1, 1955) became the first airline to fly under the new classification, operating with a temporary certificate. Not until May 19, 1955, did legislation provide for permanent certification of local service carriers. (Later legislation extended permanent certification in 1956 to local service carriers in Alaska and Hawaii and in 1957 to certain carriers operating between Alaska and the United States.) In 1970, the local service category included nine airlines carrying 27 million passengers annually. By that time, the local service airlines had begun referring to themselves as “regionals,” a term later adopted by the commuter airlines (see July 1, 1969) and also used by CAB as part of a system that categorized airlines by their revenue levels (see October 2, 1980).
Monday, August 21, 1944:CAA established a Ninth Region with headquarters at Honolulu. The new office had jurisdiction over the territory of Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean area not within the boundaries of the Eighth Regional Office in Alaska.
Sunday, September 10, 1944:The first airplane designed in World War II exclusively to carry cargo, the C-82, was successfully test-flown at the Fairchild aircraft plant in Hagerstown, MD. Fairchild manufactured 220 planes for the Air Force before discontinuing production in 1948.
Saturday, September 23, 1944:Theodore P. Wright was sworn in as Administrator of Civil Aeronautics. Nominated on August 22, Wright succeeded Charles I. Stanton (see July 20, 1942), who submitted his resignation on August 18 and, on its acceptance, reverted to his former position of Deputy Administrator. Wright was educated at Lombard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was commissioned in the Naval Reserve Flying Corps in 1918, and was superintendent of naval aircraft construction for the New York district during 1921, his last year of naval service. He then joined the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Corporation (later renamed the Curtiss-Wright Corporation) as executive engineer. During his subsequent tenure as chief engineer, the firm produced a number of outstanding aircraft types. In World War II, Wright served with the Advisory Commission for the Council of National Defense as Assistant Chief of the Aircraft Branch of the Office of Production Management (later WPB), and as Director of the Aircraft Resources Control Office of the Aircraft Production Board. He published extensively on topics related to aircraft manufacturing. (See June 1, 1948.)
Sunday, October 1, 1944:CAA issued the first edition of its Statistical Handbook of Civil Aviation, a one volume compilation of essential civil aviation statistics, later superseded by the FAA Statistical Handbook of Aviation.
November 1-December 7, 1944:The International Civil Aviation Conference met in Chicago, attended by representatives of 52 countries. The conference agreed upon the Convention on International Civil Aviation, known as the Chicago Convention. Rejecting the “blue skies” doctrine and reaffirming the principle of national sovereignty in airspace, this agreement laid the groundwork for the first truly global organization for civil aviation–the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO)–and created machinery to assure uniform standards and practices for flight safety and operations. (See June 6, 1945)
Tuesday, November 28, 1944:CAA submitted to Congress a National Airport Plan proposing Federal and state support for airport improvements needed for a forecast increase in civil aviation. The plan was based on cooperative studies that the agency had carried out with local governmental or private interests seeking assistance in postwar airport planning. Its publication helped to stimulate the introduction of congressional bills on airport development. (See May 13, 1946).
Thursday, January 11, 1945:Administrator Theodore P. Wright of the Civil Aeronautics Administration announced the formation of an Advisory Committee on Non-Scheduled Flying, composed of representatives from the aviation industry and the private flyer sector, to assist CAA in planning for increased postwar private flying.
Tuesday, March 27, 1945:An interdepartmental memorandum between the State, War, Navy, and Commerce Departments set up an Air Coordinating Committee (ACC) for the purpose of achieving an integrated and coordinated Federal aviation policy. In May 1946, the ACC established an airspace subcommittee to carry on the work of the Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board (IATCB), which had functioned during the war to resolve civil-military airspace-use problems. On September 19, 1946, the President formally chartered the ACC. Membership now included the State, War, Navy, Post Office, and Commerce Departments, the Civil Aeronautics Board, and the Bureau of the Budget (nonvoting member), although subsequent executive orders made changes in the ACC’s membership from time to time until the committee was abolished in October 1960.
Thursday, April 12, 1945:President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, GA. Vice President Harry S Truman took the oath as President.
Thursday, April 19, 1945:Forty-one airlines from twenty-five nations created a voluntary organization, the International Air Transport Association (IATA), at Havana, Cuba, to prevent airlines from practicing unethical methods of setting rates and schedules. Other international airlines subsequently joined the association. IATA succeeded the International Air Traffic Association, which had been formed at The Hague in 1919.
Tuesday, May 8, 1945:President Truman proclaimed the end of the war in Europe.
Saturday, May 12, 1945:CAA announced the initiation of tests to determine the radius of interference from low- and high-frequency radio stations on radio reception by airplanes. The tests were considered highly important because of their general applicability to the airport construction program being considered by Congress.
Tuesday, May 15, 1945: Effective this date, CAA Administrative Order No. 34 formalized the first steps of an extensive reorganization intended “to meet urgent problems, domestic and foreign, of postwar expansion of civil aviation.” The revised organizational structure redesignated the Federal Airways and Safety Regulation Services as “offices” and established an Office of Airports and an Office of Field Operations. Assistant administrators directed the Washington program offices, and a regional adminstrator replaced the regional manager in supervising each of the nine regions. Based on a concept of decentralized administration, the new pattern of organization placed responsibility upon the regional administrators for the executive direction of CAA programs in their respective regions. The role of the Washington office involved “establishing the broad over-all plans, general policies, and standardization of equipment and procedures.” (See November 3, 1948, and June 2, 1949.)
Friday, June 1, 1945:Ending a monopoly by Pan American Airways, CAB granted three U.S. airlines the authority to serve North Atlantic routes to Europe. The three were Pan American, Transcontinental & Western Air (TWA), and American Export Airlines. On the same day, CAB approved American Airlines’ acquisition of the control of American Export. (See June 28, 1939, and October 24, 1945.)
Friday, June 1, 1945: Effective this date, CAA permitted the physical examination for private and student pilots to be made by any registered physician. (See February 28, 1927, and June 15, 1960.)
Wednesday, June 6, 1945:Representatives from 26 countries created the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO). (See November 1-December 7, 1944, and April 4, 1947.)
Friday, June 29, 1945:CAA announced that it was conducting extensive tests of six different types of airport approach lighting systems under development at its Experimental Station at the Indianapolis Municipal Airport.
Saturday, June 30, 1945: During the fiscal year that ended on this date, CAA began development work on adapting radar to civil aviation at the Indianapolis Experimental Station, using equipment supplied by the Armed Forces. (See July 23, 1935 and May 24, 1946.)
CAA drafted comprehensive proposals for revision of the Civil Air Regulations and submitted them to the Civil Aeronautics Board. The Board was engaged in revising safety regulations to reflect wartime advances in aviation.
CAA also resumed its air marking program, suspended during the war because of security restrictions. The Agency installed markers at 66 points in NC, CT, TX, IL, PA, OH, and WA during the fiscal year.
Sunday, July 1, 1945:CAA reduced the minimum age requirement for a private pilot license from 18 to 17 years. Application for a student pilot certificate could be made at age 16. Any applicant under age 21 was required to submit the written consent of a parent or guardian. At the same time, CAA also lowered the flying time necessary for a private license from 43 to 40 hours for conventional planes and 30 to 27 hours for nonspin type planes. (See April 18, 1939, and May 1, 1967.)
