Thursday, January 1, 1970:The Department of Labor designated the Federal Aviation Administration as the agency responsible for air transportation industry compliance with the equal employment opportunity provision of Executive Order 11246 (issued September 24, 1965), which prohibited discrimination in hiring by the government and its contractors.
Thursday, January 1, 1970:Sud Aviation, Nord Aviation, and S.E.R.E.B. merged forming the Societe National Industrielle Aerospatiale.
Tuesday, January 13, 1970:Blanche Stuart Scott, often considered the first American woman to pilot an airplane, died. In September 1910, Scott made her first solo flight in a Curtiss Pusher at Hammondsport, N.Y. According to some accounts, however, the flight was an unintentional one caused by wind lifting her taxiing aircraft off the ground. Later that year, Bessica Faith Raiche became the first American woman to make an undisputedly intentional solo airplane flight.
Thursday, January 15, 1970:President Nixon announced an agreement to seek a site for the development of a Miami (FL) jetport outside of a proposed land area in the ecotone between Big Cyprus Swamp and Everglades National Park. The agreement was signed by the Dade County Port Authority, the State of Florida, and the Secretaries of Transportation and Interior.
Dade County had acquired 39 square miles in the area for a future jetport to relieve the anticipated saturation of Miami International. Lying 40 miles west of Miami and surrounded by natural buffer zones, the proposed new jetport would pose neither a noise nuisance nor an air pollution threat to residents. Conservationists, however, argued that a major airport on the tract would upset the delicate ecology of the Everglades. After environmental studies, Dade County officials agreed with state and Federal authorities to seek another site.
The agreement also provided that a one-runway training airport already constructed on the tract would be operated under strict environmental safeguards until a new training facility could be established at the still-to-be-determined jetport site. Construction of the training field had begun in September 1968. During fiscal 1969, FAA had awarded a $500,000 grant to assist the project, which was intended to divert training flights from Miami International and provide the nucleus for an eventual air carrier facility.
In announcing the agreement, President Nixon directed the Secretary of Transportation to consider introducing legislation to ensure that the national interest would be adequately represented in regional airport development. “We have learned,” the President stated, “that the development of major facilities, such as a regional airport, may have widespread environmental and social consequences that cannot wisely be left entirely to local initiative and local decision.”
Monday, January 19, 1970:FAA established the Facility Installation Service under the Associate Administrator for Operations. This service assumed the management of FAA’s facilities establishment program from the Logistics Service. It also assumed from the Systems Research and Development Service the responsibility for preparing procurement specifications for production equipment and for prescribing technical instructions and standards for its installation. The new service’s mission included the facilities establishment programs for air navigation, air traffic control, aeronautical communications, and visual ground marking; however, it did not include facilities establishment for NAS En Route Stage A and the various terminal automation programs. (See December 22, 1967, and October 1, 1971.)
Tuesday, January 20, 1970:FAA and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare reached an agreement with 31 scheduled and charter airlines on the retrofit of Pratt & Whitney JT8D engines with smoke-reducing combustors. Under the retrofit plan, the airlines voluntarily agreed to install combustors on approximately 1,000 Boeing 727s, Boeing 737s, and Douglas DC-9s by December 31, 1972. The combustors reduced the level of visible pollutants emitted by jet engines, but had no effect on invisible pollutants. (See December 31, 1970.)
Thursday, January 29, 1970:The Air Traffic Controller Career Committee (popularly known as the Corson Committee) submitted its report to Secretary of Transportation John Volpe. The report’s recommendations included
- Reduce the overtime work required of controllers in high-density areas.
- Reduce the consecutive hours spent by controllers in operational positions to two, and the total hours per day on such positions to six.
- Detail qualified journeyman controllers to high-density facilities with critical manpower shortages.
- Develop a more mobile controller work force so that the needs of the system, rather than the preferences of controllers, determine assignments.
- Develop incentives to attract the most talented controllers to the most difficult positions.
- Pay special rates for employment in facilities located in high-cost-of-living areas.
- Accelerate and improve training of developmental controllers.
- Seek legislation providing for the early retirement of controllers who attain a certain age and cannot be retained or reassigned to less arduous duty–e.g., retirement at age 50 after 20 years of ATC service with 50 percent of high-three average salary.
- Designate a single official immediately responsible to the FAA Administrator to handle all relationships with employee organizations at the national level.
A number of the committee’s recommendations, including detailing journeyman controllers to facilities with critical manpower shortages, and providing developmental controllers with “update” training, received immediate attention. In addition, FAA appointed a Director of Labor Relations on March 23, 1970. The agency established nine groups to consider the remaining recommendations and develop programs for their implementation. (See August 8, 1969, March 25-April 14, 1970, November 6, 1970, and May 16, 1972.)
January 1970:The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) was founded as a trade association of firms producing general aviation aircraft, engines, avionics, and components.
Monday, February 2, 1970:A rule effective this date permitted expanded use of FAA-approved airplane simulators in training airline crews. With the advances in flight simulation technology, the use of these simulators would help to ease the serious problems of congestion in the airspace by permitting more training on the ground.
Thursday, February 5, 1970:Effective this date, FAA required manufacturers to make a maintenance manual available to their customers at the time of aircraft delivery. The manual was to contain information that the manufacturer deemed essential to proper maintenance.
Wednesday, February 18, 1970:FAA’s first IBM 9020 computer and its associated software program became operational at the Los Angeles ARTCC (see June 30, 1967). The new computer system was at the heart of the new semiautomated airway air traffic control system–NAS En Route Stage A. This equipment reduced controller workload by automatically handling incoming flight information messages, performing necessary calculations, and distributing flight data strips, as needed, to controller positions. The agency planned to install similar equipment at all of the centers, and with the new automated nationwide system each center would have the capability to collect and distribute information about each aircraft’s course and altitude to all the sector controllers along its flight path. The new computers also had the ability to record and distribute any changes registered in aircraft flight plans en route. (See December 30, 1968, and February 13, 1973.)
