FAA History: 2000

Tuesday, January 4, 2000:A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued this day revealed FAA had failed to conduct security checks on dozens of foreign nationals hired to fix Y2K problems in sensitive computer systems used for air traffic control. GAO said FAA had violated its own security policy by allowing foreign employees, who had not received background checks and were working for the agency’s contractors, to be involved in repairing 15 of 153 critical computer systems. The House Science Committee had asked GAO to investigate how much FAA relied on foreign nationals for Y2K preparedness. FAA announced it was taking immediate steps to implement all of the GAO recommendations.
Wednesday, January 5, 2000:FAA proposed a rule that would require agency certification of companies hired by the airlines to perform security screening at airports. The rule would set standards for companies providing security screening, strengthen training and testing standards for screeners, and impose more stringent experience and training requirements on screening company managers and instructors. (See December 21, 1999; May 19, 2000.)
Saturday, January 8, 2000:The National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all turbine-powered aircraft then exempt from flight recorder rules be required to be equipped with crash-protected video recorders. Under NTSB’s recommendation, the requirement would first affect planes that carry passengers for hire and would take effect within five years of adoption of a technical standard order covering the devices by FAA. The NTSB recommendation followed adoption of its final report on the October 8, 1997, crash of a Scenic Airlines Cessna 208B in Montrose, Colorado. All nine persons aboard – the pilot and eight employees of the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation – died in this tragedy. According to the report, while flying the aircraft at nearly its maximum gross weight and aft center of gravity, in nearly full to full instrument flight conditions, the pilot had apparently failed to maintain sufficient airspeed. Without access to a crash-protected video recorder, the board could not determine exactly why the pilot had allowed the aircraft to fly too slowly. The most likely factors contributing to the accident, however, were the pilot’s improper in-flight planning, his faulty decision-making, and his failure to use proper stall/spin recovery techniques. (See May 3, 1999; August 18, 2003.)
Monday, January 10, 2000:FAA and Wildlife Services of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced publication of a manual to help combat wildlife hazards at airports. The manual, the first of its kind in the United States, was the culmination of years of research, airport site visits, and training conducted by the two agencies. The manual contained information designed to assist airport personnel in addressing airport wildlife hazard issues and enhancing aviation safety.
Tuesday, January 11, 2000:FAA announced that, after more than one year of negotiations and several months of mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, it had signed a tentative five-year labor agreement with the Professional Airways Systems Specialists. Union employees ratified the contract in early May. (See May 28, 1999.)
Wednesday, January 12, 2000:FAA achieved initial operating capability on its second EDC of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) at the Syracuse, New York, TRACON. January 28, FAA Administrator Jane Garvey formally dedicated the new system at Syracuse. (See December 20, 1999; May 9, 2002.)
Friday, January 14, 2000:The White House unveiled a new FAA program to give airline pilots and mechanics a no-penalty way to report safety-related incidents and problems. The Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), patterned after a successful American Airlines program begun in 1996, encouraged pilots and mechanics to volunteer information that could help prevent accidents. In return, FAA and the airlines promised not to take action against pilots and mechanics in most cases. (See June 15, 2009.)
Monday, January 31, 2000:Alaska Air Flight 261, a Boeing MD-83, crashed into the ocean off Point Mugu, California, killing all 88 on board. Before the plane suddenly dived 17,900 feet into the water, the crew had reported a stabilizer jammed in a position that pushed the aircraft downward. (See February 10, 2000.) December 10, 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was the loss of airplane pitch control resulting from in-flight failure of the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly’s acme nut thread. The component failed because of excessive wear resulting from Alaska Airlines’ insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly. Contributing to the accident were the carrier’s extended lubrication and end play check intervals, and FAA’s approval of these intervals.
Friday, February 4, 2000:FAA awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to Computer Sciences Corp. to begin the software development and implementation of the Controller-Pilot DataLink Communications project (CPDLC). Designed to provide more efficient, automated communications between controller and pilot, and CPDLC would reduce operational errors resulting from misunderstood voice communications. FAA planned to deploy the prototype system at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center in June 2003 with national deployment beginning six months later at the other 19 air route traffic control centers. (See April 16, 1998; October 7, 2002.)
