FAA History: 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010:Controllers at the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center began using automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) to manage aircraft flying over the Gulf of Mexico. Houston was the first of four sites selected to demonstrate ADSB services to go live with the service. (See November 23, 2009; April 26, 2010.)
Tuesday, January 19, 2010:The engineered material arresting systems (EMAS) at Yeager Airport in Charleston, WV, successfully stopped a PSA Airlines Bombardier CRJ-200 that overran the runway. This was the sixth save by an EMAS, which consisted of a layer of crushed concrete positioned at the end of runways that slows and stops aircraft in runway overruns. EMAS was developed in a research partnership with the FAA and Engineered Arresting Systems Corp. (ESCO), a division of Zodiac Aerospace. (See July 18, 2008; October 1, 2010.)
Thursday, January 21, 2010:FAA dispatched a portable, temporary control tower to Haiti to help assist with aircraft operations at Port-au-Prince International Airport after an earthquake destroyed much of the air traffic control equipment at the airport. Shipment of the portable tower came at the request of the Haitian government. FAA air traffic and airport specialists also deployed to Haiti to help with airport reconstruction efforts.
Sunday, January 31, 2010:The FAA released action plans outlining how it planned to implement recommendations from an aviation community task force on modernizing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The plans were contained in a report issued in response to recommendations made in September by the RTCA NextGen Mid-Term Implementation Task Force. Responses to the RTCA recommendations focused on improvements in five operational areas: surface, runway access, congested metropolitan airspace (metroplex), cruise, and national airspace system access. They also encompassed two specific NextGen capabilities: automated digital communications and integrated air traffic management. (See September 9, 2009; March 2010.)
February 16-17, 2010:An air traffic tower controller at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) permitted his 9 year old son to transmit six clearances on JFK’s tower frequency. The following day, his 7 year old daughter made a couple of transmissions also under supervision. FAA subsequently put the controller and a supervisor on administrative leave while it investigated the incident. FAA also suspended the tower visitor program, while it reviewed visitor procedures.
Friday, February 26, 2010:FAA announced the selection of Karlin Toner, Ph.D., as the new Director of the NextGen Joint Planning and Development Office. Toner served as senior advisor to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on NextGen and continued in that role. In her new position, Toner reported to the FAA deputy administrator. (See January 26, 2009.)
March 2010:FAA issued an updated version of the NextGen Implementation Plan. The Plan expanded upon earlier efforts by including information on the potential effects the future air traffic control system could have upon airports, the environment, and international initiatives. (See January 31, 2010.)
March 2010:FAA granted a type certificate to the Cessna Citation CJ4 after a 22-month flight-test program.
Monday, April 5, 2010:Based on industry comments, effective this date, FAA extended the compliance deadline mandating significant upgrades to aircraft cockpit voice and flight data recorders. As compared with the earlier rule adopted in March 2008, this final rule adopted the following flight recorder equipment compliance times:
  • For the ten-minute backup power source for cockpit voice recorders (CVR), the compliance date for newly manufactured aircraft operating under part 91 would be April 6, 2012.
  • For increased digital flight data recorder (DFDR) sampling rates, the compliance date for newly manufactured aircraft operating under part 91 would be April 6, 2012.
  • For increased DFDR sampling rates, the compliance date for newly manufactured aircraft operating under part 121, 125, or 135 was December 6, 2010.
  • For recordation of datalink communications, the compliance date after which newly installed datalink systems must include recording capability for aircraft operating under part 91 would be April 6, 2012.
  • For recordation of datalink communications, the compliance date after which newly installed datalink systems must include recording capability for aircraft operating under part 121, 125, or 135 was December 6, 2010. (See March 10, 2008.)
Monday, April 5, 2010:FAA began allowing, on a case-by-case basis, pilots who take one of four antidepressant medications — Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Citalopram (Celexa), or Escitalopram (Lexapro) — to fly provided that they had been satisfactorily treated on the medication for at least 12 months.
Thursday, April 8, 2010:FAA awarded CSSI, Inc., a $280 million contract to perform engineering work for NextGen. This was the first of six contracts that would be awarded under an umbrella portfolio contract called System Engineering 2020 (SE-2020), which had a ceiling of $7 billion. (See May 26, 2010.)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010:In a message to employees, Administrator Randy Babbitt announced changes to the agency’s vision and values statement.
  • Old vision statement: We continue to improve the safety and efficiency of flight. We are responsive to our customers and are accountable to the taxpayer and the flying public.
  • New vision statement: We strive to reach the next level of safety, efficiency, environmental responsibility and global leadership. We are accountable to the American public and our stakeholders.
  • Old Value Statement:
    • Safety is our passion. We are world leaders in aerospace safety.
    • Quality is our trademark. We serve our country, our stakeholders, our customers, and each other.
    • Integrity is our character. We do the right thing, even when no one is looking.
    • People are our strength. We treat people as we want to be treated.
  • New Value Statement:
    • Safety is our passion – We work so all air and space travelers arrive safely at their destinations.
    • Excellence is our promise – We seek results that embody professionalism, transparency and accountability.
    • Integrity is our touchstone – We perform our duties honestly, with moral soundness, and with the highest level of ethics.
    • People are our strength – Our success depends on the respect, diversity, collaboration, and commitment of our workforce.