Wednesday, February 18, 1970:A commuter airlines terminal officially opened at Washington National Airport to facilitate the operations of the 13 commuter airlines serving the airport.
Wednesday, February 18, 1970:PATCO filed a petition with the Federal Labor Relations Council for certification as exclusive bargaining representative for all non-supervisory air traffic control specialists. (See October 27, 1969, and March 25-April 10, 1970.)
Friday, February 27, 1970:FAA abolished the McGrath (Alaska) Area Office and transferred the territory formerly served by that office to the Anchorage and King Salmon Area Offices. (See April 23, 1969.)
February 1970:FAA began a new training program for the air traffic and electronic technician occupations. The agency hoped that the project, termed the 150 Program because of the number of positions initially allotted to it, would work to broaden the recruitment base and equalize opportunities for minorities. Candidates began at the GS-4 level and, after successfully completing a six month training program at the Aeronautical Center, became GS-5s. The 150 Program was later renamed the Pre-development Program.
Sunday, March 1, 1970:FAA implemented a revised separation standard to protect small aircraft from wake turbulence, rotating air currents trailed by large aircraft. The danger from these wake vortices had grown with the introduction of “jumbo” jetliners. The new standard changed from three miles to five miles the required separation between a “heavy” aircraft (over 300,000 pounds) and an aircraft operating behind it. (See November 1, 1975.)
Wednesday, March 4, 1970:FAA retitled the Office of Associate Administrator for Personnel and Training as the Office of the Associate Administrator for Manpower to emphasize the broader functional responsibilities of this office. The agency issued a formal order reflecting this change on January 9, 1971. The same order officially established under the new associate administrator the Office of Labor Relations (the Director of Labor Relations had been appointed on March 23, 1970), an Employee Communications Staff, and an Equal Employment Opportunity Staff within the Office of Personnel, which, along with the Office of Training, rounded out the major components of the new administrative complex. (See January 19, 1968.)
Saturday, March 7, 1970:Effective this date, FAA required every U.S. civil aircraft owner to submit an annual report on aircraft registration, eligibility, identification, and activity no later than June 30 of each year. The submission of the annual reports through 1977 permitted the updating of the aircraft register and the removal of about 32,000 obsolete records. On January 25, 1978, FAA revoked the annual reporting requirement because the register could now be kept largely current on the basis of sales records and other information received in the normal course of business. The agency noted, however, that it might be necessary to implement a new reporting procedure. (See April 30, 1980.)
Tuesday, March 17, 1970:The first death in a domestic U.S. aircraft hijacking incident occurred when a hijacker shot and killed the copilot on an Eastern Air Lines shuttle (Newark-Boston). Although fatally wounded, the copilot still managed to shoot and severely wound the hijacker with the latter’s gun. The aircraft’s captain, himself wounded in both arms, landed his DC-9 safely in Boston.
Thursday, March 19, 1970:FAA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking asking public comment on whether smoking should be allowed aboard passenger-carrying aircraft. This action resulted from two petitions filed with FAA in December 1969. One petition requested a ban on smoking on all flights, while the other requested that domestic air carriers effectively segregate smokers from other passengers. FAA believed the petitions warranted an in-depth study to determine to what extent tobacco smoke was harmful to nonsmokers. The agency’s existing rules prohibited smoking only during takeoff and landing. (See May 10, 1973.)
Tuesday, March 24, 1970:FAA announced a program to improve the appearance of the nation’s airports by removing derelict aircraft. FAA field personnel would perform periodic checks and bring such aircraft to the attention of airport management. The agency urged airport operators to include in their contracts with aircraft owners and operators of aviation activities provisions for the removal of such aircraft at owner’s expense. FAA and the fixed-base operators concluded such an arrangement at Washington National and Dulles International Airports.
March 25-April 10, 1970:Some 3,000 air traffic controllers, all members of PATCO, engaged in a “sick-out” strike. All but a few of those involved were en route, rather than terminal, controllers. Some remained absent for a day or two, others for the entire 17-day period. The work stoppage reflected widespread discontent, but its immediate trigger was FAA’s decision to ignore PATCO’s protests and carry out the involuntary transfer of three controllers from the Baton Rouge combined station-tower. The absentees claimed sick leave, but the Department of Transportation viewed their action as a strike against the U.S. government and hence illegal. The government obtained temporary restraining orders against PATCO. When the union failed to comply with these orders, a show-cause order was obtained against its officers. During the hearing on the show-cause order, PATCO agreed to call off the “sickout.” FAA suspended nearly 1,000 controllers and fired 52 for their role in the affair. (See February 18, 1970, and April 23, 1970.)
Wednesday, April 1, 1970:Extensive amendments establishing additional operating requirements for air taxi and commercial operators of small aircraft became effective. The new rules reflected many of the operating requirements of major air carriers, and were designed to fit the growing complexity of air taxi operations. (See September 7, 1964, and December 1, 1978.)
Friday, April 3, 1970: Under a rule effective this date, FAA would not approve Federal-aid airport program (FAAP) projects involving the displacement and relocation of people until adequate replacement housing was provided for (by construction, if necessary) and offered to all affected persons.
