FAA History: 1964

Thursday, January 9, 1964:The Federal Aviation Agency stated that its recent tests indicated that crash locator beacons could effectively aid in the location of downed aircraft. (See February 26, 1968.)
Wednesday, January 15, 1964:Six companies submitted supersonic transport (SST) design proposals to FAA in response to the agency’s August 1963 request for such proposals. The companies included three airframe manufacturers (Boeing, Lockheed, and North American Aviation) and three engine manufacturers (General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, and Curtiss-Wright). (See November 19, 1963, and April 1, 1964.)
Monday, January 20, 1964:The Beech King Air first flew. The aircraft received type certification on May 19, becoming the first U.S. light twin-engine turboprop business aircraft to be type-certificated.
Thursday, January 30, 1964:FAA established a staffing validation program to provide a systematic and standardized agency wide approach to the problem of developing accurate staffing requirements. Under this program, staffing standards would largely be determined by onsite fact-finding studies conducted by specialists trained in the program’s concepts and techniques.
Monday, February 3, 1964:A series of sonic boom studies began as FAA launched a six-month project to test public reaction to the phenomenon in Oklahoma City, using regularly scheduled overflights by Air Force supersonic jets. On August 5, the National Academy of Sciences announced the establishment of a committee to study effects of sonic boom as related to the development of the supersonic transport. On November 18, FAA launched a three-month study of the effects of sonic boom on typical structures in White Sands, N.M. (See January 27, 1965.)
Tuesday, February 4, 1964:As part of a continuing effort to modernize the National Airspace System, FAA announced the first phase of a long range plan to gradually reduce the number of flight service stations (FSSs) in the contiguous 48 states from 297 to 150 hard-core stations backed up by a network of manned and remote communications links. The resulting consolidated FSS system, made possible by advances in communications technology, would require between 500 and 600 fewer flight service specialists than the existing system and would save approximately $3 million annually, according to FAA estimates. In the first consolidation phase, 42 stations would be replaced either by manned information and communications facilities (MANICOMs) or airport information desks (AIDs), which would function as satellites of hard-core stations. President Johnson approved the plan, and on April 14, 1964, instructed FAA Administrator Halaby to “move as rapidly as possible to close unnecessary flight service stations.” The plan, however, encountered strong resistance from general aviation organizations, individual private pilots, and communities where FSSs were scheduled to be closed. Critics of the plan argued that the remote, impersonal service provided by AIDs was no substitute for on the-spot service offered by manned stations. In view of this opposition, Congress attached a rider to the fiscal year 1965 Independent Offices Appropriations Act restraining FAA from closing any flight service stations during fiscal 1965. After restudying the plan, FAA in August 1965 informed Congress that it would not implement the consolidation program; instead, it would evaluate the service needed in each FSS area on a case-by-case basis. (See February 1976.)
Monday, March 16, 1964:A manpower study conducted by FAA revealed an approaching shortage of aircraft maintenance personnel. The survey, “Report of 1962 Survey of Maintenance Airmen,” revealed that only 3 percent of the total aviation mechanic work force was between 18 and 24 years of age, and relatively few members of this age group were entering the aviation mechanic career field. The survey found that many aviation mechanics were discovering lucrative job opportunities in the missile and space fields. (See September 30, 1964, and March 17, 1965.)
Friday, March 27, 1964:The severe “Good Friday” earthquake destroyed the Anchorage airport traffic control tower. One FAA employee died in the quake, which registered between 8.5 and 8.7 on the Richter scale. As a result of widespread damage in the Alaska area, Congress authorized FAA to retain jurisdiction for two more years over 15 airports in Alaska. The agency operated these airports under the Alaska Omnibus Act of 1959, which funded the reimbursement of Federal agencies performing services for the new state of Alaska normally performed by state or local governments. Authorization for these funds had been due to expire on June 30, 1964, but was extended to June 30, 1966 by Public Law 88-311, enacted May 27, 1964.