Thursday, February 10, 2000:FAA ordered an immediate inspection of the entire fleet of single-aisle planes built by McDonnell Douglas after inspectors found two Alaska Airlines aircraft with damage in the tail section similar to that found in the wreckage of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. The airworthiness directive required a visual inspection of the jackscrew assembly of the horizontal stabilizer within three days and a more sophisticated examination within 30 days. Sources close to the investigation of the fatal crash reported that there was preliminary evidence of extreme wear on parts of the stabilizer control system in the tail of the MD-83 aircraft that plunged into the Pacific near Los Angeles on January 31. (See January 31, 2000; March 17, 2000.)
Tuesday, February 22, 2000:After the German airline Lufthansa found cracked copper lines and ordered Boeing 747s in its fleet grounded briefly for inspections, FAA announced plans to order an inspection of the engine fire suppression system on Boeing 747-400s registered in the United States. (See October 28, 1999; April 27, 2001.)
Wednesday, February 23, 2000:FAA Administrator Jane Garvey accepted a report from the Fractional Ownership Aviation Rulemaking Committee, chartered in October 1999, outlining their views on the best ways to improve oversight of aircraft owned by multiple entities. (See November 17, 2003.)
Thursday, February 24, 2000:Effective this date, FAA added Pacific oceanic areas to the airspace where the principles of Reduced Vertical Separation Minima could be applied. Previously, RVSM was only used in North Atlantic minimum navigation performance specifications airspace. The introduction of RVSM procedures in Pacific oceanic airspace made more fuel- and time-efficient flight levels and tracks available to operators. (See April 9, 1997; December 10, 2001.)
Tuesday, February 1, 2000:The Department of Transportation and the Department of Defense jointly released the 1999 Federal Radionavigation Plan<span, which included provisions for two additional global positioning system (GPS) signals for civil use and a revised schedule for making the transition to GPS. (See March 26, 2002.)
Sunday, March 5, 2000:Southwest Airlines Flight 1455, a Boeing 737-300, overran the departure end of Runway 8 after landing at Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport, Burbank, California. The airplane touched down at approximately 182 knots. About 20 seconds later, at approximately 32 knots, the airplane collided with a metal blast fence and an airport perimeter wall. The airplane came to rest on a city street near a gas station beyond the airport property. Of the 142 persons on board, two sustained serious injuries; 41 passengers and the captain sustained minor injuries; and 94 passengers, three flight attendants, and the first officer sustained no injuries. The airplane sustained extensive damage and some internal damage to the passenger cabin. June 26, 2002, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the strongest probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s excessive airspeed and flight path angle during the approach and landing. NTSB also noted that the crew had failed to abort the approach when stabilized approach criteria were not met. Contributing to the accident was the air traffic controller’s positioning of the airplane, which was too high, too fast, and too close to the runway threshold. As a result, no safe options existed for the flight crew other than a go-around maneuver. Despite all of these factors, however, NTSB concluded that, had the accident flight crew applied maximum manual brakes immediately upon touchdown, the airplane would likely have stopped before impacting the blast fence. (See March 14, 2000.)
Monday, March 6, 2000:FAA broke ground for a new regional air traffic control center on a 33-acre site in Vint Hill, Fauquier County, Virginia, that would replace the radar monitoring facilities at Baltimore-Washington International, Dulles International, Reagan Washington National, and Andrews Air Force Base. The new TRACON would guide aircraft within about a 75-mile radius of Washington, DC. (See January 7, 1999; December 14, 2002.)
Friday, March 10, 2000:President Clinton, along with Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, announced FAA and the aviation industry were launching a new effort to improve the flow of air traffic during severe weather. The Spring/Summer 2000 severe weather plan, slated to begin March 12 and to be fully phased in on April 1, would maximize the use of available air space, improve communications between FAA and the airline industry, and expand the use of new technology to help reduce weather-related delays. At that time, the president also charged FAA to develop, in 45 days, a broader plan for reform of the air traffic control system.