Monday, April 6, 1970:Management responsibility for the supersonic transport (SST) development program was transferred from the FAA to the Office of the Secretary, Department of Transportation. The Director of Supersonic Transport Development would henceforth take guidance and direction from the Under Secretary of Transportation, while FAA would continue to provide a variety of support functions for the program. In announcing the transfer a few days earlier, Secretary Volpe had explained that it would increase his oversight of the program. In addition, the change would ensure that FAA, the agency responsible for certificating the aircraft, would not be responsible for its development. Volpe had also announced the appointment of William M. Magruder as Director of the program, succeeding Brig. Gen. Jewell C. Maxwell, who had resigned during the previous summer. (See January 15, 1969, and April 22, 1970.)
Thursday, April 9, 1970:Boeing 727-200 “stretch jets” were allowed to operate at Washington National Airport, initially on a temporary basis. These larger capacity aircraft had been banned in the past to prevent overcrowding of the airport’s terminal building. (See April 24, 1966.)
Saturday, April 18, 1970:Braniff International Airways put into operation its “Jetrail,” a monorail transporting passengers from parking lot to terminal area at Dallas’ Love Field. The three-quarter-mile trip took 3 minutes.
Wednesday, April 22, 1970:The first annual Earth Day observance throughout the United States included protests indicating environmentalists’ rising opposition to the supersonic transport (SST) program. Concerns about the SST included such issues as sonic booms (see January 27, 1965) and the aircraft’s effect on the ozone layer of the earth’s upper atmosphere. (See April 6 and December 30, 1970.)
Thursday, April 23, 1970:John F. Leyden, newly elected president of PATCO, told the union’s members of his intention to introduce realism into the organization, “to eliminate a ‘showboat-gunboat’ approach, and to replace it with a firm and reasonable persuasion.” Nevertheless, PATCO used slowdowns as a tactic during Leyden’s tenure. (See March 25-April 10, 1970, and September 10, 1970.)
Monday, April 27, 1970:The Central Flow Control Facility was established at FAA Headquarters as a permanent part of the air traffic control (ATC) system. This facility took over from the air route traffic control centers some of the responsibility for restricting the number of aircraft moving from the control of one center to another. Central Flow Control collected and correlated system-wide air traffic and weather data, using this information to prevent isolated clusters of congestion from disrupting the overall traffic flow. Linked by teletypwriter and telephone to all 21 centers, the facility detected potential trouble spots and suggested to the centers such solutions as flow-control restrictions or rerouting. (See July 29, 1970.)
The centers retained the authority to accept or reject the Central Flow facility’s recommendations, but their decisions were now based on broad information about the overall condition of the ATC system. Lacking such information, the centers had previously tended to be over-defensive. For example, when a buildup of traffic forced one center to restrict the number of incoming aircraft from an adjacent center, the adjacent center might fear an impending traffic buildup in its own area and hence institute restrictions against yet another center. The spreading restrictions could eventually affect Instrument Flight Rules aircraft throughout the ATC system.
During a three-month test beginning in January 1970, the Central Flow facility had proved its worth in reducing delays, and had been invaluable in monitoring and rerouting traffic during the controller “sick-out” strike (see March 25-April 10, 1970).
On July 29, 1970, FAA established the Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center to integrate the functions of the Central Flow Control Facility, Airport Reservation Office, the Air Traffic Service Contingency Command Post, and Central Altitude Reservation Facility. (See December 31, 1983.)
Thursday, April 30, 1970:FAA commissioned the International Aeronautical Telecommunications Switching Center at Kansas City. This high-speed, fully automated message switching facility was the key element in the North Atlantic and Caribbean Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network (AFTN), a worldwide communications system operated by members of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Some 86 communications channels, the first commissioned on March 4, 1970, connected the center directly to three U.S. networks and to more than 100 locations in 17 other countries. The center speeded the flow and improved the accuracy of international aeronautical information by eliminating all other intermediate relay points.
April 1970:An FAA study reported that adherence to basic preflight procedures could reduce general aviation accidents by as much as 14 percent. The study was based on data about the 4,968 general aviation accidents in 1968 and on responses to a pilot survey. The results indicated that faulty preflight procedures could be linked to 697 accidents, of which 184 were fatal. Of these 184 fatal accidents, the largest number (81) resulted from flying under Visual Flight Rules into bad weather, and the next highest number (42) from impairment by alcohol. Of the non-fatal accidents caused by poor preflight procedures, the largest number (132) was due to fuel exhaustion. Eighty-two percent of pilots involved in accidents linked to preflight procedures had not filed a flight plan.
Sunday, May 3, 1970:Upgraded certification requirements for aviation maintenance technician schools (formerly called “aviation mechanic schools”) became effective. The changes, which included new curriculum requirements for both certification and operations, were designed to reflect recent technological advances in aviation.
Monday, May 4, 1970:FAA issued a rule requiring that Cockpit Voice Recorders be installed in large transport category helicopters operated in scheduled service, with compliance by July 8, 1971. (See June 26, 1964, and March 25, 1987.)
Monday, May 4, 1970:FAA implemented a standard organizational structure for the larger air route traffic control centers, including the so-called Level IB (300,000 to 1,000,000 aircraft handled per year) and Level II (over 1,000,000 aircraft handled per year) centers. The new structure strengthened administrative and technical supervision of air traffic control personnel. It was designed to increase operational efficiency through better manpower utilization, while providing a more effective basis for the development of the controller’s career progression plans. As part of the new structure, the agency assigned personnel management specialists to all centers in the contiguous United States, except Great Falls, to advise managers and supervisors. These specialists also worked with organized employee groups and provided professional advice on personnel matters to individual center employees.
Friday, May 8, 1970:Upgraded type-certification standards for new large transport aircraft became effective. The new airworthiness standards resulted from several years of government/industry study and development. They related to four major certification areas: flight requirements; systems and equipment; airframe; and powerplant.