Wednesday, April 1, 1964:Executive Order 11149 established the President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport (SST) to advise President Lyndon B. Johnson on “all aspects of the supersonic transport program.” The committee’s original membership included Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara (chairman), Treasury Secretary C. Douglas Dillon, Commerce Secretary Luther H. Hodges, NASA Administrator James E. Webb, FAA Administrator N. E. Halaby, CIA Director John A. McCone, and two private citizens: Eugene R. Black, former president of the World Bank, and Stanley de J. Osborne, Chairman of the Board of Olin Mathieson. The committee remained in existence until September 5, 1968, when it was terminated by the President. Also on April 1, 1964, FAA’s Deputy Administrator for SST Development Gordon Bain reported on the results of a evaluation made in Phase I of the SST design competition. A 210-person Federal team gave the highest competitive scores to the Boeing variable-sweep wing airframe design and the General Electric after-burning turbojet engine design. In transmitting these results to Administrator Halaby, Bain recommended that the two companies be selected to go into a one-year noncompetitive detailed-design phase. (See January 15 and May 20, 1964.)
Wednesday, April 15, 1964:FAA established a Value Engineering Staff to achieve engineering objectives at the lowest overall cost. Value engineering (or value analysis) was to be applied to design, construction, installation and other activities involved in FAA’s programs for establishing air navigation and air traffic control facilities.
Friday, April 17, 1964:Geraldine (“Jerrie”) Mock completed the first solo flight around the world by a woman. Mock made the 23,103-mile flight in 29 days 11 hours 59 minutes, landing at Port Columbus Airport, Ohio. Later, on April 10, 1966, she set a world nonstop distance record for women of 4,550 miles.
Friday, April 24, 1964:The deliberate wrecking of a Douglas DC-7 near Phoenix, AZ, began a testing program in which FAA and the Flight Safety Foundation attacked the problem of preventing post-crash fatalities. FAA crashed a Lockheed 1649 Constellation at the same site in September 1964. These experiments reflected a growing realization that fatalities in takeoff or landing accidents could be reduced if passengers were prevented from colliding with the aircraft’s interior structure or furnishings and protected from post-crash fire and smoke. The test aircraft crashed through manmade barriers and then into a rocky slope, carrying dummy passengers, cameras, and instruments for recording impact forces, G-forces, hydrostatic pressures, and other stresses. The tests provided valuable data on such matters as fuel spillage, safety characteristics of rear-, forward-, and side-facing passenger seats, and the efficacy of passenger-restraining devices. Beginning in April 1965, FAA used the wrecked Constellation’s fuselage for emergency evacuation tests. (See June 7, 1965, and September 20, 1967.)
Monday, May 4, 1964:President Johnson announced the formation of a 32-member FAA Women’s Advisory Committee on Aviation, created to advise the FAA Administrator on problems and matters relating to women in civil aviation. On January 23, 1975, the name of the group was changed to Citizens Advisory Committee on Aviation, and the membership expanded to include men. The committee was terminated on January 23, 1977.
Thursday, May 7, 1964:A passenger shot the captain and first officer of a Pacific Air Lines Fokker F-27 en route from Reno, NV, to San Francisco, CA. The aircraft crashed near San Ramon, CA, killing all 44 occupants. (See August 6, 1964.)
Wednesday, May 20, 1964:President Johnson gave his approval for the U.S. supersonic transport (SST) development program to proceed into Phase IIA — a six-month design competition between two airframe manufacturers (Boeing and Lockheed) and two engine manufacturers (General Electric and Pratt & Whitney). The President based his decision on the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport made on May 15, 1964. On June 1, the four competitors signed the six-month Phase IIA contracts. The contracts authorized each air frame manufacturer to spend at the rate of $1 million per month during the contract period and each engine manufacturer at a rate of $835,000 per month. All four manufacturers agreed to bear 25 percent of the contract costs. The design competition was subsequently extended for an additional six month period designated Phase IIB. (See April 1, 1964, and July 1, 1965.)