    • Innovation is our signature – We foster creativity and vision to provide solutions beyond today’s boundaries.
Friday, April 23, 2010:Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that the United States and Israel had reached an Open-Skies aviation agreement that liberalized air services for the carriers of both countries. Israel became the 97th U.S. Open-Skies partner. (See March 13, 2008; May 4, 2010.)
Monday, April 26, 2010:Controllers at Philadelphia International Airport began using ADS-B as part of the FAA demonstration program. (See January 12, 2010; June 24, 2010.)
Thursday, April 29, 2010:An airline consumer protection rule went into effect. Under the new rule, U.S. airlines operating domestic flights could not permit an aircraft to remain on the tarmac at large and medium hub airports for more than three hours without deplaning passengers, with exceptions allowed only for safety or security reasons or if air traffic control advises the pilot in command that returning to the terminal would disrupt airport operations. U.S. carriers operating international flights departing from or arriving in the United States were required to specify, in advance, their own time limits for deplaning passengers, with the same exceptions applicable. Carriers were also required to provide adequate food and drinking water for passengers within two hours of the aircraft being delayed on the tarmac and to maintain operable lavatories and, if necessary, provide medical attention. In addition, the rule:
  • Prohibited the largest U.S. airlines from scheduling chronically delayed flights;
  • Required U.S. airlines to designate an airline employee to monitor the effects of flight delays and cancellations, respond in a timely and substantive fashion to consumer complaints, and provide information to consumers on where to file complaints;
  • Required U.S. airlines to adopt customer service plans and audit their own compliance with their plans; and
  • Prohibited U.S. airlines from retroactively applying material changes to their contracts of carriage that could have a negative impact on consumers who already had purchased tickets. (See August 11, 2009; June 2, 2010.)
April 2010:FAA changed the name of its bimonthly safety magazine for the general aviation community from FAA Aviation News to FAA Safety Briefing beginning with the March/April 2010 issue. FAA Aviation News started in 1961 as a newsletter and expanded to a magazine format in 1962. In 1976, it sharpened its focus on general aviation.
Monday, May 3, 2010:FAA named Julie Oettinger, managing director for international and regulatory affairs at United Airlines, to head the newly reunited Office of Aviation Policy, International Affairs and Environment. Prior to joining United Airlines, Oettinger served as assistant general counsel at US Airways from 1998 to 2002. From 1990 to 1998 — and then again from 2002 to 2003 — Oettinger served as an attorney advisor in the Legal Advisor’s Office at the U.S. Department of State.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010:Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced that the United States and Trinidad and Tobago had reached an Open-Skies aviation agreement that liberalized air services for the carriers of both countries. Trinidad and Tobago became the 98th U.S. Open-Skies partner. (See April 23, 2010; July 2, 2010.)
Tuesday, May 4, 2010:FAA announced that controllers in Juneau, Alaska, were using a new surveillance technology, the wide-area multilateration system (WAM), to track aircraft along the difficult approach to Juneau – a mountainous area where radar coverage was not possible. WAM, comprised of a network of small sensors deployed around Juneau, sent out signals that received and sent back by aircraft transponders. The system triangulated the returning signals to determine the precise location of each aircraft. Controllers saw those aircraft on their screens as if they were radar targets. (See September 12, 2009.)
Wednesday, May 12, 2010:U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the members of a new committee on the future of the U.S. aviation industry. He had formally created the Future of Aviation Advisory Committee in March to provide information, advice, and recommendations principally on five issue areas: ensuring aviation safety; ensuring a world-class aviation workforce; balancing the industry’s competitiveness and viability; securing stable funding for aviation systems; and addressing environmental challenges and solutions. The members selected represented airlines, airports, labor, manufacturers, environment, finance, academia, consumer interests, and general aviation stakeholders.
Susan Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs at the Department of Transportation, chaired the committee, which included: Juan J. Alonso, Associate Professor, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University; Susan M. Baer, Director, Aviation Department, Port Authority of NY/NJ; David Barger, President and CEO, JetBlue Airways Corporation; Bryan K. Bedford, Chairman, President and CEO, Republic Airways; Severin Borenstein, Professor, HAAS School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; Thella F. Bowens, President and CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority; John M. Conley, International Administrative Vice President and Air Transport Division Director, Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO; Cynthia M. Egnotovich, Segment President, Nacelles and Interior Systems, Goodrich Corporation; Patricia A. Friend, International President, Association of Flight Attendants-Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO; Robert L. Lekites, President, UPS Airlines; Ana McAhron-Schulz, Director of Economic and Financial Analysis, Air Line Pilots Association; William J. McGee, Consultant to the Consumers Union; Daniel McKenzie, U.S. Airlines Research Analyst, Hudson Securities; Jack J. Pelton, Chairman, President and CEO, Cessna Aircraft Company; Nicole W. Piasecki, Vice President, Business Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes; Raul Regalado, President and CEO, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority; Glenn F. Tilton, Chairman, President and CEO, UAL Corporation; and Christopher J. Williams, Chairman and CEO, The Williams Capital Group. The committee held its first meeting on May 25. (See December 15, 2010.)