Monday, May 11, 1970:Kenneth M. Smith became FAA’s Deputy Administrator, succeeding David D. Thomas (see July 1, 1965). He was nominated by the President on March 24, and confirmed by the Senate on April 30.
Born in Sacramento, CA, Smith began his career in aviation in 1939 as an aircraft electrical installer with Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corp. (later the General Dynamics Corp.) in San Diego. He was a Navy pilot during World War II, and attended St. Mary’s University and California Polytechnic University in 1943 and 1944 under a Navy training program. Smith returned to Consolidated Vultee at war’s end, became the firm’s representative in the nation’s capital in 1952, subsequently moved to other positions, and was named corporate vice president in 1960. Smith left General Dynamics in 1962 to become vice president/marketing for the Consolidated Electrodynamics Division of Bell and Howell. In 1964, he joined Rockwell Standard Corporation as vice president and assistant general manager of the Aero Commander Division, and was promoted to general manager in December. Smith became president of Management Enterprises, an aircraft industry consulting firm in Oklahoma City in 1966. In 1967, he assumed the presidency of Windecker Research in Midland, TX, became vice chairman of the board in 1969, and held these positions when selected for FAA’s top post.
Smith served as FAA Deputy Administrator until July 15, 1972, when he left the agency to become Executive Vice President of E-Systems, Inc., an engineering research and development firm specializing in aerospace and electronic systems. (See August 9, 1974.)
Friday, May 15, 1970:FAA published new taxiway design standards aimed at speeding ground movements of large aircraft and thus increasing an airport’s capacity. These new standards were based on the size of the aircraft using an airport; previously, taxiway designs were determined by the length of the runway. The agency intended the new standards primarily for yet-to-be-built airports, though they applied to existing airports served by aircraft in the Boeing 747 category.
Friday, May 15, 1970:FAA completed the functional realignment of the Logistics Service on this date. This service, while relinquishing some of its responsibilities to the National Airspace System Program Office and the Facility Installation Service (see January 19, 1970), retained its responsibility over materiel purchasing; at the same time, it was given the responsibilities in property management previously exercised by the Office of Management Systems and moved (on January 19, 1970) from the jurisdiction of the Associate Administrator for Development to the jurisdiction of the Associate Administrator for Administration. (See December 22, 1967.)
Monday, May 18, 1970:FAA established the Office of the Associate Administrator for Engineering and Development, replacing the abolished Office of the Associate Administrator for Development. The new Associate Administrator had executive direction over the National Airspace System Program Office (NASPO), the Systems Research and Development Service (SRDS), and the National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center (NAFEC). Previously, NASPO and NAFEC reported directly to the FAA Administrator. Under the new organizational structure, the agency abolished the Aircraft Development Service and assigned its responsibilities to SRDS. (See January 13, 1961, July 1, 1961, October 22, 1965, and April 25, 1966.)
Thursday, May 21, 1970:President Nixon signed Public Law 91-258, of which Title I was the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970 and Title II was the Airport and Airway Revenue Act of 1970. The legislation responded to problems posed by civil aviation’s extraordinary growth during the 1960s. Between mid-1959 and mid-1969, the number of aircraft handled by FAA’s air route traffic control centers had increased by 110.6 percent, while aircraft operations at FAA’s airport towers had increased by 112 percent. Airport and airway development programs, inadequately funded, had failed to keep pace with this growth in aviation activity, resulting in a severe strain on the air traffic control system (see July 19, 1968).
The new legislation assured a fund of about $11 billion over the next decade for airport and airway modernization. By establishing an Airport and Airway Trust Fund modeled on the Highway Trust Fund, it freed airport and airway development from having to compete for General Treasury funds. Into the trust fund would go new revenues from aviation user taxes levied by the Airport and Airway Revenue Act, and other funds that Congress might choose to appropriate to meet authorized expenditures. Revenues would be raised by the following levies on aviation users: an 8 percent tax on domestic passenger fares; a $3 surcharge on passenger tickets for international flights originating in the United States; a tax of 7¢ a gallon on both gasoline and jet fuel used by aircraft in noncommercial aviation; a 5 percent tax on airfreight waybills; and an annual registration fee of $25 on all civil aircraft, plus (1) in the case of piston-powered aircraft weighing more than 2,500 pounds, 2¢ a pound for each pound of maximum certificated takeoff weight, or (2) in the case of turbine powered aircraft, 3.5¢ a pound for each pound of maximum certificated takeoff weight. The principal advantages of the user-charge/trust-fund approach to revenue raising and funding were that it provided a predictable and increasing source of income, more commensurate with need; permitted more effective and longer range planning; and assured that the tax revenues generated by aviation would not be diverted to nonaviation uses.
The major weaknesses of the Federal Airport Act (see May 13, 1946), which was repealed by the new legislation, were inadequate funding and the nature of the formula for distributing those resources. The annual authorization for airport development under the old act totaled only $75 million. Of this total, the distribution of $66.5 million was fixed by a formula apportioning 75 percent of it by population and area among the states–half in the ratio of each state’s population to the total population of all the states, and half in the ratio of each state’s area to the total area of all the states. The remaining 25 percent of the $66.5 million, plus any state’s apportionment under the population-area formula if unclaimed for two fiscal years, went into a discretionary fund with certain other funds; however, this discretionary fund was too small to make a significant impact on critical, high-priority areas.