Monday, March 13, 2000:FAA received a clean audit from the Department of Transportation Inspector General for fiscal year 1999, marking the first time FAA achieved approval of its financial statements since the audits began in fiscal year 1992. The report presented an unqualified or “clean” opinion on the full set of FAA financial statements.
Tuesday, March 14, 2000:FAA Administrator Jane Garvey announced new initiatives to enhance runway safety, including a series of workshops that would be held around the country to produce regional and local plans to reduce runway incursions. These workshops would be followed by a national summit. FAA also announced initiation of a program for pilots involved in such incidents to help determine the root causes of the events. (See March 5, 2000; June 14, 2000.)
Friday, March 17, 2000:The National Transportation Safety Board released its conclusions that the horizontal stabilizer jackscrew, which apparently played a key role in the January 31 crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261, had no grease on the area that experienced the most friction during normal operation. In a brief statement, the NTSB did not comment on the meaning of the finding by its laboratory. Sources close to the investigation said the discovery was potentially significant, although more work had to be done to determine whether the area was dry before the crash that killed 88 people near Los Angeles or whether the grease was removed by the violent plunge into the Pacific. (See February 10, 2000.)
Wednesday, March 29, 2000:Effective this date, FAA required all airplanes with U.S. registry outfitted with six or more passenger seats also to be equipped with an FAA-approved terrain awareness and warning system (referred to as an enhanced ground proximity warning system). This announcement came in response to several accident investigations and studies that showed a need to increase the warning times and situational awareness of flight crews to decrease the risk of controlled flight into terrain accidents. (See December 15, 1997.)
Thursday, March 30, 2000:Controllers at the Minneapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center started testing an advanced computer tool designed to help them direct more aircraft into airports during busy hours. The Traffic Management Advisor (TMA) would look at planes several hundred miles from selected airports as they approached from all directions. As the aircraft got closer, TMA would help controllers develop plans to handle the traffic effectively according to the spacing requirements for each airport. The new system was to be one half of FAA’s Center-TRACON automation system. The other component – the passive final approach spacing tool – would be located at the agency’s terminal radar control (TRACON) facilities in Atlanta, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. (See April 16, 1998.)
Saturday, April 1, 2000:FAA ordered immediate inspections of 14 Boeing 717-200 airliners to check for potential electrical problems in their integrated standby instrument system altitude displays. The AD required modification before further flight. The mandate followed reports of two instances of intermittent loss of altitude data on the captain and first officer’s primary flight display and the altitude display. In both cases, the airspeed and attitude indication remained operational and the flights continued to their destinations without further incident.
Wednesday, April 5, 2000:President Clinton signed into law the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century, known more commonly as AIR-21. The bill contained new provisions to advance aviation safety and call for the appointment of a chief operating officer. The act also reauthorized the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) through FY 2003. AIR-21 instituted many changes to the AIP, including changes to funding levels, revised criteria for program eligibility, and expanded pilot programs. The authorized AIP funding level significantly increased in FY 2001 to a level of $3.2 billion, growing to $3.4 billion in FY 2003. This legislation also added two new PFC levels – $4 and $4.50, including new requirements. (See February 3, 1999; April 23, 2000; June 10, 2003.)
Thursday, April 6, 2000:FAA awarded a contract worth up to $22 million to Airsys ATM, Inc., for the acquisition of up to 105 ILS configurations. The ILS, a primary landing system, provided vertical and lateral guidance to aircraft during the final approach and landing phases of flight.
Monday, April 10, 2000:FAA established a permanent mentor protégé program designed to broaden the agency’s contractor base by encouraging prime contractors to mentor socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses. In April 1997, the agency had implemented a pilot program that successfully enhanced the capabilities of small businesses to work on high-tech FAA contracts and subcontracts. The permanent program would further invite FAA prime contractors and subcontractors to assist or partner with small socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, historically black colleges and universities, minority institutions, and women-owned small businesses.
Monday, April 10, 2000:FAA announced that the International Civil Aviation Organization had found that the agency met safety oversight standards for international aviation in a first ever audit conducted June 1999.