Monday, June 1, 1964:La Guardia Airport opened to scheduled air carrier jet operations. Jet air carriers had begun operating at John F. Kennedy International Airport on October 4, 1958, and at Newark Airport on September 11, 1961. (See April 24, 1966.)
Monday, June 1, 1964:The French-Anglo-United States Supersonic Transport (FAUSST) group opened its first meeting. The group was established to exchange information on airworthiness and environmental matters in SST development, certification, and operation. FAA represented the United States in the group.
Friday, June 26, 1964:FAA issued a rule requiring Cockpit Voice Recorders to be installed in certain aircraft used by air carriers or commercial operators. The rule applied to large turbine-powered aircraft and to large pressurized aircraft with four piston-type engines. The compliance date, as subsequently amended, was March 1, 1967. In the event of an accident, the voice recorder could provide the cockpit conversation of the aircrew during the preceding half-hour, which might give investigators clues to the nature and cause of the mishap. The information from this device would supplement that provided by the aircraft’s Flight Data Recorder. (See August 5, 1957, and May 4, 1970.)
Wednesday, July 1, 1964:Continuing its consolidation of air route traffic control centers, FAA decommissioned the St. Louis center and transferred its functions to the Kansas City center. The agency subsequently decommissioned the Detroit center on July 5 (transferring it responsibilities to the Cleveland center) and the Phoenix center on August 20 (transferring responsibilities to the Albuquerque center).
Tuesday, July 7, 1964:President Johnson issued Executive Order 11161 directing FAA and the Department of Defense (DOD) to plan on the basis of the probability that in time of war FAA would become an adjunct of DOD. Under the guiding concept, FAA would remain organizationally intact and the Administrator would retain responsibility for his statutory functions, “subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of Defense to the extent deemed by the Secretary to be necessary for the discharge of his responsibilities . . . .” The Secretary of Defense was explicitly authorized to direct the Administrator to place operational elements of FAA under the direct control of military commanders. The order also required the Secretary and the Administrator to assure that during any national emergency short of war the functions of FAA would be performed in a manner satisfying essential national defense requirements. As a step in executing the order, FAA and DOD agreed on a memorandum of understanding on April 13, 1966. The understanding covered the relationship between the two agencies in the event that FAA became an adjunct of DOD, and provided for planning for this eventuality and for lesser emergencies.
Monday, July 20, 1964:To decentralize and thus speed up operational decision-making in airspace management, FAA transferred the responsibility for designating controlled airspace in terminal areas from Washington to the regional headquarters.
Tuesday, July 21, 1964:Pan American World Airways announced that inertial navigation systems would be installed on most of its jet aircraft. (See September 7, 1961, and December 15, 1969.) An inertial navigation system, being independent of external referents, permitted increased accuracy in navigation over oceans and other expanses where surface navigation aids were not available and where the conventional magnetic compass was unreliable (as in transpolar flight).
Thursday, August 6, 1964:An FAA rule effective this date required the closing and locking of crew compartment doors of scheduled air carriers and other large commercial aircraft in flight to deter passengers from entering the flight deck either intentionally or inadvertently (see May 7, 1964). The agency made exception for takeoffs and landings of certain aircraft in which the door involved led to a required passenger emergency exit. On December 18, 1965, FAA published a rule that extended this exception to aircraft in which the crew compartment door led to a floor level exit that was not a required emergency exit, but which might nevertheless assist passenger evacuation.
Friday, August 7, 1964:Congress passed the Tonkin Gulf Resolution supporting intervention in the Vietnam conflict. U.S. involvement in the war had begun with the assignment of advisors to South Vietnam in the mid-1950s, and its scope increased greatly in the mid-1960s. The last U.S. troops left Vietnam in March 1973. (See Spring 1975.)
