FAA History: 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005:At 4:01 a.m. eastern standard time, air traffic controllers inaugurated Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM), a new procedure designed to allow aircraft to fly more direct routes at the most fuel-efficient altitudes, saving time and money for airlines and travelers alike. Controllers began directing planes to fly 1,000 feet above and below each other at altitudes of 29,000 feet to 41,000 feet. Although invisible to passengers, the procedural change doubled airspace routes at the affected altitudes and greatly increased the routing options available to pilots and air traffic controllers. Before commercial airlines and other aviation users could take advantage of RVSM, FAA would first determine if their aircraft were properly equipped. Canadian, Mexican, Caribbean, and South American civil aviation authorities also began RVSM on this date. (See November 26, 2003.)
Saturday, January 22, 2005:The engineered materials arresting system installed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport successfully stopped a Boeing 747-200 cargo aircraft that overran the runway. (See May 30, 2003; July 17, 2006.)
Tuesday, February 1, 2005:FAA announced selection of a team headed by Lockheed Martin to take over services provided currently by the agency’s automated flight service stations. The total evaluated cost of the five-year contract, with five additional option years, was $1.9 billion and represented estimated savings of $2.2 billion over the next ten years. After careful review, FAA had formally announced in December 2003 that its flight service stations met the criteria for competitive sourcing and that it would conduct a competition under OMB’s Circular A-76 guidelines for an improved way to provide flight service operations. FAA then evaluated five competing service providers, including the incumbent government organization, to determine the best value to the government for the delivery of effective services to support safe and efficient flight. Lockheed Martin assumed operation of the flight service stations in October 2005. Incremental consolidation of the 58 current flight service stations would begin in April 2006 and was expected to result in 20 sites by the end of March 2007. October 4, the responsibility for flight services transitioned seamlessly from FAA to Lockheed Martin. (See May 2004; September 2010.)
Tuesday, February 1, 2005:Citing FAA’s high priority on cost accounting and the routine use of such information in FAA decision making, GAO announced it had removed the agency from its high risk list for financial management.
aiR-Note:…and yet, DoT-IG reported differently in their 9/25/06 report.
Wednesday, February 2, 2005:Bombardier Challenger CL-600-1A11, during takeoff, ran off the departure end of runway 6 at Teterboro Airport, in New Jersey. The aircraft continued through an airport perimeter fence, crossed a six-lane highway, struck a vehicle, entered a parking lot, and finally impacted a building. The two pilots were seriously injured, as were two occupants in the vehicle. The cabin aide, eight passengers, and one person in the building received minor injuries. October 31, 2006, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the flight crew’s failure to ensure the airplane was loaded within weight and balance limits compounded by their attempt to take off with the center of gravity beyond the aircraft’s forward takeoff limit. This improper weight distribution prevented the airplane from achieving the required rotation speed.
Friday, February 11, 2005:FAA released draft safety guidelines for space tourism, in anticipation of developing final regulations no later than June 2006. The draft guidelines would require a reusable launch vehicle operator to inform space tourists, in writing, about the safety record of the vehicle they would fly on and compare that record with those of other manned space vehicles. After being given time to ask questions about the risks of flight, passengers would be required to provide written consent prior to flight. Each passenger also would receive safety training on how to respond to any credible emergency situations – which were likely to include cabin depressurization, fire, smoke, and emergency egress. (See December 23, 2004; June 1, 2005.)
Thursday, February 24, 2005:FAA proposed a series of significant upgrades to aircraft “black boxes” that would increase the quality, quantity, and survivability of recorded data. The notice of proposed rulemaking would require installation of more rugged flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders designed to give accident investigators more information. The new rules – which would apply to air carriers, other operators, and aircraft manufacturers – would increase the duration of recordings, increase the data recording rate of certain digital parameters, and improve the reliability of the power supply. All data-link messages sent to an aircraft would have to be recorded, and operators would be required to retrofit all aircraft equipped with ten or more seats. (See August 18, 2003.)
Wednesday, March 23, 2005:FAA published a final rule in the Federal Register regarding the Non-Hub Pilot Program and related changes to Part 158 mandated by Vision 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act.
Monday, March 28, 2005:FAA formally delayed – until April 6, 2006 – the deadline by which Part 145 repair stations must establish an approved training program. FAA called the one year delay necessary because the agency had not yet released guidance material to help repair stations develop appropriate training programs.
Friday, April 1, 2005:FAA proposed a rule that would require operators of more than 800 Boeing aircraft registered in the U.S. to replace or modify certain insulation blankets over the next six years. Aircraft insulation blankets protect the passengers and crew from engine noise and frigid temperatures at high altitudes. The discovery that some insulation blankets coated with a film called AN-26 no longer met the standards for preventing the spread of fire had prompted the proposed airworthiness directive. (See September 2, 2003.)
