Wednesday, January 3, 1973:FAA issued a truth-in-leasing clause requirement for leases and conditional sales contracts involving large civil aircraft so that all concerned parties would know who had responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the aircraft and for complying with applicable Federal Aviation Regulations. (See Oct 2, 1970.) Later, a rule published on Nov 3, 1977, required the lessee or conditional buyer of a large civil aircraft to give notification 48 hours before its first flight to enable FAA to conduct the necessary surveillance or inspection.
Wednesday, January 3, 1973:Chairman Crocker Snow submitted to Congress the report of the Aviation Advisory Commission, which had been established by the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970. Sworn in on Dec 17, 1970, the commission members had spent two years developing their report on the long range needs of U.S. aviation. Their recommendations included establishment of an Under Secretary of Transportation for Aviation with responsibility for a National Aviation Plan.
Saturday, January 6, 1973:The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it had awarded a contract for an electronic voice switching (EVS) system, which would increase communications efficiency at air route traffic control centers and would eventually replace all existing FAA radio control and signaling equipment at the center and remote sites. In Aug 1974, however, FAA Administrator Alexander Butterfield cancelled the contract because of increasing cost estimates and schedule delays.
Monday, January 1, 1973:Frontier Airlines hired Emily Howell (later Emily Warner) as the first woman member of a flight deck crew on a trunk or regional air carrier since Helen Richey’s brief career with Central Airlines in 1934-35.
Friday, February 2, 1973:Claude S. Brinegar became Secretary of Transportation. He succeeded John A. Volpe, who left the Department effective this date to become Ambassador to Italy. President Nixon had announced his intention to nominate Brinegar, an executive of a California oil company, on Dec 7, 1972. The Senate confirmed the appointment on Jan 18. (See Dec 18, 1974.)
Monday, February 5, 1973:FAA Administrator John H. Shaffer established the Executive Committee (EXCOM) to review and establish agency policies. A year later, in a move intended to increase accountability among managers, Administrator Butterfield suspended the EXCOM, as well as the Agency Review Board and the Regulatory Council. Citing the three committees’ usefulness in promoting communication and orderly decision making, Acting Administrator James E. Dow reinstated them in April 1975. On Aug 31, 1977, however, Administrator Langhorne Bond abolished the EXCOM, and on Dec 9, 1977 abolished the Agency Review Board. Bond also discontinued the Regulatory Council. (See Jan 24, 1989.)
Tuesday, February 13, 1973:Ceremonies at the Memphis Air Traffic Control Center celebrated the center’s switch over to computer processing of flight-plan data, completing Phase One of the NAS En Route Stage A, FAA’s decade-long program to automate and computerize the nation’s en route air traffic control system (see Sep 26, 1964). With the new computer installation at Memphis, all twenty ARTCCs in the contiguous 48 states gained an automatic capability to collect and distribute information about each aircraft’s course and altitude to all the sector controllers along its flight path. Pilots still had to file flight plans at flight service stations and military operations offices, but now computers would handle the centers’ “bookkeeping functions” of assigning and printing out controller flight strips. The new computers also had the ability to record and distribute any changes registered in aircraft flight plans en route. The system eventually tied in with the Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS III) units then being installed at major airports (see Oct 4, 1971 and Feb 15, 1973). Phase Two of the en route automation program was still under way; it would provide controllers at the twenty centers with new radar displays that would show such vital flight information as altitude and speed directly on the screen. (See Feb 18, 1970 and Jun 14, 1973.)
Thursday, February 15, 1973:The United States and Cuba signed an anti-hijacking agreement calling for the two nations to extradite or punish any person “who seizes, removes, appropriates or diverts from its normal route or activities an aircraft or vessel” of one country and takes it to the other. The pact was to run for five years, but Cuba abrogated it on Oct 15, 1976, on grounds of alleged American involvement in the explosion of a Cuban airliner. (See Oct 29, 1972.)
Thursday, February 15, 1973:FAA announced that production had been completed on all 64 of the new computerized automated radar terminal systems (ARTS III), marking an important milestone in the agency’s air traffic control automation program. (See Feb 13, 1973 and Aug 13, 1975.) The ARTS III system electronically tagged radar blips on the controller’s scope with luminous letters and numbers called alphanumerics that provided the target aircraft’s identity and altitude.
Wednesday, March 14, 1973:The Department of Transportation announced that four companies had been selected to continue development of a common civil-military microwave landing systems (MLS). Under this Phase II of the MLS developmental program, each contractor had to demonstrate the feasibility of its proposed system design to meet the full range of civil and military requirements. (See Jan 27, 1972, and Jun 7, 1973.)