Monday, May 17, 2010:FAA ruled that the 130 offshore turbines planned for Nantucket Sound posed no threat to aircraft, provided they were properly marked and lighted. The 400-foot turbines would occupy a 25-mile stretch off Cape Cod. The decision came a month after U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar gave his approval.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010:FAA’s Aviation Safety organization released a plan identifying the key roles that its staff would play in setting standards for NextGen and providing oversight for the safe implementation of new technologies, processes, and procedures. The AVS Work Plan for NextGen established the commitments — schedules, resources, management structure, and internal coordination — that the organization would make to ensure the successful transition to the next-generation air traffic control system.
Sunday, May 23, 2010:Northwest Beaches International Airport opened in Panama City, FL – the first new commercial passenger airport to open since Denver International Airport opened in 1995.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010:FAA awarded Boeing, General Dynamics, and ITT contracts worth up to $4.4 billion under the System Engineering 2020 (SE-2020) contract. Under the contract the three companies would conduct large-scale demonstrations, including the use of aircraft as flying laboratories, to see how NextGen concepts, procedures, and technologies could be integrated into the current national airspace system. The FAA would work with the companies to develop and demonstrate new procedures in four dimensions, adding the element of time to the current three-dimensional profile of an aircraft’s latitude, longitude, and altitude. Other work to be performed included the development and rollout of modernized weather services. (See April 8, 2010; October 21, 2010.)
Thursday, May 27, 2010:FAA issued a final rule mandating performance requirements for aircraft tracking equipment that would be required under NextGen. The avionics would allow aircraft to be controlled and monitored with greater precision and accuracy by a satellite based system called Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B). The rule mandated that the broadcast signal meet specific requirements in terms of accuracy, integrity, power, and latency. All planes were required to have the system by 2020. (See October 2, 2007.)
Thursday, May 27, 2010:Northrop Grumman Corporation announced a FAA contract award to provide national maintenance services and logistic support of several critical FAA communications products and systems, including the integrated communications switching system, rapid deployment voice switching system, enhanced terminal voice switch, and small tower voice switch. Under the terms of the contract, Northrop Grumman would ensure the existing communications systems, hardware, firmware, and documentation were supported into the year 2015. The company would supply round-the clock technical assistance support, including next day delivery of critical repairs. The five year contract encompassed one base year and four additional one-year options with a not-to-exceed value of $32 million.
May 2010:FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation approved a simulator — the only one of its kind — developed by NASTAR that could replicate the G-forces of launch and descent. FAA required crews planning to fly sub-orbital missions to demonstrate an ability to withstand the stresses of spaceflight. (See December 15, 2009; July 1, 2010.)
May 2010:FAA announced that Atlantic City International Airport would be the first in the national airspace system to deliver digital NOTAMS. The notices had long been posted in difficult-to-read shorthand designed for delivery over teletype machines. The digital versions would be easier to read, more accurate, and would be disseminated quicker.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010:U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined federal and state officials in breaking ground for a new air traffic control tower at Palm Springs International Airport, CA. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding totaling $13.9 million would finance the construction of an approximately 150 foot-tall tower and a 7,000 square-foot base building.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010:Effective this date, FAA approved a certification of authorization (COA) for an unmanned aerial vehicle to patrol a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border extending from Arizona to the El Paso region of Texas. Three drones were already used along the border in Arizona. Several others were deployed for border patrols in North Dakota and Florida. Officials at Customs and Border Protection intended to deploy the unmanned vehicles along the entire U.S. border by 2015. (See September 28, 2010; June 9, 2010.)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010:Transportation Secretary LaHood proposed new consumer protections for air travelers, building on the Department of Transportation’s earlier rule banning carriers from subjecting passengers to long tarmac delays and other deceptive practices. The proposed rule would:
  • increase compensation for passengers involuntarily bumped from flights
  • allow passengers to make and cancel reservations within 24 hours without penalty
  • require full and prominently displayed disclosure of baggage fees as well as refunds and expense reimbursement when bags are not delivered on time
  • require fair price advertising
  • prohibit price increases after a ticket is purchased
  • require timely notice of flight status changes (See April 29, 2010.)
Monday, June 7, 2010:FAA dedicated its newest laboratory at the William J. Hughes Technical Center. The NextGen Integration and Evaluation Capability (NIEC) laboratory, designed to simulate the national airspace system, provided a testbed where researchers could simulate and evaluate the effects of NextGen components on the system.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010:FAA signed a cooperative research and development agreement with Boeing subsidiary, Insitu Inc., to facilitate FAA understanding of how unmanned aerial systems were constructed and how they functioned and operated in the national airspace system. Insitu provided the FAA with a Scan Eagle system to help the agency develop recommendations for integrating unmanned aircraft into the U.S. airspace system. The system, including two Scan Eagle small unmanned aircraft, was delivered to the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center under a cooperative research and development agreement. (See June 1, 2010.)
Friday, June 18, 2010:FAA and the European Commission signed an agreement that recognized the importance of coordinated research and implementation of results into seamless air traffic services between the two continents. The agreement specified 22 specific areas of cooperation that would facilitate joint research and development of NextGen/Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) projects. (See July 18, 2006.)