Tuesday, July 3, 1945:CAA created the new position of private pilot examiner to meet the anticipated flood of postwar demands for private pilot examinations.
Tuesday, July 10, 1945:The Civil Aeronautics Board adopted a rule requiring a flight engineer on certain international flights. (See July 8, 1940 and February 15, 1946.)
Monday, July 16, 1945:The United States Government exploded the first atomic device at Alamogordo, NM.
Saturday, July 28, 1945:Flying in fog over New York City, a U.S. Army Air Forces B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building, causing the deaths all three persons on the plane and eleven in the building.
Monday, August 6, 1945:The United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, followed by a second on Nagasaki on August 9. These attacks, and the Soviet declaration of war against Japan on August 8, led to Japan’s surrender on August 14 and the end of World War II. As a result of the war, a total of 1,961 men and 70 women, representing nearly 20 percent of CAA’s personnel, left the agency during 1939-45 to serve in the Armed Forces.
Thursday, September 20, 1945:The first turboprop-powered aircraft flight was completed in Britain by a Gloster Meteor experimentally equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent engines.
Monday, October 1, 1945:CAA commissioned the New Orleans air route traffic control center.
Wednesday, October 24, 1945:A DC-4 operated by American Export Airlines landed at Hurn Airfield, England, after a flight from New York, inaugurating the first scheduled landplane commercial service between North America and Europe. (Pan American had earlier begun the first regular seaplane transatlantic service: see June 28, 1939.) After beginning the new service, American Export adopted the name American Overseas Airlines on November 10, 1945. (See June 1, 1945, and September 25, 1950.)
Monday, December 31, 1945:Dr. Luis W. Alvarez received the 1945 Collier Trophy for his outstanding initiative in the conception of the Ground Controlled Approach (GCA) system and his contribution to its use for the safe landing of aircraft. The Armed Forces had introduced the system during World War II. After the conflict, some urged GCA’s use by civil aviation, while CAA continued to favor the Instrument Landing System (ILS). (See May 2, 1940, March 30, 1947, and April 3, 1947.)
Calendar Year 1945:The principle trade association of U.S. aviation manufacturers adopted the name Aircraft Industries Association of America, or AIA. (It had previously been known as the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America (ACCA), founded in December 1921. ACCA itself had been preceded by the Aircraft Manufacturers Association, founded in 1917 and later known as the Manufacturers Aircraft Association.) In 1959, AIA changed its name again to the Aerospace Industries Association of America, reflecting a membership broadened to include manufacturers of space-related products.
Tuesday, January 15, 1946:CAA announced streamlined inspection procedures intended to prevent bottlenecks in the extensive civilian aircraft production underway. The new procedures provided for appointment from the industry of designated manufacturing inspection representatives and designated aircraft maintenance inspectors. CAA’s increasing use of designees included other regulatory areas. By June 30, 1948, 9,965 representatives of the Office of Aviation Safety were in the designee program, including 2,050 commercial aviation medical examiners, 6,222 airman rating examiners, and 1,693 aircraft service representatives. (See February 9, 1940, and November 25, 1947.)
Tuesday, January 29, 1946:CAA Administrator T. P. Wright received the Daniel Guggenheim Medal for 1945 for notable achievement in the advancement of aeronautics.
Friday, February 1, 1946:Association of Aviation Underwriters announced a 30 percent rate reduction in personal accident insurance for domestic airline passengers.
Monday, February 11, 1946:The United States and Great Britain signed the Bermuda Agreement, an Air Service Agreement for the operation of commercial air services, which set a pattern for the conclusion of subsequent bilateral civil aviation treaties by the United States. (See July 23, 1977.)
Friday, February 15, 1946:The Lockheed L-049 Constellation went into U.S. domestic passenger service. Designed for a three-man crew, the Constellation had a separate panel and side-facing seat for a flight engineer. (See July 10, 1945 and February 21, 1947.)
Thursday, February 28, 1946:The Civil Aeronautics Board approved for one year, beginning on this date, the rate-setting machinery of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The approval was later extended.
Monday, March 4, 1946:The first of a continuing series of international regional air navigation planning meetings sponsored by the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization began at Dublin, Ireland, to determine standard operating procedures for North Atlantic air services. This meeting was followed by similar meetings in the other nine regions of the world. By April 1949, an initial meeting had been held in all ICAO regions.
Friday, March 15, 1946:CAA announced the selection of Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, OK, for the location of its new aeronautical center for training and maintenance. The agency immediately relocated the Standardization Center (Houston), the general aircraft maintenance base for the Midwest, and the Signals Division School, and planned eventually to move all Federal airways schools and similar Agency activities to this central location. Oklahoma City had agreed to build an administration building and two new hangars for CAA’s use.
Thursday, March 21, 1946:The Army Air Forces, the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics, CAA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and the aircraft industry formulated a National Aeronautical Research Policy. Promulgated largely to clarify the relationships of NACA with other research and development agencies, the policy statement charged NACA with responsibility for “research in the aeronautical sciences,” the military services with “the evaluation of military aircraft and equipment and the exploration of possible military applications of research results,” CAA with “expediting the practical use in civil aeronautics of newly developed aircraft and equipment,” and the aircraft industry with “application of research results in the design and development of improved aircraft equipment, both civil and military.”
Friday, March 29, 1946:Executive Order 9709 authorized the Department of Commerce to take over and operate the 200 air navigation facilities in 68 foreign countries installed during the war for military purposes. This interim arrangement was later extended to include Alaska. A previous order in December 1945 had transferred responsibility for air navigation facilities and functions in Iran from the War Department to CAA.
Friday, March 1, 1946:Agreement on certain principles governing Federal-state relationships in aviation law enforcement resulted from meetings of CAA, CAB, and Department of Justice representatives with the National Association of State Aviation Officials. The conferees agreed that CAA would continue to enforce regulations concerning airworthiness of aircraft, competency of airmen, operating standards, and air traffic rules, with the states cooperating in administering punishment for the reckless operation of aircraft in their jurisdictions. States could adopt and enforce their own safety regulations if they were not in conflict with Federal rules (see December 13, 1956). It was also agreed that states could require registration of aircraft provided that the fee was moderate and would be in full substitution for any state, county, and municipal property taxes on the aircraft. State registration of pilots would be permitted if the fee was nominal. CAA reaffirmed its position that it was the states’ function to license airports (see May 21, 1970).
Monday, April 1, 1946:Standards for the Control of Instrument Flight Rule Traffic, a manual approved by the operations executives of the Army Air Forces, Navy, Coast Guard, and CAA, became effective. Its adoption recognized the need for common procedures in the control of civil-military air traffic.
Monday, April 1, 1946:CAA assumed custody from the Army of the files and records relating to instrument approach procedures, and became responsible for processing and approving standardized instrument approach procedures for all civil airports under CAA’s jurisdiction. (See May 1, 1945.)
Wednesday, April 24, 1946:Winged Cargo, Inc. began the first glider commercial freight service, using a DC-3 to tow a Waco glider. The flight took off from Philadelphia and made stops at Miami, Havana, and San Juan.