April 25-26, 2005:FAA began a two-day forum with aviation industry representatives to discuss changing the way FAA was funded. The agency wanted to initiate debate on a variety of funding alternatives. At the time, FAA was drawing much more of its annual budget from the aviation trust fund than from the government’s general fund. The aviation trust fund, however, was due for congressional reauthorization in 2007.
May 2005:The Supreme Court declined to hear a case brought by a group of pilots against FAA. In Dallas E. Butler et al., Petitioners v. FAA, 12 Southwest pilots challenged a FAA rule dating to 1960 that grounded Part 121 airline pilots at age 60, arguing that FAA should consider the health and skills of each pilot.
Wednesday, June 1, 2005:FAA proposed adding procedures for obtaining a voluntary safety approval to its commercial space transportation regulations. If the agency raised no objection to its launch vehicle, reentry vehicle, safety system, process, service, or personnel, the safety approval holder could then offer its equipment or personnel to prospective launch and reentry licensees for use within a defined and proven envelope. (See February 11, 2005; December 29, 2005.)
Thursday, June 23, 2005:FAA announced that the Advanced Technologies and Oceanic Procedures (ATOP) system was operational at the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center. The ATOP system provided safe separation of aircraft in areas, such as over the ocean, that were outside radar coverage or direct radio communication. It detected conflicts between aircraft and provided satellite data link communication and position information to air traffic controllers. ATOP also reduced the workload on controllers through the use of electronic flight strips instead of the labor-intensive paper strip method used for decades to track transoceanic aircraft. October 31, ATOP became operational at the Oakland, California, air route traffic control center. (See June 30, 2004; April 3, 2007.)
June 2005:FAA directed inspectors to increase oversight of Part 135 operations to ensure that those using a “d/b/a” or “doing-business-as” name were doing so properly and complying with regulations. A five-page notice issued to all Part 135 principal operations inspectors clarified the use of a d/b/a and focused attention on who had operational control of an aircraft. FAA issued the notice to address concerns that arose during the investigation of the Challenger runway overrun accident at Teterboro, New Jersey airport in February 2005.
Sunday, July 10, 2005:Following an unsuccessful three-year bargaining process, with two years of negotiations, FAA implemented its final contract proposal with National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) multi-unit employees. The contract covered about 1,900 employees from ten smaller union groups that included engineers, inspectors, accountants, nurses, administrative employees, and computer specialists. Unable to reach a voluntary agreement in 2004, the parties had called on the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). When the FMCS could not remove the impasse, NATCA had sought relief from the Federal Service Impasse Panel. On January 9, 2004, the impasse panel had elected not to assert jurisdiction. FAA had forwarded the contract stalemate to Congress on January 30, 2004. Under the law, Congress had the power either to resolve the stalemate or, by default, allow the agency to implement its final proposal. (See January 30, 2004; July 18, 2007.)
Wednesday, July 13, 2005:FAA and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association began contract negotiations. (See December 9, 2003; November 28, 2005.)
Friday, July 29, 2005:Effective this date, FAA terminated a program that had assigned controllers, full-time, at the agency headquarters to provide controller liaison and feedback on modernization programs.
Monday, August 1, 2005:FAA requested the air traffic control towers at all airports to assess their current need to use the taxi into position and hold procedure. This procedure was designed to allow aircraft to taxi onto a runway and hold while awaiting clearance from the tower. Facilities needing to employ the procedure were asked to confirm and verify that operational requirement.
Thursday, August 4, 2005:Effective this date, FAA adopted a new noise standard to ensure that the latest available noise reduction technology was incorporated into new aircraft designs for subsonic jet airplanes and subsonic transport category large airplanes. The new standard, stage 4, was to apply obligatorily to any entity submitting an application for a new airplane type design on and after January 1, 2006, and could be applied voluntarily prior to that date. This noise standard was intended to provide uniform noise standards for stage 4 airplanes being certified in the United States as well as for airplanes that met Annex 16, Chapter 4 of the noise standard published by the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Thursday, August 11, 2005:Effective this date, a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) allowed passengers to use certain portable oxygen concentrator devices on aircraft, provided certain conditions were met. The rule required passengers to carry the devices on board and mandated a battery-packaging standard necessary for the safe carriage of extra batteries in carry-on baggage.
Thursday, August 25, 2005:FAA announced that it would not mandate the use of child safety seats on airplanes. The agency explained that its analyses showed that, if forced to purchase an extra airline ticket, families might choose to drive to their destination, a statistically more dangerous way to travel. (See September 26, 2005.)