Monday, June 21, 2010:FAA announced the selection of Clay Foushee as director of the Office of Audit and Evaluation. FAA created the office in 2009 to ensure that safety complaints from both inside and outside the agency were handled in a fair and timely manner and that they received proper consideration. The office monitored the progress of the investigations and reported them to the FAA administrator. Foushee had wide experience in the aviation industry, having served in senior executive positions at Northwest Airlines and as chief scientific and technical advisor for human factors at the FAA. His most recent position was on the senior professional staff of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. (See September 17, 2009.)
Wednesday, June 23, 2010:The U.S. Senate confirmed Michael P. Huerta as FAA deputy administrator. Prior to his appointment he ran his own consulting firm, advising clients on transportation policy, technology, and financing. He also served as a member of President Obama’s transition team for the Department of Transportation. He had been president of the Transportation Solutions Group of Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., a technology services provider supporting transportation agencies worldwide. Huerta served in two senior positions at the Department of Transportation under President Clinton from 1993 to 1998. He held a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Riverside. (See December 8, 2010.)
Thursday, June 24, 2010:FAA announced contracts with Boeing, General Electric, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls-Royce-North America to develop and demonstrate technologies to reduce commercial jet fuel consumption, emissions, and noise. The contracts, part of the FAA’s Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) program, were expected to total $125 million over the five-year span of the program. Under a cost sharing arrangement, the companies would match or exceed the FAA’s contribution, bringing the overall value of the program to more than $250 million.
Thursday, June 24, 2010:FAA announced that controllers at the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center and at the Juneau Air Traffic Control Tower were using ADS-B, which is critical in Juneau because, like in the Gulf of Mexico, there was no radar coverage. (See April 26, 2010; October 25, 2010.)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require plane manufacturers to show that small airliners could fly safely in certain icy weather conditions, such as rain that falls as a liquid but freezes when it touches a plane. To improve the safety of transport category airplanes operating in super cooled large droplet (SLD), mixed phase, and ice crystal icing conditions, the proposed regulations would:
  • Expand the certification icing environment to include freezing rain and freezing drizzle.
  • Require airplanes most affected by SLD icing conditions to meet certain safety standards in the expanded certification icing environment, including additional airplane performance and handling qualities requirements.
  • Expand the engine and engine installation certification, and some airplane component certification regulations (for example, angle of attack and airspeed indicating systems), to include freezing rain, freezing drizzle, ice crystal, and mixed phase icing conditions. (See December 1, 2009.)
June 2010:FAA agreed to classify the Terrafugia Transition flying car, or roadable aircraft, as a Light Sport Aircraft, even though the vehicle was 120 pounds too heavy to qualify for that class. Pilots needed only 20 hours of flight time (just five of it solo) to qualify for a license to fly a Light Sport Aircraft.
Thursday, July 1, 2010:FAA awarded a license to the state of Florida to operate Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Complex 46 for commercial use. (May 2010; August 3, 2010.)
Thursday, July 1, 2010:FAA, the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) introduced the Partnership for Safety program to identify safety issues before incidents or accidents occur by seeking input from employees.
Friday, July 2, 2010:The Department of Transportation signed an Open-Skies Agreement with Barbados that liberalized air services for airlines of both the U.S. and Barbados. Barbados became the 99th U.S. Open-Skies partner. (See May 4, 2010; November 11, 2010.)
Monday, July 12, 2010:SRA International announced that its subsidiary company Systems Research and Applications Corporation had won a five-year, $57 million FAA contract to provide research and development services to the FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ. The work would involve the areas of airport pavement design and testing; aircraft rescue and fire fighting; wildlife hazards; bird strike mitigation, and runway surface technology. SRA would also provide services in airport capacity analysis and planning, visual guidance and lighting technologies and materials testing.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010:FAA issued a final rule requiring re-registration of all civil aircraft over the next three years and renewal every three years after that. Re-registration would enhance the aircraft registration database with current data derived from recent contact with aircraft owners. The new regulations also would ensure that aircraft owners gave the FAA updated information at least once every three years when they renewed their registration. The FAA planned to cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that were not reregistered or renewed. (See April 30, 1980.)
Thursday, July 29, 2010:FAA commissioned the airport surface detection equipment-model X (ASDE-X) at Ronald Reagan National Airport. (See October 16, 2008.)
Friday, July 30, 2010:FAA announced that Mexico was not in compliance with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), following an assessment of the country’s civil aviation authority. As a result, the United States downgraded Mexico from a Category 1 to Category 2 rating. As part of the FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program, the agency assessed the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate or have applied to fly to the United States and made that information available to the public. The assessments determined whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities met ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations. With the IASA Category 2 rating, Mexican air carriers could not establish new service to the United States, although they could maintain existing service. December 1, 2010, FAA announced that Mexico again complied with international safety standards based on the results of a November FAA review of Mexico’s civil aviation authority. Mexico now had a Category 1 rating. (See August 25, 2008; August 23, 2010.)
Sunday, August 1, 2010:President Barack Obama signed the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act. The bipartisan bill extended aviation programs and excise taxes through September 30. It also required airline pilots to have a FAA airline Transport pilot license and increased the minimum number of flight hours from 250 to 1500. The bill also extended aviation programs and excise taxes for two months, or for the remainder of fiscal year 2010. (See November 23, 2009; September 14, 2010.)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010:FAA approved a NASA plan to expand the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the Wallops Flight Facility, VA, to accommodate commercial launches. (See July 1, 2010; August 18, 2010; September 30, 2010.)