Wednesday, March 14, 1973:Alexander P. Butterfield became the fifth FAA Administrator, succeeding John H. Shaffer (see Mar 24, 1969), whose resignation was one of many accepted by President Nixon in a reorganization of the Executive Branch. Butterfield’s selection had been announced on Dec 19, 1972, and his nomination submitted to the Senate on Jan 4, 1973. Questions were raised about his eligibility, however, since he was a retired Air Force colonel and the FAA Administrator was prohibited by law from having a military affiliation. When congressional exemption from this statute appeared unlikely, Butterfield resigned his Air Force commission. His nomination was resubmitted to the Senate on Feb 26 and confirmed on Mar 12.
Born in Florida in 1926, Butterfield spent much of his youth in California and attended UCLA for two years before receiving his B.S. degree from the University of Maryland. (He later earned an M.S. degree in international affairs from George Washington University and graduated from the National War College.) During 20 years with the Air Force, Butterfield had flown as a command pilot and member of a jet aerobatic team. His decorations included the Legion of Merit and Distinguished Flying Cross.
Butterfield had commanded the USAF’s low and medium level air reconnaissance operations in Southeast Asia. His staff positions included duty as senior aide to the Commander in Chief Pacific Air Forces, and Military Assistant to the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He was serving as the senior U.S. military representative to Australia when he retired from the Air Force in 1969 to become Deputy Assistant to President Nixon. Butterfield moved from this post to FAA, serving as Administrator for just over two years (see Mar 25, 1975).
Saturday, March 17, 1973:Negotiators signed the first labor contract between FAA and the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization (PATCO). Approved and effective on Apr 4, the one-year agreement contained 56 articles that included provisions on a variety of issues including payroll deduction of union dues and “familiarization flights” by controllers in airline cockpits. (See Oct 20, 1972, and May 7, 1975.)
Friday, April 27, 1973:An FAA rule imposing a virtual ban on civilian supersonic flights over the United States went into effect. The rule, first proposed on Apr 10, 1970, prohibited any operator of a civil aircraft from exceeding the speed of sound (Mach 1) when flying over the land mass or territorial waters of the United States, except when such operations would not cause a “measurable sonic boom overpressure to reach the surface.” This wording left room for certain authorized operations at the lower end of the supersonic speed range. The rule was not seen as a bar to planned operations of the Anglo-French supersonic transport Concorde, which was expected to fly subsonic over U.S. territorial waters and mainland. (See Feb 4, 1976.)
April 1973:FAA World reported that the last airway light beacon, on Whitewater Hill near Palm Beach, CA, had been decommissioned. This type of beacon had reached its peak in 1946, when 2,112 were in service. Their number declined during the 1950s, but a few had remained to mark obstructions or passes. (See Dec 7, 1926.)
April 1973:Federal Express began flight operations from its base at Memphis, TN, offering door-to-door package delivery by air express, a popular service that soon inspired imitators. The company expanded rapidly as airline deregulation began in the late 1970s, and it grew even more when it acquired the Flying Tiger Line on Jan 31, 1989.
Thursday, May 10, 1973:The Civil Aeronautics Board published the first rule regulating smoking on aircraft for reasons of consumer comfort and protection. The Board required airlines to provide separate sections for smokers and nonsmokers. Subsequent modifications to the rule included a 1981 requirement that airlines guarantee a seat in the nonsmoking section to every nonsmoker who met the check-in deadline. (See Mar 19, 1970, and Jun 20, 1984.)
Monday, May 14, 1973:In Burbank v. Lockheed Air Terminal, the U.S. Supreme Court prohibited states and municipalities from using their police powers to impose curfews on jet aircraft operations. The City of Burbank, CA, had passed an ordinance banning turbojet takeoffs and landings between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. at the Hollywood-Burbank Airport, a privately owned and operated facility. Pointing to the Noise Control Act of 1972 (see Oct 27, 1972), the Supreme Court concluded that the noise-regulatory powers granted by Congress to FAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were so pervasive that the Federal government had preempted state and local authority. The Court also noted that upholding the ordinance could lead to “fractionalized control” of takeoffs and landings that would severely limit FAA’s flexibility in controlling air traffic. Under the Federal Aviation Act, air traffic control had been preempted by FAA. Thus, the Court concluded, it was “not at liberty to diffuse the powers given by Congress to FAA and EPA . . . . If that change is to be made, Congress alone must do it.” In what came to be known as the “Burbank exception,” however, the Court stated that the Burbank decision applied to the exercise of police power, and did not pertain to “what limits, if any, apply to a municipality as a proprietor.” (See Mar 5, 1962, and Oct 17, 1977.)