Monday, August 29, 2005:Hurricane Katrina, which had formed over the Bahamas on August 23, crossed southern Florida as a category 1 hurricane. It then strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico, made its second and third landfalls as a category 3 storm in southeast Louisiana and at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line. The storm surge caused severe damage along the Gulf Coast, closing all airports in the region. September 1, both runways at New Orleans International Airport were restored to 24-hour availability for hurricane relief flights, as FAA worked to repair air traffic control facilities at this and other airports hit by Katrina. FAA said New Orleans could handle nine landings per hour, but only in visual flight rule conditions. September 2- 7, FAA personnel supported the largest airlift operation on United States soil, Operation Air Care. September 8, FAA restored scheduled, commercial passenger service to the Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi, airport, with two roundtrip flights originating from Memphis, Tennessee. September 13, FAA restored scheduled, commercial passenger service to Louis Armstrong New Orleans airport, with two roundtrip flights originating from Memphis.
Friday, September 9, 2005:FAA reissued a final rule, with a June 6, 2006 compliance date, creating a second-in-command (SIC) type rating. A requirement put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organization mandated the SIC rating for pilots engaged in international operations. When first released on August 4, 2005, this rule had carried an effective date of September 6, 2005.
Sunday, September 18, 2005:Tropical Storm Rita formed over the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean and moved toward the Florida Keys. September 20, the tropical storm was recategorized as a hurricane, and FAA closed the air traffic control tower at the airport in Key West, Florida. September 22, FAA reopened the air traffic control tower in Key West. September 24,
Monday, September 26, 2005:FAA officially opened its Early Dispute Resolution Center at FAA headquarters. Earlier in the year, the Administrator had announced plans to open such an office in response to low marks in the area of conflict management and resolution that the agency had received on the most recent employee attitude survey.
Monday, September 26, 2005:Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transportation, FAA, and the National Academy of Sciences to establish the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) . FAA funded ACRP at $10 million per year from Airport Improvement Program funds to conduct research on problems shared by airports.
Monday, September 26, 2005:Effective this date, FAA amended its operating regulations to allow the use of FAA-approved child restraint systems (CRSs) on board aircraft. Current FAA regulations did not allow the use of CRSs other than those that meet specific standards for the automobile environment. (See August 25, 2005; September 2006.)
Wednesday, September 28, 2005:FAA issued the first airworthiness certificate for a civil unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the General Atomics Altair. The Altair’s FAA airworthiness certificate was in the “Experimental” category and limited flights to research and development, crew training, or market survey. The agency specified a number of safety conditions for the Altair’s operation – including weather, altitude, and geographic restrictions, as well as a requirement for a pilot and observer. FAA also collaborated with manufacturers to collect vital technical and operational data that would improve UAV regulatory processes. In addition, FAA asked RTCA, a group that frequently had advised the agency on technical issues, to help develop UAV standards. (See June 1, 2010.)
Monday, October 3, 2005:FAA codified the requirements of the Advanced Qualification Program (AQP), provisions that had previously been contained in a Special Federal Aviation Regulation that expired on October 2, 2005. AQP would continue as an alternative regulatory program for airlines seeking more flexibility in training than the traditional training program allowed.
Thursday, October 6, 2005:FAA proposed regulatory changes affecting wiring systems and fuel tank systems in transport category airplanes. First, to organize and clarify design requirements for wire systems, it proposed to create a single section of the regulations specifically for wiring and new certification rules and then move existing regulatory references to wiring into that section. It also proposed to require holders of type certificates for certain transport category aircraft to analyze their fleets and make the necessary changes to existing instructions for continued airworthiness that would improve maintenance procedures for their wire systems. (See August 16, 2001; December 10, 2007.)
Friday, October 7, 2005:President George W. Bush signed Public Law 109-87, which authorized the Secretary of Transportation to provide grants-in-aid for emergency repairs to airports damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The law specified that such emergency aid be funded from FY 2005 and 2006 unobligated funds already appropriated to the Airport Improvement Program. The law also waived all federal matching fund requirements.
Sunday, October 16, 2005:FAA migrated payroll responsibilities to the Department of Interior’s Federal Personnel and Payroll System, the last of the Department of Transportation modal administrations to transition to the new service provider.
Thursday, October 27, 2005:FAA implemented new air routes along the East Coast that cut flight delays and saved fuel. Called the Florida Airspace Optimization Plan, the new routes made significant changes to airspace controlled by air traffic control centers in Washington, Jacksonville and Miami, and various approach controls in Florida. The plan created more efficient routings from points north to Florida.