Wednesday, August 4, 2010:Lexington Blue Grass Airport opened a new 4,000-foot runway, RY 9/27. The $27 million runway would be used for crosswind operations.
Monday, August 9, 2010:A DeHavilland DHC-3T crashed near a remote Alaskan fishing village killing five of the nine people aboard the aircraft. Former Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) was among the victims. Former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe and his son survived the accident.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010:FAA selected New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, to lead a new Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation. The center, a partnership of academia, industry, and government, was established to address current and future challenges for commercial space transportation. The center’s research and development efforts would focus on: space launch operations and traffic management; launch vehicle systems, payloads, technologies, and operations; commercial human space flight; and space commerce (including space law, space insurance, space policy, and space regulation). The FAA entered into 50-50 cost-sharing cooperative agreements with the new center, and planned to invest at least $1 million per year for the initial five years of the center’s operations. (See January 28, 2004; August 3, 2010; September 30, 2010.)
Monday, August 23, 2010:FAA announced that Nigeria had achieved a Category 1 rating under FAA’s International Aviation Safety Assessment program, which meant that Nigeria complied with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The IASA Category 1 rating was based on the results of a July FAA review of Nigeria’s civil aviation authority. With the IASA Category 1 rating, Nigerian air carriers could apply to operate to the United States with their own aircraft. (See July 30, 2010.)
Tuesday, September 14, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would set a nine hour minimum for rest prior to a pilot’s duty period, a one-hour increase over the current rules. The proposed rule would establish a new method for measuring a pilot’s rest period, so that the pilot would have the chance to receive at least eight hours of sleep during the rest period. Cumulative fatigue would be addressed by placing weekly, 28-day, and annual limits on the amount of time a pilot could be assigned any type of duty. Pilots would have to be given at least 30 consecutive hours free from duty on a weekly basis, a 25 percent increase over the then current rules. (See August 1, 2010.)
Wednesday, September 22, 2010:FAA announced a new safety program that, for the first time, would integrate voluntary safety information self-reported by pilots and air traffic controllers into the Aviation Safety Action Program and the Air Traffic Safety Action Program. This data-sharing program would give the FAA a more complete picture of the national airspace system by collecting, assessing, and reviewing safety events from the perspective of both pilots and air traffic controllers. United Airlines and its pilots became the first to participate in the demonstration program. The FAA expected to sign similar agreements with other carriers. (March 31, 2008; January 30, 2009.)
Monday, September 27, 2010:Southwest Airlines announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, Inc., the parent company of AirTran Airways, for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines’ common stock. Southwest said it could take up to two years before all aspects of the merger were complete, including combining of staff and frequent-flier programs and retrofitting of aircraft.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would adjust existing overflight fees by using current FAA cost accounting data and air traffic activity data. The agency believed the adjustment necessary because operational costs for providing air traffic control and related services for overflights had increased steadily since it established the fees in 2001. (See December 17, 2008.)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010:The Department of Transportation, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association, and the European Commission signed a memorandum of understanding covering the Global Safety Information Exchange program. The program provided a framework for identifying what safety information could be shared, how to communicate that information, and the mechanisms to be used for the actual exchange of information.
Thursday, September 30, 2010:FAA announced a new grant program designed to fund projects for the development and expansion of the commercial space transportation infrastructure. The first Space Transportation Infrastructure Matching grants included: $43,000 for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority to provide an automated weather observing system; $227,195 to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation for a rocket motor storage facility; $125,000 to the East Kern Airport District in Mojave, CA, for an emergency response vehicle; and, $104,805 to the Jacksonville Airport Authority in Florida to develop a spaceport master plan for Cecil Field. (See August 3, 2010; August 18, 2010.)
September 2010:FAA awarded Lockheed Martin a three-year contract extension to continue to provide automated flight service station services. The contract option, a follow-on to the initial 2005 contract, was worth $356 million. (See February 1, 2005.)
Friday, October 1, 2010:The engineered material arresting systems (EMAS) at Teterboro Airport in Teterboro, NJ, successfully stopped a G-4 Gulfstream that overran the runway. This was the seventh EMAS save. An EMAS consisted of a layer of crushed concrete positioned at the end of runways that could slow and stop aircraft in runway overruns. EMAS was developed in a research partnership with the FAA and Engineered Arresting Systems Corp. (ESCO), a division of Zodiac Aerospace. (See January 19, 2010.)
Friday, October 1, 2010:United Continental Holdings, Inc., formerly UAL Corporation, announced that a wholly owned subsidiary had merged with Continental Airlines, Inc., and that Continental Airlines and United Air Lines, Inc., were now wholly owned subsidiaries of United Continental Holdings, Inc.
Thursday, October 7, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require each certificate holder to establish a safety management system (SMS) for its entire airfield environment (including movement and non-movement areas) to improve safety at airports hosting air carrier operations. A SMS was a formalized approach to managing safety by developing an organization-wide safety policy, developing formal methods of identifying hazards, analyzing and mitigating risk, developing methods for ensuring continuous safety improvement, and creating organization-wide safety promotion strategies. (See March 9, 2009; November 5, 2010.)