Sunday, April 23, 2000:Approximately 6,500 FAA employees transferred into a new market- and performance-based compensation system closely linked to the strategic goals of the agency. The new core compensation plan replaced the general schedule grade levels with twelve pay bands linked to market pay levels. An executive compensation system became effective on the same date for senior executives. (See April 5, 2000; December 7, 2000.)
Monday, May 1, 2000:FAA announced it had begun use of electronic air/ground communication services for aircraft operating over the Atlantic Ocean. The same system had been operating for aircraft flying over Pacific Ocean airspace for more than a year. FAA’s New York Air Route Traffic Control Center had begun initial operations, in March, of the multi-sector oceanic datalink system – technology that provided a means for air traffic controllers to have two-way electronic communications with aircraft equipped with datalink. This system eliminated the need for voice communication between datalink-equipped aircraft and air traffic controllers, improving the reliability and timeliness of message delivery. In conjunction with aircraft equipped with the future air navigation system – an international standard for avionics that are compliant with oceanic data link) – the system provided a means to check automatically pending clearances for conflicts while allowing the flight crews to load flight clearances they had received into the aircraft’s flight management system.
Tuesday, May 16, 2000:FAA announced it had recently completed the final installation and acceptance of innovative air surveillance radar technology that would enhance air safety through improved position information and weather detection. The air route surveillance radar (ARSR-4) replaced obsolete radar with long-range, three-dimensional radar providing aircraft position information to FAA, USAF, Navy, and Customs Service. The new technology could detect a one-square-meter object out to 250 nautical miles, a 50 nautical mile increase over previous long-range radar models. The ARSR-4 also provided weather data to both FAA and National Weather Service. The program consisted of 43 operational systems deployed around the periphery of the continental United States as well as in Guam, Hawaii, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 44th system was used for support at the FAA Academy at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City. The twelve-year FAA/Department of Defense (DoD) ARSR-4 program began with a contract award in 1988 to Northrop Grumman. FAA commissioned the first system April 1996 in Tamiami, Florida. Total program costs were $800 million, half of which DoD paid.
Thursday, May 18, 2000:FAA ordered 120 Boeing 767 aircraft to undergo emergency inspections after airline mechanics found damaged bolts in the engine pylons of one of the planes. Under the directive, airlines had five to ten days to complete the inspections.
Friday, May 19, 2000:FAA announced grant awards to three companies totaling about $8.6 million to develop explosives detectors. The new systems would be used to scan checked baggage at smaller air carrier stations that did not need the high baggage-processing rate of current systems. The grants provided $7.5 million to InVision Technologies Inc., of Newark, California; $757,432 to L-3 Communications of New York City; and $313,309 to PerkinElmer Inc., of Wellesley, Massachusetts; for the delivery of prototypes within 15 months. The grant project was designed to expedite the development of low-cost certified explosives detection systems. (See January 5, 2000; July 19, 2000.)
Wednesday, May 24, 2000:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require air carrier operators have automated external defibrillators aboard large, passenger-carrying aircraft and to augment required emergency medical kits. It would affect those operations for which at least one flight attendant was required and, if adopted, would require instruction on the use of the equipment. (See April 12, 2001.)
Thursday, May 25, 2000:FAA issued final rules ordering operators of 719 Boeing MD-80, MD-88, MD-90, DC-10, and MD-11 aircraft to replace insulation blankets covered with metalized Mylar. The agency had proposed the rules in August 1999 to minimize the risk of fire spreading aboard these types of aircraft. The airworthiness directives required operators to determine whether their planes had metalized Mylar-covered insulation materials, if so to note where they were located, and to replace them with new insulation blankets within five years. Replacement materials had to meet FAA’s new flame propagation standard, which was based on an American Society for Testing and Materials flammability standard. (See August 11, 1999; September 8, 2000.)
Thursday, May 25, 2000:FAA told air traffic controllers nationwide to review emergency procedures after a US Airways flight with a dying passenger was delayed in making an emergency landing in Baltimore, Maryland. A US Airways spokesman said the airline followed all on-board procedures, including the use of a heart defibrillator, and that three passengers who were nurses volunteered to help. Sources close to an investigation of the incident said that the 50-year-old woman did not respond to the emergency treatment, and that the delayed landing probably was not a factor in her death.