Thursday, October 27, 2005:Runway 17/35 opened at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Monday, November 14, 2005:FAA proposed rules that, over seven years, would require retrofit of more than 3,200 existing, as well as manufacture of certain new large passenger jets, to reduce flammability levels of fuel tank vapors. The notice of proposed rulemaking would require aircraft operators to reduce the flammability levels of fuel tank vapors both on the ground and in the air to remove the likelihood of a potential explosion. Boeing 737, Boeing 747, and Airbus A320 models would be retrofitted first. (See July 30, 2004.)
Monday, November 14, 2005:Effective this date, FAA established the Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) program. The ODA program expanded the scope of approved tasks available to organizational designees; increased the number of organizations eligible for organizational designee authorizations; established a more comprehensive, systems-based approach to managing designated organizations; and set phase-out dates for then-current organizational designee programs.
Monday, November 28, 2005:FAA Administrator Marion Blakey called for federal mediation to help the agency reach a voluntary contract agreement with the air traffic controllers union. FAA’s request, hand-delivered to the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, sought help from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to reach a voluntary agreement after four and a half months of negotiations. FAA’s contract proposal maintained the base-pay of in-service controllers while still taking steps to bring in new hires at a lower pay scale – one that narrowed the pay gap between controllers and the rest of FAA’s safety focused employees. While the existing contract had technically expired on September 30, a clause had allowed it to remain in place so long as talks had continued. (See July 13, 2005; April 3, 2006.)
Monday, December 5, 2005:Russ Chew, chief operating officer of the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO), announced the restructuring of ATO administrative and support functions in the field. The number of service areas was reduced from nine to three and flight service areas from three to two. By eliminating duplication of administrative and support services, the agency expected to reduce the ATO’s operating costs by an estimated $360-$460 million over the next ten years. (See June 26, 2006.)
Wednesday, December 7, 2005:FAA announced it had completed deployment of a new mission critical communications gateway that processed radar and flight data in all 20 en route air traffic control centers. Called the En Route Communications Gateway (ECG), the system consolidated all gateway functions into a single system. It provided the foundation to support new communications sources and new radar/surveillance sources, such as ADSB. The design of the new system also allowed for easy integration with FAA’s En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) program, a key element in the agency’s overall air traffic modernization effort. The ECG replaced the Peripheral Adapter Module Replacement Item (PAMRI), using modern communications protocols and modular, scalable hardware components. PAMRI was a single point of failure in the en route air traffic control infrastructure. The first ECG went operational in Seattle in 2003. The final site to go operational was Miami in October 2005. (See June 11, 2001.)
Thursday, December 8, 2005:The engineered materials arresting system installed at Chicago’s Midway Airport successfully stopped Southwest Airlines Flight 1248 that overran the runway. (See May 30, 2003; October 13, 2006.)
aiR-Note:This was a fatal accident, with a child in a car killed. Also, there was no EMAS yet at KMDW (it was installed after this accident).
Monday, December 19, 2005:A Grumman Turbo Mallard amphibious airplane, on a regularly scheduled passenger flight to Bimini, Bahamas, experienced an in-flight separation of its right wing from the fuselage and crashed into the shipping channel adjacent to the Port of Miami shortly after takeoff. Two flight crewmembers and 18 passengers on board were killed; the airplane was destroyed by impact forces. May 30, 2007, the National Transportation Safety Board determined the probably cause of the crash was the failure and separation of the right wing, which resulted from the failure of Chalk’s Ocean Airways’ maintenance program to identify and properly repair fatigue cracks in the wing, and the failure of FAA to detect and correct deficiencies in the company’s maintenance program.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005:FAA announced the inception of a new navigation procedure at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The Required Navigation Performance (RNP) initiative took advantage of a plane’s onboard navigation capability to fly a more precise flight path into the airport. The Reagan National RNP approach to Runway 19 allowed planes to land with considerably lower cloud ceilings and visibility than previously required. The procedure was used by any operator who could meet specific FAA requirements for aircraft navigation performance and pilot training. Alaska Airlines, the first air carrier authorized by FAA to use the RNP procedures at Reagan National, had pioneered the use of RNP procedures at Juneau and other airports in Alaska. Besides introducing the new procedure at Reagan National, FAA authorized RNP procedures at Juneau, Alaska; San Francisco and Palm Springs, California; Portland, Oregon; and Hailey (Sun Valley), Idaho. (See July 25, 2003; July 2006.)
Thursday, December 22, 2005:Runway 18R/36L opened at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
Thursday, December 29, 2005:In response to the requirements of the Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, FAA proposed rulemaking to affect human space flight of crew and space flight participants. If adopted, the proposed rule would establish requirements for crew qualifications, training, and notification. It also would establish training and informed consent requirements for space flight participants. The regulation would also modify how financial details affecting space flight participants and crew would be accounted for and, though an additional regulation, how experimental permits would be issued. (See June 1, 2005; August 25, 2006.)
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.