Monday, January 4, 1965: Under a rule effective this date, FAA required approved survivor lights on all life preservers and life rafts carried by U.S. air carriers and other large commercial aircraft flying more than 50 miles from shore, to assist in the rescue of passengers in the event of a night ditching. (See January 28, 1966.)
Friday, January 15, 1965:An FAA-sponsored study by the Coordinating Research Council of New York, reported all aviation fuels equally safe, and that no basis existed for the contention that kerosene offered more overall safety than JP-4 aviation fuel (a mixture of gasoline and kerosene). Despite this finding, TWA announced on January 21, 1965, that it was suspending use of JP-4. Earlier, on January 7, 1965, Pan American World Airways had announced that it would make kerosene its standard jet fuel because of public mistrust of JP-4. The Airways Club, a New York organization of frequent air travelers, had long urged banning JP-4 as a commercial jet fuel because of its alleged high volatility.
Monday, January 18, 1965:FAA released a study concluding that transport-aircraft fuel tanks could be designed to reduce the fire hazard of crash landings. Conducted for the agency by General Dynamics, the study involved tests in which experimental tanks survived crashes of up to 57Gs without rupturing. The study estimated that such tanks would increase wing weight and production costs by as little as one percent, and recommended consideration of fuel-containment principles during preliminary design of future aircraft.
Wednesday, January 27, 1965:The National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Supersonic Transport Sonic Boom concluded that prototype development of a supersonic transport (SST) was “clearly warranted” by evidence from research, tests, and studies of sonic boom phenomena (see July 1, 1965). This finding was largely based on data collected by FAA in the Oklahoma City area (see February 3, 1964). On April 25, 1965, FAA made public a summary of its Oklahoma City sonic boom study, in which U.S. Air Force jets had subjected residents to 1,253 booms during daylight hours. Most boom intensities ranged between 1.0 and 2.0 pounds of overpressure per square foot, but adverse atmospheric influences caused approximately 11 percent to exceed the intended limit of 2.0 pounds of overpressure. FAA also released an interim report on the related test at White Sands, N.M., in which Air Force jets subjected 16 representative structures to 1,494 booms varying in intensity from 2.0 to 20.0 pounds of overpressure. The findings of the two tests included:
- Sonic booms of less than 5 pounds of overpressure caused no discernible damage to structurally sound buildings; however, booms of this intensity probably triggered cracks in faultily constructed walls, breaks in cracked windows, and other damage in structurally unsound buildings.
- Booms of the order of those expected to be generated by the U.S. supersonic transport (SST) had no measurable physiological effect on humans.
- The subjective reaction of individuals to sonic boom would be the area of greatest concern for the U.S. SST program.
- Fully 27 percent of the people polled in the Oklahoma City area during the closing weeks of testing declared they could not live with sonic boom; additionally, 40 percent of those polled were unconvinced that booms did not cause damage to buildings.
- In releasing the information, Administrator Halaby stated his conclusion that a supersonic transport could be designed in terms of configuration, operating attitude, and flight paths so as to achieve public acceptance in the early 1970s. On March 8, 1969, the Federal government lost its appeal in a class action suit involving claims for property damage allegedly caused by the Oklahoma City tests. (See April 27, 1973.)