Under the new Airport Development Aid Program, by contrast, airport aid received a greatly increased annual authorization of $280 million for each of the next five fiscal years (see August 6, 1970). The new law also provided an improved distribution formula. Of the annual $280 million, $250 million in matching funds would be distributed in the following manner among airports serving air carriers certificated by CAB and airports serving general aviation primarily to relieve congestion at airports serving other segments of aviation:
- One-third as follows: (1) 97 percent of this third among the several states, one-half in the ratio of each state’s population to the total U.S. population, and one-half in the ratio of each state’s area to the total area of all the states; (2) 3 percent of this third among Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, the first two places receiving 35 percent shares each, and the last two, 15 percent shares each.
- One-third among airports serving CAB-certificated air carriers in the ratio of each such airport’s passenger enplanements to the total number of passengers enplaned at all such airports.
- One-third at the discretion of the Secretary of Transportation.
The remaining $30 million of the annual $280 million would be apportioned by the Secretary as follows for developing in the several states and in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands airports serving segments of aviation other than CAB-certificated air carriers: 73.5 percent among the several states, one-half of this in the ratio of each state’s population to the total population of all the States, and one-half in the ratio of each State’s area to the total area of all the States; 1.5 percent for Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands in shares of 35 percent, 35 percent, 15 percent, and 15 percent, respectively; and 25 percent at the discretion of the Secretary.
In its provisions concerning planning, the new legislation reflected both lessons of experience and the emergence of certain new planning factors. Experience under the Federal Airport Act with the National Airport Plan (NAP), which covered a period of five years and was revised annually, led to the requirement in the new law for a National Airport System Plan (NASP) covering at least 10 years and revised only as necessary. Notable among factors explicitly mentioned for the Secretary’s consideration in preparing the NASP, but not explicitly mentioned in relation to the NAP, were: the relationship of each airport to the local transportation system, to forecasted technological developments in aeronautics, and to developments forecasted in other modes of intercity transportation; and factors affecting the quality of the natural environment.
A significant feature of the new legislation was its provision for planning grants (see March 31, 1971). The law authorized a total of $75 million for grants to planning agencies for airport system planning, and to public agencies for airport master planning; however, planning grants could not exceed $15 million in any one fiscal year; nor could any such grant exceed two-thirds of an airport project’s cost. Another important provision of the bill gave FAA the responsibility for the safety certification of airports served by air carriers (see May 21, 1973).
No less than airport development, airway modernization would benefit from the increased funding under the Airport and Airway Development Act. Whereas appropriations for airway facilities and equipment had averaged $93 million a year during the 1960s, the new legislation authorized “not less than” $250 million a year for the next five fiscal years. A principal beneficiary of this more generous authorization would be FAA’s efforts to automate the air traffic control. (See November 27, 1971, and July 1, 1972.)
Monday, May 25, 1970:FAA issued the first supplemental type certificate for installation and operation of area navigation equipment in general aviation aircraft to the Butler National Corporation for use of the Butler Vector Analog Computer. The certificate permitted the use of this equipment during the en route, terminal, and approach phases of operation. (See October 1, 1969.)
Tuesday, May 26, 1970:Effective this date, FAA prohibited persons from operating any moored balloon, unmanned free balloon, kite, or unmanned rocket in a manner interfering with aircraft operations. The rule was in response to an attempt by certain individuals to disrupt aircraft operations at two airports in California by flying kites or balloons, the sizes of which were not covered by Federal regulation.
Wednesday, May 27, 1970:Resumption of flight operations by National Airlines ended the longest complete shutdown of a domestic U.S. airline by a strike to that date. The 116-day strike had begun on January 31.
Monday, June 15, 1970:FAA, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), and the Air Force signed a memorandum of understanding setting forth the relationship between CAP wings and State and Regional Defense Airlift (SARDA) organizations. According to the agreement, the CAP would function as an arm of SARDA during a national emergency.
Wednesday, June 17, 1970:Effective this date, FAA set requirements for the use of supplemental oxygen in nonpressurized general aviation aircraft. Flight crews were required to use supplemental oxygen
Friday, June 19, 1970:An Interagency Microwave Landing System Planning Group was formed at the direction of the Secretary of Transportation. With the FAA Administrator as chairman, the group included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, the Department of Defense, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The group was charged with preparing a five-year plan for the development and implementation of a microwave landing system (MLS) for civil-military common use. The development of the new system had been a recommendation of DOT’s Air Traffic Control Advisory Committee. (See December 1969 and July 1971.)
Friday, June 19, 1970: FAA established two-way air traffic control satellite communications between its facilities in San Francisco/Oakland and Honolulu. This service, the first full-time point-to-point satellite communication service in air traffic control, consisted of one voice and three teletypewriter channels leased from the International Telecommunications Satellite Consortium (Intelsat). The new system was superior to the previously used high frequency radio circuits and permitted the decommissioning of FAA’s high frequency International Flight Service Transmitting and Receiving Service at Tracy, CA.
Thursday, June 25, 1970:The first series of area navigation instrument approach procedures in the United States went into effect at six terminal areas–Kirksville, MO, Longview, TX, and Fullerton, Lancaster, Palm Springs, and Torrance, CA. The new procedures permitted pilots of aircraft equipped with area navigation equipment to make straight-in instrument approaches to runways without the use of runway-oriented electronic approach aids. This eliminated the need for pilots to conduct time consuming turns and circling maneuvers required by conventional IFR approaches. (See October 1, 1969.)