Monday, April 1, 1946:CAA began biweekly publication of a new Airman’s Guide, consolidating into one comprehensive volume for private and commercial pilots information formerly issued in three separate publications. This publication contained current and standard data on communications and navigational aids, airport facilities, air traffic control procedures, airspace hazards, and other information needed to plan and conduct safe flights. (See December 10, 1964.)
Wednesday, May 8, 1946:The Bell Aircraft Corporation’s Model 47 became the first helicopter to receive a CAA airworthiness type certificate, authorizing mass production.
Monday, May 13, 1946:President Truman signed the Federal Airport Act establishing the Federal-aid airport program (FAAP), the first peacetime program of financial aid aimed exclusively at promoting development of the nation’s civil airports. Sen. Pat McCarran (D-NV) and Rep. Clarence F. Lea (D-CA) had introduced the legislation. The Act authorized appropriations of $500 million for the contiguous United States and $20 million for Alaska and Hawaii over a period of seven years, beginning July 1, 1946. Federal allotments were to be matched by local funds. For fiscal year 1947, Congress appropriated $45 million for construction and nearly $3 million for preliminary planning and surveys. (See Appednix VIII and October 8, 1946.)
Friday, May 24, 1946:The Civil Aeronautics Administration gave an initial demonstration of the first radar-equipped control tower for civilian flying atop the agency’s Experimental Station at Indianapolis Municipal Airport. Raytheon had built the basic radar equipment for the Navy, and the company’s engineers directed modifications at Indianapolis that included improvements lately developed for that service. Among these were an improved search antenna and a feature that eliminated ground clutter by permitting only moving targets to appear on the screen. (See June 30, 1945.)
Monday, May 27, 1946:The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Causby v. United States that flights over private land represent the taking of an air easement if they are “so low and so frequent as to be a direct and immediate interference with the enjoyment and use of the land.” Causby owned a small chicken farm near a municipal airport used by military aircraft that passed over his property at an altitude below 100 feet. The noise from these flights frightened the chickens, caused a drop in production, and eventually forced Causby to close down his chicken-raising operation. The Court found that the United States had taken an air easement over Causby’s property that interfered with its normal use. Causby’s Fifth Amendment rights had been violated, it held, because his property had been put to public use without just compensation. (See December 13, 1956, and March 5, 1962.)
Friday, May 31, 1946:CAA announced that production certificates would be handled by the regional offices rather than from Washington to speed issuance to aircraft manufacturers.
Sunday, June 9, 1946:CAA regional offices, rather than Washington headquarters, became the approving authority for flying schools, repair stations, ground schools, mechanic schools, and parachute lofts. The increasing number of applications for CAA aircraft and airman certificates had made this further decentralization of CAA services necessary.
Tuesday, June 11, 1946:The Administrative Procedure Act became law, prescribing more uniform and publicized procedures for executive agencies to use in rulemaking, adjudicatory proceedings, and similar administrative actions. Federal agencies engaged in rulemaking were required to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register, unless this would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.”. The notice must include: a statement of the time, place, and nature of the public rulemaking proceedings; a reference to the authority under which the rule was proposed; and the substance of the proposed rule. After publishing the NPRM, the rulemaking agency was to give interested persons an opportunity to submit written comments on the proposed rule. The act also made every executive agency action for which no adequate court remedy was provided subject to review by an appropriate national court.
Saturday, June 29, 1946:The Douglas DC-6 made its first flight, and CAA certificated the plane nine months later. The DC-6 entered U.S. domestic passenger service on April 27, 1947. The aircraft, the first Douglas plane with a pressurized cabin, could seat approximately 50 passengers.
Sunday, June 30, 1946:CAA announced the opening of its first two regional medical offices at Santa Monica, CA, and New York, NY. The Agency planned to open a third office in Fort Worth, TX, in July.
Wednesday, July 10, 1946:The Civil Aeronautics Administration announced plans to establish nine new foreign offices during the next year. The locations selected included Paris, London, Cairo, Shanghai, Sydney, and Mexico City. CAA stations already existed at Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and Balboa (Canal Zone).
Thursday, July 11, 1946:CAA grounded the Lockheed L-049 Constellation immediately following a crash that killed four of the five crew members of a TWA plane near the airline’s training base at Reading, PA. This was the most recent in a series of accidents involving fires in the Constellation’s engines. CAA ordered modifications, mainly to the plane’s electrical system and power plants, and the 58 grounded aircraft returned to service on August 24.
Monday, July 15, 1946:CAA Administrator T. P. Wright invited the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the Air Transport Association, and the Aircraft Industries Association to participate in a joint attack on the problem of aircraft engine noise, which “threatens to undermine aviation progress.” Earlier he had recommended to NACA, in which he served as vice chairman, that consideration be given to research directed at reduction of airplane noise levels. Largely as a result of this recommendation, NACA’s Langley Laboratory initiated a research project to investigate propagation of noise from light airplanes.
Thursday, August 1, 1946:A British civil aviation bill was approved, giving the monopoly of British scheduled air services to three state-owned corporations. In addition to the already existing British Overseas Airways Corporation, the British European Airways Corporation, and the British South American Airways Corporation were established.
Friday, August 2, 1946:An act of Congress established the National Air Museum under the Smithsonian Institution. In 1976, the name changed to National Air and Space Museum.
Thursday, August 8, 1946:An amendment to the Civil Aeronautics Act facilitated the participation of the Weather Bureau in international meteorology and gave the Bureau the responsibility of acting as a clearinghouse for research in aeronautical meteorology. The Bureau was also charged with providing for the collection and dissemination of weather observations made by pilots in flight. (See September 15, 1950.)
Thursday, August 15, 1946:For the first time, CAA began charging for certain of its services. The agency began requiring a fee of $5 for registering and recording aircraft titles, with an additional fee of $5 for recordations involving liens or other encumbrances. CAA charged $5 for certificating parachute lofts and $10 for certificating flying and ground schools, mechanic schools, and repair stations. On May 1, 1947 the Agency lowered the aircraft title recording fee to $4.
Sunday, September 1, 1946:The National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) published a model State Aeronautical Commission (or Department) Act incorporating changes suggested by CAA. In October, NASAO approved in principle a CAA redraft of the Model Municipal Airport Act, originally issued by NASO in 1944. The model airport act was intended to promote uniform state legislation enabling cities and other political subdivisions to build and operate airports and to obtain aid under the Federal Airport Act. NASAO had also previously approved a model State Airport Zoning Act (see April 1939).
Friday, September 6, 1946:The United States and Brazil signed an air transportation agreement, the first such agreement to be made with a South American country.
Sunday, September 15, 1946:CAA required all nonscheduled air carriers to apply for an operating certificate by this date, when a new Civil Air Regulations Part 42 governing this category of operator became effective. The nonscheduled carriers had also been required to file a registration statement and financial/traffic report with CAB by September 3. The actions introduced greater oversight of the “nonskeds,” charter operators that offered transport services on an irregular basis. The nonskeds had grown in number and importance due to the post-war availability of surplus aircraft and ex-military pilots. Although now required to have a CAA safety certificate, the nonskeds continued to operate without certification under CAB’s system of economic regulation. Effective June 10, 1947, CAB created the category of noncertificated irregular air carriers as a new designation for the nonskeds. The irregular carriers were divided into two classes according to the size of their aircraft, with those using heavier planes subject to greater economic reporting requirements. (See November 15, 1955.)
