FAA History: 1967

Wednesday, January 11, 1967:A Scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet), a vehicle described by scientists as a forerunner of aircraft that would carry passengers at speeds of about 8,000 miles an hour at very high altitudes, made its first test flight when launched from an Air Force-NASA Scout rocket.
Monday, January 16, 1967:Alan S. Boyd became the first Secretary of the Department of Transportation (see October 15, 1966, and April 1, 1967). President Johnson had announced his intention to nominate Boyd on November 6, 1966. The new Secretary had been a member and chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board and, at the time of his nomination, Under Secretary of Commerce. Boyd served as Secretary for the rest of the Johnson Administration, resigning effective January 20, 1969. (See January 22, 1969.)
Wednesday, January 25, 1967:A study of aircraft noise at Washington National Airport (WNA) released on this date revealed that four-engine piston air carrier aircraft made more noise on departure than did two- and three-engine jet air carrier aircraft. (Four-engine jet airliners were not permitted at WNA: see April 24, 1966.) The noise levels of executive jet aircraft were relatively high, and turboprop air carrier aircraft, as a group, were the quietest on both departure and arrival. During the first half of 1967, FAA developed and implemented a two-segment takeoff profile for noise abatement at WNA. The procedure called for a rapid climb to a specified altitude, and then a reduced-thrust climb until the aircraft was ten miles from the airport. An FAA study of aircraft overflight recordings showed that the procedure was effective. (See July 18, 1960, and December 4, 1967.)
Wednesday, February 1, 1967:A Civil Aeronautics Board order effective this date permitted the merger of Pan American-Grace Airways (Panagra) into Braniff International Airways. President Johnson had approved the purchase of Panagra by Braniff on October 19, 1966. The merger reduced the number of U.S. flag carriers serving South America from three to two — Braniff and Pan American World Airways.
Wednesday, February 1, 1967:FAA awarded a contract to the Raytheon Company for the purchase of computer display channels for NAS En Route Stage A, the agency’s automation program for its air route traffic control centers (ARTCC’s). The computer display channel comprised about a third of the equipment in an automated ARTCC and was the final link in the process of providing the air traffic controllers with three-dimensional information on their radar display. The contract was the largest awarded to that date for air traffic control equipment. (See September 2, 1964.)
Thursday, February 2, 1967:FAA issued an advisory circular entitled “Regional Air Carrier Airport Planning” as an aid in determining when a single regional air carrier airport was preferable to two or more airports. In line with joint FAA-CAB policy (see May 2, 1961), the circular advised that a regional airport study should be made in specified circumstances involving inadequacies at existing airports located within 50 miles and one hour’s driving time of another air carrier airport or another community receiving scheduled service. (The National Airport Plan for fiscal years 1968-72, issued in April 1967, was the first such plan to identify locations that could be developed as regional airports.)
Monday, February 6, 1967:FAA asked U.S. air carriers to help finance the supersonic transport (SST) prototype program by contributing $1 million in risk capital for each SST delivery position held (see November 19, 1963). The agency took the step at the direction of President Johnson, who considered it a way in which the airlines could demonstrate to the Congress and the public their faith in the SST program. Under the proposal, contributions would in no way affect the established places of contributing and noncontributing carriers on the reservation schedule. The money would go directly to the Boeing Company to be used in the development program in lieu of Federal funds. The airlines would recover their investment — up to a maximum of $1.5 million for each $1 million contributed — through aircraft royalty payments. Ten U.S. air carriers holding a total of 52 delivery positions agreed to put up risk capital. Details of the participation agreement could not be worked out before April, however, and this became a factor in delaying the President’s announcement of his decision to take the SST program into prototype development. (See December 31, 1966, and April 29, 1967.)
Saturday, February 25, 1967:A four-lane viaduct opened between Washington National Airport and U.S. Route 1, improving the airports accessibility by automobile. The viaduct cost $3.7 million.
Tuesday, February 28, 1967:The 40th anniversary of the designated aviation medical examiner (AME) program was celebrated by a special seminar jointly conducted by the FAA and the Aerospace Medical Association for designated AME’s from 37 foreign countries and U.S. possessions. (At the end of fiscal 1967, there were 5,961 AME’s.) (See February 28, 1927.)
Spring 1967:Scheduled air-taxi operators agreed to limit their operations at Washington National Airport to a maximum of eight per hour. (See September 1, 1966, and June 1, 1969.)