Monday, September 7, 1964: Effective this date, FAA prescribed more rigorous safety standards for air-taxi operators and commercial operators of small aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less. The new directive was designated Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations in accordance with an ongoing recodification (see December 31, 1964), and its scope included the larger scheduled air taxis later designated commuter airlines (see July 1, 1969). Part 135 contained provisions on pilot qualifications, operational procedures, and aircraft equipment. Need for the new standards was underscored by a marked increase in the complexity and volume of air-taxi operations. The scheduled air taxi was becoming a popular means of transportation where small airports were located near industry or population centers, or where route-carrier scheduling did not meet local need. Aircraft manufacturers contributed to the growth of this mode of transportation by designing small aircraft especially suited for air-taxi operations. Route carriers, recognizing the potential of the air taxi as a feeder to main terminals, also contributed by entering into operating agreements with air-taxi operators. (See February 1968 and Calendar year 1968.)
Thursday, September 17, 1964:FAA implemented a simplified two-layer airway route structure, replacing the previous three-layer system (see April 6, 1961). The lower layer of the new structure extended generally from an altitude of 1,000 feet to 18,000 feet, and the jet route portion from 18,000 to 45,000 feet. Airspace above 45,000 feet was reserved for point-to-point operations on a random routing basis. Besides requiring fewer aeronautical navigation charts, the new system reduced pilot-controller workload by requiring fewer radio contacts and navigational checkpoints. As a necessary complement, FAA revised rules governing use of the standard altimeter setting by lowering the base altitude for such settings from 24,000 to 18,000 feet above mean sea level. (See March 4, 1965.)
Monday, September 21, 1964:The Air Force XB-70A supersonic aircraft made its first flight. Subsequent flights of this steel-bodied airplane, which had been conceived as a bomber but recast as a research aircraft, provided the FAA-managed U.S. supersonic transport development program with useful technical data. (See June 8, 1966.)
Saturday, September 26, 1964:The Bureau of Budget released the first significant amount of hardware-procurement funds for modernizing the National Airspace System (NAS). These funds were specifically designated for installing the first complete NAS En Route Stage A configuration (FAA’s semi-automated system for en route air traffic control) at the ARTCC at Jacksonville, FL. (See February 1, 1967.) Modernization of both the en route and terminal air traffic control subsystems of NAS had been recommended in 1961 by the Project Beacon task force (see September 11, 1961). The modernization was a long-range program that would require a decade or longer to fully implement. The air traffic control system targeted for replacement was essentially a manually operated system employing radar, general purpose computers, radio communications, and air traffic controllers. Only five ARTCCs (New York, Boston, Washington, Cleveland, and Indianapolis) had computers capable of processing flight data, calculating flight progress, checking for errors, and distributing flight data to control sectors. The old system had a two-dimensional radar display, which permitted controllers to view only an aircraft’s range and bearing. Vital information such as altitude and identity was obtained through voice contact with the pilot or from the flight plan. To retain the correct identity of an aircraft target, controllers were required to tag the targets with plastic markers (known as “shrimp boats”) and move the markers by hand across the radar display. The planned semi-automated system would perform these functions automatically, faster, and more accurately than the controller. Properly equipped aircraft would report their altitude, identity, and other flight data automatically at any given time. The computer processed messages would appear on a radar display next to the aircraft they identified, in the form of alphanumeric symbols which would make the radar display three-dimensional in effect. (See October 6, 1964, May 24, 1965, and December 30, 1968.)
Tuesday, September 29, 1964:The tilt-wing XC-142A (LTV-Hiller-Ryan VHR-447), a triservice assault transport, made its first flight, flying horizontally. This V/STOL (vertical/short takeoff and landing) aircraft was capable of taking off, landing, and flying like a helicopter or a conventional aircraft. The craft made its first hovering flight on December 29, 1964, and its first transition flight–from hover to horizontal flight and return–on January 11, 1965.