Thursday, June 25, 1970:FAA introduced major changes in the New York Metropolitan Area’s air traffic patterns and procedures. Known as New York Metroplex, the new procedures reduced traffic congestion in and around New York airports, and accelerated the movement of aircraft along major north-south routes. Under Metroplex, primary holding patterns, or arrival fixes, for area airports were moved farther out from the center of the city. This enabled FAA to add five new en route corridors, with the following results
Thursday, June 25, 1970:In a major new safety rule effective this date, FAA established the terminal control area (TCA) concept. FAA designed the rule, first proposed in September 1969 and re-proposed in revised form in March 1970, to minimize the midair collision hazard around the nation’s busiest airports. A TCA consisted of controlled airspace within which all aircraft would be subject to special operating rules and pilot and equipment requirements. Although the boundaries of each TCA would be determined separately, their general shape resembled an “inverted wedding cake” with its smallest layer touching the ground. TCAs were broken into two categories, with the most congested locations designated as Group I. The rules for Group I required:
- Air traffic control clearance for all operations.
- Large turbine-powered aircraft to stay above the TCA’s floor unless otherwise authorized by air traffic control.
- The speed limit beneath the TCA’s lateral limits to be 200 knots (230 mph).
- Takeoffs and landings by solo student pilots to be banned.
- Aircraft to carry an operable two-way radio.
- Fixed-wing aircraft to carry an operable receiver for VOR or TACAN (standard navigation aids), as well as a radar beacon transponder. The transponder requirement did not apply to instrument flight rules (IFR) operations to and from secondary airports within the TCA.
For Group II TCAs, the rules were the same as for Group I except that solo student operations were not banned, and that aircraft using visual flight rules (VFR) need not carry transponders (see June 8, 1973). Because of this less stringent transponder requirement, air traffic control would provide added separation service–separation from VFR as well as IFR traffic–only when large turbine-powered aircraft were involved. Within Group I TCAs, by contrast, air traffic control would maintain separation between all traffic.
FAA tentatively selected 10 locations as Group I TCAs and 14 as Group II. Because of varying local conditions, each was to be designated by a separate rule, beginning with those in Group I. FAA established the first TCA at Atlanta on the same day as the TCA concept itself. It established the second at Chicago on July 23. (See February 4, 1971.)
Friday, June 26, 1970:FAA completed the first field evaluation of ARTS (Automated Radar Terminal System) II at the Knoxville, TN, terminal area. A modular, non-tracking air traffic control system, ARTS II was designed for both low- and medium-density terminal control facilities. The evaluation, which had begun on February 9, encompassed three separate test phases
June 1970:Forty-seven percent of the adult U.S. population had flown on a scheduled airline, according to a poll taken this month by the Gallup Organization. (See Calendar year 1965.)
Wednesday, July 1, 1970:All Department of Transportation internal audit functions were consolidated in the Office of the Secretary. FAA’s internal audit functions were directed to take guidance and direction from the Department’s Director of Audit.
Wednesday, July 1, 1970:All Department of Transportation public information functions were consolidated in the Office of the Secretary. FAA’s Office of Public Affairs was directed to take guidance and direction from the Department’s Director of Public Affairs.
Wednesday, July 1, 1970:FAA discontinued the Notices to Airmen (NOTAM) code which had been in use for 31 years, substituting contracted English. This freed pilots and Flight Service Station specialists from encoding and decoding information transmitted on teletype circuits.
Monday, July 13, 1970:FAA announced an expansion of the air traffic controller training facilities at the Aeronautical Center. A new building would be constructed that would provide additional office space as well as additional classrooms for air traffic control training. (See June 30, 1989.)
Friday, July 17, 1970:New Orleans’ Moisant International Airport became the first U.S. airport to subject all passengers to the FAA-developed antihijacking screening system. (See January 1969.) The system was based on a behavioral profile used in conjunction with weapons detection by magnatometer. If a person identified by the system as a possible risk did not satisfactorily resolve the question with airline personnel, he was further investigated by a U.S. marshal or deputy marshal. Previously, individual airlines had used the system only on selected flights. (See February 2, 1972.)
Friday, July 31, 1970:FAA issued to Pan American World Airways the first aviation war risk insurance premium policy under a new coverage plan. Previously, FAA’s only war risk insurance for which a premium was charged was a standby plan that would make coverage available in the event of war between major powers (see June 14, 1951). The new plan was offered in response to the entry into airline service of the Boeing 747. Because of the high cost of this aircraft (some $24 million), commercial insurers would cover only about 60 percent of its value. FAA’s new policy covered war risks for the commercially uninsurable portion of Boeing 747s flying international routes, and was later expanded to cover the aircraft’s whole value.
On February 4, 1971, FAA transferred the responsibility for administering the aviation war risk insurance program from its General Counsel to the Assistant Administrator for International Aviation Affairs. In November 1977, Public Law 95-163 expanded the scope of insurable risks to allow the FAA Administrator broad discretionary authority in extraordinary circumstances to insure air services deemed in the national interest. On February 4, 1984, the aviation insurance program was transferred from the Office of International Aviation to the Office of Aviation Policy and Plans. In 1992, legislation further expanded the scope of the program by allowing coverage for some domestic flight segments and certain services in direct support of flight operations.
In addition to the 747 coverage mentioned above, examples of uses of the aviation insurance program have included both premium and non-premium coverage of: flights in the Vietnam area during 1967-75; Middle East flights during the 1990-91 Operation Desert Shield/Storm; and flights to Somalia in support of Operation Restore Hope in 1992-93.
Sunday, August 2, 1970:The first hijacking of a wide-bodied airliner occurred as a Pan American 747 bound from New York to San Juan with 388 passengers was diverted to Havana.
Monday, August 3, 1970:FAA renamed its Office of Investigations and Security the Office of Air Transportation Security. At the same time, the agency established an Air Operations Security Division within the new office and gave it responsibility for dealing with hijacking security, bomb threats, aircraft and cargo security, and for developing and implementing deterrent systems for the prevention of criminal acts against air transportation. (See November 18, 1969 and June 11, 1974.)