Friday, March 24, 1967:New parachute jumping rules effective this date required pilots of aircraft used for jumps in controlled airspace: to have two-way voice radio communication equipment; to establish communications with air traffic control at least 5 minutes before jumps began; to monitor FAA radio channels during the jump; and to advise air traffic control when the jump was completed. The minimum time for notifying FAA of planned jumps in controlled airspace was reduced from six hours to one hour. (See December 4, 1964, and August 7, 1968.)
Saturday, March 25, 1967:The management of the XB-70 supersonic aircraft research program was transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Flight Research Center. The program, much of which was devoted to the study of supersonic flight in support of the U.S. supersonic transport development program, continued as a joint NASA-USAF effort. (See September 21, 1964, June 8, 1966, and February 4, 1969.)
Monday, March 27, 1967:FAA approved a new 2,000-candlepower runway centerline light to permit operations under visibility as low as 700 feet.
Wednesday, March 29, 1967:FAA participated in NASA’s first public demonstration of a new data-link system using an orbiting satellite for transmitting navigation data from aircraft to ground stations. A Pan American World Airways cargo jet beamed the data to NASA’s ATS I satellite, which relayed the signals to an antenna at the Mojave Desert Ground Station in California. The signals then went by telephone lines to Kennedy International Airport by way of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. This was the first test of an aircraft antenna designed specially for transmitting satellite messages. (See December 6, 1966, and November 21, 1967.)
Saturday, April 1, 1967:The Department of Transportation (DOT) began operations. At the same time, FAA ceased to be the independent Federal Aviation Agency and became the Federal Aviation Administration, a modal agency within the new Department. (See March 2, 1966, October 15, 1966, and January 16, 1967.)
Friday, April 7, 1967:FAA certificated West Germany’s first civilian jet transport, the Hamburger Flugzeugbau HFB 320 Hansa. The nine-passenger twin-jet had received German type approval on February 23, 1967, and had first flown on April 21, 1964.
Sunday, April 9, 1967:The Boeing 737 made its first flight. On December 15, 1967, FAA type-certificated the airliner, a short-range jet transport with swept wings, wing-mounted twin engines, and a maximum capacity of 107 passengers, for operation with a two-man cockpit crew. The plane entered scheduled airline service on February 10, 1968.
Sunday, April 23, 1967:A project completed on this date made Washington National Airport’s main runway the first U.S. runway for commercial operations to be grooved. Developed by the British, runway grooving proved highly successful in reducing the tendency of landing aircraft to aquaplane on wet surfaces. The grooves at National were 1/8 inch wide, 1/8 inch deep, and cut at angles to the runway centerline with a 1-inch spacing. They carried water away in what amounted to thousands of tiny gutters. On May 24, 1968, FAA announced that Chicago Midway Airport would receive the first funding allocation for runway-grooving under the Federal-aid airport program. (See August 4, 1965 and July 13, 1983.)
Friday, April 28, 1967:The McDonnell Douglas Corporation came into being, the result of a merger between the Douglas Aircraft Company and the McDonnell Company. Douglas had been founded in 1920, McDonnell in 1939.
Friday, April 28, 1967:FAA required operators of unmanned free balloons to equip their balloons with at least two separate, independently operated self-destruction mechanisms for both the balloon envelope and its instrument package. The agency further required the balloon envelope to have radar reflective equipment.
Saturday, April 29, 1967:President Johnson announced that the U.S. supersonic transport (SST) development program would proceed into the prototype development phase (Phase III). Johnson based his decision on the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on Supersonic Transport. On May 1, 1967, the date of the President’s formal approval, FAA, Boeing, and General Electric signed the Phase III contracts retroactive to January 1, 1967, which called for the construction of two identical variable, sweep-wing SST prototypes. (See February 6 and June 5, 1967.)
Monday, May 1, 1967:Effective this date, FAA dropped its requirement that applicants under 21 years of age have parental or guardian consent for student pilot certificates. The 16-year minimum age for a student pilot’s license remained unchanged. (See April 18, 1939, and July 1, 1945.)
Monday, May 8, 1967:The prevailing preference for flying rather than sailing among transoceanic travelers was pointedly emphasized as the Cunard Steamship Company announced retirement of the world’s two largest passenger liners, RMS Queen Elizabeth and the RMS Queen Mary. (The 81,237-ton Queen Mary completed her 1,000th and final transatlantic voyage for Cunard on September 27, 1967; the Queen Elizabeth completed her final transatlantic voyage on November 6, 1968.) (See Calendar year 1966.)