Wednesday, September 30, 1964:FAA released the Project Long Look study by the Aviation Human Resources Study Board that Administrator Halaby had created on February 6, 1964. The study warned of deficiencies in career planning and training of both flight and mechanic personnel, citing a decrease in the number of schools offering aviation training and in aviation course enrollment. Most new pilots were business people over age 35, few persons under 30 were learning to fly, and the percentage of young student pilots going on to earn pilot certificates was relatively small. Estimating that demand for air carrier and other commercial aircraft pilots would increase some 73 percent between 1965 and 1980, the Board recommended a government/industry program to encourage young people to choose aviation careers, including establishment of scholarships for pilot and aviation mechanic trainees. (See March 16, 1964, and March 17, 1965.)
September 1964:FAA’s Pacific Region headquarters staff moved into the newly completed headquarters building in Honolulu, bringing together personnel formerly housed in four widely dispersed buildings.
Friday, October 2, 1964:Taking another step toward the goal of all-weather landing, FAA announced qualifying criteria for Category II landing operations. Air carrier and commercial aircraft operators meeting these criteria could land at properly equipped airports under weather conditions permitting a decision height (vertical visibility) as low as 100 feet and a runway visibility range (horizontal visibility) as low as 1,200 feet. Hitherto, under Category I weather minimums, landing operations were permitted only when the decision height was at least 200 feet and the runway visibility range was at least 1,800 feet (four-engine jets required a runway visibility range of 2,600 feet). An operator able to qualify would first be permitted to land with a decision height of at least 150 feet and a runway visibility range of at least 1,600 feet. After six months of successful operation with these minimums, the operator could be authorized to use the lower minimums of 100 and 1,200. On October 29, 1965, United Air Lines became the first to qualify for the initial step of the Category II approval process, receiving authorization to use the 150 and 1,600 minimums with its DC-8 aircraft. (See March 30, 1947, and August 7, 1967.)
Friday, October 2, 1964:President Johnson proclaimed 1965 as International Cooperation Year (ICY) within the United States, in support of a similar action by the United Nations on a global basis. FAA was represented on the President’s ICY Cabinet Committee, which planned and coordinated United States participation in ICY, and chaired the ICY Aviation Committee.
October 3-4, 1964:The Eastern and Southern regions jointly conducted a general aviation airlift exercise, called “Survival East and South 1964,” to test the effectiveness of general aviation in support of military operations and civil survival efforts in a national emergency.
Tuesday, October 6, 1964:FAA established the National Airspace System Special Projects Office (NASSPO) to provide the management leadership and coordination necessary for the effective and timely implementation of the semi-automated air traffic control subsystem of the National Airspace System. (See September 26, 1964, and April 25, 1966.)
Tuesday, October 6, 1964:The Sikorsky S-61L and S-61N became the first civil helicopters in the non-communist world to be certificated for instrument flight rules (IFR) operations. (See March 1, 1962.)
Friday, October 16, 1964:The regulation of air cushion vehicles, or hovercraft, fell within the Federal Maritime Commission’s jurisdiction — not FAA’s or CAB’s — according to a statement issued by seven Federal agencies and bureaus. (See November 1967.)
Sunday, October 18, 1964:FAA dedicated the Aviation Records Building at the Aeronautical Center, Oklahoma City.
Friday, October 30, 1964:FAA and Eurocontrol signed an agreement to increase their cooperative efforts in the area of air safety. The agreement opened the way for a free exchange of technical information and air traffic statistics between the two organizations. Eurocontrol was an organization of six European States established in 1963 for the unified control of air traffic in the upper airspace of Europe. Its members were Belgium, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Tuesday, November 10, 1964:FAA announced the results of a study concluding that neither eliminating nor limiting air-trip insurance would solve the airline sabotage problem. (See January 6, 1960.) The study was conducted for the agency by Clarence C. Pell, Jr., head of the aviation division of a New York insurance firm. In his view, the value of restrictions on air-trip insurance would be nullified by the availability of other types of insurance and by the irrational nature of airline saboteurs. These conclusions were in general agreement with those reached by the Government-Industry Steering Committee on Airline Sabotage on March 8, 1963.