Tuesday, October 1, 1946:CAA commissioned the El Paso air route traffic control center.
Tuesday, October 8, 1946:CAA announced the opening of 44 new district offices for the administration of the Federal-aid airport program (FAAP). Of these, 43 were located within the United States and one in Puerto Rico. CAA also established Airport branches in its regional offices at Honolulu and Anchorage. (See May 13, 1946 and January 9, 1947.)
October 10-23, 1946:At the request of the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO), representatives of 60 foreign countries attended demonstrations of U.S. air navigation and air traffic control equipment and techniques at CAA’s Technical Development and Evaluation Center at Indianapolis. These detailed demonstrations helped influence the decision, taken later by the delegates at Montreal, to recommend acceptance of the systems and techniques proposed by the United States as international standards.
Friday, November 1, 1946:CAA activated air traffic control over the North Atlantic in conjunction with the establishment of the North Atlantic Region of ICAO. The agency’s New York oceanic air traffic control center assumed control of that portion of the North Atlantic Region assigned to the United States, assisted by oceanic ARTCC sectors established in Boston, Washington, and Jacksonville. During the previous fiscal year, CAA had already assumed responsibility for certain Atlantic and Pacific oceanic air traffic control services formerly provided at the request of the Army.
Friday, November 22, 1946:CAA Administrator Wright and CAB Chairman James M. Landis established a CAA-CAB Committee, a six-man group created to facilitate coordination between the two bodies.
Saturday, November 23, 1946:The Martin 2-0-2 made its first flight. On August 13, 1947, CAA type-certificated the aircraft, a two-engine transport designed for the short-haul passenger market. The airplane entered service a year later with Northwest Airlines. The Martin was the first airliner to operate on postwar passenger routes that had not seen service during World War II.
Thursday, January 9, 1947:Regulations governing the administration of the Federal Airport Act received final approval, and two days later CAA announced the 1947 construction program, listing 800 airports for either construction or improvement. Published in February, the first National Airport Plan under the program contained a three-year forecast of requirements involving 4,431 locations. Twin Falls, ID, became the first community to receive a grant when, on May 7, the CAA Administrator signed papers for the construction of a class 3 airport at a cost of about $647,000, of which $384,000 was in Federal funds. (See May 13, 1946, June 30, 1954, and Appendix VII.)
Friday, February 21, 1947:The Air Line Pilots Association adopted a resolution providing that all four-engine aircraft be required to carry a flight engineer. (See February 15, 1946 and June 15, 1947.)
Tuesday, February 25, 1947:CAA demonstrated a new stall warning instrument which it had developed. (See Spring 1942.)
Saturday, March 15, 1947:CAA established, “in the interest of safety in air commerce,” airport traffic control zones having radii of three or five miles. In addition to cancellations of airport approach zones, the Agency re-designated a large number of civil airways.
Thursday, March 27, 1947: Figures released by the CAB indicated the strong U.S. position in transatlantic air transport. Three American airlines — Pan American, American Overseas, and Trans Continental and Western Air (TWA) — had made 84 percent of the flights and carried 86 percent of the passengers on transatlantic routes during the preceding year.
Sunday, March 30, 1947:CAA Administrator T. P. Wright announced that he had lowered ceilings and visibility requirement for airlines using the instrument landing system, known as ILS (see May 2, 1940, and July 11, 1947). Scheduled airlines with the proper equipment and training in use of the ILS could now make straight in approaches when the ceiling was 100 feet below the present minimum (400 feet at most airports) and with visibility one-quarter less than present regulations required (generally one mile). After an airline had six months of satisfactory experience with the ILS, its ceiling minimum might be dropped another 100 feet and permissible visibility reduced another one-quarter mile. CAA had no plans to reduce ceilings below 200 feet or visibility below one-half mile. On November 1, Braniff became the first airline to receive permission to lower its ceiling minimum to 200 feet and one-half mile visibility. (See October 2, 1964.)
Thursday, April 3, 1947:CAA began in service testing of GCA (ground controlled approach) radar systems at Washington National and Chicago Municipal Airports. This modified radar precision landing equipment had been developed for military use, loaned to CAA by the Army Air Forces, and installed by the Airborne Instrument Laboratory of the Air Transport Association. New York’s LaGuardia Airport received similar equipment later in the year. (See December 31, 1945, and April 9, 1947.) Another operational service test, started about the same time at Washington National Airport, involved a microwave early-warning radar (MEW), one of the best long-range sets developed during the war. A joint CAA/Army Air Forces undertaking, this test aimed at developing effective means of coordinating MEW data and information from ATC flight progress boards.
Friday, April 4, 1947:CAB certificated Piedmont Airlines as a local service carrier. The airline, whose original routes ran along the Piedmont-Appalachia area, began operations on February 20, 1948. Piedmont expanded steadily during the succeeding decades, then grew rapidly after airline deregulation was introduced in the late 1970s. (See October 30, 1987.)
Friday, April 4, 1947:The Convention on International Civil Aviation came into force after being ratified by 26 countries. (Among these was the United States, which had ratified the Convention on August 9, 1946.) The Convention had been drawn up at a conference in Chicago over two years before (see November 1-December 7, 1944). The fact that it was now in force officially created the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to succeed its temporary predecessor, PICAO (see June 6, 1945). The first General Assembly of ICAO was held in Montreal during May 6-28.
Tuesday, April 8, 1947:American Overseas Airlines obtained rights for commercial service to Finland, the first U.S. route to the Soviet sphere in Europe.
Wednesday, April 9, 1947:CAA granted its first approval of the Air Forces’ Ground Control Approach (GCA) radar device for commercial planes, authorizing its use by Pan American Airways at Gander, Newfoundland. (See April 3, 1947, and July 11, 1947.)
Tuesday, May 13, 1947:Dr. Lewis H. Bauer, a pioneer in aviation medicine who had served as the first medical director of the Aeronautics Branch (1926-1930), received the Theodore C. Lyster award for “outstanding achievement in the general field of aviation medicine,” becoming the first person to receive that prestigious award. The award was established in honor of Brig. Gen. Theodore C. Lyster, the first Chief Surgeon of the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps, U.S. Army, a man generally considered to have been “the father of aviation medicine in America.”
Thursday, June 12, 1947:At the request of the Air Coordinating Committee, the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics established a special committee (SC-31) to study and develop recommendations for the safe control of expanding air traffic. This action followed acceptance by the ACC of an Air Transport Association report on the same problem. (See February 17, 1948.)