May 31-June 1, 1967:Two Sikorsky HH-3Es made the first helicopter non-stop transatlantic crossings, flying from New York to the Paris Air Show. Each aircraft required nine aerial refuelings during the flight. (See July 15-31, 1952.)
Monday, June 5, 1967:The Boeing Company assumed from FAA responsibility for allocating supersonic transport (SST) delivery positions to purchasers (see November 19, 1963). At the same time, FAA raised the cost of reserving future positions from $200,000 to $750,000. The $750,000 deposit would be made directly to Boeing, would be in the form of risk capital, and would bear no interest. It would be used by Boeing in lieu of Federal funds to help finance the prototype program. Boeing agreed to honor the 113 delivery positions already allocated by FAA among 26 airlines. (See April 29, 1967, and January 15, 1968.)
Tuesday, June 6, 1967:The nation’s First Lady, Mrs. “Lady Bird” Johnson, presented FAA’s first Airport Beautification Award to Phoenix, Ariz., for its Sky Harbor Municipal Airport. FAA established the award to honor organizations that protect, restore, or enhance airport beauty.
Tuesday, June 6, 1967:FAA adopted a new U.S. standard for Category II approach lights to conform with the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Red light barrettes would be added on either side of existing white centerline lights over the last 1,000 feet of the approach light system. The new standard also required a red and white crossbar 500 feet from the end of the runway, and white centerline lights at 100 and 200 feet from the runway threshold.
Friday, June 30, 1967:During fiscal year 1967, which ended on this date, FAA installed an IBM 9020 simplex computer system at the Cleveland (Ohio) ARTCC (see February 18, 1970).
FAA also adopted a new, lower-cost design standard for control towers at medium activity airports. The new design retained the appearance of the tower concept adopted by FAA in 1962, featuring a free-standing 60- to 120-foot pentagonal concrete shaft topped by a control tower cab with 300 square feet of operating space. Money was saved in construction through use of more conventional techniques and elimination of certain operational features. (See February 1965.)
In addition, during fiscal 1967, FAA used thickened, or gelled, fuels for the first time to operate a ground-based jet aircraft engine. This test, successfully concluded at FAA’s National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center, was followed by the initiation of an expanded FAA sponsored program at the Naval Air Propulsion Test Center. The use of gelled fuels was one of a number of avenues being explored by FAA for reducing the fire hazard in aircraft accidents.
Saturday, July 1, 1967:Pacific Northern Airlines merged into Western Air Lines.
Friday, July 7, 1967:A Pan American World Airways Boeing 707 made the first fully automatic approach and landing by a four-engine jet aircraft with passengers on board. (See June 10, 1965.)
Thursday, July 13, 1967:NASA awarded the first contract in its quiet-engine project, part of the Government-wide noise abatement program, to the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Division of the United Aircraft Corporation. The objective of the quiet engine project, due to run into fiscal 1972 and cost $50 million, was to employ all known noise control techniques in a 20,000-pound-thrust demonstrator engine. When installed in a new sound absorbing nacelle, the “quiet engine” was expected to be 20 perceived noise decibels quieter than jet engines in use during the late 1960s.
Wednesday, July 19, 1967:A midair collision near Hendersonville, N.C., between a Piedmont Airlines Boeing 727 and a Cessna 310 killed all 82 people aboard the two aircraft. The fatalities included Secretary-designate of the Navy John T. McNaughton. The National Transportation Safety Board listed the probable cause as the Cessna’s deviation from its Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) clearance. The Board could not specifically identify the reason for the Cessna’s deviation; however, it cited the “minimum control procedures” used by FAA in handling the Cessna as a contributory factor in the accident. The Board’s recommendations included improvements to the air traffic control system and more stringent requirements for IFR pilots, including an annual proficiency flight check.
Friday, July 21, 1967:FAA established the Office of Noise Abatement, a measure of the importance the agency attached to the problem of aircraft-engine noise. Hitherto, the agency’s noise-abatement program had been under the direction of a small noise abatement staff. (See April 8, 1966, and November 27, 1968.)
Friday, July 21, 1967:FAA retitled the Associate Administrator for Programs the Associate Administrator for Operations. (See June 12, 1963.)
Tuesday, July 25, 1967:United Airlines made public its order for 79 jet aircraft at a cost of $690 million, the largest airline equipment purchase announced at one time to that date. The order included 13 Boeing 747s, 23 Boeing 727s, 25 Boeing 737s, and 18 McDonnell Douglas DC-8s.