Thursday, October 7, 2010: ADD: 10/7… FAA News Release announcing NPRM helo rules changes
Friday, October 8, 2010:FAA issued a safety alert for operators (SAFO), which summarized research showing that lithium metal (non-rechargeable) and lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries were highly flammable and capable of igniting during air transport under certain circumstances. The research also indicated that Halon 1301, the suppression agent found in Class C cargo compartments, was ineffective in suppressing lithium metal battery fires. The SAFO recommended procedures air carriers could use when transporting lithium batteries. (See December 29, 2004.)
Sunday, October 10, 2010:Controllers began operations in the new air traffic control tower at LaGuardia Airport. FAA formally dedicated the new tower on January 21, 2011.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would require helicopter operators to use the latest on-board technology and equipment to avoid terrain and obstacles. The proposal contained provisions which, when finalized, would require operators to use enhanced procedures for flying in challenging weather, at night, and when landing in remote locations. The proposed rules would require air ambulance operators to:
  • Equip with Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS)
  • Conduct operations under Part 135, including flight crew time limitation and rest requirements, when medical personnel are on board
  • Establish operations control centers if they are certificate holders with 10 or more helicopter air ambulances
  • Institute pre-flight risk-analysis programs
  • Conduct safety briefings for medical personnel
  • Amend their operational requirements to include Visual Flight Rules (VFR) weather minimums, Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) operations at airports/heliports without weather reporting, procedures for VFR approaches, and VFR flight planning.
  • Ensure their pilots in command hold an instrument rating Under the proposal, all commercial helicopter operators would be required to:
  • Revise IFR alternate airport weather minimums
  • Demonstrate competency in recovery from inadvertent instrument meteorological conditions
  • Equip their helicopters with radio altimeters
  • Change the definition of “extended over-water operation” and require additional equipment for these operations
  • In addition, the proposed rules would require all Part 135 aircraft, i.e., helicopter and fixed wing on-demand operators, to:
  • Prepare a load manifest
  • Transmit a copy of load manifest documentation to their base of operations, in lieu of preparing a duplicate copy
  • Specify requirements for retaining a copy of the load manifest in the event that the documentation is destroyed in an aircraft accident
  • Require Part 91 general aviation helicopter operators to revise the VFR weather minimums
  • The public had until January 10, 2011, to comment on the proposed rule. (See January 12, 2009.)
Friday, October 15, 2010:FAA broke ground for a new air traffic control tower at Oakland International Airport. Two air traffic control towers served Oakland International Airport. A 158-foot-tall tower on the southern portion of the airfield was built in 1962 as part of a terminal expansion project. In 1972, construction of a large hangar blocked some views from the south tower, requiring the Port of Oakland to build a second tower to handle traffic on the north runways. Replacing both towers with a single one would improve air traffic operations and reduce operating costs.
Monday, October 18, 2010:FAA broke ground for a new air traffic control tower at the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, MD. Approximately 200 general aviation aircraft were based at Frederick Municipal Airport, a reliever airport for Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The airport handled more than 135,000 aircraft operations annually.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010:FAA’s Air Traffic Organization announced its workforce engagement (WE) effort with the launch of the WE website. The ATO contracted with Gallup, a leader in employee engagement, to support ATO’s long-term effort to create a better place to work. On December 1, ATO invited its employees to take a short, 15 question survey to establish a baseline of employee engagement, which would be used to help measure progress as the WE initiatives progressed.
Thursday, October 21, 2010:FAA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a five year agreement to develop aviation fuel from forest and crop residues and other feedstocks to decrease dependence on foreign oil and stabilize aviation fuel costs. Under the partnership, the agencies would assess the availability of different kinds of feedstocks that could be processed by bio-refineries to produce jet fuels. The participants would develop a tool to evaluate the status of different components of a feedstock supply chain, such as availability of biomass from farms and forests, the potential of that biomass for production of jet fuel, and the length of time it would take to ramp up to full-scale production. The agencies already had existing programs and collaborative agreements with private and public partners and resources to help biorefiners develop cost-effective production plans for jet aircraft biofuels.
Thursday, October 21, 2010:TASC, Inc., announced a 10-year FAA contract award worth up to $827.8 million for national airspace system support services. The SE-2020 support services contract covered advanced systems engineering, investment and business case analysis, planning and forecasting, as well as business, financial and information management support services related to the development and the transformation of the national air transportation system. (See May 26, 2010.)
Monday, October 25, 2010:ITT Corporation announced it had received clearance from FAA for nationwide deployment of the ADS-B. Achievement of this In Service Decision milestone followed successful tests at four key sites in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Louisville, and Philadelphia. (See June 24, 2010.)
Tuesday, October 26, 2010:FAA dedicated the new air traffic control tower at Reno-Tahoe Airport, NV. The $29 million tower was 195 feet tall, three times as big as the old one built in 1957.
Thursday, October 28, 2010:Law enforcement agencies discovered potential suspicious packages on two cargo planes in transit to the United States. Based on close cooperation among U.S. government agencies and with our foreign allies and partners, authorities identified and examined two suspicious packages, one in East Midlands, United Kingdom, and one in Dubai. Both of these packages originated from Yemen. At the direction of the President and Secretary Napolitano, the Transportation Security Administration and Customs and Border Protection immediately took additional measures to enhance existing protocols for screening inbound cargo, including grounding packages originating from Yemen destined for the United States and deploying a team of inspectors to assist the Government of Yemen with their cargo screening procedures.