Tuesday, May 30, 2000:FAA published in the Federal Register a final rule modifying Part 158 to incorporate changes mandated by the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act of the 21st Century, including adding $4.00 and $4.50 Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) levels.
Wednesday, May 31, 2000:FAA announced the start of operational use of a new tool designed to help reduce delays at major airports in the northeastern part of the U.S. Installation of the departure spacing program (DSP) . Achieving this start-up was one of the first milestones in the Spring 2000 initiative, announced in March by President Clinton and Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater. A coordination and planning tool, DSP used pertinent air traffic information from airports equipped with the system, along with other information from filed flight plans, to space departing aircraft more evenly. This innovation allowed the best use of existing capacity, expediting the flow of air traffic while minimizing delays. The tool had been in use at LaGuardia, Kennedy, Newark, and Philadelphia airport towers and in TRACONS in the New York area since April 2000.
Friday, June 2, 2000:Department of Transportation issued a rule prohibiting smoking on all scheduled passenger flights by U.S. airlines and on scheduled passenger flights of foreign carriers into and out of the U.S.
Monday, June 5, 2000:FAA announced aircraft operators would be required to pay fees for air traffic control services provided to aircraft that operated in U.S. airspace, but did not take off or land in the United States. Unlike other aircraft operations, these overflights had not been paying for the FAA air traffic control services they received. The authority to charge fees to aircraft conducting U.S. overflights was contained in the Federal Aviation Reauthorization Act of 1996. The agency issued an interim final rule in 1997, but a U.S. Court of Appeals decision in January 1998 determined that FAA’s calculation of fees was inconsistent with the statute. Under the new rule, fees would be based on the distance flown through airspace under U.S. control. Overflights would be charged at the rate of $37.43 per 100 nautical miles in the en route environment, and $20.16 per 100 nautical miles in the oceanic environment. No charges would be assessed on military and civilian aircraft operated by the U.S. government or by a foreign government. In addition, users who incurred $250 or less in fees per month would not be charged for operations. (See May 19, 1997; August 1, 2000.)
Friday, June 9, 2000:FAA issued directives to the airports and air carriers that strengthened procedures for verifying the credentials of law enforcement officers
Wednesday, June 14, 2000:The National Transportation Safety Board urged the installation of warning systems that would prevent runway incidents at all 382 airports handling regularly scheduled passenger flights. June 26, FAA announced it would buy a new ground surveillance system that would improve runway safety at 25 airports. The new airport surface detection equipment, called ASDE-X, would provide detailed coverage of runways and taxiways at an airport and also alert air traffic controllers in the tower to impending collisions. The new system provided similar data to the current ASDE-3 ground radar installed at 34 of the nation’s busiest airports. Those airports would also have the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) in operation by late 2002. AMASS was a computer enhancement to the ASDE-3 radar that alerted controllers to an impending collision on or near the runway. ASDE-X offered the functions of ASDE-3 and AMASS at less-busy and complex airports and at lower cost. FAA planned to award a contract for production of ASDE-X in September. (See March 14, 2000; July 15, 2000; October 24, 2000.)
Friday, June 30, 2000:FAA proposed a rule to give the agency access to key safety data from every U.S. airline participating in the Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA) program. FAA planned to use this information to identify aviation safety trends and target potential problems. Airlines collected data about everyday safety trends in their operations and would now be required to share the data with FAA. The agency would then use the data to identify industry-wide safety trends, allowing FAA and industry to target resources more effectively to correct potential safety problems. The information and insights provided by these programs could enhance line operational safety, training effectiveness, operational procedures, maintenance and engineering procedures, air traffic control procedures, and airport surface safety. Participation in FOQA was voluntary and programs had to be FAA-approved. The agency would not use FOQA data for enforcement purposes, except in egregious cases. (See June 25, 2001.)
Friday, July 14, 2000:Department of Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater and FAA Administrator Jane Garvey marked the completion of the effort to modernize the nation’s air traffic control system by dedicating the 20th and final installation of new DSR hardware and supporting computers. The last system in the $1.05 billion FAA program to replace older computers and displays was dedicated at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, Virginia. (See January 20, 1999.)