Tuesday, July 25, 1967:A Federal mediation board recessed without resolving a dispute between United Air Lines and the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) over the crew complement of the Boeing 737. United insisted that the aircraft could be safely flown with two pilots, while the union argued for a three-man cockpit crew. On March 21, 1968, United and its pilots agreed to conduct an in-service evaluation of the 737, but they could not agree on the evaluation’s results. On February 22, 1969, a Federal arbitration panel ruled in favor of the pilots for the life of the current United-ALPA contract, and on March 31, 1970, a second arbitration panel affirmed this ruling for the duration of the next contract. This decision on United Air Lines, the first airline to order the 737, influenced Western to accept a three-man cockpit on its 737s. (See Nov-20-29, 1966 and July 21, 1969.)
Monday, August 7, 1967:In a rule effective this date, FAA set equipment and procedural standards under which general aviation pilots operating properly equipped airplanes were authorized to land under Category II weather minimums — a 1,200-foot runway visibility range and a 100-foot decision height. (See October 2, 1964, and November 3, 1967.)
Monday, August 28, 1967:FAA appointed an Associate Administrator for Plans. This new position was responsible for developing the agency’s long-range plans for meeting future demands for its services. (See March 16, 1962, and November 27, 1968.)
Thursday, August 31, 1967:President Johnson signed the Veteran’s Pension and Readjustment Act of 1967 (Public Law 90-77), which became fully effective October 1. The Act authorized the Veterans Administration to reimburse eligible veterans for 90 percent of the cost of flight training necessary for a recognized vocational objective. The legislation specified that: the eligible veteran must have a private pilot certificate (or have completed the required flight-training hours), with at least a second class medical certificate, and the flight school courses meet FAA standards and be approved both by FAA and the appropriate State agency.
Sunday, September 10, 1967:A rule requiring that the design of transport category airplanes include the protection of the fuel system against lightning became effective.
Saturday, September 16, 1967:Typhoon Sarah struck Wake Island with winds exceeding 140 miles per hour, knocking out the island’s electric power plant, air traffic control tower, air route traffic control center, and navigation aids. Damage to the island’s housing, sanitation system, and freshwater supply necessitated the evacuation of one fourth of Wake’s population. A special FAA-Air Force task force directed the evacuation and worked round the clock to restore critical navaids and airport capabilities. Portable equipment (including a tower, VOR, and TACAN) was air lifted to the island. Within 48 hours after the typhoon struck, the airport had resumed transpacific airlift operations on a reduced scale. By the last week in September, all essential facilities of both the airport and the center had returned to service.
Wednesday, September 20, 1967:FAA published new safety rules designed to improve crashworthiness and passenger evacuation standards in transport airplanes. The new rules required air carriers, other commercial operators, and aircraft manufacturers to demonstrate that airplanes with more than 44 seats were capable of permitting the evacuation of a full load of passengers through only half the aircraft’s exits in 90 seconds. The previous rule, which did not require demonstration by aircraft manufacturers, had set a time limit of 120 seconds. Other key provisions of the new rules related to: the distribution and type of exits, and their ratio to passengers; improved access to overwing exits; evacuation slides deployable in 10 seconds; improved interior lighting and new exterior lighting; cabin linings with self-extinguishing qualities; stowing carry-on baggage; slip-resistant and clearly marked escape routes; and better protection of fuel and electric lines. Compliance dates for the new rules ranged from October 24, 1967, to October 1, 1969. (See June 7, 1965, and May 1, 1972.)
Wednesday, September 20, 1967:Citing the rapid growth of commercial and private flying, President Johnson requested Transportation Secretary Alan S. Boyd to develop a long-range, comprehensive plan for the facilities, equipment, and personnel required for a substantial expansion and improvement of the air traffic control system. The President stated that the plan “should be accompanied by a proposal for financing the improvements through a system of charges by which the users of the Nation’s airways bear their fair share of its costs.” (See May 20, 1968.)
Friday, September 22, 1967:North American Rockwell Corporation came into being, result of a merger between North American Aviation and Rockwell-Standard Corporation.
Monday, September 25, 1967:An FAA report released on this date concluded that the economic effects of the development of general aviation airports were beneficial for five communities studied: Hereford, TX; Sumter, SC; Hayward, CA; Frederick, MD; and Fairmount, MN. FAA found that airports served as a catalyst for business growth, helping to provide industrial jobs for machine-displaced farm laborers, as well as providing operational bases for aerial crop seedings and crop spraying.
