This Day in FAA History: January 8th

Full FAA Chronology at this link.

19600108: The New York Times reported that Pan American World Airways had put into operation near Shannon, Ireland, the first unit in a planned worldwide radio transmission system using the “forward scatter” technique. This was the first such very-high-frequency ground station to be put into operation by an airline.
19620108: FAA established an Agency Regulatory Council to facilitate rulemaking and to insure the implementation of the Administrator’s rulemaking policies. The agency also established the position of Executive Director to provide full-time management for the Council. Besides the Executive Director, original regular membership consisted of: the Administrator (as chairman); the Deputy Administrator; the Director, Air Traffic Service; the Director, Flight Standards Service; the Civil Air Surgeon; and the General Counsel. Added as regular members later were: the Director, Airports Service; the Director, Systems Research and Development Service; the Associate Administrator for Programs; and the Assistant Administrator, International Aviation Affairs. The other Associate Administrators and other office and service heads participated individually as ad hoc members in matters of substantive concern to them. Establishment of the Regulatory Council implemented one of the principal recommendations of Project Tightrope (see March 29, 1961). The Council’s first meeting took place on January 10, 1962.
19790108: The Federal Aviation Administration and Panama’s Department of Civil Aviation signed an agreement under which FAA’s air traffic facilities would be gradually turned over to the Republic of Panama over a five-year period. The transfer process began on October 1, when the Panama Canal Treaty went into effect. The agreement affected over 125 FAA personnel employed at the International Flight Service Station (IFSS), the Center and Terminal Radar Approach Control (CERAP), and in related operational and maintenance responsibilities. As part of the agreement, FAA helped to train Panamanian personnel for their new air traffic responsibilities.
The presence of FAA and its predecessor agency in Panama dated back to 1942, when the Civil Aeronautics Administration established a communications station there at the request of the Navy. A 1949 agreement called for the U.S. to provide air traffic control services for Panama, a function initially performed by the Air Force but transferred to FAA after its creation in 1958.
In a ceremony on April 22, 1983, FAA turned over the CERAP, its last facility in Panama to the government of that country. Only four FAA technicians then remained to perform maintenance and training for another year.
19900108: The Department of Transportation officially opened TransExpo at the Sheraton Washington Hotel. The three-day exhibition, which attracted between 8,000 and 10,000 people, was the biggest U.S. transportation trade show since Transpo 72 (see May 27, 1972).
19910108: Pan American World Airways filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy laws. On August 12, 1991, a Federal bankruptcy judge approved a deal under which Delta Air Lines would acquire major Pan American assets and also own 45 percent of a downsized PAA. On September 1, Delta began operating Pan Am’s shuttle serving Washington, New York, and Boston. On October 18, DOT gave final approval to the sale of most of Pan Am’s remaining transatlantic routes to Delta. (See December 4, 1991.)
19980108: FAA ordered immediate visual inspection of the tail sections of 211 late-model Boeing 737s after investigators determined that a crash in Indonesia might have been the result of missing fasteners in the tail. Within the 24 hours prior to issuing this order, the agency had checked horizontal stabilizers on aircraft being built or prepared for delivery at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, factory. No major problems were noted, but the inspectors found a loose fastener on one in-service aircraft. All U.S. carriers with 737s manufactured after September 20, 1995, in their fleets were therefore required to inspect the horizontal stabilizer portion of the tail section within 24 hours, or five flight segments, for missing fasteners.
20000108: 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.)
20030108: Air Midwest Flight 5481, a Beechcraft 1900D operating as US Airways Express Flight 5481, crashed into an airport hangar and burst into flames 37 seconds after taking off from Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina. All 19 passengers and two pilots aboard were killed in the accident, one person on the ground received minor injuries. February 26, 2004, the National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the accident was the airplane’s loss of pitch control during takeoff. The findings also suggested that this loss of pitch control probably resulted from a combination of an incorrect rigging of the elevator control system together with a weight distribution that caused the airplane’s center of gravity to shift dangerously far aft. (See January 27, 2003.)
20150108: FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to replace the orders limiting scheduled operations at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), and LaGuardia Airport (LGA). This proposal was intended to provide a longer-term and comprehensive approach to slot management at JFK, EWR, and LGA. FAA proposed to maintain the limits on scheduled and unscheduled operations in place under the previous orders, limit unscheduled operations at JFK and EWR, and require the use of an allocated slot 80 percent of the time for the same flight or series of flights to retain historic precedence. FAA also proposed five alternatives for a secondary market that would allow carriers to buy, sell, lease, and trade slots. (See May 14, 2009; November 10, 2015.)
20190108: State Farm announced it received a long-term FAA waiver to fly drones beyond the operator’s visual line of sight (BVLOS) and over people. FAA granted State Farm the first such national waiver to operate drones for damage-assessment flights after natural disasters. The waiver would expire in November 2022. The company had received previous waivers to fly drones BVLOS and over people following Hurricanes Florence in September and Michael in October 2018. (See October 16, 2018; July 31, 2019.)
20200108: Ukraine International Flight 752 crashed shortly after it took off from Tehran, Iran, bound for Kyiv. The Boeing 737-800 carried 176 people; there were no survivors. Iranian forces mistakenly shot down the airliner. The incident came shortly after Iran had fired missiles at U.S. military installations in Iraq in retaliation for a January 3 drone strike by the U.S. that killed an Iranian general. Shortly after the crash, FAA issued a notice to airmen banning U.S. airlines from flying in the airspace over Iran and Iraq and the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf Oman. On January 15, FAA loosened restrictions on U.S. aircraft flying over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman to allow flights into and out of certain airports in the region. The new notice allowed flights to and from airports in Doha, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, and Muscat as long as operators flew on a published instrument procedure or under the direction of air traffic control and minimized overwater flight to the greatest extent possible. The agency still prohibited flights from entering the Tehran Flight Information Region, which covered the airspace over Iran and extended from southern Iran part way into the airspace over the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. FAA lifted the flight restrictions in February. (See July 11, 2020.)
20210108: FAA and NASA signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support commercial space activities related to the transport of government and non-government passengers, cargo, and payloads for both orbital and suborbital missions. Under the MOU, the two agencies planned to build a stable launch and reentry framework for the U.S. space industry that was transparent and avoided conflicting requirements and multiple sets of standards. The two agencies planned to establish a point-to-point commercial suborbital pilot program with designated spaceports and airspace designs. Other existing collaboration between FAA and NASA included the Flight Opportunities Program to help develop a framework for flying researchers from industry and academia on commercial suborbital flights and efforts to extend suborbital space transportation capabilities for NASA astronauts and other NASA personnel.