On June 15, 1970, the Secretary of Transportation had announced that the nine-member Task Force on the Deterrence of Air Piracy would be replaced by a permanent organizational component staffed with full-time specialists to deal not only with aircraft piracy, but also with sabotage and all other air transportation security problems (see January 1969).
Thursday, August 6, 1970:FAA announced its first three grants under the new Airport Development Aid Program, or ADAP (see May 21, 1970). The awards went to Detroit Metropolitan-Wayne County Airport (Mich.), Hector Field (Fargo, N.D.), and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (Minn.). On October 27, 1970, the Secretary of Transportation officially delegated the authority to administer the ADAP program to the FAA Administrator.
Thursday, August 6, 1970:FAA transferred jurisdiction over agency hearing officers from the Regulatory Council to the Assistant Administrator for Appraisal. (See January 17, 1962.)
Tuesday, August 11, 1970:FAA withdrew a notice of proposed rulemaking requiring the use of protective smoke hoods. The agency had proposed on January 6, 1969, that these hoods be carried on all large airplanes for use by occupants during evacuation when fire or smoke was present. After further study, however, FAA decided that the hoods’ use might produce unacceptable delays during evacuation. Rapid evacuation after a crash landing, the agency held, was the most vital element for survival.
Wednesday, August 12, 1970:FAA established a Technical Assistance Staff headquartered in the United States in the Office of International Aviation Affairs to provide a variety of short-term technical assistance in aviation to foreign countries anywhere in the world. During the first year of its existence, this staff dispatched 44 technicians on short-term assignments to 13 countries. At the same time, FAA abolished the Regional Aviation Assistance Group, which had provided assistance primarily to Latin American countries.
Wednesday, August 12, 1970:In a rule issued this date, FAA required an advanced type of Flight Data Recorder for those large transport aircraft over 12,500 lb. certificated after September 30, 1969, that were turbine-powered or certificated to operate above 25,000 feet. By March 18, 1974, such aircraft were required to carry a type of recorder able to provide accident investigators with over three times more information on an aircraft’s control settings and other circumstances. (See August 5, 1957, and March 25, 1987).
Saturday, August 29, 1970:The McDonnell Douglas DC-10 first flew. On July 29, 1971, FAA type-certificated the aircraft, a medium-to-long-range airliner with a maximum capacity of 345 passengers. Powered by three General Electric CF6-6D turbofan engines, the DC-10 became the first transport certificated by FAA to meet the reduced engine-noise levels for takeoff, approach, and taxiing operations specified in Part 36 of the Federal Aviation Regulations . American Airlines inaugurated scheduled DC-10 service on August 5, 1971, with a flight from Los Angeles to Chicago.
September 6-9, 1970:Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked four airliners over Europe, blew them up, and held many passengers hostage. The hijackers originally planned to seize two Israeli, one Swiss, and one U.S. aircraft, and take the planes to a level stretch of Jordanian desert dubbed “Revolution Airstrip.” The plan failed insofar as the Israeli aircraft were concerned. Front members were refused admittance to one of them, whereupon they hijacked a U.S. flight. When they learned that the wide-body jet was too large to land at Revolution Airstrip, they ordered it to Cairo, where they blew it up after deplaning its occupants. Front members succeeded in boarding the other Israeli airliner, but their hijacking attempt was foiled in flight. One hijacker was killed and another arrested by British authorities when the plane landed in London.
The part of the original plan involving U.S. and Swiss airliners succeeded, and on September 6 these aircraft landed at Revolution Airstrip with all passengers. To gain bargaining power for the release of their member arrested in London, the Front hijacked a British airliner and forced it to land at Revolution Airstrip on September 9. The Front blew up the three empty airliners on September 12. All hostages except six were freed on September 27. Those six were freed two days later, in return for the release of the hijacker under arrest in London and six other Front members held by the Swiss and West Germans.
Thursday, September 10, 1970:The Air Transport Association settled a $50 million damage suit against PATCO for its role in the 1970 strike. As part of the settlement, PATCO remained under a permanent injunction against any future job action. (See April 23, 1970, and January 29, 1971.)
Friday, September 11, 1970:President Nixon announced a comprehensive antihijacking program that called for:
- The U.S. government to place specially trained, armed guards on American commercial airline flights.
- Extending, under DOT auspices, the use of electronic and other surveillance techniques by U.S. flag carriers to all gateway airports in the U.S., and in other countries wherever possible.
- Accelerated efforts by Federal agencies to develop security measures, including new methods for detecting weapons and explosives devices.
- The State Department and other appropriate agencies to consult foreign governments and foreign carriers on antihijacking techniques.
- All countries to accept the multilateral convention (to be considered at a conference held under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization) providing for extradition or punishment of hijackers.
In addition, the President called on the international community to suspend airline service to countries refusing to extradite or punish hijackers involved in international blackmail. He stated that it was U.S. policy to hold nations in which a hijacked plane landed responsible for appropriate steps to protect the lives and property of U.S. citizens. (See September 21, 1970, October 28, 1970, and September 23, 1971.)
Monday, September 21, 1970:The Department of Transportation announced the appointment of Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (USAF-Ret), as Director of Civil Aviation Security for DOT. Davis advised the Secretary of Transportation on the Department’s antihijacking program and coordinated the functions of the airport and airborne security force, composed of components from the Departments of Defense, Justice, Transportation, and Treasury, and other government agencies. (See September 11, 1970.)