Tuesday, October 3, 1967:Maj. William J. Knight, USAF, piloting the X-15 rocket plane, set an unofficial world record of 4,534 miles an hour, almost seven times the speed of sound. (See July 28, 1976.)
Wednesday, October 11, 1967:A new prototype airport traffic control tower equipped with solid-state electronic equipment went into operation at Reid-Hillview Airport, San Jose, CA. Designed primarily for small airports, such a tower provided the same services as towers with vacuum tube equipment, but at much less cost. The solid-state equipment was also more reliable, compact, easier to install, and required less maintenance.
Thursday, October 19, 1967:FAA type-certificated the Grumman Gulfstream II, a two-engine corporate jet with a crew of two and a maximum capacity of 19 passengers in the corporate seating arrangement.
Thursday, October 19, 1967:FAA retitled the Office of Management Services the Office of Management Systems, to reflect a shift in the primary responsibility of the office from providing specific administrative support services to the development of agencywide systems and methods for solving management problems.
Friday, November 3, 1967:Pan American World Airways became the first airline to receive FAA approval for full Category II operations, permitting the airline to land in weather offering only a 100-foot decision height and a 1,200-foot runway visibility range. At this date, however, such operations could be conducted only at Dulles International Airport. In the ensuing seven months, seven additional airports qualified for Category II operations. (See August 7, 1967, and January 21, 1972.)
Thursday, November 9, 1967:FAA lowered the floor of area positive control over the northeastern and northcentral United States — perhaps the most heavily traveled airspace of its size in the world — from 24,000 to 18,000 feet. The area was bounded roughly by a line running from Presque Isle, ME, south to Danville, VA, west to Salina, KS, north to Minneapolis, MN., and east again to Presque Isle. This action followed FAA’s determination that it could no longer assure the safe separation of aircraft in this area without extending positive control. (See March 4, 1965, and October 14, 1971.)
Tuesday, November 21, 1967:A Pan American World Airways jet flying the North Atlantic successfully used NASA’s ATS III, one of a series of application research satellites, as an air-ground-air radio voice relay. The demonstration was part of a program by major airlines to develop a global system of long-range, static-free, very-high-frequency communications between the air and ground. (See March 29, 1967.)
November 1967:The Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) revised its definition of aircraft to exclude air cushion vehicles, or hovercraft. ICAO had previously defined aircraft as “any machine that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air,” but amended this by adding “other than reactions of the earth’s surface.” This change meant that hovercraft were not subject to international standards and regulations governing aircraft. (See October 16, 1964.)
Monday, December 4, 1967:Effective this date, FAA required pilots of small turbine-powered aircraft to follow the same noise abatement procedures mandated for pilots of large transports. The change meant that the rules now applied uniformly to all large (over 12,500 lbs.) aircraft and to all turbine-powered aircraft, whose pilots were currently required to: (1) enter an airport traffic area at 1,500 feet above surface and maintain that altitude until further descent was necessary for safe landing; (2) climb to 1,500 feet as rapidly as practicable after takeoff; and (3) use assigned noise abatement runways at airports where FAA had established a formal runway use program. In addition, pilots of all large aircraft and all turbine-powered aircraft equipped with an Instrument Landing System (ILS) were required to remain at or above the glide slope on final approach for ILS landings. (See April 4, 1960, and February 4, 1971.)
Thursday, December 7, 1967:FAA decommissioned the Wake Island air traffic control center.
Monday, December 11, 1967:Sud Aviation and the British Aircraft Corporation unveiled a prototype of the British-French Concorde, the West’s first supersonic transport, in Toulouse, France. On March 2, 1969, the Concorde made its first flight. Almost ten years later, on September 21, 1979, after meeting in London, aviation officials of France and the United Kingdom agreed to end the unprofitable Concorde production program. Unsold Concordes were allocated to the flag carriers of the two countries — Air France and British Airways. Only sixteen of the supersonic jet transports had been built.
Monday, December 18, 1967:The Post Office Department imposed requirements on air taxi operators desiring contracts for carrying U.S. mail. To qualify, air taxi aircraft had to have at least two engines, complete deicing equipment, and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) capability. Similarly, air-taxi pilots were required to have an IFR rating, a minimum of 500 flight hours, 50 hours of night operations, and 50 hours of IFR operations under actual IFR conditions.
Friday, December 22, 1967:FAA renamed its Installation and Materiel Service the Logistics Service to describe better the service’s revised functions. (See May 16, 1962 and January 19, 1970.)
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.