Sunday, June 15, 1947:President Harry S Truman appointed a Special Board of Inquiry on Air Safety, headed by CAB Chairman James M. Landis. The action followed a series of three DC-4 airline accidents that claimed the unprecedented total of 145 lives between May 29 and June 13, 1947. On August 15, Landis suggested that the Civil Aeronautics Board immediately hold hearings on airline crew complement to determine whether a flight engineer was required on all four-engine air transports in scheduled domestic passenger service. Between October 6-8, CAB held such hearings, and as a result, in April, 1948, adopted the so-called 80,000-pound rule. Effective December 2, 1948, (subsequently extended to March 31, 1949), all airplanes certificated for a maximum takeoff weight of more than 80,000 pounds were required to carry an airman holding a flight engineer’s certificate. Airmen with a pilot’s or a mechanic’s background could qualify for the certificate. By the end of 1949, the airlines had divided into three groups in implementing the rule. Pan American, Eastern, TWA, American, Chicago & Southern, Continental, National, Northwest, and Western used people with mechanical backgrounds as flight engineers. Braniff, Capital, Delta, Northeast, and Panagra employed pilots. United Air Lines used both pilots and mechanics. (See February 21, 1947 and October 24, 1955.)
Tuesday, June 17, 1947:Pan American Airways inaugurated round-the-world scheduled passenger service, exclusive of the continental United States, as a Lockheed Constellation took off from New York and flew eastward on a route that led to San Francisco. The gap in the circle between San Francisco and New York could not be closed because of a provision in Pan Am’s certificate excluding domestic service. (See January 14, 1958.)
Tuesday, June 24, 1947:A reported sighting of “flying saucers” near Mt. Rainier, Washington, began widespread interest in unidentified flying objects (UFOs) among the American public. In 1948, the Air Force began gathering data on UFO reports under its Project Blue Book. In 1969, a study sponsored by the Air Force rejected the theory that UFOs were extraterrestrial visitors, and Blue Book was discontinued on December 17 of that year.
Monday, June 30, 1947:During the fiscal year ending on this date, the U.S. Army Air Forces inaugurated a military flight communications system, which relieved CAA of responsibility for handling the majority of Army flight plans under visual flight rules and reporting arrivals on the civil communications system. CAA’s handling of communications relating to flights under instrument flight rules remained unchanged.
In view of the trend toward larger and more complex aircraft, CAA completed plans regarding certification of three new classes of flight personnel: flight radio operators, flight navigators, and flight engineers.
CAA also installed the first high-powered, low-frequency, long-range navigation facility, on Nantucket Island, Mass., using temporary radio equipment. Construction materials and 300-foot towers had been procured for this and similar facilities to be built at: San Juan, PR; Omaha, NB; San Francisco, CA; and Honolulu, HI
Sunday, June 1, 1947:Fifty students from the Philippine Republic began training at the Aeronautical Training Center at Oklahoma City under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act. Courses of instruction included air traffic control, airways communications, and airways facilities maintenance. Under the same legislation, CAA also opened an office in the Philippines during 1947 to aid that nation in establishing airway aids.
Tuesday, July 8, 1947:The prototype Boeing 377 Stratocruiser first flew. The 377, an outgrowth of the military B-29 Superfortress and the C-97 military transport, received its CAA type-certificate on September 3, 1948, and first saw service with Pan American World Airways on April 1, 1949. The plane had a spiral staircase leading down to a first class lounge in the lower fuselage. It could carry approximately 100 passengers or could be converted into a sleeper plane with 28 full-sized Pullman berths.
Friday, July 11, 1947:The House Subcommittee of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, chaired by Representative Carl Hinshaw (R-CA), submitted a report recommending creation of a single instrument landing system to safely and economically serve the requirements of both commerce and national defense simultaneously. Addressing the controversy regarding the merits of CAA’s Instrument Landing System, known (ILS) and the military’s Ground Control Approach (GCA) system, the committee recommended that CAA stop installation of additional ILS equipment. The committee suggested further that the United States proceed with the development of an instrument landing system satisfactory for fully automatic landing, and that the most modern GCA be installed at selected airports. Congress endorsed the report through its Aviation Policy Board in March 1948, and recommended, through the Board, that the “single system” program be undertaken. Meanwhile, on July 15, 1947, CAA Administrator Theodore Wright had announced a new civil-military instrument landing system policy. ILS would remain the primary CAA landing aid, but the agency would supplement ILS at busy airports with an element of GCA designated precision approach radar (PAR), along with airport surveillance radar. The Air Force, however, would still rely primarily on GCA, using ILS for heavy planes and as a backup to GCA. (See March 30, 1947, and February 4, 1949.)
Wednesday, July 16, 1947:CAA announced a program under which Latin American aviation leaders would come to the United States to study both the governmental and private phases of the nation’s aviation industry. The effort was closely related to the continuing Inter-American Aviation Training Program (see Calendar Year 1941).
Friday, July 18, 1947:President Truman established a temporary Air Policy Commission, chaired by Thomas K. Fineletter of New York, to assist in formulating an integrated aviation policy. On December 27, 1947, the commission submitted its report, Survival in the Air Age, to the President. Released to the public on January 13, 1948, the report recommended immediate action to increase the military air arm and suggested major changes in the organization of civil aviation agencies. The Commission recommended the creation of a Department of Civil Aviation and a Department of Industry and Trade, both headed by Secretaries reporting directly to the Secretary of Commerce. CAA functions plus the Civil Aeronautics Board’s responsibility for safety regulations were to be vested in the new aviation department, and CAB’s responsibilities would be narrowed primarily to rate and route decisions. An Air Safety Board would be established with responsibility for accident investigations. The CAB and the Safety Board would be independent, but placed within the Civil Aviation Department for housekeeping. The report further proposed that a Government Aircraft Development Corporation be set up within the Department of Civil Aviation to encourage the development of a suitable cargo aircraft, and recommended that a decision be made as to whether military or civil air authorities should have responsibility for the future development of a common system of air navigation.
Friday, July 25, 1947:President Truman approved the National Security Act, which provided for the unification of U.S. Armed Forces, including an Air Force coequal with the Army and Navy, under a new Department of Defense.
Wednesday, July 30, 1947:The President signed Public Law 289, an amendment to the Surplus Property Act of 1944, to help speed the conversion to civil use of airports, airport facilities, and aviation equipment no longer needed by the military. Recognizing that maintenance of the airports would require substantial funds, the law authorized transfer of surplus property to develop sources of revenue from non-aviation businesses at such airports.
Monday, August 25, 1947:CAA announced that survey flights would begin on September 8 for “Skyway One,” a pair of 40-mile-wide paths from Washington to Los Angeles that were to be dotted liberally with air markers to encourage cross-country contact flights by private pilots. Sponsored by a government and civic committee, the project was intended to serve as a model for other such skyways. During 1948, CAA designated a “Skyway No. 2” with terminals at Seattle, WA, and Boston, MA.
Monday, September 1, 1947:CAA took over the maintenance and operation of airport facilities at Midway, Wake, and Guam, which became part of the Federal airways and links in the air routes over the Pacific. Pan American Airways had operated the airports at Wake and Guam after military authorities had relinquished them after the war. (See March 29, 1950.)
Wednesday, October 1, 1947:Los Angeles Airways began the world’s first regularly scheduled mail service by helicopter (as distinct from autogiro service: see July 6, 1939). The carrier operated Sikorsky S-51s within a radius of roughly 50 miles of Los Angeles International Airport. (See July 9, 1953.)