Monday, May 14, 1973:The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Project Skylab orbited the first U.S. space station, designated the Orbital Workshop (see Apr 19, 1971). The Workshop was damaged during the launch, but astronauts were able to make repairs during the first of three flights to the station during 1973. The station later disintegrated when it entered the atmosphere on Jul 11, 1979, scattering debris along a path from the Indian Ocean to Western Australia.
Monday, May 21, 1973:By this date, U.S. airports serving scheduled air carriers that held CAB certificates of public convenience and necessity were required to have FAA operating certificates. The regulation (which implemented provisions of the Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970, as amended Nov 27, 1971) set standards for: the marking and lighting of areas used for operations; firefighting and rescue equipment and services; the handling and storing of hazardous materials; the identification of obstructions; and safety inspection and reporting procedures. It also required airport operators to have an FAA-approved operations manual. FAA awarded the first operating certificate to Boston Logan airport on Sep 1, 1972, and had certificated nearly 500 airports by the May 21, 1973, deadline. (See Aug 21, 1974, and Oct 18, 1977.)
Sunday, June 3, 1973:The crash of a Tupolev TU-144 during a demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show dealt a serious blow to the Soviet supersonic transport program. (See Dec 31, 1968, and Dec 26, 1975.)
Monday, June 4, 1973:FAA published a rule requiring aircraft in designated airspace to carry an improved radar beacon transponder with Mode C automatic altitude reporting capability, as well as the ability to transmit identity codes (see Jun 25, 1970). The implementation schedule was: in Group I terminal control areas (TCAs), Jul 1, 1974; in Group II TCAs, Jan 1, 1975 (see Apr 14, 1975); and above 12,500 ft MSL, Jul 1, 1975. (See Nov 1, 1985.) Due to equipment supply problems, FAA later granted a 6-month extension of the deadlines concerning TCAs. (See Jan 1, 1974.)
Thursday, June 7, 1973:A rule published this date and effective July 6 required air carriers and air taxi operators to establish training programs for personnel having responsibilities for the safe carriage and handling of hazardous cargo. After Dec 6, only personnel who had completed this training would be allowed to perform such duties. The regulation also required that the pilot in command be notified in writing by the operator of the presence of hazardous cargo aboard an aircraft. FAA issued the rule against a background of growing public and congressional concern about transport of hazardous materials by air. The dangerous potential of “hazmat” was confirmed when a Pan American 707 freighter crashed on Nov 3 at Boston with the loss of all three persons aboard. Smoke, probably caused by leaking acid, had almost blinded the crew and prevented them from coordinating their actions during the landing. (See Jan 3, 1975.)
Thursday, June 7, 1973: To fulfill a near term requirement for an approach guidance system for airports, FAA announced that it had decided to proceed with the selection of an interim standard microwave landing system (ISMLS), pending completion and implementation of the MLS development program. On Aug 28, 1974, FAA announced that it had selected the ISMLS designed by Tull Aviation Corp. (See Mar 14, 1973, and Feb 27, 1975.)
Thursday, June 14, 1973:The Los Angeles ARTCC became the first center to achieve initial operational capability with computer-driven radar displays capable of showing identity and three-dimensional position information on aircraft targets. Radar data processing began Phase Two of the ARTCC automation program. (See Feb 13, 1973 and Aug 26, 1975.)
Monday, June 18, 1973:President Nixon signed into law the Airport Development Acceleration Act of 1973 (Public Law 93-44), which further amended the basic Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970 (see May 21, 1970). It was the second time the act had been amended in its three-year existence (see Nov 27, 1971). The 1973 amendment: increased the annual funding level of the Airport Development Aid Program (ADAP) from $280 million to $310 million; raised the Federal share for ADAP development of general aviation airports, reliever airports, and the smaller air carrier airports (identified as those that enplaned less than 1 percent of the passengers enplaned by all the air carriers certificated by the CAB) from 50 percent to 75 percent; and obligated the Federal government to pay 82 percent of the costs of safety equipment required for airport certification, as compared to the 50 percent for which it had previously taken responsibility. The amendment also prohibited states and localities from levying a “head tax” on passengers. (See Jun 30, 1975.)