Friday, July 14, 2000:FAA announced an agreement among the airlines, airline pilot groups, and others in the aviation industry to continue land and hold short operations (LAHSO). As a result, FAA said it would issue an order implementing changes to LAHSO. The order, which went into effect August 14, permitted expanded use of the procedure. LAHSO, an aviation procedure used since 1968, increased capacity at airports with intersecting runways by allowing aircraft to land and stop on long runways before an intersection with another runway. Stopping short allowed the air traffic controller to have another aircraft take off or land on the intersecting runway. LAHSO had been refined through years of operational experience and cooperation among FAA, airlines, pilots and controllers. (See February 19, 1999.)
Saturday, July 15, 2000:FAA completed the first live flight demonstration of the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) at San Francisco International Airport. Two FAA aircraft – a Boeing 727 and Convair 580 – participated in the demonstration. AMASS gave controllers aural and visual alerts when aircraft on the airport surface were in danger of running into each other or other airport vehicles. AMASS, an enhancement to the basic airport surface detection radar called ASDE-3, was scheduled to be commissioned at 34 sites by the end of 2002. (See June 14, 2000; May 29, 2001.)
Wednesday, July 19, 2000:Department of Transportation Rodney Slater announced that FAA had awarded contracts to purchase additional certified explosives detection systems and trace explosives devices for the nation’s airports, and would begin purchasing X-ray machines with new imaging software to improve screener performance. The Threat Image Projection (TIP) system projected digital images of hundreds of different guns, knives, and bombs onto the X-ray displays to test screeners’ abilities to detect threat objects. TIP would project the images at random into real carry-on bags going through the X-ray or inside bag images created by TIP. When a screener hit the button to stop the suspect bag, TIP flashed a “congratulations” for detecting the threat and recorded the screener’s performance. It also recorded missed threat images. (See May 19, 2000; July 27, 2000.)
Thursday, July 27, 2000:For the first time, general aviation aircraft could obtain cockpit displays of digital weather graphics and text through a FAA-sponsored service called the flight information service data link. This service provided basic text weather information directly to general aviation pilots if the aircraft had the necessary avionics. Using a small display in the cockpit, flight crews could receive basic text messages, including aviation routine weather reports, special aviation reports, terminal area forecasts, significant meteorological information (SIGMET), convective SIGMETs, airman’s meteorological information, pilot reports, and severe weather forecast alerts issued by FAA or the National Weather Service.
Thursday, July 27, 2000:Armed with a gun, Aaron Amartei Commey tried to take hostages at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a National Airlines Boeing 757 headed for Las Vegas, Nevada. He demanded to be taken to Miami, Antarctica, or Argentina, and to speak to the Argentinean ambassador, Guillermo McGough. Negotiators from the FBI, New York’s Port Authority, and the New York Police Department joined forces to persuade Commey to release the pilot and then the co- pilot. Passengers and crew had escaped from the plane when Commey was in the cockpit. Some of the 143 passengers aboard the flight to Las Vegas and Los Angeles exited by using an emergency chute that flight attendants deployed. July 29, a federal magistrate charged Commey, who authorities said had been planning for months to take over a plane, with one count of air piracy and ordered him held for psychiatric evaluation. (See July 19, 2000; July 17, 2001.)
Saturday, July 1, 2000:FAA expanded the scope of its Accountability Board. In addition to dealing with allegations of sexual harassment, it would start to rule on allegations of harassment based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, or disability as well as other misconduct that might create a hostile work environment. (See July 1998.)
Saturday, July 1, 2000:FAA completed the Common ARTS (Automated Radar Terminal System) program with the commissioning of the Huntington, West Virginia, site. Common ARTS was now fully operational at all 133 ARTS IIE sites and five ARTS IIIE sites. Besides providing upgraded equipment, the other major benefit of the common ARTS program was that, regardless of location, it allowed all ARTS systems to share a common software baseline that could be adapted to the size and complexity of a facility. These innovations facilitated the standardization of procedures, training, and logistics support.