Wednesday, October 8, 1947:New air traffic rules resulting from a revision of Part 60 of the Civil Air Regulations went into effect. Besides substantially altering visual flight rules, the new regulations made some changes in instrument flight rules operations. One section of the regulation set up rules for water operation of aircraft and others applied specifically to helicopter flight rules.
Saturday, October 11, 1947:Representatives of 42 nations signed a convention in Washington, DC, establishing the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which superseded the International Meteorological Organization. A focal point for international efforts toward such goals as common technical standards and a worldwide meteorological network, WMO became a specialized agency of the United Nations in December 1951.
Saturday, October 11, 1947:Trans-Texas Airways began operations as a local service carrier. The airline at first served routes within Texas, reached outside the state in 1953, and acquired routes to Mexico in 1966. It adopted the name Texas International Airlines following a change of ownership in 1968.
Tuesday, October 14, 1947:Maj. Charles E. Yeager, USAF, piloting the Bell X-l rocket-propelled research aircraft at Muroc, CA, became the first pilot to exceed the speed of sound in level flight.
Friday, October 24, 1947:In-flight fire caused the crash of a United Air Lines DC-6 at Bryce Canyon, Utah, with the loss of all 52 persons aboard. On November 11, another in-flight fire caused an American Airlines DC-6 to make an emergency landing at Gallup, NM. Immediately following this second incident, the three airlines using DC-6 aircraft voluntarily withdrew them from service. The CAB determined that the fires had been caused by fuel leaking into the cabin heater system through an air intake scoop. After the problem had been remedied, the DC-6 returned to service in March 1948.
Monday, November 3, 1947:A commission of the International Civil Aviation Organization met in Geneva to consider proposals for a multilateral civil aviation agreement to replace the existing system of bilateral agreements by which traffic rights for scheduled commercial air services were established. Differing views concerning the so-called Fifth Freedom–the privilege of picking up or discharging in a second nation cargo destined to or coming from the territory of a third nation—prevented the commission from concluding any agreement. It recommended, however, that the subject be studied further.
Tuesday, November 25, 1947:CAB published a regulatory amendment permitting CAA to use a Technical Standard Order (TSO) system to facilitate aircraft production. After consultation with industry, CAA would publish TSOs setting specifications for aviation appliances, materials, parts, and processes. Manufacturers need no longer receive CAA type certification for items covered by TSOs. Instead, the manufacturers themselves could certify that their product met the TSO specifications. (See January 15, 1946, and September 29, 1950.)
Wednesday, December 17, 1947:A prototype of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet made its maiden flight. Designed for the War Department as a bomber, the aircraft had thin swept wings and six externally mounted jet engines. The B-47A entered service with the Air Force in May 1951. The Air Force retired the last B-47 operated as a bomber on February 11, 1966, but B-47s continued in service as weather reconnaissance and research aircraft.
Calendar Year 1947:CAA commissioned the first very high frequency omnidirectional radio ranges (VORs). During 1946, the agency had applied wartime technology on an experimental basis when it converted eight radio range stations on the New York and Chicago airway to VOR omnirange stations (see May 1, 1941). As a result of those tests, CAA adopted the VHF omnirange for standard use and began general installation of the new system in 1947. (See October 15-21, 1950.)
Friday, January 16, 1948:The Airport Operators Council was established as an association of operators of U.S. commercial airports. In 1967, the association added the word “International” to its name to reflect a broadened membership. Later, in 1991, the Airport Operators Council International merged with the International Civil Airports Association to form a federation with headquarters in Geneva and six regional affiliates. The new organization adopted the name Airports Association Council International, later becoming simply the Airports Council International (ACI). One of ACI’s six affiliates was a Washington-based organization representing members in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda. This regional organization adopted the name Airports Council International–North America on January 1, 1993.
Friday, January 30, 1948:Orville Wright died at age 76. His brother Wilbur had died of typhoid 36 years earlier, at age 45.
Tuesday, February 17, 1948:The Executive Committee of the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) accepted a special committee report on air traffic control (see June 12, 1947). Prepared by top government-industry representatives and technicians in the field of aeronautical telecommunications, the report outlined “interim” and “target” requirements for a common military-civil air traffic control system. In its recommendations for the transition period, the special committee recommended implementation of very high frequency omnidirectional ranges (VORs) and distance measuring equipment (DME). The plan called for the ultimate development of reliable all-weather navigation and landing aids, integrated into an ultramodern airways traffic control system. The report’s recommendations were accepted by Congress and all major users of the airspace. The RTCA received the 1949 Collier Trophy for these efforts. (See December 1949.)
Monday, March 1, 1948:The Congressional Aviation Policy Board (Brewster Board) released its report. Established pursuant to Public Law 80-287 on July 30, 1947, the Board was to study the current and future needs of American aviation. In its report, the commission concluded “that a strong, stable, and modern civil aviation component is essential” to national security. The report formulated nearly 100 recommendations relating to military and civil aviation, aircraft manufacturing, research and development, and government organization. Realizing the airways system of the country was near the saturation point even for the existing fleet of 1,000 airliners, the board endosed rapid implementation of the RTCA SC-31 program as a first priority step toward the establishment of a common civil-military system. (See February 17, 1948.)
Thursday, April 1, 1948:CAA assumed administrative control of the Landing Aids Experimental Station at Arcata, CA. The station was a joint civil-military, government-industry facility concerned primarily with testing equipment and techniques for bad-weather landings.
Thursday, April 15, 1948:CAA conducted flight demonstrations at Washington National Airport with four types of aircraft equipped with crosswind landing gear developed by the agency through contracts with industry. CAA hoped that availability of the castered gear would encourage wider use of single-strip airports, substantially reducing the large landing areas required for multidirectional runways. On October 15, 1949, CAA’s official journal reported that, as a result of further tests, the agency had approved a new component for DC-3s equipped with a cross-wind undercarriage. CAA stated that planes so equipped could land directly across a wind as high as 40 mph, and hence provide more regular airline service to single-strip airports.
Saturday, May 1, 1948:The Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and CAA officially adopted a revised edition of an April 1, 1946, Army-Navy-Civil (ANC) Manual on air traffic control procedures designed to standardize ATC procedures.
Sunday, May 23, 1948:The Secretaries of Defense and Commerce announced preliminary agreement to set up an Air Navigation Development Board (ANDB). The action resulted from a six-month study by the Research and Development Board of the National Military Establishment. In October and November, the two secretaries signed a charter of agreement concerning the Board, and the Secretary of Commerce formalized its creation with an order dated January 19, 1949. The ANDB’s mission was to formulate a unified program of research and development of “aids for a common national system of air navigation and air traffic control” that would serve both civil and nontactical military aviation but be capable of integration with any air defense system established. The Board was also charged with supervising research and development projects for the common system. While the ANDB investigated the best technology for the common system, CAA continued deployment of VORs, and the Navy continued development of its tactical air navigation system (TACAN), which it had begun to develop in 1947. Military exigencies brought on by the Korean War in 1950 resulted in a de-emphasis of common system development and an acceleration of TACAN development. (See January 1954 and October 29, 1957.)