Tuesday, June 19, 1973:The U.S. and U.S.S.R. signed an agreement on joint cooperation in the field of transportation calling for exchanges of information in areas that included the safety and efficiency of civil aviation. As a result of the pact, FAA officials and their Soviet counterparts held meetings on a variety of technical subjects. The agreement was one of a series signed by officials during a summit meeting between President Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The last of these agreements, signed on Jun 23, provided for an expansion of direct airline flights between the two countries. Previously, Pan American and Aeroflot had each been allowed two round-trip flights per week between New York and Moscow. The two airlines were now permitted up to three flights per week, and Pan Am received authorization to land at Leningrad, and Aeroflot at Washington. During 1978, however, Pan American discontinued operations in the U.S.S.R. as part of a cutback on its European flights. Under President Carter, Aeroflot service was reduced to two flights per week, effective Jan 13, 1980, as part of a response to Soviet military actions in Afghanistan. (See Jun 15, 1968, and Dec 29, 1981)
Friday, June 29, 1973:FAA discontinued the position of Associate Administrator for Manpower (see Mar 4, 1970) following the retirement of the incumbent on this date; however, the agency did not officially abolish the post until Dec 4, 1974. The Associate Administrator for Administration assumed most of the functions of the position.
Friday, July 6, 1973:The Environmental Protection Agency issued air pollution standards for aircraft engines and a timetable for their implementation. Formulated in consultation with FAA, the new standards applied to nearly all civil subsonic aircraft, and limited emission of smoke, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. EPA specified a timetable for compliance that was less stringent than that outlined in its original proposal. To begin implementation of the standards, FAA published a rule on Dec 28, 1973, with an effective date of Feb 1, 1974. The rule required improved combustors to reduce smoke from the JT8D engines used on DC-9 and Boeing 727 and 737 aircraft, and also prohibited fuel venting from turbine engines with thrust of 8,000 lb. or greater. This regulation was followed by several others implementing the EPA standards. (See Dec 31, 1970, and Jan 7, 1980.)
Sunday, July 8, 1973:FAA commissioned the Flight Inspection National Field Office (FINFO) at Oklahoma City. Established to oversee the operation of the entire flight inspection program within the contiguous 48 States, as well as the Caribbean and North Atlantic areas, FINFO reported directly to the Director, Flight Standards Service. Previously, flight inspection of terminal and air route navigation facilities and communications equipment had been carried out by 17 flight inspection district offices under the jurisdiction of five FAA regions. These district offices were consolidated into a smaller number of Flight Inspection Field Offices (FIFOs) under the new arrangement, which was expected to save $8 million annually.
(In 1975, FINFO became part of the Flight Standards National Field Office. Subsequently, the flight inspection program was placed under the Office of Flight Operations in 1979, then in 1982 transferred to the Aviation Standards National Field Office, which was renamed the Office of Aviation System Standards in 1992. The FIFOs were renamed Flight Inspection Area Offices in 1993.)
In addition to establishing FINFO, FAA updated its flight inspection fleet by replacing 47 DC-3s and Convair T-29s with light twin-engine jets: 5 Jet Commanders (delivery starting in Jun 1974) and 15 Saberliner 80s (delivery starting in Apr 1975). Faster and capable of flying longer distances, the new jets were expected to save many flight hours annually. Unlike a group of 5 Saberliner 40 jets that FAA had begun receiving in 1968, these new aircraft were to be equipped with the newly developed Automated Flight Inspection System (AFIS). The AFIS system greatly expanded productivity when the first of the new aircraft began operations in Nov 1974. In addition to Saberliners and Jet Commanders, FAA’s worldwide flight inspection fleet by the early 1980s included 3 Convairs (upgraded to the 580 configuration), one Boeing 727, one Fairchild C-123, and a single remaining DC-3 in occasional use. (See Jan 1962 and Oct 23, 1986.)
Wednesday, July 11, 1973:An in-flight cabin fire originating in a lavatory area killed 123 persons aboard a Boeing 707 operated by the Brazilian airline Varig as the aircraft neared Paris. In partial response to NTSB recommendations following the tragedy, FAA ordered periodic inspections of lavatory trash receptacles to ensure fire containment capability, as well as preflight briefings and other steps aimed at preventing passengers from smoking in lavatories. (See Jun 2, 1983, and Jun 19, 1984)
Monday, July 16, 1973:In public testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, FAA Administrator Alexander P. Butterfield disclosed the existence of a White House audio taping system, a revelation that became instrumental in implicating President Nixon in the Watergate coverup.
Monday, July 23, 1973:An Ozark Airlines Fairchild-Hiller 227B crashed 2.3 miles from St. Louis airport, killing 38 of the 44 persons aboard. The National Transportation Safety Board cited the probable cause as encounter with a downdraft following the captain’s decision to conduct an instrument approach during a thunderstorm. This decision was probably influenced by lack of a timely severe weather warning from the National Weather Service and the improper assessment of weather conditions by flightcrew and flight dispatcher. The Board’s recommendations included a system to improve the dissemination of severe weather information. (See May 19, 1977.)