Friday, September 25, 1970:The Departments of Justice and Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding dividing responsibilities for responding to hijackings. The FBI had jurisdiction when an aircraft was neither airborne nor moving on the runway for purposes of takeoff or landing. The pilot retained command at other times, and FAA’s recommendations to him had precedence. A further agreement in December 1971 assigned the pilot the responsibility of signaling whether the aircraft should be disabled or stormed. On February 26, 1975, FAA and the FBI signed a new memorandum of understanding governing responsibilities during a hijacking. Following guidelines provided by the Anti-Hijacking Act of August 5, 1974 (see that date), the new agreement extended FAA jurisdiction to include the period from the closing of all external doors following embarkation until the opening of one such door for disembarkation. Both the FAA and the FBI agreed to fully consider each other’s views, as well as the views of the airline and the pilot in command, before initiating law enforcement action.
September 1970:FAA established a Civil Rights Committee. The 13-member committee served as a sounding-board for the discussion of equal employment opportunity problems and suggested methods for improving the employment environment, examined employment practices and procedures, reviewed proposed employment directives, and performed other specified advisory functions.
Friday, October 2, 1970:A chartered Martin 404 carrying members of the Wichita State University football team crashed near Silver Plume, CO, killing 32 of the 40 persons aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board later cited the probable cause as the operation of the aircraft over a mountain valley route at an altitude from which the aircraft could not avoid obstructing terrain. Among factors listed as contributing to the accident was the charter company’s poor operational management. The accident called into question the business practices of charter and leasing firms, and Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe on October 9 ordered an investigation of companies designated as commercial operators of large aircraft (see March 5, 1971). While this investigation proceeded, FAA on October 27 proposed a rule redefining the term “commercial operator” and requiring educational institutions and similar groups to hold an air travel club certificate when operating large aircraft over 12,500 pounds. The proposal would also have required operators of large aircraft to obtain a commercial operator’s certificate for certain operations in the furtherance of business. Industry response to the proposal proved strongly negative. Meanwhile, another major crash of a charter flight occurred on November 14, 1970, when a Southern Airways DC-9 descended too low during a nonprecision approach at Huntington, WV The accident killed all 75 of the plane’s occupants, including the Marshall University football team. (See March 5, 1971.)
Monday, October 12, 1970:FAA announced adoption of a three-bar version of the visual approach slope indicator (VASI) system. VASI had been adopted as the U.S. national standard in 1961 and became the international standard shortly thereafter. The bicolor (red-white) light box system was located alongside the runway at its touchdown or aiming point. When the pilot was on the proper glide slope, the far indicator was red and the closer one was white. When the pilot was above the glide slope, both indicators were white; when below the glide path, both were red. The specialized three-bar VASI was primarily for runways which were not equipped with the Instrument Landing System and which served new, large jets, such as the Boeing 747, whose pilots sat high above the landing gear. Pilots flying these jets would use the second and third bars for reference, while pilots of smaller aircraft would use the first and second bars. (See February 8, 1985.)
Wednesday, October 14, 1970:Congress approved legislation implementing the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft–the so-called Tokyo Convention. This legislation accomplished three objectives: it closed certain minor gaps in U.S. criminal jurisdiction over acts committed on aircraft of U.S. registry; it clarified the existing “air commerce” jurisdiction, which otherwise could have created serious constitutional and international problems; and it brought U.S. military aircraft under the “special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States.” (See Dec 4, 1969.)
Wednesday, October 28, 1970:The Departments of Transportation and Treasury agreed that the Bureau of Customs would recruit and train a permanent force of customs security officers who would be assigned to FAA for service as sky marshals aboard commercial passenger flights (see August 10, 1961). The first class of these officers graduated on December 23, 1970; by May 1971, they had completely replaced an interim force organized in accordance with the program announced by President Nixon on September 11, 1970 (see that date). This interim force had consisted of both military personnel and civilian agents from the Treasury Department and other agencies, including FAA.
Friday, November 6, 1970:FAA established a national en route air traffic training program for beginning center controllers. The program, an outgrowth of a Corson Committee recommendation (see January 29, 1970), used the FAA Academy for qualification training and FAA facilities for proficiency training. Its objectives included shortening the training, reducing the high attrition rate among trainees, and making more efficient use of resources. Training was conducted in three phases. The first phase, indoctrination and precontrol, took place at an en route facility and covered noncontrol duties. The second, control, was conducted at the FAA Academy and consisted of a nine-week non-radar and radar control procedures course. The final phase, sector qualification, took place at an en route facility. Previously, controller trainees had been sent directly to the FAA Academy for a nine-week indoctrination course, and then to the centers for on-the-job training running from two to three years.
Thursday, November 12, 1970:The National Transportation Safety Board released the results of a 1969 inquiry into the cause and prevention of midair collisions. The Board concluded that “no one solution is available to the aviation community which will result in the elimination of all midair collisions.” The collision potential, however, could be reduced by (1) pilot education and pilot scanning techniques, (2) using collision avoidance systems and pilot warning indicators, (3) establishing standard traffic patterns for all airports, (4) separating high- and low-performance aircraft within terminal areas, (5) implementing area navigation throughout the National Airspace System, (6) increasing the conspicuity of aircraft, and (7) expanding the use of automation in air traffic control.
The Board recommended that FAA:
- Evaluate pilot qualification criteria and minimum airborne equipment requirements for operations into high-density terminal areas.
- Accelerate the program providing for the separation of high- and low-performance aircraft in high-density terminal areas.
- Encourage the development of an airborne collision avoidance system for air carrier and larger general aviation aircraft.
- Provide funds for the ground equipment necessary to support airborne collision avoidance systems.
- Sponsor the development of pilot warning indicator systems.
- Require the installation of collision avoidance and pilot warning indicator systems when they become available.
- Add scanning techniques to the pilot training syllabus.
- Require the installation of white anticollision lights on all aircraft.
- Accelerate the implementation of an area navigation system throughout the National Airspace System (see March 6, 1972).