Friday, May 28, 1948:The President approved legislation directing CAA to construct and operate public airports at or near Anchorage and Fairbanks “adequate for the needs of air-transportation services and air commerce of the United States serving the territory of Alaska and foreign countries by way of points within the territory of Alaska.” The act also authorized the Administrator to provide for facilities, roads, and services necessary to the operation of the airports. The two airports opened for commercial service in 1951, initially using temporary terminal buildings. The state of Alaska assumed responsibility for operating the two facilities in 1960.
Tuesday, June 1, 1948:Delos W. Rentzel became CAA Administrator. He succeeded Theodore P. Wright (see September 23, 1944), who had submitted his resignation on January 11. Before his appointment, Rentzel had served as president of Aeronautical Radio, Inc., from 1943 to 1948, and for 12 years prior to that he had been director of communications for American Airlines. During World War II, he served as a consultant to the Secretary of War on navigational aids and to the Secretary of the Navy on Pacific routes. He was educated at Texas A. & M., where he studied electrical engineering. (See October 4, 1950.)
Tuesday, June 1, 1948:Limited operations began at a major new airport built on the site of Idlewild golf course at Jamaica, NY. Regular commercial operations started on July 1. The facility was dedicated on July 31 as New York International Airport, but was unofficially known as Idlewild. (See December 24, 1963.)
Wednesday, June 16, 1948:The International Aviation Facilities Act became law. It authorized the CAA Administrator to improve air navigation facilities abroad and to train foreign nationals to operate such facilities whenever it benefited U.S. air carriers. The act gave the Administrator responsibility for maintaining a record of deficiencies in aviation facilities used by U.S.-flag carriers and to plan appropriate programs for their correction.
June 16 and 19, 1948:President Truman signed two amendments to the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 to encourage the financing of aircraft purchases. The first limited the liability of owners not actually exercising control over the operations of the aircraft; the second provided a system for the recording of liens on aircraft engines and spare parts used by air carriers.
Thursday, June 24, 1948:The Soviet Union stopped rail and road traffic between Berlin and the West. The Western Powers began airlifting vital supplies to the beleaguered city. The following month, at the request of the Air Force, CAA dispatched an initial group of 20 volunteer air traffic controllers to Frankfurt and Berlin for duty in the airlift operation. CAA also provided VHF air navigation aids. The Berlin blockade was officially lifted on May 12, 1949.
Tuesday, June 29, 1948:The President approved legislation that authorized and funded a training program for air traffic control tower operators. It also empowered the CAA Administrator to conduct studies and research to determine the most desirable qualifications for such operators. (See Calendar Year 1968.)
Wednesday, June 30, 1948:The Bell Telephone Laboratories made the first public demonstration of the point contact transistor, developed by two Bell scientists, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain. The background of this achievement included work by another Bell scientist, William Shockley, who in 1951 invented a simpler and improved amplifying device, the junction transistor. Great advances in electronics resulted from the introduction of the transistor, which virtually replaced the vacuum tube.
Thursday, July 1, 1948:New amendments to the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938 became effective which authorized CAB to delegate to the CAA Administrator certain of its safety rulemaking and accident investigating functions; removed the restriction that air navigation facilities be established only on airports and along civil airways; and redefined and clarified a number of administrative and investigative responsibilities of the Administrator.
Thursday, July 29, 1948:Approval of a CAA mission to Venezuela brought the number operating in South America to four. In order of their establishment, they included missions to Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
Sunday, August 1, 1948:The Secretary of Defense issued an order abolishing the 32-year-old Aeronautical Board, composed at the time of three members each of the Air Force and Navy and one Army member. Its functions were transferred to the Munitions Board and the Research and Development Board.
Sunday, August 29, 1948:A Northwest Airlines Martin 2-0-2 crashed near Winona, MN, with the loss of all 37 persons aboard. The accident showed structural problems with the wings, and all 2-0-2s were withdrawn from service. After extensive modification, they returned to service on September 1, 1950, with the designation 2-0-2A, but airline confidence in the model had been weakened.
Monday, September 13, 1948:To speed certification of aircraft and aircraft parts, CAA announced that type certificates would be issued in its nine regions rather than at headquarters in Washington, DC.
Wednesday, November 3, 1948:CAA announced that Wallace Clark and Company, a management consultant firm, would conduct an impartial survey of the agency’s management practices. Submitted in March 1949, the study concluded that the Administrator was involved in too much routine contact with subordinates. Results of the study included a reduction in the number of officials reporting directly to the Administrator. (See June 2, 1949.)
Monday, November 22, 1948:The Wright brothers’ Kitty Hawk airplane, the Flyer I, arrived at the Smithsonian Institution after 20 years in the South Kensington Museum, London.
Tuesday, November 30, 1948:The Curtiss-Wright Corporation demonstrated its new reversible-pitch propellers, which permitted a DC-4 transport to make a controlled descent from 15,000 to 1,000 feet in 1 minute 22 seconds.
Wednesday, December 1, 1948:CAA commissioned the San Juan air route traffic control center.
Tuesday, December 7, 1948:The American Federation of Labor chartered the Flight Engineers International Association (FEIA), comprised largely of flight engineers with backgrounds in mechanics. Flight engineers had originally sought to join the Air Line Pilots Association, but had been rebuffed by the pilots. Eventually, FEIA representated flight engineers at eight major U.S. airlines.
Tuesday, December 28, 1948:CAA ordered a complete end to racial segregation at Washington National Airport following a Department of Justice opinion that the Administrator had authority to issue such a ruling notwithstanding the apparent incorporation of the Virginia segregation statute in the Federal law governing the airport.
Wednesday, December 29, 1948:CAA revealed details of a U.S.-U.K. agreement based on previous action by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The United Kingdom agreed to install an airway and traffic control system similar to that then in use in the United States. The United States would procure four low-frequency radio ranges to supplement the three already operating in the British Isles, and assist in installing the facilities as requested.
Calendar Year 1948:CAA type-certificated the Allison model 400-C-4 jet engine this year, the first jet engine to receive CAA approval for commercial transport operations.
Tuesday, January 11, 1949:The Civil Aeronautics Board granted a certificate of convenience and necessity as a local service carrier to All American Airways, which had been founded in 1937 as All American Aviation. Beginning operations under its new certificate on March 7, All American served the northeastern United States. On January 1, 1953, the carrier changed its name to Allegheny Airlines. It subsequently absorbed Lake Central Airlines on July 1, 1968, and Mohawk Airlines on April 12, 1972. (See October 28, 1979.)
Friday, February 4, 1949:CAA granted authorization for commercial planes to use ground control approach (GCA) radar as a “primary aid” for bad-weather landings. (See April 9, 1947.)
Friday, February 25, 1949:The U.S. and Greek Governments concluded an agreement that provided for a civil aviation mission to Greece under the sponsorship of the Economic Cooperation Administration. The thirteen CAA specialists named to the mission left for Greece in April to aid in the establishment, maintenance, and operation of civil aviation facilities. CAA team also was to train Greek personnel in the operation and maintenance of the facilities, which were to provide at least minimum requirements for safe international air transportation.