November 1964:FAA commissioned the first distance-measuring equipment (DME) combined with an instrument landing system (ILS) at John F. Kennedy International Airport. The ILS-DME combination provided the pilot of an appropriately equipped aircraft with continuous information on his distance from the runway.
Tuesday, December 1, 1964:United States International Aviation Month began under a Presidential proclamation commemorating the twentieth anniversary of the signing of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. (The proclamation, issued on July 28, 1964, came at the request of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization.) As part of the observance, the heads of aviation of 19 nations toured U.S. aviation facilities as guests of the FAA Administrator during December 14-16. (See November 1-December 1, 1944.)
Friday, December 4, 1964:FAA relaxed sport parachuting rules. Parachutists were no longer required to obtain a certificate of authorization from an FAA District Office before drifting over congested areas, open-air assemblies, or airports without functioning control towers. Before making a parachute jump over any airport, however, parachutists were still required to receive permission from the airport’s management. All other rules governing intentional parachute jumps remained in force. (See March 24, 1967.)
Tuesday, December 8, 1964:A United Air Lines Caravelle jet made the first computer landing (automatic touchdown) at Dulles International Airport. (See June 10, 1965.)
Thursday, December 10, 1964:The Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) replaced three basic FAA flight information publications: the Airman’s Guide (see April 1946), the Directory of Airports and Seaplane Bases, and the Flight Information Manual. The AIM was divided into five sections that were revised either monthly, quarterly, or semiannually. In 1978, Parts 2 and 3 were discontinued as parts of the AIM and were published as the Airport/Facility Directory. Parts 3A and 4 were also separated from the AIM and published under the title Notices to Airmen. The Part 1 data, concerning basic flight information and air traffic control procedures, continued to be issued as the AIM. On July 20, 1995, the AIM’s title was changed to Aeronautical Information Manual.
Monday, December 14, 1964:The first FAA-designed and -constructed airport traffic control tower was commissioned at Lake Tahoe (CA) Airport. Previously, the airport sponsor designed and constructed the tower structures, with FAA participating in the financing. The Lake Tahoe tower had a pentagonal cab to provide an unobstructed view of the entire airport. (See November 5, 1962, and February 1965.)
Monday, December 21, 1964:The General Dynamics F-111 fighter, the world’s first variable-wing aircraft, made its first flight.
December 1964:FAA and DOD established an Air Traffic Controller Training Council to develop recommendations on joint or cooperative efforts by the two agencies in the training of civilian and military air traffic controllers. A secretariat representing both agencies was located at the FAA Academy, Oklahoma City.
December 1964:FAA began operating its first single-sideband (SSB) air-ground equipment at Point Barrow, Alaska, for aircraft flying the northern polar air route. Designed for remote operation, the Point Barrow transmitter beamed vital air traffic control information, weather, and other messages to pilots flying “on top of the world.”
Thursday, December 31, 1964:FAA completed its codification of previous aviation regulatory issuances into a single body of rules, the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s). FAA had reorganized and streamlined the regulations to eliminate duplicate, obsolete, and unnecessary provisions of multiple regulatory systems inherited from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The FARs consolidated and simplified the former Civil Air Regulations (CARs), Civil Aeronautics Manuals (CAMs), and Regulations of the Administrator. The codification program had occupied several years (see August 31, 1961), and the various parts of the new FARs were published as completed. Examples were Part 135, covering air taxis and commercial operators of small aircraft, which was published on March 5 and became effective on September 7, 1964 (see that date). The last major part to be published was Part 121, which appeared on December 31, 1964. Part 121 covered domestic, flag, and supplemental air carriers and commercial operators of large aircraft over 12,500 lb.
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.