Monday, November 1, 2010:An interim FAA requirement mandated that planes landing after Boeing’s 747-8 jumbo jet stay at least 10 miles behind went into effect. The FAA said the interim standards were based, in part, on guidance received from international regulatory organizations that studied the wake vortices of the Airbus 380-800 in 2006. After those studies, the International Civil Aviation Organization issued a 10-mile separation standard for the A380 superjumbo jet. This was later relaxed, but a separation of 6 to 8 miles was still required for the A380, depending on the size of the aircraft behind it. Prior to its Boeing 747-8 ruling, the U.S. requirement for large airplanes was just 4 miles separation from other heavy jets and up to 6 miles from light aircraft. (See August 17, 1996.)
Tuesday, November 2, 2010:FAA issued a final rule amending the airworthiness standards for transport category airplanes concerning flight crew alerting. The standards updated definitions, prioritization, color requirements, and performance for flight crew alerting to reflect changes in technology and functionality. This amendment added additional alerting functions, and consolidated and standardized definitions and regulations for flight crew warning, caution, and advisory alerting systems. It also harmonized standards between the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency. The rule became effective on January 3, 2011.
November 2-3, 2010:The first meeting of the FAA’s National Labor-Management Forum took place in Baltimore, MD. The meeting provided an opportunity for approximately 30 representatives from FAA’s labor unions and management to discuss how a National Labor-Management Forum could work to improve the agency. President Obama signed an executive order in December 2008 establishing Labor-Management Forums as a tool to improve labor relations within the federal government. The FAA labor-management participants first came together in June 2010 and jointly decided to create a national forum. Participants at the Baltimore forum agreed to a charter that outlined its responsibilities, procedures, and guiding principles. Participants also set up work groups to take on issues involving metrics, pre-decisional involvement, joint collaboration, training, and communication. In addition, they agreed to meet quarterly and to:
  • Handle high level agency-wide issues
  • Set a tone for the agency that would help facilitate a broad culture change and encourage collaboration efforts
  • Enable and support continuing collaborative efforts and those that have yet to get underway
  • Commit to provide tools for collaboration and dispute resolution
  • Reflect positive interaction
Friday, November 5, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that, when finalized, would require each certificate holder operating under 14 CFR part 121 to develop and implement a safety management system (SMS) to improve the safety of their aviation related activities. A SMS included an organization-wide safety policy; formal methods for identifying hazards, controlling, and continually assessing risk; and promotion of a safety culture. (See October 7, 2010.)
Saturday, November 6, 2010:Quentin Taylor, a long-time FAA executive died. Taylor started at the FAA in 1958. He served as the agency’s first manager of the Office of Civil Rights, later as deputy director of the FAA’s Alaska region, and director of its New England region. In 1977, he became the FAA’s deputy administrator. He later became director of the Office of International Aviation and then deputy associate administrator for airports. He retired in 1999. (See May 4, 1977.)
Thursday, November 11, 2010:Colombia became the United States’ 100th Open-Skies partner when representatives of the two countries reached agreement to liberalize U.S.-Colombia air services for airlines of both countries. Once full Open Skies took effect at the end of 2012, airlines from the United States and Colombia would be allowed to select routes, destinations and prices for both passenger and cargo service based on consumer demand and market conditions. (See July 2, 2010; December 3, 2010.)
Friday, November 12, 2010:FAA accepted the final report on the November 2008 telecommunications outage prepared by an independent review panel asked to investigate the incident. Administrator Randy Babbitt had asked the panel to examine the cause of the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure (FTI) outage and to recommend strategies to reduce the potential for similar future outages. He also asked the panel to examine the FTI’s present and future architecture as it relates to emerging technology and future FAA systems. The final report on the FTI outage laid out 14 long-term strategic recommendations the FAA should pursue as it transitions to future network systems. The recommendations focused on:
  • Governance: the decision making process for FAA systems
  • Situational Awareness: FAA network monitoring and information sharing
  • Interoperability: data sharing between systems and stakeholders
  • Resilience: ability of a network to continue operating under a variety of conditions
  • Cyber Security: the ability to thwart, detect, and respond to any attempts to compromise the system (See December 8, 2009.)
Monday, November 15, 2010:SkyWest Inc. announced completion of its $133 million purchase of ExpressJet Holdings Inc. Both SkyWest and ExpressJet provide regional service for bigger carriers.
Monday, November 15, 2010:In a notice of proposed policy, FAA announced its intention to clarify the definition of “actively engaged” for the purposes of evaluating applications for Inspector Authorizations (IA). In the current list of requirements, FAA stated that an applicant must have been “actively involved” in maintaining aircraft certificated and maintained in accordance with FAA regulations. However, it lacked the necessary clarification on what qualified as “actively engaged,” leading to a substantial amount of confusion. In the newly proposed policy amendment, FAA addressed the issue by adding language intended to help clarify the requirement. The new policy language, when adopted, would assist aviation safety inspectors in making the appropriate determination when assessing IA applications, as well as prevent applicant confusion. Under the new language, those holding supervisory positions and, as such, were not actively engaged in maintenance activities, would not be permitted to retain their IA. FAA planned for the new policy to go in effect for the next IA renewal cycle in March 2011.