February 26-March 2, 1949:The Lucky Lady II, a USAF Boeing B-50 commanded by Capt. James Gallagher, made the first nonstop round-the-world flight, covering 23,452 miles in 94 hours l minute. The aircraft, which took off from and returned to Carswell Air Force Base, in Fort Worth, TX, was refueled in flight four times. (See December 23, 1986.)
Tuesday, March 1, 1949:The Hoover Commission (Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government) submitted to Congress its recommendations concerning reorganization of the Commerce Department. Disagreeing with the suggestion of its task force that a new Department of Transportation be created, the Commission recommended grouping within the Commerce Department all major nonregulatory transportation activities of the Federal government. The report visualized replacing CAA with a Bureau of Civil Aviation having the authority to promulgate and enforce all air safety rules, while the Civil Aeronautics Board exercised only review responsibility with respect to such rules. It also recommended that the aeronautical research function as well as the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) be brought into the proposed Bureau of Civil Aviation. (See February 9, 1950.)
Wednesday, March 30, 1949:The President approved legislation providing for construction of a permanent radar defense network for the United States.
Monday, April 4, 1949:The North Atlantic Treaty was signed by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Foreign Ministers of Britain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, and Portugal. Article 5 of the treaty specified that “an armed attack against any one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.”
May 1-June 30, 1949:Operation Blackjack, a joint Air Defense Command/CAA training exercise, was conducted in the northeastern part of the United States to develop effective procedures for separating “unfriendly bombers” from normal air traffic moving in the area.
Wednesday, May 18, 1949:New York’s first helicopter station began operating at pier 41 on the East River.
Tuesday, May 31, 1949:Earl F. Ward died at age 56. An American Airlines executive, Ward organized the nation’s first air traffic control center (see December 1, 1935). In March 1936, he joined the Commerce Department as Supervisor, Airway Traffic Control, and during the next year became head of the new Airways Operations Division. Ward played an important part in conceiving and organizing the early en route traffic control system. At the time of his death, he was assisting in aviation planning in Chicago on behalf of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
Thursday, June 2, 1949:Administrator D. W. Rentzel announced completion of a CAA reorganization begun in May 15, 1945 (see that date). The change was intended to centralize policy control to assure uniformity, while allowing technical supervision of programs to continue in the field. The Administrator was now assisted by two deputies, one charged with general supervision of personnel, budget, and management functions. The other deputy coordinated the activities of Washington offices in planning all programs and evaluating their implementation in the field. Additional steps to insure a closely knit organization included establishment of a staff school where technical personnel would receive uniform training in administrative procedures, and placement of Washington representatives on regional boards for approving new types of aircraft.
The principle headquarters offices now were: Federal Airways (building, maintaining, and operating the air navigation and air traffic control system); Airports (the Federal Aid Airport Program and airport advisory services); Aviation Safety (airworthiness, airman competency, medical certification, flight operations, and other safety issues); Technical Development (development and testing of air navigation devices and other aviation products); General Counsel (legal affairs); Aviation Information (information, publications, and audio-visual services); and Aviation Development (a recently formed office bringing together the developmental functions of aviation education, air marking, personal flying promotion, and flight information). The Office of Field Operations was abolished. A new International Region, with headquarters in Washington, was given responsibility for CAA’s international affairs and missions abroad. The reorganization also involved a sharper delineation of the responsibilities of the Administrator’s “special” and “program” staff officials.
Friday, July 1, 1949:CAA inaugurated the first direct radiotelephone communications service between aircraft and an Air Route Traffic Control Center at the Chicago ARTCC. Extension of this capability to all ARTCCs was completed in 1955.
Friday, August 12, 1949:Effective this date, CAB awarded experimental five-year certificates authorizing scheduled all-freight operations to four airlines: Slick Airways, the Flying Tiger Line, U.S. Airlines, and Airnews. The four were among the few independent freight lines that had survived a rate war with the scheduled air carriers. In the long term, the most successful of them proved to be the Flying Tiger Line, which had been formed on July 25, 1945, by veterans of the American Volunteer Group that had served in Asia under Gen. Claire Chennault.
Friday, September 23, 1949:President Truman announced that within recent weeks the Soviet Union had succeeded in exploding a nuclear device.
Saturday, October 1, 1949:CAA issued to Compania Mexicana de Aviacion, Mexico City, the first certificate authorizing a foreign repair station to perform work on U.S. aircraft. The authority to issue foreign repair station certificates was provided by Civil Air Regulations Amendment 52-1, which became effective March 10, 1949. By June 30, 1952, CAA had certificated 17 foreign repair stations.
Tuesday, November 1, 1949:An Eastern Airlines Douglas DC-4 and a Lockheed P-38 collided on final approach to Washington National Airport as the P-38 overtook the airliner. All 55 people aboard the air carrier died, a higher toll than in any previous U.S. air accident. The fatalities included Congressman George J. Bates (R-MA) and former Congressman Michael J. Kennedy (D-NY). The P-38, a twin-engine fighter had been recently purchased for delivery to the Bolivian government. Its pilot, a Bolivian citizen on a familiarization flight, survived. CAB’s report cited the probable cause of the accident as the P-38 pilot’s execution of a straight-in final approach without proper clearance and without exercising the necessary vigilance. Six weeks later, on December 12, Washington National was the scene of another fatal accident when a Capital Airlines DC-3 carrying 20 passengers and a crew of three stalled during approach and crashed into the Potomac River, killing the pilot, copilot, and four passengers.
Friday, November 25, 1949:CAA’s Administrator enunciated the “single runway policy” covering the use of Federal matching funds in the Federal-aid airport program. In substance, the new policy stated additional runways that provided only wind coverage or conveniences without increasing traffic capacity were not of sufficient value to justify the cost of construction. (See January 9, 1947.)
Thursday, December 1, 1949:The Air Coordinating Committee authorized the establishment, under its Air Traffic Control and Navigation Panel, of a full-time special working group to develop a specific and detailed transitional “common system” based on the recommendations of the RTCA SC-31 report (see February 17, 1948). The group included operational and technical specialists representing both government and industry and both civil and military aviation. During the week of October 22, 1950, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the group conducted an operational demonstration of the air traffic principles recommended for use during the transitional period. Its report, Air Traffic Control and the National Security, completed in December 1950, recommended that radar be put into immediate use for monitoring and expediting air traffic control in terminal areas.
Calendar Year 1949:The Brookings Institution issued a study entitled National Transportation Policy, a study that was an outgrowth of the participation of authors Charles L. Dearing and Wilfred Owen in the activities of the Hoover Commission (see March 1, 1949). The report recommended that Congress establish four offices for the water, highway, aviation, and railroad modes and a Transport Regulatory Commission that would take over the rate setting and other economic regulatory functions of the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Maritime Commission, and the Interstate Commerce Commission. The study also recommended against an independent accident investigation board. (See October 15, 1966)
Primary Sources:
Dated items along the left margin of the FAA History Pages were compiled from the series of FAA’s ‘Historical Chronology’ PDF files. For a list and links to uploaded copies of these PDF files, see aiReform’s ‘FAA History’ main page (link above).
Additional content has been compiled from Wikipedia and other sources; these items are presented along the right margin, and include significant accidents, Whistleblower case actions, various news items, ATC technology developments, links to related material, comments, etc. Further content will be added at a later date.