Tuesday, August 1, 2000:An interim final rule went into effect requiring aircraft operators to pay fees for air traffic control services
Wednesday, August 16, 2000:British Airways grounded its fleet of Concorde supersonic jetliners a month after an Air France Concorde crashed outside Paris, raising safety concerns about all of these planes. Air France suspended its Concorde flights immediately after this crash, the first in the Concorde’s 24 years of commercial service, killed 113 people. British Airways, the only other airline that operated the jets, canceled flights for a day after the accident, but then resumed them, saying it had conducted thorough checks and was confident of the safety of its fleet of these aircraft. British Airways grounded its fleet again, however, after receiving formal word that French and British aviation regulators intended to revoke the certificates of airworthiness for all Concordes.
Monday, August 21, 2000:FAA issued an AD reducing the time required for previously ordered inspections of General Electric (GE) CF-6 engines. The high-pressure compressor in an aircraft engine compresses the incoming air and speeds it up before it enters the combustion chamber to mix with fuel. Cracking in this compressor could cause an uncontained engine failure. FAA had previously ordered operators of aircraft with CF-6 engines to begin inspections effective January 28, 2000. After analyzing an uncontained engine failure experienced by a Varig Brasil Airlines Boeing 767 on June 7, 2000, FAA decreased the time airlines had to complete their initial inspections.
Thursday, August 24, 2000:After a successful 21-day stability test of the Wide Area Augmentation System signal in space, FAA declared the system immediately available for some aviation and all non-aviation uses. WAAS improved the position signal to augment the Global Positioning System. The test demonstrated that the system could operate without interruption, providing a stable and reliable signal. The system delivered one to two meters horizontal accuracy and two to three meters vertical accuracy throughout the contiguous United States. Raytheon operated the system for FAA on a continuous basis, interrupting it only as necessary to upgrade or test the system. (April 6-9, 1999; April 10, 2001.)
Friday, August 25, 2000:FAA ordered an inspection of Boeing 767 aircraft to detect possible defects of the shear rivets on the elevator bellcrank assemblies attached to a hydraulic power control actuator at the rear of the plane. Failed shear rivets on two or more bellcrank assemblies could have produced abnormal elevator movements and affected control of the aircraft.
Friday, September 8, 2000:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would incorporate a new flame propagation standard into regulations applicable to new transport category aircraft. Newly type certified airplanes and newly manufactured airplanes entering service three years after the effective date of the regulation would be required to comply. (See May 25, 2000; September 2, 2003.)
Thursday, September 14, 2000:Following a year-long analysis, FAA announced a range of initiatives affecting the Boeing 737 rudder system. Near-term initiatives involved changes in operations and maintenance; however, long-term, FAA planned to initiate rulemaking to mandate the redesign of the entire system. (See May 3, 1999; October 26, 2000.)
Tuesday, September 19, 2000:Department of Transportation announced the swearing in of the first seven members of the FAA Management Advisory Council. This body, established by the FAA Reauthorization Act of 1996, would provide advice and counsel to the FAA Administrator on policy, spending, funding, and regulatory matters affecting the aviation industry. It would consist of 18 members. The president would appoint ten members, representing aviation interests. Five members, appointed by the Department of Transportation Secretary, would serve as a subcommittee, with emphasis on air traffic services. There also would be one designee each from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Defense, and an air traffic services union. The first members included: J. Randolph Babbitt, former president of Air Line Pilots Association; Robert W. Baker, vice-chairman of AMR Corp.; Edward M. Bolen, president of General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Geoffrey T. Crowley, president and CEO of Air Wisconsin; Robert A. Davis, former Boeing vice president; Deborah Branson, private attorney; and Kendall W. Wilson, private financial analyst. Initially, advisory council members would serve from one- to three-year terms. Subsequent appointments would be for three years. (See September 30, 1996.)
Wednesday, September 20, 2000:FAA issued a press release apologizing for an incident on July 17 when passengers were inconvenienced because of actions of a small number of controllers in the Chicago terminal radar control (TRACON) facility. FAA proposed penalties ranging from letters of reprimand to 30-day suspensions for 15 air traffic controllers in the facility following an investigation that indicated there was an intentional slowing of traffic into the Chicago area. Additionally, FAA announced that it would change the management team at the TRACON in Elgin, Illinois, to foster a new workplace environment. The investigation, conducted by FAA with the assistance of the Department of Transportation Inspector General revealed no safety related incidents during the period when traffic was slowed.