Friday, July 27, 1973:FAA issued a rule requiring air carriers, air travel clubs, and air taxi operators to have electronic public address systems and interphone systems in all aircraft with more than 19 passenger seats. The rule was intended to help keep crew and passengers informed during emergencies. The deadline for compliance was Sep 8, 1975. (See Oct 20, 1989.)
Friday, September 7, 1973:On this date, FAA issued the first National Airport System Plan (NASP). The plan forecasted that 700 new airports would be needed in the United States over the next 10 years to keep pace with the projected growth of air traffic. FAA estimated that the overall cost of building the new airports and upgrading existing facilities at $6.3 billion. The Airport and Airway Development Act of 1970 required FAA to prepare the NASP as a guide for future airport development (see May 21, 1970). The NASP replaced the former National Airport Plan (NAP), last published in 1967. (See Aug 2, 1985.)
Monday, September 10, 1973:FAA gave its Office of Public Affairs new functions and redesignated it as the Office of Information Services, effective this date, as part of an effort to introduce greater economy and efficiency into the agency (see Jun 19, 1969). The new office consolidated public and employee information activities that had been dispersed over six office elements. It assumed (l) the agency’s public affairs functions, (2) the employee communication functions of the Associate Administrator for Manpower, (3) the women’s aviation activities of the Office of General Aviation, (4) the audiovisual and public inquiry functions of the Office of Headquarters Operations, (5) the congressional liaison functions of the Deputy Administrator, and (6) the history functions of the Office of Management Systems. (See Jul 12, 1976.)
Thursday, September 13, 1973:FAA abolished the Office of Headquarters Operations, effective this date, assigning its functions and responsibilities to other offices and services: (l) accounting to a new Office of Accounting and Audit; (2) personnel to the Office of Personnel; (3) security to the Office of Air Transportation Security; (4) data processing to the Office of Management Systems; (5) property management to the Logistics Service; (6) information functions to the new Office of Information Services. (See Jul 1, 1963.)
Wednesday, September 26, 1973:As mandated by Airport and Airway Development and Revenue Acts of 1970, DOT submitted to Congress a Cost Allocation Study on how the Federal costs of the airport and airway system should be shared among the various users. The report concluded that proportion should be about 50 percent for air carriers, 30 percent for general aviation, and 20 percent for the public sector. It also concluded that present taxes failed to recover more than 55 percent of the total costs, with the general aviation sector accounting for the largest short-fall. The study recommended that at least a high percentage of the short-fall be recovered through user fees. A follow-up Part II report was planned but not issued.
Saturday, October 6, 1973:War broke out between Israel and its Arab neighbors, leading to an Arab oil embargo against the U.S. and other nations deemed to support Israel. The embargo worsened a spreading fuel shortage. On Nov 7, President Nixon asked Congress for new conservation legislation and called for a Project Independence to give the nation the potential to be energy self-sufficient by 1980. (See Nov 20, 1973.)
Friday, October 26, 1973:FAA published a rule requiring newly produced aircraft of older type designs, such as the DC-9 or Boeing 727, to meet noise standards for turbojet and transport aircraft. The standards had previously applied only to newly type-certificated aircraft, under a rule effective Dec 1, 1969 (see that date). The new rule became effective in three phases between Dec 1, 1973, and Dec 31, 1974. (See Jan 6, 1975.)
Friday, November 16, 1973:Friendship International Airport was renamed Baltimore Washington International. The airport had originally opened on Jun 24, 1950.
Tuesday, November 20, 1973:A seven-point jet fuel conservation plan designed to save up to 20,000 barrels (840,000) gallons of jet fuel per day went into effect. Implemented in response to President Nixon’s national campaign to conserve fuel in the aftermath of the Arab petroleum embargo (see Oct 6, 1973), the plan:
- Revised gate holding procedures to reduce the time aircraft spent with engines running while awaiting takeoff.
- Revised air traffic flow procedures to reduce time spent aloft in holding patterns.
- Encouraged increased use of optimum aircraft cruising speeds.
- Advised controllers to effect fuel savings wherever possible by holding aircraft at high altitudes, assigning optimum altitudes, and minimizing circuitous routings.
- Encouraged taxiing aircraft to shut down one or more engines where possible.
- Endorsed the increased use of simulators for airline training and check flights.
- Encouraged airports to expedite certain runway and taxiway improvements.