Monday, November 15, 2010:FAA issued a final rule requiring aircraft manufacturers and certification applicants to establish a number of flight cycles or hours a plane could operate and be free from widespread fatigue damage (WFD) without additional inspections for fatigue. Once manufacturers established the flight cycle limits, operators of affected aircraft had to incorporate them into their maintenance programs within 30 to 72 months, depending on the model of aircraft. The new regulation applied to airliners with a takeoff weight of 75,000 lbs. and heavier, as well as all transport designs certificated in the future.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010:Donald Nyrop, the second administrator of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, died; he was 98. Nyrop joined the CAA in 1939 after graduating from law school and became administrator in 1950. In 1951 he became chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board and three years later became president of Northwest Airlines. He retired from Northwest in 1978. (See October 4, 1950.)
Thursday, November 18, 2010:FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that, if finalized, would require a pilot to carry a pilot certificate with photo with an expiration date of eight years. At the end of this period, the pilot had to update their photo and obtain a new certificate. The proposal responded to section 4022 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. The FAA previously required all pilots to obtain a plastic certificate (excepting temporary certificates and student pilot certificates). The FAA also proposed to require student pilots to obtain a plastic certificate with photo. Student pilot certificates would have the same duration as other pilot certificates. Additionally, because of the new photo requirements, the proposal modified the application process and the fee structure for pilot certificates. The new certificate cost $22.00.
Monday, November 22, 2010:FAA issued its first license permitting the reentry to earth of a privately developed spacecraft to the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX). The Space X Dragon space capsule launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket on December 8 and returned to earth three hours later. The unmanned flight was a precursor to NASA and SpaceX efforts to provide commercial trips to the International Space Station with cargo and crew.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010:FAA issued an advisory circular (AC 150/5220-25) requiring that radars used for airport wildlife hazard programs must be capable of tracking 1,000 targets simultaneously. The tracking capability within an area 0.3 to 3 nautical miles was a minimum standard set by the 50-page advisory circular, a mandatory document for airports that accepted federal funding or levy passenger facility charges.
Friday, December 3, 2010:The Department of Transportation agreed to implement an Open-Skies Agreement with Brazil that would liberalize air services for airlines of both countries. The agreement immediately removed restrictions on pricing and on the routes between each country that can be served by U.S. and Brazilian scheduled and charter airlines and provided immediately for full code-share rights and additional charter flexibility. When the full Open Skies agreement takes effect in 2015, airlines from the United States and Brazil would be allowed to select routes, destinations, and prices for passenger, cargo, and charter services based on consumer demand and market conditions. Brazil would be the 101st U.S. Open-Skies partner. (See November 11, 2010.)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010:FAA awarded a contract to Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., to provide up to $271 million in design-build services for at least the next five years. Jacobs would work with the FAA’s en route facilities program, which oversees the management of the nation’s 21 air traffic control centers. Specifically, the company would provide strategic facilities planning, cost estimates, construction support, hazardous material abatement, and related services.
Thursday, December 16, 2010:The Future of Aviation Advisory Committee presented its final recommendations to Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. The Committee made 23 recommendations in 5 categories, including safety, workforce/labor, competitiveness and viability, finance, and environment. Among the recommendations presented by the committee were proposals that federal government assist in funding NextGen equipage on aircraft, ensure greater transparency for consumers in airline pricing, expand the sources of safety data available to the FAA, and ensure that global airline alliances enhance the viability and competitiveness of the U.S. aviation industry. Other specific recommendations included:
  • Developing improved methods of predicting safety risks;
  • Incorporating safety standards into planning for NextGen;
  • Improving links between airports and other forms of transportation;
  • Enhancing science and technology training for the future and current aviation workforce;
  • Ensuring that aircraft operators are able to realize the benefits of NextGen as quickly as possible;
  • Reducing aviation’s impact on the environment through use of sustainable fuels and improved aircraft technology, as well as accelerating the use of NextGen equipment to promote greater efficiency.
  • After review of the recommendations, the Department of Transportation planned to develop a strategy to implement the recommendations. (See May 12, 2010.)
Monday, December 20, 2010:FAA launched a new web-based job application system called the automated vacancy information access tool for online referral (AVIATOR). The system, which replaced the automated staffing and application process (ASAP) used by the agency since 2005, provided an automated application process and an instant notification of application submissions, and stored applications for future use.
Monday, December 27, 2010:Alfred Kahn, the architect of the historic deregulation of the airline industry, died. As head of the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1977-1978, Kahn oversaw the Carter Administration’s airline deregulation policies. In October 1978, President Carter appointed him as his anti-inflation czar with a mandate to curb the rising costs in food, medical care, and energy. Kahn spent most of his career as a professor at Cornell University. (See October 24, 1978.)
Monday, December 27, 2010:FAA issued a proposed airworthiness directive that, if finalized, would mandate software upgrades to onboard aircraft collision avoidance devices manufactured by Aviation Communication and Surveillance Systems, a unit of L-3 Communications Holdings. FAA proposed the directive after reports of anomalies with the devices during a test flight over a high-density airport. Operators had 48 months after the effective date of the AD to install the software upgrade.
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.