Friday, September 22, 2000:FAA announced that April 1, 2001, would be the earliest start date for new $4.00 and $4.50 passenger facility charge (PFC) levels. The April 1 date, however, did not preclude airports from immediately submitting PFC applications. The new PFC levels were authorized under the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act for the 21st Century. Previously, the highest PFC was $3.00.
Thursday, October 5, 2000:Runway 7R/25L opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Monday, October 16, 2000:A Cessna 335, carrying Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, his aide, and piloted by his son, crashed ten miles northwest of Hillsboro, Missouri. All three persons on the aircraft died in the crash.
Thursday, October 19, 2000:FAA issued a final rule that established a specific licensing and safety requirement for operating a commercial space launch site, whether the site was located on or off a federal launch range. The regulation outlined who must obtain a commercial launch site operator’s license, set application requirements, and delineated licensee responsibilities. The rule followed and built upon prior rulemakings that governed operation of reusable launch vehicles (RLVs) and reentry and recovery of RLVs and reentry vehicles, as well as a companion rule covering the financial responsibility requirements, such as insurance, for licensed reentry activities. As a set, the three rules completed the process of establishing FAA’s regulatory oversight authorized by congressional legislation passed in 1998 that gave FAA responsibility for licensing and regulating reentry of returning space vehicles and reentry sites. Previously, the Commercial Space Launch Act had provided authority only over the launching of commercial launch vehicles, not their return to Earth. The expanded authority was needed to bring the return under the safety regulatory regime of FAA. (See November 9, 1999; November 28, 2000.)
Tuesday, October 24, 2000:FAA awarded a contract to Sensis Corporation to develop the Airport Surface Detection Equipment, version X (ASDE-X), a traffic management system that provides seamless coverage of the airport surface, as well as aircraft identification, to air traffic controllers. ASDE-X uses a combination of surface movement radar, transponder multilateration, and sensors to display aircraft position labeled with flight call-signs on air traffic control tower displays. (See June 14, 2000; February 29, 2004.)
Thursday, October 26, 2000:FAA issued an airworthiness directive, mandating use of a simplified procedure in the event that the rudder of a Boeing 737 was to jam or become significantly restricted in its movement. (See September 14, 2000; November 13, 2001.)
October 26-28, 2000:In conjunction with the Cargo Airline Association, FAA tested the ability of Automatic Dependent Surveillance — Broadcast (ADS-B) and global positioning system (GPS) technologies to improve flight safety while increasing the capacity at hub airports in Louisville, Kentucky. ADS-B, a situational awareness tool, shares the controller’s level of information with the pilot so the controller and pilot could work together to manage traffic more efficiently. (See July 10, 1999; January 1, 2001.)
Tuesday, November 28, 2000:FAA proposed a new process for obtaining a license to operate an expendable space launch vehicle
Thursday, December 7, 2000:President Clinton announced three actions to reduce airline delays and improve air travel for America: the release of an executive order directing FAA to create a performance-based organization to focus solely on efficient operation of the air traffic control system; the appointment of a group of business and labor leaders from outside of the aviation industry to serve as a board of directors for this new organization; and a review of impediments to congestion pricing at airports. The president also called on Congress to reform the way air traffic control services were financed. (See April 23, 2000; June 10, 2003.)
Tuesday, December 12, 2000:FAA announced that a team of experts would conduct a one-year study of the safety processes used in certifying large transport airplanes, as well as FAA’s support of continued airplane safety. The commercial airplane certification process study would include all of the safety processes used to design, build, and certify airplanes, as well as those involved in maintaining safety throughout operational service. Beginning in January 2001, the team would assess current safety processes and practices, and identify areas for improvement. Led by FAA, the team consisted of technical experts from the agency, NTSB, NASA, Department of Defense, foreign civil aviation authorities, industry, and academia.
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.